1945

Germany surrenders
U.S. drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; W.W. II ends
"The Lost Weekend," directed by Billy Wilder

1946

Nuremberg war trials begin
Churchill's Iron Curtain speech marks the beginning of the cold war
ENIAC, first fully electronic digital computer
"It's a Wonderful Life," directed by Frank Capra

1947

"A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams
Jackie Robinson joins the Brooklyn Dodgers
Marshall Plan
Independence of India from the British Empire

1948

Harry S. Truman elected president
Gandhi assassinated in India
"Number One" by Jackson Pollock
Transistor invented
Columbia introduces first 33 1/3-rpm 12" record
"Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano" by John Cage

1949

U.S.S.R. tests atomic bomb
Mao declares People's Republic of China
Miles Davis records "The Birth of the Cool"
NATO founded

1950

Korean War begins
Teflon introduced
U.S. population 150,697,361 (9.9% Black; Hispanic unavailable)

1951

"Crucifixion" by Salvador Dali
"I Love Lucy" premieres

1952

Dwight Eisenhower elected president
"Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison
"Woman I" by Willem de Kooning
RCA makes first three-speed record player for 78s, 45s, and 33s
First successful test of hydrogen bomb
"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" premieres

1953

Discovery of DNA structure launches genetic science
Korean War truce
Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision rules segregation in public schools unconstitutional
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed as spies for the U.S.S.R.
Senator Joseph McCarthy claims communists in State Department
"The Second Sex" by Simone de Beauvoir
"Playboy" magazine launched
"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," directed by Howard Hawks

1954

"Flag" by Jasper Johns
Church of Scientology founded by L. Ron Hubbard
First open-heart surgery
Jonas Salk develops polio vaccine
"On the Waterfront," directed by Elia Kazan
First Newport Jazz Festival

1955

Warsaw Pact
Montgomery bus boycott
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" by Tennessee Williams
NBC telecasts in "compatible color"
"The Honeymooners" premieres
"Gunsmoke" premieres
"The Blackboard Jungle," directed by Richard Brooks
"Rebel Without a Cause," directed by Nicholas Ray
"Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets

1956

Suez Crisis
Dwight Eisenhower reelected president
DNA synthesized by Arthur Kornberg
"Howl" by Allen Ginsberg
"The Little Disturbances of Man" by Grace Paley
"Heartbreak Hotel" makes Elvis Presley world-famous

1957

National Guard is called to protect desegregation in Little Rock, Arkansas, public schools
Soviets launch Sputnik; space race with U.S. begins
"American Bandstand" premieres

1958

NASA founded
Integrated circuit invented by Jack Kilby
"Two Openings in Black over Wine" by Mark Rothko
"Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov
Seagram Building by architect Philip Johnson
First stereo records issued

1959

Cuban Revolution, Batista overthrown, Castro assumes power
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by architect Frank Lloyd Wright
Soviet Premier Khrushchev visits the U.S.
Xerox introduces first commercial copier
"The Pale Pink Roast" by Grace Paley
"The Twilight Zone" premieres
"Breathless," directed by Jean-Luc Godard
"Some Like It Hot," directed by Billy Wilder
Alaska and Hawaii become 49th and 50th states

1960

Black students sit-in at F. W. Woolworth lunch counter, Greensboro, North Carolina
U-2 spy plane shot down in U.S.S.R.
Kennedy elected 35th president and youngest
U.S. Population 179,323,175 (10.5% Black; Hispanic unavailable)
18.6% of married women with children work outside the home
FDA approves first birth control pill
Laser invented
"Psycho," directed by Alfred Hitchcock
"The Twist" by Chubby Checker

1961

Berlin Wall erected
Bay of Pigs invasion
Freedom Ride campaign initiated by CORE
Soviets put first man in space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin
U.S. scientist Edward Lorenz begins work on chaos theory
"Last Exit to Brooklyn" by Hubert Selby Jr.
"Catch-22" by Joseph Heller
"The Dick Van Dyke Show" premieres
"Breakfast at Tiffany's," directed by Blake Edwards
"Dr. Strangelove," directed by Stanley Kubrick
"West Side Story," directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins
"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" by The Shirelles

1962

Cuban Missile Crisis
First telecommunications satellite, Telstar, in orbit
U.S. astronaut John Glenn orbits the Earth
"Pale Fire" by Vladimir Nabokov
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" by Edward Albee
"Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson
"Marilyn Monroe" by Andy Warhol
"Picture Emphasizing Stillness" by David Hockney
"The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan" by Bob Dylan
"The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner," directed by Tony Richardson
"To Kill a Mockingbird," directed by Robert Mulligan

