Time line 1908-1998


Republican William Howard Taft elected 27th US president.

Robert Peary, Matthew A. Henson, and four Eskimos reach North Pole.


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) founded.


Ten-year Mexican revolution and civil war begins. One million eventually die.

First major militant women's suffage parade in New York City.


Baseball great Cy Young retires after winning 511 games and pitching 7,356 innings.


Democrat Woodrow Wilson elected 28th US president.

Vladimir Illich Lenin founds Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party (Bolsheviks).

Titanic ocean liner sinks; More than 1,500 die.


US 16th Amendment legalizes income taxes.


World War I begins. Eventual deaths include 8 million military, 6 million civilians. 21 million are wounded.

Bosnian nationalists, in league with Serbs, kill Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand, escalating Europe-wide tensions.

Panama Canal opens.


First transatlantic telephone call (Virginia to Paris) made by Bell Telephone.

Albert Einstein develops his theory of relativity, arguing that space and time merge in a continuum.


Turkish government forces 1 million to 1.5 million Armenians into camps in the Syrian desert where most die of famine and disease.


US declares war on Germany.


Armistice ends World War I.

First electric powered refrigerator (Kelvinator).


Paris Peace Conference launches Leagueof Nations.

US 18th Amendment (Prohibition) ratified by the states.


Warren G. Harding elected 29th US president.

19th Amendment gives US women the right to vote.

National Football League founded.

Babe Ruth traded by Boston Red Sox to New York Yankees, who win 5 World Series before Ruth retires.


Adolf Hitler made leader of German Nazi Party.

Margaret Gorman, 16, becomes first Miss America.


Benito Mussolini and Fascist Blackshirts take power in Italy.

British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) founded.

Chanel No. 5 perfume introduced.

Duke Ellington founds his jazz orchestra.


President Harding dies; Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes 30th US president.


First use of gas chamber in Nevada for "humane" executions.


"Monkey Trial" in Tennessee convicts biology teacher John T. Scopes for teaching evolution.


US physicist Robert Goddard launches world's first liquid-fueled rocket to height of 200 feet.

Gertrude Ederle becomes first woman to swim English Channel, sets speed record (14 hours, 39 minutes).


Chinese civil war (1927-1949) begins.

Al Jolson stars in sound movie "The Jazz Singer" to open new film era.

Charles A. Lindbergh flies solo across Atlantic - New York to Paris.


First working color TV.

Scotch tape and plastic introduced.


US stock crash on Oct. 24 precipitates Great Depression of 1930s.


Planet Pluto discovered.

World population reaches 2 billion.

"Blondie" comic strip begins.


Empire State Building completed, world's highest at 1,250 feet.

Paul Kipfer, Auguste Piccard set world height record (52,000 feet) in balloon.


Empire State Building completed, world's highest at 1,250 feet.

Paul Kipfer, Auguste Piccard set world height record (52,000 feet) in balloon.


Amelia Earhart first woman to fly Atlantic solo.


Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes 32nd US president.

Adolf Hitler takes power in Germany.

Dust bowl era begins in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, continues through 1939.

US 21st Amendment ends Prohibition.


Chinese Communists, near defeat, begin Long March to Shensi.

Joseph Stalin begins Great Purge (1934-1939), which kills millions.



Ty Cobb (lifetime batting average, .367) is first player in Baseball Hall of Fame.

Ethiopia falls to Italian forces.

Edward VIII abdicates British throne to marry American divorce Wallis Simpson.

African-American Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at Berlin Olympics.


"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" - first full-length cartoon film.


Britain, France, appease Hitler at Munich, grant Germans part of Czechoslovakia.

(Crystal Night) Kristallnacht, Nazis terrorize Jews, imprison



Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) ends. Fascist Gen. Francisco Franco victorious.

Germany invades Poland; World War II begins. Japan conquers coastal China.

Golden year for movies: "The Wizard of Oz," "Stagecoach," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "Gone With the Wind," "Ninotchka."


Nazis forces overrun Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France.

Winston Churchill becomes British prime minister.

Battle of Britain: Royal Air Force fends off German Luftwaffe, forestalls invasion.

US begins work on atomic bomb.

First Social Security checks paid.


Nazis conquer Greece, Yugoslavia, Crete, invade USSR

Boston Red Sox's Ted Williams hits .406 - an average not equaled since.

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, destroys much of US Pacific fleet.

Dacron invented.


Japan overruns Philippines, Malaya, Singapore, Indonesia, New Britain, the Solomons.

Nazis lose battle of Stalingrad.

