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1957 History

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What Happened in 1957 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture

Major News Stories include Peak of the Baby Boomer years, Toyota starts selling cars in the US, Suez Canal Crisis Ends, Asian Flu Pandemic, USSR launches Sputnik 1, South Vietnam attacked by Viet Cong Guerrillas, Elvis Presley purchases Graceland, First Nuclear Reactor plant opens Pennsylvania,
Jump To Fashion -- World Leaders -- 1957 Calendar -- Technology -- Cost Of Living -- Popular Culture -- Toys -- News Events

Cost of Living 1957

How Much things cost in 1957
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 3.34%
Yearly Inflation Rate UK 3.3%
Average Cost of new house $12,220.00
Average Monthly Rent $90.00
Average Yearly Wages $4.550.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas 24 cents
Bacon per pound 60 cents
Eggs per dozen 28 cents
HI FI Portable Record Player $79.95
Children's Shoes $5.95
Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling
Average House Price 2,330 Average Wages 600



1957 saw the continued growth of bigger taller tail fins on new cars and more lights, bigger with more powerful engines and an average car sold for $2,749. The Soviet Union launched the first space satellite Sputnik 1. Movies included "Twelve Angry Men" and "The Bridge Over the River Kwai", and TV showed "Perry Mason" and "Maverick" for the first time. The music continued to be Rock and Roll with artists like "Little Richard". The popular toys were Slinkys and Hula Hoops. The continued growth of the use of credit was shown by the fact that 2/3 of all new cars were bought on credit. Some of the areas that would cause problems later were starting to show South Vietnam is attacked by Viet Cong Guerrillas and Troops are sent to Arkansas to enforce anti segregation laws


Egypt --- Suez Canal Crisis 1956 - 1957

  • Egypt re-opens the Suez Canal
More Information and Timeline For The 1956 - 57 Suez Canal Crisis
Background: Egyptian coup d'etat of 1952 which led to Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein becoming President of Egypt in 1952, One of his objectives was for British British withdrawal from the Suez Canal which did not happen by negotiation.
1a. 1956 July 26th President of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser announces the nationalization of the Suez Canal
1b July 26th Egyptian forces seize control of the canal and implement its nationalization
1c. October 29th Operation Kadesh --- Israel begins military operations against Egypt
1d. October 31st Operation Musketeer - French / British Invasion Begins to take back control of the Suez Canal From Egyptian Control
1e. November 4th President of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser orders the sinking of ships in the canal making the canal impassable for Shipping
1f. November 6th Following pressure and condemnation from the United Nations Britain agree to a Cease fire and withdrawal of British Troops
1g. November 7th Following pressure and condemnation from the United Nations France agree to a Cease fire and withdrawal of French Troops
1h. November 8th Israel declares willingness to withdrawal of Israeli forces from Sinai
1i. November 15th United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) Arrives In Egypt deployed in designated areas around the canal and Sinai and Gaza to ensure British, French and Israeli Forces leave Egypt
1j. December 22nd all British and French troops leave Egypt
1k. December 22nd all British and French troops leave Egypt
2a. 1957 January 9th British Prime Minister Anthony Eden resigns due to his handling of the Suez Crisis and Harold Macmillan becomes the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
2b April Egypt re-opens the Suez Canal for shipping
3 1967 May 16th United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) are ordered to leave Egypt by the Egyptian government
10 years later during the Yom Kippur War between Egyptian and Israeli forces the Suez canal once again became a focus point of the war due to it's strategic importance for shipping that moves oil from the middle east to the rest of the world. For example to transport oil from Saudi Arabia to the United States 2,700 miles are saved by using the canal rather than taking the long route via the tip of South Africa

United States -- First Frisbee Toy

1. Wham-O releases the first Frisbee toys for sale during January .
2. The most common origin story for the name of the flying disc is that college students would throw empty pie tins from the Frisbie Pie Company in Connecticut in the late 1800s.
3. Inventor Walter Frederick Morrison got the idea for a flying disc in the late 1940s and developed a plastic version, specifically designed to fly easily.
4. He originally named it the Pluto Platter, hoping to cash-in on the alleged flying saucer U.F.O sightings at the time.
5. The toy company Wham-O bought the Pluto Platter, changed its name to the Frisbee, and it soon became a wildly popular toy.
Check Out Our History of Toys Section


