Top News Stories from 1961

World Events

World Statistics

Population: 4.378 billion
population by decade
Nobel Peace Prize: Dag Hammarskjöld (Sweden)
More World Statistics...
  • US breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba (Jan. 3).
  • 1,200 US-sponsored anti-Castro exiles invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs (April 17); the attackers are all killed or captured by Cuban forces.
  • East Germany erects the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin to halt flood of refugees (Aug. 13). Background: The Cold War
  • USSR detonates 50-megaton hydrogen bomb in the largest man-made explosion in history (Oct. 29). Background: nuclear weapons
  • There are 2,000 US military advisers in South Vietnam. Background: Vietnam War
  • OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) formally constituted.

U.S. Events

U.S. Statistics

President: John F. Kennedy
Vice President: Lyndon B. Johnson
Population: 183,691,481
Life expectancy: 70.2 years
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 19.1
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 17.5
Homicide Rate (per 100,000): 4.7
More U.S. Statistics...


US GDP (1998 dollars): $544.8 billion
Federal spending: $97.72 billion
Federal debt $292.6 billion
Consumer Price Index: $29.9
Unemployment: 5.5%
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.04


World Series
NY Yankees d. Cincinnati
NBA Championship
Boston d. St. Louis Hawks
Stanley Cup
Chicago d. Detroit
Women: Angela Mortimer d. C. Truman (4-6 6-4 7-5)
Men: Rod Laver d. C. McKinley (6-3 6-1 6-4)
Kentucky Derby Champion
Carry Back
NCAA Basketball Championship
Cincinnati d. Ohio St. (70-65 OT)
NCAA Football Champions
Alabama (AP, UPI, NFF) (11-0-0) & Ohio St. (FW) (8-0-1)


Entertainment Awards

Pulitzer Prizes
Fiction: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Music: Symphony No. 7, Walter Piston
Drama: All the Way Home, Tad Mosel
Academy Award, Best Picture: The Apartment, Billy Wilder, producer (United Artists)
Nobel Prize for Literature: Ivo Andric (Yugoslavia)
Record of the Year: "Theme From A Summer Place," Percy Faith
Album of the Year: Button Down Mind, Bob Newhart (Warner Bros.)
Song of the Year: "Theme From Exodus," Ernest Gold, songwriter
Miss America: Nancy Fleming (MI)
More Entertainment Awards...


  • Patsy Cline releases "I Fall to Pieces" and "Crazy." The success of the songs help her cross over from country to pop.
  • West Side Story is adapted for the big screen, and will go on to win Oscars for Best Picture, Supporting Actor (George Chakiris), Supporting Actress (Rita Moreno), and Directing (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins).
  • Audrey Hepburn delights as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, but Henry Mancini emerges as the real star. He won two Oscars and four Grammy Awards for the score, which included the hit "Moon River."


  • West Side Story, The Hustler, Judgment at Nuremberg, La Dolce Vita


  • Patsy Cline, "I Fall to Pieces" and "Crazy"



Nobel Prizes in Science

Chemistry: Melvin Calvin (US), for establishing chemical steps during photosynthesis
Physics: Robert Hofstadter (US), for determination of shape and size of atomic nucleus; Rudolf Mössbauer (Germany), for method of producing and measuring recoil-free gamma rays
Physiology or Medicine: Georg von Bekesy (US), for discoveries about physical mechanisms of stimulation within cochlea
More Nobel Prizes in 1998...


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