Friday, October 10, 2008

The Election of 1952

As the presidential election of 1952 approached, the Cold War was a grave concern for Americans. U.S. troops were engaged in a bloody conflict in Korea; Egypt's King Farouk was ousted by a military coup. King George VI had died, leaving his 25-year old daughter as Queen of England. Senator Joseph McCarthy had been conducting his infamous hearings on Communists in the United States.
Eisenhower campaign button(from the Hudson (OH) Library & Historical Society)

The incumbent president, Harry S. Truman, declined to run for another term. The Democratic party then chose Adlai Stevenson, the intellectual, moderate governor of Illinois to lead its ticket and Sen. John Sparkman of Alabama, a conservative segregationist for its Vice Presidential candidate.

World War II hero, General Dwight David Eisenhower, after being courted by both parties, agreed to run on the Republican ticket, with Richard Nixon as his running mate. Nixon was almost dropped from the ticket, amid allegations of financial misconduct. He attempted to ingratiate himself to the fledgling television audience with his "Checkers" speech and remained on the ticket. Eisenhower, shown here on October 28, 1952 in Lynbrook during a campaign sweep of Nassau County, carried 39 of the 48 states in a landslide victory.

Photo: Max Hubacher (from the H-WPL Local History Collection)

1952 Facts
  • World series: NY Yankees defeated Brooklyn Dodgers (4-3)
  • NBA Championship: Minneapolis Lakers defeated New York Knickerbockers (4-3)

  • The Today Show debuted on NBC with it's host, Dave Garroway
  • Movies: Singin' in the Rain, High Noon, The Greatest Show on Earth, Moulin Rouge, The African Queen
  • Books: Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man; Ernest Hemingway: The Old Man and the Sea; Bernard Malamud: The Natural; Flannery O'Connor: Wise Blood
  • Pulitzer prizes: Fiction: Herman Wouk: The Caine Mutiny; Music: Gail Kubik: Symphony Concertante; Drama: Joseph Kramm: The Shrike
  • Academy award, Best Picture: An American in Paris
  • Nobel Peace Prize: Albert Schweitzer
  • Economics:
1st Class stamp: $.03
Federal debt: $259.1 billion
Unemployment: 3.3%
Average annual salary: $3515
Cost of a gallon of gas: $.20
Average cost of a house: $9,050
Average cost of a car: $1,700

Further Information:

Books of interest at the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library

From our Online Databases: (requires login)
  • Mayer, George H. "Eisenhower, Dwight David." Encyclopedia Americana. 2008. Grolier Online. 11 Oct. 2008

  • "The Campaign" The New York Times, November 2, 1952, p. E1.

  • Web Sites
The People History: 1952
Fifties Web: 1952
Wikipedia article on the election of 1952

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