1963

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leads Civil Rights march on Washington
President John F. Kennedy assassinated, Lyndon B. Johnson becomes president
Digital Equipment Corporation introduces PDP-8, first successful minicomputer
The Beatles make UK headlines, Beatlemania is born
"Whaam" by Roy Lichtenstein
"Hamburger with Pickle and Tomato Attached" by Claes Oldenburg
"V." by Thomas Pynchon
"The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan
"I, etcetera" by Susan Sontag

1964

Lyndon B. Johnson elected president
Civil Rights Act
War on Poverty declared by President Johnson as part of Great Society Programs (largest U.S. government social programs since the New Deal)
Boeing 747, first jumbo jet
"Nova Express," "Crab Nebula" by William S. Burroughs
"See the Moon?" by Donald Barthelme
Rolling Stones enter U.S. Top 40 for first time
"A Hard Day's Night," directed by Richard Lester
"I Want to Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles

1965

Malcolm X assassinated
Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Vietnam War escalates
First space walk
"In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote
"Ariel" by Sylvia Plath
"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" by James Brown
"Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones

1966

China's Cultural Revolution begins
Black Panthers founded by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton
LSD outlawed in U.S.
National Organization of Women (NOW) founded
"The Crying of Lot 49" by Thomas Pynchon
"Blow-Up," directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
"Fahrenheit 451," directed by Francois Truffaut
"The Sounds of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel

1967

Third Arab-Israeli War (Six-Day War)
First floppy disk developed by IBM
"Trout Fishing in America" by Richard Brautigan
"The Literature of Exhaustion" by John Barth
"Star Trek" premieres
"The Graduate," directed by Mike Nichols
"Bonnie and Clyde," directed by Arthur Penn
Jimi Hendrix appears on world's pop charts
"Light My Fire" by The Doors
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" by the Beatles

1968

Tet Offensive
Riots in 125 cities around the world
Richard Nixon elected president
U.S. Vietnam withdrawal begins
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy assassinated
Intel Corporation founded
"Dispatches" by Michael Herr
"The Armies of the Night" by Norman Mailer
"In the Heart of the Heart of the Country" by William Gass
"2001: A Space Odyssey," directed by Stanley Kubrick
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye

1969

U.S. lands two men on the moon
Intel 4004, first microprocessor, invented
ARPANET, forerunner of the Internet, commissioned by the Department of Defense
"them" by Joyce Carol Oates
"Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut
"The Left Hand of Darkness" by Ursula K. Le Guin
"Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down" by Ishmael Reed
"Sesame Street" premieres
"Easy Rider," directed by Dennis Hopper
"Midnight Cowboy," directed by John Schlesinger
Woodstock music festival
"Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin
"Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In" by The Fifth Dimension

1970

U.S. troops enter Cambodia
Student antiwar protesters killed by National Guard at Kent State University
First complete gene synthesized at the University of Wisconsin
American Indian Movement (AIM) founded
Voting age lowered to 18
U.S. population 203,302,031 (11.1% Black; Hispanic unavailable)
11% of U.S. children born to unwed women
30.3% of married women with children work outside the home
Compact Disc (CD) developed
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created
Phillips develops first videocassette recorder (VCR)
Tate/LaBianca murders by the Manson Family in California
"The Death of the Author" by Roland Barthes
"Sentence" by Donald Barthelme
"The Mary Tyler Moore Show" premieres
"Future Shock" by Alvin Toeffler

1971

Pentagon Papers scandal
First microchips are produced
Disneyworld opens in Orlando, Florida
"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" by Hunter S. Thompson
"The Dismemberment of Orpheus: Toward a Postmodern Literature" by Ihab Hassan
"The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" premieres
"All in the Family" premieres
"The French Connection," directed by William Friedkin
"A Clockwork Orange," directed by Stanley Kubrick

1972

Equal Rights Amendment approved by Congress
Watergate break-in
Nixon reelected president
PLO terrorists murder eleven Israeli athletes at Munich Olympics
Nixon visits China
"The Turn of the Screw" by Joyce Carol Oates
"Chimera," "Dunyazadiad" by John Barth
"Learning from Las Vegas" by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown
"M*A*S*H" premieres
"Cabaret," directed by Bob Fosse
"The Godfather," directed by Francis Ford Coppola
"American Pie" by Don McLean

1973

Real wages begin to decline
U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam completed
Skylab launched
Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision legalizes abortion
OPEC embargo
"Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut
"Gravity's Rainbow" by Thomas Pynchon
"American Graffiti," directed by George Lucas

1974

Richard Nixon resigns presidency; Gerald Ford becomes president
Electronic pocket calculator first marketed
"Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
"Schrödinger's Cat" by Ursula K. Le Guin
"Chinatown," directed by Roman Polanski
"I Shot the Sheriff" by Eric Clapton
"A Chorus Line" opens at the Public Theatre

