A Reference Resource
Key Events in the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower
January 20, 1953
Dwight D. Eisenhower is inaugurated as the thirty-fourth President of the United States.
January 27, 1953
Ralph Ellison wins a National Book Award for Invisible Man.
March 5, 1953
The Soviet Union announces the death of Josef Stalin.
March 17, 1953
All price controls officially ended by the Office of Price Stabilization.
April 1, 1953
The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is created by joint congressional action.
April 16, 1953
Eisenhower delivers his "Chance for Peace" speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
May 22, 1953
Eisenhower signs the Submerged Lands Act.
June 19, 1953
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed.
July 26, 1953
Eisenhower addresses the American public and announces an armistice in Korea.
August 1, 1953
Eisenhower proposes broadening the provisions of the Social Security Act to cover more than 10 million additional Americans.
August 7, 1953
Eisenhower signs the Refugee Relief Act of 1953, admitting 214,000 more immigrants than permitted under existing immigration quotas.
August 19, 1953
Iranians, with the backing of the CIA, overthrow the government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, ensuring Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi's hold on power.
September 10, 1953
Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin resigns, in large part to protest the failure of the Eisenhower Administration to propose amendments to the Taft-Hartley Act.
September 30, 1953
Eisenhower appoints Earl Warren chief justice of the Supreme Court.
October 8, 1953
Eisenhower announces that the Soviet Union has tested a hydrogen bomb.
December 8, 1953
Eisenhower gives his "Atoms for Peace" speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
January 11, 1954
Eisenhower sends a special message to Congress asking for changes in the Taft-Hartley labor law.
March 8, 1954
The United States and Japan sign a mutual defense agreement that provides for the gradual and partial rearmament of Japan.
April 23-June 17, 1954
The Army-McCarthy hearings begin and continue for two months.
May 7, 1954
France surrenders its garrison at Dien Bien Phu to the Vietminh.
May 13, 1954
Eisenhower signs the St. Lawrence Seaway Bill.
May 17, 1954
The Supreme Court announces a decision in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, ruling that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.
June 18, 1954
A CIA-sponsored coup in Guatemala overthrows the government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman.
July 11, 1954
The first "White Citizens Council" is organized in Indianola, Mississippi.
July 21, 1954
The Geneva Accords are signed, establishing a cease-fire and partition of Vietnam. The United States refuses to sign.
September 8, 1954
The United States signs the SEATO (South East Asian Treaty Organization) Pact.
November 2, 1954
The Democratic Party narrowly regains control of both houses of Congress.
December 2, 1954
The United States signs a mutual defense pact with Taiwan.
December 2, 1954
The Senate votes to censure Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI).
January 10, 1955
Chinese Communist Air Force raid the nationalist-controlled Tachen Islands and seize Ichiang Island.
January 19, 1955
The first filming of a presidential press conference.
January 21, 1955
Eisenhower meets with Secretary of State Dulles and Secretary of Defense Wilson to discuss a resolution that would authorize the U.S. defense of Taiwan and the Pescadores. Congress approves the resolution on January 28.
March 16, 1955
Eisenhower announces that the United States would use atomic weapons in the event of war with Communist China.
April 11, 1955
Roy Wilkins becomes Executive Secretary of the NAACP, succeeding Walter White.
May 31, 1955
In Brown II, the Supreme Court orders schools integrated "with all deliberate speed."
July 12, 1955
Eisenhower tells congressional leaders that the Geneva Conference will not be another Yalta.
July 18, 1955
The Geneva Conference opens, attended by the heads of state of Britain, France, the U.S.S.R, and the United States.
July 21, 1955
Eisenhower makes his "open skies" proposal at Geneva.
July 29, 1955
Plans for the first artificial satellites, scheduled to be launched in 1957, are announced by the United States.
August 28, 1955
Fourteen-year old Emmett Till is kidnapped and murdered in Money, Mississippi.
September 24, 1955
Eisenhower suffers a "moderate" heart attack in Denver, Colorado.
