1. 1952: First hydrogen bomb testing by the United States
After the Soviet Union successfully tested their atomic bomb in 1949, President Truman ordered that a more powerful hydrogen bomb be created. It was on this date in 1952 the United States completed the first test of that thermonuclear bomb, more commonly known as the hydrogen bomb under the codename “Ivy Mike”. The test took place on the island of Elugelab in the Pacific Ocean that had become a fairly common testing ground. The power was unlike anything else ever built and there were many people opposed to the creation of the device, including J. Robert Oppenheimer, who was one of the creators of the atomic bomb. Considering that it was said to be more than 1,000 times more powerful than an atomic bomb that’s understandable. The Soviets followed suit and created their first hydrogen bomb the following year and by 1970 there were seven other nations were in possession of one.
2. 1950: Attempted assassination of President Truman
It was on this date in 1950 that President Harry S. Truman avoided an assassination attempt thanks to the incredibly poor planning of the would-be assassins. President Truman and his wife were living in the Blair House just down the street from the White House due to the renovations taking place at the famous home at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. According to reports, Truman and his wife were sitting upstairs when they heard commotion and gunshots coming from the front steps. Turns out that Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola literally just attempted to walk up to the front door and started shooting even though there were Secret Service, police, as well as other guards there to protect the President. Apparently, the two men were political activists and members of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party that was known to be full of extremists. The men weren’t even sure if Truman was going to be home considering it was 2 p.m. in the afternoon. Law enforcement was quick to handle the situation, but unfortunately Secret Service Agent Leslie Coffelt was killed by the desperate assailants.
3. 1967: Cool Hand Luke hits theaters nationwide
“What we have here is a failure to communicate” is one of the now classic lines from the cult classic prison jailbreak film Cool Hand Luke that was released in theaters nationwide on this date in 1967. Paul Newman played the character of Luke Jackson, who was the stereotypical tough guy and poker player who didn’t handle authority very well. Newman’s character was so popular that the American Film Institute declared it one of the top 50 greatest movie heroes of all time in 2003. He would continue to have an extremely successful career not only in Hollywood, but in other avenues like his Newman’s Own line of food products, as well as an extensive auto racing career which was his true passion.