Andrei Gromyko Minister of Foreign Affairs

  • Andrei Gromyko is appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the USSR
More Information for Andrei Gromyko
Andrei Gromyko was appointed as the Soviet Union's Minister of Foreign Affairs in February . Gromyko had worked his way up the Soviet hierarchy having previously served as an ambassador to the U.S. and U.K., and a UN Security Council representative during the 1940s before his appointment to the Foreign Ministry. Gromyko was considered a skilled negotiator and trustworthy diplomat but it was unclear if he had any political or personal agenda and the scope of his influence on Soviet policy was unknown. He would often accompany Soviet leaders on their foreign visits and was a proponent of disarmament. Gromyko held his position until 1985 after which he was given the title of Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, a mostly ceremonial but honorable position as the Head of State, which he held until 1988.

United Kingdom -- Singapore Self Rule

Singapore and the United Kingdom agree to self-rule in Singapore during April. The decision was made during the four week long Singapore Constitutional Conference which was held in London. The former British colony would be allowed to govern itself and become its own state and Great Britain would still control the island’s defense and external affairs according to the terms of the agreement. The new constitution would go into effect at the beginning of the following year.

World --- Asian Flu Pandemic

  • Asian Flu pandemic claims over 150,000 lives world wide
More Information and Timeline For The Asian Flu Pandemic
1. Caused by mutation in wild ducks combining with a pre-existing human strain of Flu
2. 1956 Spring Avian influenza Pandemic originates in China Category 2 ( 0.1% to 0.5% population affected )
3a. 1957 The Final Death toll in the US thought to be close to 70,000
3b. World wide the death toll thought to be in excess of 1 million
Webmasters Note, You will often hear Flu Epidemics / Pandemics described with the name of a species of animal for example Bird or Avian, Swine, etc. The reason these type of influenza ( Flu ) are so dangerous is because when a particular strain for example H5N1 of influenza virus adapts to effect both humans and birds the human body has not previously been exposed and does not possess the antibodies required to fight the particular strain of influenza. In the case of Avian Flu additional complications are caused because of the world wide migration of birds which causes the spread of the strain quickly around the world.

Russia --- First artificial satellite Sputnik 1

  • USSR launches Sputnik 1 on inaugurating the Space Age and the Space Race
More Information and Timeline For The Beginning Of The Space Race
1. 1944 September 8th Germany begins using the V2 Guided missile rocket technology against Britain
2a. 1957 August 21st The USSR Launches the first Intercontinental ballistic missile
2b. October 4th The USSR launches the First artificial satellite Sputnik 1
2c. November 3rd The USSR launches the Second artificial satellite Sputnik 2 carrying the First animal in space (a dog named Laika)
3. 1958 January 31st The United States Launches the First US satellite Explorer 1
4. Over the next few years the USSR and The United States continued to advance the technology, but the crowning glory of this period of history has to be the successful landing of a man on the moon by the United States on July 20th 1969 when Neil Alden Armstrong becomes the first person to set foot on the Moon.
Sputnik 1 is often quoted as the beginning of the Space Race, but in all truthfulness the Space Race began in Germany in World War II, and following the defeat of Germany, American, Soviet and British governments all gained access to the V-2's technical designs and the German scientists responsible for creating the Guided missile rocket technology ( Used in World War II, V-1 flying bomb nicknamed the Doodlebug and the V-2 rocket which was a single stage ballistic missile used against Great Britain ) The technology provided the beginnings of mans quest for space exploration.


USA -- Final I Love Lucy

The final new episode of the classic television comedy “I Love Lucy” aired on CBS on May 6th. The episode was titled “The Ricardos dedicate a Statue.” Throughout the series’ 181 episode run, viewers watched Lucy’s crazy antics unfold with the help of her landlords Fred and Ethel, often to the dismay of her husband Ricky. The show had been nominated for several Prime Time Emmy Awards and won four. It starred real-life couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz who went on to continue the show in a different format from the end of the year to 1960 as “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.”