October 10, 1955
The Supreme Court orders Autherine Lucy admitted to the University of Alabama.
November 15, 1955
Adlai Stevenson announces that he will run for President in 1956.
November 25, 1955
The Interstate Commerce Commission bans racial segregation on interstate trains and buses.
December 1, 1955
Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. During the following week, the Montgomery African American community, led by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., organizes a boycott of the city's buses that lasts for more than a year.
December 5, 1955
The merger of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) is ratified.
December 26, 1955
Eisenhower tries to persuade Richard Nixon to take a cabinet post and not stand for re-election in 1956 as vice president.
January 30, 1956
African American student Autherine Lucy is admitted to the University of Alabama following a court order.
February 22, 1956
Eisenhower releases $1 billion worth of Uranium-235 for peaceful atomic purposes.
February 29, 1956
Eisenhower announces that he will run for a second term as President.
March 12, 1956
Nineteen senators and eighty-one representatives sign the "Southern Manifesto," promising to use "all lawful means" to reverse the Brown decisions.
April 9, 1956
Eisenhower again urges Nixon to take a cabinet post.
April 25, 1956
Eisenhower announces that Nixon will be his running mate in 1956.
May 31, 1956
Eisenhower approves U-2 spy flights over the Soviet Union.
June 4, 1956
In Browder v. Gayle, a three-judge district court rules that bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, is unconstitutional.
June 29, 1956
Eisenhower signs the Federal Aid Highway Act, providing federal funding for the construction of a system of interstate highways for transportation and national defense.
July 26, 1956
Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal.
August 1, 1956
Eisenhower signs the Social Security Act, permitting women to retire at age sixty-two and disabled workers at age fifty.
August 1, 1956
The recently discovered Salk Polio Vaccine is sold on the open market.
August 13-August 17, 1956
The Democratic National Convention nominates Adlai Stevenson for President.
August 21, 1956
Eisenhower attends the Republican National Convention and accepts nomination as the party's candidate for President.
September 29, 1956
Eisenhower appoints William J. Brennan to the Supreme Court.
October 22, 1956
The Hungarian Revolution begins.
October 29-October 31, 1956
Israel, Britain, and France attack Egypt; Eisenhower condemns the attack.
November 4, 1956
The Soviet Union crushes the Hungarian Revolution via armed intervention.
November 5, 1956
A cease-fire is established in Egypt.
November 6, 1956
Eisenhower defeats Stevenson by nine million votes to win a second term. Congress remains in the hands of the Democratic Party.
November 13, 1956
Browder v. Gayle is upheld by the Supreme Court.
December 20, 1956
The Montgomery Bus Boycott comes to an end.
January 5, 1957
Eisenhower proposes the "Eisenhower Doctrine" regarding defense of the Middle East.
January 6, 1957
Elvis Presley makes his third appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show; and concern that his gyrating dance style is too lewd lead network executives to show him only from the waist up.
January 20, 1957
Eisenhower is inaugurated for a second term as President.
February 14, 1957
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is organized in New Orleans. Martin Luther King, Jr., is elected president of the organization.
March 5-March 7, 1957
Congress sanctions the "Eisenhower Doctrine."
May 6, 1957
John F. Kennedy wins a Pulitzer Prize for his book Profiles in Courage.
May 29, 1957
Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey resigns; Eisenhower selects Robert B. Anderson as his replacement.
July 12, 1957
The Surgeon General reports that scientific research has established a link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.
August 30, 1957
Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC) filibusters against pending civil rights legislation for a record twenty-four hours, twenty-seven minutes.
September 9, 1957
Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first civil rights bill since Reconstruction.
September 24, 1957
Eisenhower orders federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to end the school desegregation crisis.
October 4, 1957
The Soviet Union launches Sputnik.
November 25, 1957
Eisenhower suffers a vascular spasm.
January 27, 1958
Eisenhower asks Congress for federal aid for education.
April 1, 1958
Eisenhower signs legislation he hopes will stimulate housing construction and help combat a developing economic recession.