1975

Sex Discrimination Act passed
First desktop microcomputer available
Bill Gates and Paul Allen form Microsoft
"Ragtime" by E. L. Doctorow
"The Newly Born Woman," "Sorties" by Hélène Cixous and Catherine Clément
"The Female Man" by Joanna Russ
"Happy Days" premieres
"Saturday Night Live" premieres
"Nashville," directed by Robert Altman
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," directed by Milos Forman
"The Hustle" by Van McCoy

1976

Jimmy Carter elected president
China's Chairman Mao dies
Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs form Apple Computer Company
"The Youngest Doll" by Rosario Ferré
"Woman on the Edge of Time" by Marge Piercy
"Running Fence California" by Christo
"Rocky," directed by John G. Abildsen
"All the President's Men," directed by Alan J. Pakula
"Roots" by Alex Haley

1977

U.S. admits to development of neutron bomb
Georges Pompidou Center, Paris
"Ardor/Awe/Atrocity" by Walter Abish
"Ceremony" by Leslie Marmon Silko
"Star Wars," directed by George Lucas
"Annie Hall," directed by Woody Allen
First National Women's Conference
"Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols" by the Sex Pistols

1978

First test-tube baby born in Britain
Camp David Peace Accords signed by Israel and Egypt
Jonestown Massacre in Guyana
"Dallas" premieres
"Saturday Night Fever" by the Bee Gees

1979

Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident
U.S.-Iran hostage crisis begins
Nicaraguan dictator Somoza deposed
Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain's first woman prime minister
"The Postmodern Condition" by Jean-François Lyotard
"Buried Child" by Sam Shepard
"The Ghost Writer" by Philip Roth
"The Executioner's Song" by Norman Mailer
"Being There," directed by Hal Ashby
"Apocalypse Now," directed by Francis Ford Coppola
"Skylab by Minicam" by Roger Brown

1980

Ronald Reagan elected president
U.S. population 226,542,199 (11.8% Black; 6.4% Hispanic)
18% of U.S. children born to unwed women
45.1% of married women with children work outside the home
Mt. St. Helens erupts
Former Beatle John Lennon murdered
Over 100,000 refugees in Mariel boatlift to U.S. from Cuba
"Housekeeping" by Marilynne Robinson
"Satyagraha" by Philip Glass
"Call Me" by Blondie

1981

First space-shuttle flight
President Ronald Reagan shot by John W. Hinckley Jr.
Sandra Day O’Connor become first woman Supreme Court Justice
"Simulacra and Simulation" by Jean Baudrillard
"Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" by Adrienne Rich
"The Gernsback Continuum" by William Gibson
MTV network premieres with the song "Video Killed the Radio Star"
"Tilted Arc" by Richard Serra

1982

Highest unemployment rate since 1940
AIDS officially identified in U.S.
Equal Rights Amendment fails to be ratified
IBM personal computer marketed
"Dictee" by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
"Shiloh and Other Stories" by Bobbie Ann Mason
"Zami: A New Spelling of My Name" by Audre Lorde
"Great Expectations" by Kathy Acker
"Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo" by Ntozake Shange
"Dynasty" premieres
"ET," directed by Steven Spielberg
"Blade Runner," directed by Ridley Scott

1983

NATO begins cruise-missile deployment despite protests
Truck bomb kills 239 U.S. Marines in Beirut
Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" speech
First artificially created chromosome
"Return to Neveryón" by Samuel R. Delany
"Postmodernism and Consumer Society" by Fredric Jameson
"The Color Purple" by Alice Walker
Cabbage Patch dolls

1984

Fourth Challenger flight, first-ever untethered space walk
Ronald Reagan reelected
American troops withdraw from Beirut
Supreme Court rejects School Prayer Amendment to the Constitution
Scientists discover that ozone is being lost from the Earth's atmosphere
"Bluegill" by Jayne Anne Phillips
"Ironweed" by William Kennedy
"The Leather Man" by E. L. Doctorow
"Neuromancer" by William Gibson
"Postscript to The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco
"What's Love Got to Do with It?" by Tina Turner
"The Cosby Show" debuts
Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" album tops 20,000,000 sales

1985

U.S. becomes net debtor nation for first time since early 1900s
Cocaine usage peaks in the U.S.
"Between Men" by Eve Kosofsky-Sedgwick
"City of Glass" by Paul Auster
"White Noise" by Don DeLillo
"Moths and Other Stories," "The Cariboo Café" by Helena María Viramontes
"Material Girl" by Madonna
"Blue Velvet," directed by David Lynch
"She Unnames Them" by Ursula K. Le Guin

1986

U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger explodes
Nuclear accident at Chernobyl, U.S.S.R
Iran-Contra Scandal
U.S. airstrike against Libya
First license to market living organisms produced by genetic engineering
"Maus" by Art Spiegelman