USA -- American Bandstand

The popular Philadelphia television show “American Bandstand” makes its national television debut in August. The show aired on ABC and featured groups of teenagers dancing to the most popular songs of the week. Often, one of the featured musical acts would appear on the show to perform a lip-synced version of their hit song. The show was hosted by Dick Clark and ran for over 20 years and the final episode aired during October of 1989.

Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2

  • The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2. On board is the first animal to enter space - a dog named Laika.
More Information and Timeline for the Sputnik 2 satellite.
The Sputnik 2 Satellite is successfully launched into orbit around the Earth by the USSR on November 3rd, The spacecraft was the second spacecraft successfully launched into Earth's orbit and the first spacecraft to carry a biological being into space. Sputnik 2 carried Laika, a female dog, into space. Laika was provided with food, water, oxygen, a padded area and enough room to lay or stand and she was expected to live for up to ten days while Soviet scientists collected data on the effects of space on living beings. Unfortunately, it was believed that she only survived for two days due to problems with the thermal control system. The craft fell out of orbit and into Earth's atmosphere in April of 1958. The U.S. did not put a satellite into orbit until January of 1958. By July of 1969 the U.S. would put the first man on the Moon.

Vietnam --- Viet Cong Guerrillas attack South Vietnam

  • South Vietnam attacked by Viet Cong Guerrillas
More Information and Timeline For The Beginning the Vietnam War
1. 1945 Vietnam declares independence from the French
2. 1946 France recognizes Vietnam as a "free state" within the French Union.
3. 1946 Democratic Republic of Vietnam attack French Occupation Forces.
4. 1947 Vietminh move to Northern Part Of Vietnam where large numbers support their cause
5. 1950 China and USSR offer to provide Weapons to Vietminh
6. 1950 US offers military aid to the French
7. 1954 40,000 heavily armed Vietminh lay siege to the French garrison at Dienbienphu.
8. 1954 Geneva Convention provisional demarcation line is drawn at the 17th parallel which will divide Vietnam into North and South Vietnam
9. 1956 French troops withdraw from Vietnam
10. 1957 Viet Cong Guerrillas begin Terrorist Bombing campaign and assassinate more than 400 South Vietnamese officials in Saigon ( South Vietnam )
I have included some of the history up to this point in time to offer an indication of the reasons behind the Vietnam War which started in earnest following the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964 which was a catalyst rather than the only reason for the United States becoming involved in The Vietnam War from 1964 to 1973.


The EEC European Economic Community is formed

  • Treaty of Rome (The EEC European Economic Community is formed).
More Information and Timeline for the Treaty of Rome.
The Treaty of Rome was signed on March 25, by West Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands establishing the European Economic Community, the precursor to the European Union. The Treaty of Rome created a common market to be shared between the six countries and was one of the main documents used to create the European Union in the 1990s. The European Atomic Energy Community Treaty was also signed at the same time with the goal of establishing peaceful atomic energy programs.

Transcontinental Speed Record

  • Future astronaut John Glenn sets the transcontinental speed record.
More Information for Transcontinental Speed Record
During July , test pilot and future astronaut, John Glenn Jr. set a new transcontinental speed record while piloting a F8U Crusader from Los Angeles to New York. He became the first pilot to average supersonic speed during a transcontinental flight and it took three hours and twenty-three minutes to complete. Glenn later became one of the first U.S. astronauts when he was chosen for the Mercury program by NASA in 1959. In addition to being an accomplished test pilot, he became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person to go into space in 1962 aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft.

