1948 1949 1950 – 1951 – 1952 1953 1954
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1920s 1930s 1940s – 1950s – 1960s 1970s 1980s
| Centuries: |
19th century – 20th century – 21st century
Lists of leaders:
1951 was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar.
Table of contents
- January 9 – United Nations headquarters officially opens (New York City).
- January 15 – Ilse Koch, The "Witch of Buchenwald," wife of the commandant of the Buchenwald concentration camp, is sentenced to life imprisonment in a court in West Germany.
- January 17 – Korean War: Chinese and North Korean forces capture Seoul.
- January 20 – Avalanches in the Alps – 240 die and 45.000 are buried for a time in Switzerland, Austria and Italy
- January 27 – Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site begins with a one-kiloton bomb dropped on Frenchman Flats, northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada.
- February 1 – United Nations General Assembly declares that China is the aggressor in the Korean War
- February 6 – A Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train derails near Woodbridge, New Jersey. The accident kills 85 people and injures over 500 more; one of the worst rail disasters in American history.
- February 12 – Marriage of Muhammad Reza Shah to Soraya Esfandiary Bakhtiari
- February 19- Jean Lee becomes the last woman hanged in Australia. When,Lee and her two pimps are hanged for the murder and tourture of a 73 year old bookmaker.
- February 24 – Nestor is born at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
- February 27 – The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, is ratified.
- March 6 – The trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg begins.
- March 7 – Korean War: Operation Ripper – In Korea, United Nations troops led by General Matthew Ridgeway begin an assault against the Chinese "volunteers".
- March 12 – The Dennis the Menace comic strip appears in newspapers across the U.S. for the first time.
- March 14 – Korean War: For the second time, United Nations troops recapture Seoul.
- March 14 – West Germany joins UNESCO
- March 29 – Red Scare: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. On April 5 they are sentenced to receive the death penalty.
- March 30 – Remington Rand delivers the first UNIVAC I computer to the United States Census Bureau.
- April 1 – Australia, New Zealand, United States security treaty signed in San Francisco.
- April 1 – Female suffrage in Greece
- April 11 – Stone of Scone found in Scottish church
- April 18 – Treaty of Paris (1951) adopted, establishing European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC); see EU.
- April 21 – The National Olympic Committee of the USSR is formed
- April 28 – Menzies Govt Re-elected for 2nd term
- May 1 – Opera house of Geneva almost destroyed in a fire
- May 3 – London's Royal Festival Hall opens.
- May 3 – The United States Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees begin their closed door hearings into the dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur by U.S. President Harry S. Truman.
- May 14 – First volunteer-run passenger trains on Talyllyn Railway, Wales.
- May 15 – Military coup in Bolivia
- June 14 – UNIVAC I is dedicated by U.S. Census Bureau.
- June 15 – July 1- In New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, thousands of acres (several km²) of forests were destroyed in fires.
- July 5 – William Shockley invents the junction transistor.
- July 10 – Korean War: At Kaesong, armistice negotiations begin.
- July 14 – In Joplin, Missouri, George Washington Carver National Monument becomes the first United States National Monument in honor of an African American.
- July 16 – King Leopold III of Belgium signs the act of abdication in favour of his son Baudouin.
- July 17 – Baudouin takes the oath as king of Belgium, after his father abdicated the day before.
- July 20 – King Abdullah I of Jordan is assassinated while attending Friday prayers in Jerusalem.
- September 1 – The United States, Australia and New Zealand all sign a mutual defense pact, called the ANZUS Treaty (for "Australia, New Zealand, United States").
- September 8 – Treaty of San Francisco: In San Francisco, California, 48 nations sign Sign a peace treaty with Japan in formal recognition of the end of the Pacific War.
- September 10 – The United Kingdom begins an economic boycott of Iran.