1987

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev sign first treaty to reduce nuclear arsenals
Vincent Van Gogh's "Irises" purchased for $53,900,000
Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's PTL ministry is mired in scandal
"Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book" by Maxine Hong Kingston
"A Night at the Movies or You Must Remember This," "The Phantom of the Movie Palace" by Robert Coover
U.S. stock market crashes 508 points on October 19th
"Beloved" by Toni Morrison
"Krazy Kat" by Jay Cantor
"Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza" by Gloria Anzaldúa
"Toward a Concept of Postmodernism" by Ihab Hassan

1988

George Bush elected president
"In the Realm of the Senseless" by Kathy Acker
Harvard patents genetically altered mouse
Live/animated film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," directed by Robert Zemeckis
"XY" by Susan Daitch

1989

Dissident Vaclav Havel elected president of Czechoslovakia
Drug cartels in Columbia assassinate leading presidential candidate
Berlin Wall falls
Massacre in Tiananmen Square
Federal government bails out savings-and-loan banks
"Imago" by Octavia Butler
"Lyndon" by David Foster Wallace
"The Rainbow Stories" by William T. Vollmann
"Woman, Native, Other" by Trinh T. Minh-ha
"Do the Right Thing," directed by Spike Lee
"The Simpsons" premieres

1990

Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
East and West Germany unified
Nelson Mandela freed from prison
U.S. population 248,718,291 (12.3% Black; 9% Hispanic)
28% of U.S. children born to unmarried women
Hubbel space telescope deployed
"Vineland" by Thomas Pynchon
"Mary Reilly" by Valerie Martin
"Wild at Heart" by Barry Gifford
"Come Over Come Over" by Lynda Barry
Hypertext "afternoon, a story" by Michael Joyce
"The Things They Carried," "How to Tell a True War Story" by Tim O’Brien
"Postmodern Blackness" by bell hooks
"Living with Contradictions" by Lynne Tillman
"Seinfeld" premieres

1991

Nelson Mandela elected president of South Africa
"A Cyborg Manifesto" by Donna Haraway
"Generation X" by Douglas Coupland
"Landfill Meditations: Crossblood Stories," "Feral Lasers" by Gerald Vizenor
Soviet Union dissolves
"Maus II" by Art Spiegelman
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana

1992

Rodney King incident touches off riots in Los Angeles
Ross Perot launches most successful third-party campaign for president in U.S. history
Bill Clinton elected president
United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro
Genocidal "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ratified
World Wide Web established
"Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson
"This Far" by Randall Kenan
"Megalopolis" by Celeste Olalquiaga
"Angels in America" by Tony Kushner
"Cop Killer" by Ice-T

1993

Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) sign accords
Fifty-one-day standoff with David Koresh and his followers ends tragically in Waco, Texas
Dark matter discovered in massive compact halo objects, or MACHOS
The White House goes online
"First Indian on the Moon" and "Captivity" by Sherman Alexie
Hypertext "I Have Said Nothing" by J. Yellowlees Douglas
"Schindler's List," directed by Steven Spielberg

1994

Netscape developed from the University of Illinois's Mosaic
Baseball strike results in cancellation of World Series
61.7% of married women with children work outside the home
Rock star Kurt Cobain commits suicide
"Stories from the Nerve Bible" by Laurie Anderson
"Hyper/Text/Theory" by George Landow
"Conclusions" by Terry Harpold
"Just the Fax, Ma’am: or, Postmodernism’s Journey to Decenter" by Michael Bérubé
"Paul Auster's CITY OF GLASS" by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli
"The American Woman in the Chinese Hat" by Carole Maso
"Pulp Fiction," directed by Quentin Tarantino
Wired magazine debuts

1995

Oklahoma City bombing kills 168; largest act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history
Terrorist nerve-gas attack in Tokyo subways
O.J. Simpson trial
Million Man March
"All Souls Rising" by Madison Smartt Bell
"The Making of ‘Tooth Imprints on a Corn Dog’" by Mark Leyner

1996

Bill Clinton reelected president
Dayton Peace Accords for Bosnia
Civil war in Chechnya
Rapper Tupak Shakur murdered
"Evita," directed by Alan Parker
"The People vs Larry Flint," directed by Milos Forman
Telecommunications Act
Oprah Winfrey's on-air book club significantly affects the tastes of American readers

1997

Sheep successfully cloned
Madeline Albright becomes first female Secretary of State
Chairman Deng dies in China
Allen Ginsberg dies
Heaven's Gate cult mass suicide
Supreme Court rules president can be sued while in office in case of Paula Jones v. William J. Clinton
Cambodian dictator Pol Pot surrenders
"Premature Autopsies," "Welcome to the Ghetto" by Ricardo Cortez Cruz
Tiger Woods wins the Master's golf tournament
"Mason & Dixon" by Thomas Pynchon

1998

"Memories of My Father Watching T.V.," "Combat" by Curtis White