1954 History Events: What Happened in 1954

The first Indochina war, fought between France and southern Vietnamese forces led by Ho Chi Minh, ended in 1954. The fight of Dien-Bien-Phu began on March 13th, and the French lost it a few months later in May. The conflict came to an end at this point, but South Vietnam’s failure to comply with the requirements of the Geneva Accords of 1954 led to the Vietnam War crisis a few years later. As President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, attempted to thwart the Viet Minh’s communist aspirations through diplomacy in April, tensions between the US and the Communist world were already rising. The United States Supreme Court found racially segregated schools unconstitutional less than a month later.

Food rationing, which had been in place since World War II, was likewise abolished in the United Kingdom. In April, Bill Haley & His Comets released “Rock Around the Clock,” the record credited with kicking off the rock ‘n roll craze in the United States. Elvis Presley’s first song, “That’s All Right,” was released later that year, signalling the start of a very successful career. On September 17th, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies will be released in London. On November 3rd, the first Godzilla film will be released in Tokyo, a few months after Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai was released in Japanese theatres.

In science and technology, the first colour television set was released by RCA, and doctors J. Hartwell Harrison and J. Murray performed the first successful kidney transplant on December 23rd in Boston. Jerry Seinfeld, John Travolta, Matt Groening, and Oprah Winfrey, among others, were born in 1954, as were German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande.

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 1954.


(January 14, 1954)
At City Hall in San Francisco, baseball player Joe DiMaggio married actress Marilyn Monroe. photo source:


(February 15, 1954)
Matt Groening, the creator of the comic strip Life in Hell and the television shows The Simpsons and Futurama, was born in the United States.

(March 01, 1954)
Ron Howard, an Academy Award-winning director who rose to prominence as a child actor, was born in the United States.

(April 29, 1954)
Jerry Seinfeld, the late-twentieth-century comedian whose television programme Seinfeld was a hallmark of American pop culture, was born in Brooklyn, New York.

(May 06, 1954)
Britain's Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes.


(May 07, 1954)
During the First Indochina War, Viet Minh General Vo Nguyen Giap caught the French off guard at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, encircling their stronghold with 40,000 soldiers and employing heavy artillery to conquer it.

(May 17, 1954)
On this day in 1954, lawyer Thurgood Marshall won a momentous win when the United States Supreme Court unanimously declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

(June 27, 1954)
The highly anticipated FIFA World Cup quarterfinal encounter between Hungary and Brazil turns violent, with three players expelled and further fighting continuing after the game.

(June 27, 1954)
The Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant, the Soviet Union's first nuclear power station, is inaugurated in Obninsk, near Moscow.


(July 15, 1954)
The maiden flight of the Boeing 367-80, the prototype for the Boeing 707 and C-135 series.

(August 16, 1954)
James Cameron, a Canadian filmmaker known for his broad vision and revolutionary special-effects films such as Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009), was born.

(August 16, 1954)
The first edition of Sports Illustrated was published, and the weekly publication (later changed to monthly) quickly became America's preeminent sports magazine.

(September 30, 1954)
The USS Nautilus, a submarine of the United States Navy, is commissioned as the world's first nuclear-powered ship. photo source:

(November 13, 1954)
In front of roughly 30,000 fans, Great Britain defeats France to win the first ever Rugby League World Cup in Paris. photo source:


(December 28, 1954)
Denzel Washington, an American actor known for his compelling and forceful performances in films such as Glory (1989), Malcolm X (1992), and Training Day (2001), was born. photo source:

Written by James

James has always been intrigued by dinosaurs, the universe, technology, and animals. With a Bachelor of Computer Science and years of writing expertise, he joined World Amazing Facts in 2021 as a staff writer.

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1953 History Events: What Happened in 1953

1955 History Events: What Happened in 1955