- September 20 – NATO accepts Greece and Turkey as members
- September 26-28 – Blue sun seen over Europe; effect is due to ash coming from the Canadian forest fires four months previously
- October 7 – Malayan Emergency – communist insurgents kill British commander Sir Henry Gurney
- October 16 – Assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, president of Pakistan
- October 21 – Storm in southern Italy – over 100 dead
- October 26 – Winston Churchill re-elected British Prime Minister; his foreign minister is Anthony Eden
- October 27 – Farouk of Egypt declares himself also as a king of Sudan – no support
- November 1 – First military exercises for nuclear war, with infantry troops included, in the Nevada desert
- November 11 – Juan Peron re-elected president of Argentina
- November 20 – Po river floods in northern Italy
- November 10 – Direct-dial coast-to-coast telephone service begins in the United States.
- November 24 – The Broadway play Gigi opens starring little known actress Audrey Hepburn playing the lead character.
- December 6 – State of emergency in Egypt due to increasing riots
- December 13 – Water tank collapses in Tucamcari, New Mexico – 4 dead, 200 buildings destroyed
- December 16 – Salar Jung Museum is opened to the public by the Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru.
- December 24 – Libya becomes independent from Italy
- A fourth, and final, forest fire starts in the Tillamook Burn; but unlike earlier fires this one only burns 32,700 acres (132 km²), and within area already affected by the earlier fires.
- IBM United Kingdom formed
Year in topic
- 1951 in film
- 1951 in literature
- 1951 in music
- 1951 in rail transport
- 1951 in sports
- 1951 in television
- January 3 – Dragnet airs on television for the first time (NBC).
- May 28 – The U. S. Supreme Court upholds the FCC's approval of the CBS color television system
- June 25 ? CBS presents its first commercial color telecast with Arthur Godfrey, Ed Sullivan, and Faye Emerson.
- June – RCA demonstrates its new electronic color system.
- August 11 – The first baseball games televised in color, a double-header between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Braves
- September 4 – The first coast-to-coast TV broadcast in the United States, featuring President Truman.
- September 22 – The first live sporting event seen coast-to-coast in the United States, a college football game between Duke and the University of Pittsburgh, is televised on NBC.
- October 3 – The first live coast-to-coast network telecast of a World Series game in the United States
- October 15 – I Love Lucy debuts on CBS.
- December 24 – The first televised opera written for television, Amahl and the Night Visitor, airs on NBC.
- Ernie Kovacs' Time for Ernie and Ernie in Kovacsland television shows premiere. Kovacs pushes the limits of television technology with his use of camera tricks and special effects.
- January 6 – Kim Wilson, blues singer and harmonica player
- January 12 – Kirstie Alley, actress
- January 12 – Rush Limbaugh, radio personality
- January 30 – Phil Collins, musician
- February 6 – Princess Daphné of Belgium
- February 14 – Kevin Keegan, footballer and football manager
- February 15 – Melissa Manchester, singer
- February 15 – Jane Seymour, actress
- February 19 – Tahir-ul-Qadri, Islamic scholar and leader
- February 20 – Gordon Brown, British politician
- February 25 – Don Quarrie, Jamaican sprinter
- March 4 – Kenny Dalglish footballer and football manager
- March 4 – Chris Rea, British singer and musician
- March 8 – Karen Kain, Canadian ballerina
- March 17 – Kurt Russell, actor
- March 24 – Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer
- April 6 – Bert Blyleven, baseball pitcher
- April 7 – Janis Ian, singer and songwriter
- April 10 – Steven Seagal, actor
- April 11 – Doris McGowen Beck Angleton, Houston, Texas socialite (d. 1997)
- April 13 – Peabo Bryson, pop singer
- April 13 – Peter Davison, actor and the fifth Doctor Who
- April 13 – Max Weinberg, drummer
- April 29 – Dale Earnhardt, stock car racer (NASCAR) (d. 2001)
