1956 Events & Facts

What Happened in 1956?


  • Dwight Eisenhower re-elected President, defeating Adlai Stevenson handily for a second time
  • Soviet leader Khrushchev publicly denounces Stalin, begins official policy of "de-Stalinization" in the USSR
  • Egypt seizes Suez Canal; Britain and France respond with force; U.S. and Soviet Union help negotiate a cease-fire
  • Israel invades Sinai Peninsula
  • Soviet troops suppress a popular uprising against the communist regime in Hungary
  • Congress approves Highway Act, which allows for construction of the U.S. interstate highway system
  • Fidel Castro begins revolution in Cuba
  • Italian ocean liner Andrea Doria sinks after colliding with another vessel


  • Atomic Energy Commission approves development of commercial nuclear power plants
  • IBM founder Thomas J. Watson dies


  • First transatlantic telephone cable goes into operation
  • Dr. Albert Sabin develops oral polio vaccine
  • The first hard disk is invented by IBM
  • Tefal produces first non stick frying pans


  • World Series: New York Yankees over Brooklyn, 4-3
  • Olympic Games held in Melbourne, Australia
  • Heavyweight boxer Rocky Marciano retires with a perfect record


  • Movies: The Ten Commandments, Lust for Life, Around the World in 80 Days, The Man with the Golden Arm, The Seventh Seal
  • Songs: Don’t Be Cruel, Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, I Could Have Danced All Night, On the Street Where You Live
  • TV Shows: Danny Thomas Show, Perry Como Show, Ed Sullivan Show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, December Bride, This is Your Life
  • Books: Peyton Place, Grace Metalious; Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy; The Last Hurrah, Edwin O’Connor; The Organization Man, W.H. Whyte
  • Rock and roll becomes a national phenomenon, fueled by the popularity of Elvis Presley
  • My Fair Lady opens in New York
  • Grace Kelly marries Monaco’s Prince Rainier III
  • Artist Jackson Pollock dies


  • Interstate highway system authorized, helping to fuel a long-term trend toward the populating of suburban communities, often at the expense of established urban neighborhoods
  • 1 in 3 high school graduates now going to college


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