World --- Baby Boomers

  • 1957 was the peak of the Baby Boomer years
More Information and Timeline For The Baby Boomer Years
1. Definition of Baby Boomer By US Government: Demographic birth boom between 1946 and 1964
2. World War II ends 1946
3. Hundreds of thousands of servicemen return home hoping to set up home with a loved one
4. Governments deal with this in differing ways
5. United States Passes the GI Bill or ( Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 )
5a. Provided college or vocational education for returning World War II veterans
5b. Provided low interest, zero down payment home loans for returning World War II veterans
5c. Provided one year of unemployment compensation for returning World War II veterans
5d. Resulting from these measures tens of thousands of jobs were created for pent up demand in consumer goods, the construction industry, higher education etc. fueling a healthy economy which in turn helped the population to feel confident enough to have families.
6. Great Britain built tens of thousands of low income homes for returning servicemen, increased nationalization and also provided education and unemployment for returning servicemen, this combined with the increased opportunity provided to export goods to the United States created a boom of children and the economy
7. Most Other Allied countries followed similar routes creating an environment where couples felt the confidence to set up homes and new families, the increased numbers of children helped to fuel the economic growth with even more consumer demand.
Baby Boomers were born following the end of World War II due in part to couples ability to marry and set up some type of home although many were forced for some of the early years to share homes with older family members,
The Baby Boom happened in most of the allied countries following the end of World War II and governments are now struggling with the retirement, health and other issues caused by such a large percentage of society requiring support and facilities for this large and important demographic in a short period of time ( Note from webmaster I am one of those Baby Boomers and can see both sides of the equation , I am at an age where I am not as healthy and approaching retirement age which will mean I will in many ways require financial support ( It should be remembered that myself and most of my generation paid taxes and social security for most of our working lives which means we should be getting back what we put in ). From the younger generation they may well see it differently when taxes etc. are forced to increase to pay for the increased number of baby boomers.


Hurricane Audrey hits the United States Gulf Coast

  • Hurricane Audrey hits the United States Gulf Coast
More Information and Timeline for Hurricane Audrey
Hurricane Audrey hits the shores of Louisiana and Texas on June 27th, . Hurricane Audrey came early in the hurricane season and formed on the 25th of June. It was one of the most devastating hurricanes on record and caused large amounts of damage in the Gulf coastal region, especially in Southern Louisiana and South Eastern Texas. It is estimated that around 500 people died as a result of the storm and it caused over $100 million in damage to the towns that were hit by it.

United States Little Rock Nine

  • The National Guard on the order of Governor Orval Faubus is used to prevent nine African American students from entering Central High School in Little Rock on September 4th and shortly after Federal troops charge defiant protesters with fixed bayonets to ensure nine African American Students can attend Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas.
More Information and Timeline for the Little Rock Nine.
1. During September nine African-American students enrolled at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, a formerly all-white school, in what was one of the most important moments during the early Civil Rights Movement.
2. Known as the "Little Rock Nine," Carlotta Walls, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray, Minnijean Brown, Terrence Roberts, Melba Patillo, Thelma Mothers, and Jefferson Thomas were encouraged by the Arkansas NAACP to be the first determined students to integrate the school.
3. The nine students attempted to enter the school on the first day of classes on September 4th but were blocked by the National Guard as ordered by the Governor, Orval Faubus.
4. Later in the month, the National Guard was removed and the nine students attempted to enter the school again while escorted by police and were successful in entering the building. However, violence broke out within the crowd of protesters upon their entrance and the students were told to leave as the school administrators were worried for their safety. 5. Two days later President Eisenhower ordered federal troops to escort the students and they were able to complete their first full day of school on September 25th.
6. Of the nine, eight students successfully completed their first year of school at the newly desegregated Little Rock Central High School. They faced harassment and attacks throughout the year. Minnijean Brown had been expelled during the year after she had retaliated against an attack by white students.
7. Ernest Green became the first black student to graduate from Little Rock Central High School in May of 1958.
8. After the school year had ended the Governor of Arkansas ordered Little Rock high schools to be closed as the state grappled with the issue of integration. The schools remained closed until August of 1959.


Vanguard TV3 Satellite Launch

  • The United States attempts to launch its first satellite, with the Vanguard TV3 rocket, but it fails.
More Information for the Vanguard TV3 Satellite Launch
The United States' first attempt at launching a satellite with the Vanguard TV3 rocket was made during December . The launch took place at Cape Canaveral and it was unsuccessful as the rocket exploded only a few seconds after launch, destroying the rocket and damaging the satellite and surrounding area. By the time of the attempted launch of the Vanguard TV3, the Soviet Union had already successfully launched two Sputnik satellites and the United States was feeling the pressure to catch up during the early days of the Space Race. This made the failure particularly devastating and more humiliating to those working on the launch. The United States did not successfully launch their own satellite until January of 1958 with Explorer 1.