- May 10 – Michael Tarn, actor
- May 15 – Jonathan Richman, musician
- May 19 – Joey Ramone (Jeffrey Hyman), American musician, vocalist with The Ramones (d. April 15, 2001)
- May 23 – Anatoly Karpov, chess world champion
- May 26 – Sally Ride, astronaut
- May 30 – Stephen Tobolowsky, actor
- June 2 – Larry Robinson, Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman
- June 14 – Paul Boateng, British politician, first black Cabinet minister
- June 17 – Mary McAleese, eighth President of Ireland
- June 20 – Tress MacNeille, voice actress
- July 3 – Richard Hadlee, New Zealand cricketer
- July 5 – Rich "Goose" Gossage, baseball pitcher
- July 8 – Anjelica Huston, actress
- July 10 – Cheryl Wheeler, singer/songwriter
- June 28 – Lloyd Maines, country music musician and record producer
- July 24 – Chris Smith, British politician, first "out" gay MP
- August 3 – Marcel Dionne, Hockey Hall of Famer
- August 6 – Daryl Somers, Australian television personality
- August 20 – Greg Bear, science fiction author
- August 23 – Akhmad Kadyrov, President of Chechnya
- August 23 – Queen Noor of Jordan
- August 24 – Orson Scott Card, science fiction author
- September 7 – Julie Kavner, voice actress
- September 12 – Joe Pantoliano, actor
- September 22 – David Coverdale, singer
- September 25 – Mark Hamill, actor
- September 29 – Andrés Caicedo, Colombian writer (d. 1977)
- September 29 – Maureen Caird, Australian hurdler
- October 3 – Dave Winfield, Baseball Hall of Famer
- October 3 – Keb Mo', blues musician
- October 6 – Manfred Winkelhock, auto racing driver
- October 7 – John Mellencamp, musician/songwriter
- October 10 – Ratu Epeli Ganilau, Fijian soldier and statesman
- October 11 – Jean-Jacques Goldman, French pop singer, songwriter
- October 26 – Bootsy Collins, funk musician, singer, songwriter
- October 30 – Harry Hamlin, actor
- November 11 – Marc Summers, television host
- November 15 – Alamgir Hashmi, poet, scholar, professor
- November 19 – Lord Falconer, British lawyer and politician
- November 24 – Chet Edwards, American politician
- November 26 – Ilona Staller, aka Cicciolina, pornographic film actress, politician
- November 30 – Christian Bernard, F.R.C., Rosicrucian, Imperator of AMORC
- December 17 – Ken Hitchcock, NHL coach
- December 30 – Meredith Viera, television host
- January 7 – René Guénon, French-Egyptian author (b. 1886)
- January 10 – Sinclair Lewis, writer
- January 29 – Frank Tarrant, Australian cricketer (b. 1880).
- February 9 – Eddy Duchin, musician
- February 13 – Lloyd C. Douglas, author
- February 18 – Lyman Gilmore, American aviation pioneer
- February 19 – André Gide, French writer (b. 1869)
- February 21 – Choudhary Rahmat Ali, founding father of Pakistan (b. 1895)
- March 6 – Ivor Novello, actor, musician, composer
- March 10 – Shidehara Kijuro, Japanese prime minister
- March 21 – Willem Mengelberg, Dutch conductor (b. 1871)
- March 25 – Eddie Collins, Baseball Hall of Famer (b. 1887)
- March 25 – Oscar Micheaux, American filmmaker
- April 4 – Al Christie, early Hollywood director/producer
- April 6 – Robert Broom, paleontologist
- April 22 – Horace Donisthorpe, myrmecologist
- April 23 – Charles G. Dawes, former U.S. vice-president
- May 7 – Warner Baxter, actor
- May 30 – Hermann Broch, Austrian author
- June 4 – Serge Koussevitzky, Russian conductor (b. 1874)
- June 13 – Ben Chifley, Australian Prime Minister
- June 21 – Charles Dillon Perrine, astronomer (b. 1867)
- July 9 – Harry Heilmann, Baseball Hall of Famer (b. 1894)
- July 13 – Arnold Schoenberg, Austrian composer
- July 20 – King Abdullah, King of Jordan
- July 23 – Robert J. Flaherty, filmmaker
- July 29 – Hozumi Shigeto, Japanese author
- August 14 – William Randolph Hearst, American newspaper publisher
- August 15 – Artur Schnabel, Polish pianist (b. 1882)
- August 21 – Constant Lambert, composer
- October 16 – Liaquat Ali Khan, first Prime Minister of Pakistan
- November 5 – Reggie Walker, South African athlete
- November 9 – Sigmund Romberg, composer
- November 13 – Nikolai Medtner, Russian pianist/composer