April 2, 1958
Eisenhower recommends the formation of a civilian agency to direct space exploration.
April 27, 1958
Vice President Nixon embarks on an eighteen-day tour of Latin America.
May 13, 1958
Eisenhower orders 1,000 troops from Caribbean bases to rescue Nixon, if necessary, after the Vice President was threatened on his tour of Latin America.
May 14, 1958
Eisenhower doubles the strength of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean.
June 23, 1958
Eisenhower meets with African American leaders Martin Luther King, Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, and Lester Granger.
July 7, 1958
Eisenhower signs a bill making Alaska the forty-ninth state.
July 15, 1958
Eisenhower orders the U.S. Marines into Lebanon.
August 23, 1958
The People's Republic of China resumes the shelling of Nationalist Chinese islands Quemoy and Matsu.
September 22, 1958
Eisenhower accepts the resignation of Sherman Adams, his chief of staff, after Adams is found to have accepted improper gifts from businessmen.
October 25, 1958
Eisenhower orders the withdrawal of the last U.S. Marines from Lebanon.
September 2, 1958
Eisenhower signs the National Defense Education Act.
January 1, 1959
Fidel Castro's revolutionaries overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.
March 18, 1959
Eisenhower signs a bill admitting Hawaii as the fiftieth state.
April 13, 1959
Eisenhower asks Nikita Khrushchev for a partial test-ban agreement.
April 15, 1959
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles resigns because of illness; he dies on May 24.
April 18, 1959
Eisenhower names Christian Herter secretary of state.
April 25, 1959
Eisenhower, with Queen Elizabeth, dedicates the St. Lawrence Seaway.
July 15, 1959
Eisenhower refuses to seek a Taft-Hartley injunction to end the steelworkers strike.
July 24, 1959
Nixon and Khrushchev have their "kitchen debate" in Moscow.
September 14, 1959
Eisenhower signs the Landrum-Griffin Act, legislation meant to combat growing corruption in labor organizations.
September 15-September 27, 1959
Khrushchev visits the United States and meets with Eisenhower at Camp David on September 25 and 26.
October 6, 1959
Eisenhower invokes a Taft-Hartley injunction in the dockworkers strike.
October 19, 1959
Eisenhower invokes a Taft-Hartley injunction in the steelworkers strike.
January 2, 1960
Senator John F. Kennedy announces his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.
January 4, 1960
The Steelworkers strike ends with a settlement.
January 9, 1960
Vice President Nixon announces his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.
January 13, 1960
Eisenhower declares his support for Nixon.
February 1, 1960
Civil rights sit-ins begin in Greensboro, North Carolina.
March 17, 1960
Eisenhower authorizes the CIA to begin training exiles to invade Cuba.
April 15-April 17, 1960
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a civil rights group born out of the sit-in demonstrations, organizes in Raleigh, North Carolina.
May 5, 1960
The Soviet Union announces that is has shot down an American U-2 spy plane.
May 6, 1960
Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960.
May 7, 1960
Eisenhower acknowledges that the United States has been conducting U-2 spy flights over the Soviet Union. Khrushchev announces that Francis Gary Powers, a downed U-2 pilot, has admitted to spying on the Soviet Union.
May 16, 1960
The Paris Summit between the Soviet Union and the United States ends when Eisenhower refuses to apologize for the U-2 flights and Khrushchev refuses to meet with the President.
July 13, 1960
Kennedy receives the Democratic presidential nomination.
July 27, 1960
Nixon receives the Republican presidential nomination.
September 7, 1960
Eisenhower asks the Soviet Union to stop supporting Patrice Lumumba in the Congo.
September 26, 1960
John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon hold the first televised presidential debate.
November 8, 1960
Kennedy defeats Nixon in the presidential election.
January 3, 1961
Eisenhower severs diplomatic relations with Cuba.
January 17, 1961
Eisenhower's farewell address warns the nation of the growing power of the American "military industrial complex."
January 20, 1961
Eisenhower leaves Washington for his Gettysburg farm.