1957 Mens and Womens Fashion Clothes

Part of our Collection of Clothing From this Year
Part of our Collection of Fashion Accessories From this Year
Women's Fashion Clothing Examples From this Year

Calendar For The Year 1957

1957 Calendar

Part of our Collection of Toys From this Year

Part of our 1950s Toys Selection of 250 Fifties Toys

1957 Toys


More News and Key Events

  • Foot and Mouth in England Reaches epidemic proportions with 30,000 animals slaughtered

  • The House for Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) convicts a number of writers and playwright's for Un-American Activities / Communist party membership

  • Physician Francois Duvalier PAPA DOC becomes president of Haiti

  • Ghana Gains Independence From Great Britain

  • The Mackinac suspension bridge opens connecting the Upper and Lower peninsulas of the U.S. state of Michigan.

United States
  • The United States attempts to launch its first satellite, with the Vanguard TV3 rocket, but it fails.

  • Martin Luther King Jr heads nationwide resistance to racial segregation and discrimination in the US

  • Federal Troops sent to Arkansas to enforce anti segregation laws

  • Singapore gains Self Rule

  • Portable Radar Devices Used To Enforce Speed Limits

  • Toyota starts selling cars in the US, the first is the Toyopet Crown


Popular Culture 1957

  • Elvis Presley purchases a mansion in Memphis, Tennessee and calls it Graceland
  • The Cavern Club opens in Liverpool ( Where the Beatle's started )
  • The Film Jailhouse Rock premiers with Elvis Presley
  • "American Bandstand" the teenagers chart music show makes its network debut on ABC

Popular Films

  • The Ten Commandments
  • Around the World in Eighty Days
  • 12 Angry men
  • Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • The Three Faces of Eve

Popular Books

  • The Cat in the Hat - Dr. Seuss
  • From Russia with Love - Ian Fleming
  • The Guns of Navarone - Alistair MacLean

Born This Year

Jayne Torvill October 7th
Nancy Cartwright October 25th
Donny Osmond December 9th
Gloria Estefan September 1st


  • Ultrasound scanning pioneered in Scotland
  • First Nuclear Reactor plant opens for production of electricity in Pennsylvania US
  • The Soviet Union launches Sputnik I,on October 4th the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth.
  • Soviets test H Bomb
  • Great Britain tests first hydrogen bomb on the Christmas Island
  • The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2. On board is the first animal to enter space - a dog named Laika.
Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )
Satellite Russia Sputnik I

Major World Political Leaders

- Australia -- Prime Minister - Sir Robert Menzies --
- Brazil -- President - Juscelino Kubitschek --
- Canada -- Prime Minister - Louis St. Laurent -- till June 21,
- Canada -- Prime Minister - John Diefenbaker -- from June 21,
- China -- Chairman of the People's Republic of China - Mao Zedong --
- France -- President - René Coty --
- Germany -- Chancellor - Konrad Adenauer --
- India -- Prime Minister - Jawahar Lal Nehru --
- Italy -- Prime Minister - Antonio Segni -- Till 15 May
- Italy -- Prime Minister - Adone Zoli -- From 19 May
- Japan -- Prime Minister - Tanzan Ishibashi -- Till 25 February
- Japan -- Prime Minister - Nobusuke Kishi -- From 25 February
- Mexico -- President - Adolfo Ruiz Cortines --
- Russia / Soviet Union -- First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union - Nikita Khrushchev --
- South Africa -- Prime Minister - Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom --
- United States -- President - Dwight D. Eisenhower -- - United Kingdom -- Prime Minister - Sir Anthony Eden -- Till 10 January
- United Kingdom -- Prime Minister - Harold Macmillan -- From 10 January

Political Elections

Canadian Federal Election -- - 1957 -- John Diefenbaker ( Progressive Conservatives ) defeats Louis St. Laurent ( Liberal ) --