First fully electronic computer.

Germans launch first guided rocket to height of 60 miles.

Battle of Midway - US-Japan naval showdown - won by US forces.

President Roosevelt orders internment of 110,000 Japanese-Americans.


War tide turns against Germans in Eastern Europe, Africa, Atlantic.

Allies break German war code.

Payroll deductions begin for US income tax.


D-Day - Allies launch invasion of Normandy.

First German V-1 (Vengeance) rockets hit Britain; 2,752 die in first 25 days.

US B-29 Superfortresses begin bombing of Japan.

Nazis massacre entire village of Oradour-sur-Giane, France, in revenge for capture of SS officer by French resistance. 642 men, women, and children are shot.


Roosevelt dies (April 2); Vice President Harry S. Truman becomes US president.

United Nations founded.

NBC creates first TV network linking New York, Philadelphia, Schenectady.

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini killed (April 28).

Adolf Hitler commits suicide (April 30).

Germany surrenders (May 8).

US atomic bomb destroys Hiroshima (Aug. 6); Nagasaki (Aug. 9).

Japan surrenders (Aug. 15).


Nuremberg war trials bring death sentences to Nazi leaders.

Greek civil war begins (1946-1949).

Vietnam war against French begins (1946-1954).

Baseball pitcher Bob Feller gets record 348 strikeouts.


India partitioned into India and Pakistan

Marshall Plan provides US aid to war-ravaged Europe.

Jackie Robinson becomes first African-American Major League Baseball player (Brooklyn Dodgers).

Bell X-1 jet flown by US Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager breaks sound barrier.


South Africa begins racial apartheid policies.

State of Israel established.

Soviet blockade occupied Berlin (June 1948-May 1949). Massive Allied airlift helps Berliners prevail.


Communists win China's 22-year civil war.

Soviets test their first atomic bomb.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) founded.

National Basketball Association founded.


Korean War begins (1950-1953).

Chinese forces seize Tibet.

First credit cards.

Color TV broadcasts begin.


President Truman dismisses Gen. Douglas MacArthur, US commander in Korea, for "insubordination.

US 22nd Amendment limits president to two terms.

First commercial computer.


First hydrogen bomb (US).

First British atomic bomb.


Dwight Eisenhower becomes 34th US president.

Spray can invented.

Anticommunist witch-hunt, led by Sen. Joseph McCarthy, peaks in US, then fades after death of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.


French defeat at Dien Bien Phu ends Indochina war.

Briton Roger Bannister cracks 4 minute mile.

US Supreme Court (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka) outlaws segregation.


First birth-control pill.

Disneyland opens.


Hungarian revolt against communist domination is quashed by Soviet troops, tanks.10,000 Hungarians die, 200,000 flee to West

First US military advisers arrive in Vietnam.

Rosa Parks helps ignite US civil rights movement when she refuses to take a back seat (required for blacks) on a Montgomery, Ala. bus.


First satellite, 184-pound Soviet Sputnik 1.

First Soviet ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile).


Elvis Presley inducted into US Army

First US satellite (Explorer 1).

John Lennon, George Harrison, Pete Best, Paul McCartney begin the Beatles.


Hawaii becomes 50th US state.

Fidel Castro's guerrilla army enters Havana, completes conquest of Cuba.


John F. Kennedy elected 35th US president.

New African nations: Central African Republic, Republic of Congo (French Congo), Gabon, Chad, Ivory Coast, Upper Volta, Niger, Dahomey, Madagascar, Belgian Congo (Zaire), Somalia.

American U-2 spy plane shot down over Russia.


Yuri Gagarin (USSR) first to orbit earth (April 12).

Alan Shepard (US) first American in space (May 5).

Berlin Wall goes up.

US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion fails in Cuba. 90 die.


John Glenn (US) orbits earth.

Cuban missile crisis (Oct. 22-Dec. 2): Soviets place nuclear missiles in Cuba, US blockades Cuba; war narrowly averted.


Martin Luther King Jr. makes "I Have a Dream" speech to 250,000 at Lincoln Memorial, Washington.

President Kennedy assassinated; Lyndon Johnson becomes president.


Johnson proposes "Great Society" welfare program.

US 24th Amendment outlaws poll tax.


US Voting Right Act of 1965.

Watts riots in Los Angeles. 30 die.

Vietnam War officially begins. 150,000 US troops arrive.


400,000 US troops in Vietnam.

China's Cultural Revolution (1966-1969) prompts attacks on artists, intellectuals.


