1962 Events & Facts


  • Soviet missile bases detected in Cuba; President Kennedy demands their removal. The confrontation is the closest the U.S. and U.S.S.R. ever come to war. Crisis is resolved when Soviets agree to remove Cuban missiles in exchange for removal of U.S. missiles in Turkey.
  • Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann executed in Israel
  • U.S. establishes semi-permanent military presence in Vietnam
  • Pope John XXIII convenes the Second Vatican Council, which will modernize many practices of the Catholic Church when it concludes three years later


  • Industrial robots introduced to perform repetitive manufacturing tasks


  • Lt. Col. John H. Glenn, Jr. becomes first American to achieve earth orbit; his Mercury 6 mission is followed by two other Mercury flights
  • Ranger IV first U.S. space probe to reach the moon, where it crash lands by design
  • Telstar becomes the first communications satellite intended for regular service; relays television signals between North America and Europe
  • Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring, bringing attention to a number of environmental crises for the first time
  • Morning sickness drug thalidomide found to be causing birth defects
  • Niels Bohr dies


  • World Series: New York Yankees over San Francisco, 4-3


  • Songs: Blowin’ in the Wind, Go Away Little Girl, Days of Wine and Roses, The Loco-Motion, Sherry, Monster Mash, Big Girls Don’t Cry
  • TV Shows: I’ve Got a Secret, Beverly Hillbillies, Route 66, The Flinstones, Price is Right, Ben Casey
  • Books: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Edward Albee; Letting Go, Philip Roth; Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck; One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Alexander Solzhenitsyn; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey; The Thin Red Line, James Jones; Happiness is a Warm Puppy, Charles Schultz
  • Marilyn Monroe dies, apparently from an overdose of sleeping pills


  • Phil Knight develops the first Nike running shoe

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