Israelis seize territory during Six-Day War with Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq.

First Super Bowl (Green Bay 35, Kansas City 10).


Communist Tet offensive in Vietnam sours US public opinion on the war.

Richard Nixon elected 37th US president.

Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin (US) walk on moon.

700,000 US troops in Vietnam.



Antiwar protests grow. US speeds Vietnam troop withdrawals.

Ohio National Guard kills four antiwar protesters at Kent State


US Environmental Protection Agency founded.


Bangledesh War of Independence (from Pakistan).

First microchip (Intel).

First space station (Salyut 1, USSR).

Apollo 15 crew (US) travels 17 miles on moon in lunar rover.


Nixon-to-China trip ends cold-war standoff.

Watergate break-in at Democratic Party HQ.

DDT banned in US.


Six-month Arab oil embargo cripples world economy.

Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns (income tax evasion).

Yom Kippur War: Egypt, Syria surprise attack on Israel fails.

Roe v. Wade: US Supreme Court legalizes abortion.

Miami Dolphins attain NFL's only perfect season (17-0).

Nixon resigns; Gerald Ford becomes 38th president.


South Vietnam surrenders to communists.

Cambodian holocaust (1975-1978). 2 to 3 million die.

First personal computer (PC). First home VCR (Sony).


Earthquake in Tangshan, China, kills more than 240,000.

Smallpox eradicated worldwide.


AIDS epidemic begins.

Microsoft founded.

USA's 200th birthday (July 4).

"Star Wars" movie opens.

Jimmy Carter becomes 39th US president.


Camp David peace accords (Israel, Egypt).

Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain's (and Europe's) first woman prime minister (1979-1990).


Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini takes power in Iran. US Embassy seized with 66 American hostages.

Soviets invade Afghanistan.

Partial meltdown at Three Mile Island (Pa.) nuclear plant.


Polish freedom movement blooms under Solidarity banner and leader Lech Walesa.

Iraq-Iran war begins (1980-1988).

US boycotts Moscow (summer) Olympics after USSR invades Afghanistan.

Mount St. Helens volcano erupts in Washington State.


Ronald Reagan becomes 40th US president.

First woman US Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O'Connor.

American hostages in Iran released.

Reagan shot, seriously wounded, by John W. Hinkley.

Falklands Islands war (Britain-Argentina).


US forces seize Grenada from Cuban defenders.

Reagan proposes Strategic Defense Initiative.

New Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduces glasnost (openness) and perestroika (economic reforms).



Gorbachev and Reagan, at Geneva summit, take steps to end cold war.


Chernobyl nuclear accident (Ukraine, USSR), world's worst, sends radioactive cloud over Europe.

Statue of Liberty turns 100.

US space shuttle Challenger explodes. 7 astronauts killed.

Ultralight Voyager makes first non-stop flight around world without refueling.


Black Monday (Oct. 19) - Dow Jones industrials drop record 22.6 percent.


Afghan-Soviet war ends.

Intifada (Uprising) begins as Palestinians stone Israeli forces in occupied West Bank.


George Bush becomes 41st US president.

US forces attack Panama, seize Gen. Manuel Noriega.

Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill, worst in US, in Alaska.

Berlin Wall falls.


Iraq military seizes Kuwait.

Nelson Mandela released from prison in South Africa.

Hubble space telescope launched


US-led forces push Iraqis out of Kuwait.

Soviet Union collapses. Russia, Ukraine, Belarus unite as Commonwealth of Independent States.

Yugoslavia collapses. Ethnic fighting begins.

Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia win independence.


William Clinton elected 42nd US president.

Hurricane Andrew devastates Homestead, Fla., area.


World Trade Center damaged by terrorist bomb.

Congress ratifies North American Free Trade Agreement.

86 die in federal raid on Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Tex.


Fighting grows as Chechens seek independence from Russia.

Nelson Mandela becomes president of South Africa.

Genocide, civil war in Rwanda kill up to 1 million minority Tutsis and Hutu refugees.

Republicans gain control of Congress for first time since 1954.


O.J. Simpson murder trial finds "not guilty."

Million Man March of mostly black men in Washington.

Kobe, Japan, earthquake.

Bombing of federal building in Oklahoma City kills 169.


TWA Flight 800 goes down off Long Island, killing 230.


Diana, Princess of Wales, killed in car crash.

Hong Kong restored to Chinese rule.

First successful clone of adult mammal (sheep).


Monica Lewinsky scandal rocks White House.

India, Pakistan test nuclear weapons.

Mark McGwire hits record 70 home runs.

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