20 November 1962

The Cuban Missile Crisis ends.

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President Kennedy called on Premier Khrushchev tonight to carry out his promised missile pullback “at once” so that the U.S. and Russia could move promptly “to the settlement of the Cuban crisis.”

Officials disclosed that the U.S. would insist on a time line in the UN negotiations on pullout details. Informed sources said it should be a “very, very short” period, a matter of days, because some of the missiles already are operational.

In a new letter to the Kremlin leader the President declared that he now believed he and Khrushchev had reached “firm” agreement on the terms for ending an ominous East-West clash that had carried the world to the brink of nuclear war.

In return for a speedy missile pullback in Cuba, under UN supervision, the President said the U.S. would lift the sea blockade and offer Russia assurances against a Cuban invasion.

“I hope that the necessary measures can at once be taken through the United Nations, as your message says,” Kennedy told Khrushchev, “so that the U.S. in turn will be able to remove the quarantine measures now in effect.”

In a separate gesture to smooth the path to a final settlement the President voiced “regret” that an American plane collecting fallout samples in the atmosphere had slipped into Soviet air space in far northeast Siberia. He promised that “every precaution” would be taken to prevent a recurrence.

Kennedy’s letter was made public less than eight hours after the Moscow radio broadcast a Khrushchev letter agreeing to Kennedy’s missile pullout demands. It seemed to mark the beginning of the end of the fateful cold war collision.

Around the world the news brought a sigh of relief despite Administration attempts to ward off any premature victory statements.

Even Kennedy suggested in his letter that a solution was at hand. Underlining this was the fact that Kennedy spent the first afternoon away from his desk since the crisis erupted.

5 October 1962

The first James Bond movie, Dr. No, is released.

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Dr. No is a 1962 British spy film, starring Sean Connery, with Ursula Andress and Joseph Wiseman, filmed in Jamaica and England. It is the first James Bond film. Based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, it was adapted by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, and Berkely Mather and was directed by Terence Young. The film was produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, a partnership that would continue until 1975.

In the film, James Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of a fellow British agent. The trail leads him to the underground base of Dr. No, who is plotting to disrupt an early American space launch with a radio beam weapon. Although the first of the Bond books to be made into a film, Dr. No was not the first of Fleming’s novels, Casino Royale being the debut for the character; the film makes a few references to threads from earlier books. This film also introduced the criminal organisation SPECTRE, which would also appear in six subsequent films.

Produced on a low budget, Dr. No was a financial success. While critical reaction was mixed upon release, over time the film has gained a reputation as one of the series’ best instalments. The film was the first of a successful series of 24 Bond films. Dr. No also launched a genre of “secret agent” films that flourished in the 1960s. The film also spawned a spin-off comic book and soundtrack album as part of its promotion and marketing.

21 April 1962

The Seattle World’s Fair opens.

The Century 21 Exposition – also known as the Seattle World’s Fair – was held between April 21 and October 21, 1962 drew almost 10 million visitors. A defining moment in the history of Seattle, this fair began life as the brainchild of City Councilman Al Rochester. By 1955, the councilman had generated considerable interest in his idea from decision makers at the state and city level, and in January Washington’s legislature allocated $5,000 for a small commission to study the feasibility of such a fair. Public excitement, spurred on by effective advertisement, soon gave the project further momentum; in 1957 Seattle voters passed a $7.5 million Civic Center bond for possible fairground development, an amount which was then matched by the legislature.

By April 1962, all that remained to be done was to open the doors to the public, which occurred during an extravagant opening ceremony on the 21st. Amidst 538 clanging bells, 2000 balloons, and 10 Air Force F-102 fighters swooping overhead, Exposition president Joseph Gandy officially opened Century 21 for business. For the next six months, visitors would be entertained not just by the many exhibits, but also by an array of musicians, orchestras, dance troupes, art collections, singers, comedians, and other various shows traveling through the fair during its run. Adding to the star-studded atmosphere was the presence of the ‘King of Rock and Roll,’ Elvis Presley, who arrived to shoot a film, It Happened at the World’s Fair. Indeed, a number of celebrities came to the Exposition as tourists, including Vice-President Lyndon Johnson, Walt Disney, and Prince Phillip of Great Britain. By the close of the fair on October 21, a total of 9,609,969 people officially visited, largely satisfying attendance goals.

19 March 1962

The Algerian War of Independence ends.

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Algerian War, also called Algerian War of Independence, war for Algerian independence from France. The movement for independence began during World War I and gained momentum after French promises of greater self-rule in Algeria went unfulfilled after World War II . In 1954 the National Liberation Front began a guerrilla war against France and sought diplomatic recognition at the UN to establish a sovereign Algerian state. Although Algerian fighters operated in the countryside—particularly along the country’s borders—the most serious fighting took place in and around Algiers, where FLN fighters launched a series of violent urban attacks that came to be known as the Battle of Algiers. French forces managed to regain control but only through brutal measures, and the ferocity of the fighting sapped the political will of the French to continue the conflict. In 1959 Charles de Gaulle declared that the Algerians had the right to determine their own future. Despite terrorist acts by French Algerians opposed to independence and an attempted coup in France by elements of the French army, an agreement was signed in 1962, and Algeria became independent.

Upon independence, in 1962, 900,000 European-Algerians fled to France, in fear of the FLN’s revenge, within a few months. The French government was totally unprepared for the vast number of refugees, which caused turmoil in France. The majority of Algerian Muslims who had worked for the French were disarmed and left behind as the treaty between French and Algerian authorities declared that no actions could be taken against them. However, the Harkis in particular, having served as auxiliaries with the French army, were regarded as traitors by the FLN and between 50,000 and 150,000 Harkis and family members were murdered by the FLN or by lynch-mobs, often after being abducted and tortured. About 91,000 managed to flee to France, some with help from their French officers acting against orders, and as of 2016 they and their descendants form a significant part of the Algerian-French population.

8 January 1962

A train crash in Harmelen, Netherlands killed 93 people.

The Harmelen train disaster was the worst railway accident in the history of the Netherlands on 8 January 1962. Harmelen, in the central Netherlands, is the location of a railway junction where a branch to Amsterdam leaves the Rotterdam to Utrecht line. It is common at high-speed junctions to avoid the use of diamond crossings wherever possible — instead a ladder crossing is employed where trains destined for the branch line cross over to the track normally employed for trains travelling in the opposite direction for a short distance before taking the branch line.The accident spurred the installation on Dutch railways of the system of automatic train protection known as Automatische treinbeïnvloeding (ATB) which automatically overrides the driver in such a “signal passed at danger” situation. The junction itself was later rebuilt as a flying junction.The accident happened 1.5 year after the Woerden train accident, the derailment of a British furlough train nearby.

28 October 1962

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The Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev orders the removal of the Soviet missiles from Cuba, ending the Cuban missile crisis.

As the Cuban missile crisis unfolded in October 1962, President John F Kennedy found himself wondering why Nikita Khrushchev would gamble with putting nuclear missiles into Cuba. The Soviet leader felt he had justification enough. There were American missiles in Turkey and Italy; US bases dotted the globe; and Castro was a friend and ally under threat from the US.

It was a gamble, and most observers argue that Khrushchev lost. In his memoirs, Khrushchev claims that the outcome of the missile crisis was a “triumph of Soviet foreign policy and a personal triumph”, but few, even on the Soviet side, have seen it that way. Khrushchev’s then foreign minister, the dour Andrei Gromyko, in his scanty memoir account of the Cuban events praises Kennedy. While the crisis is historically the “Cuban” crisis, Cuba was perhaps a subsidiary consideration for Khrushchev, as Castro later noted – ruefully – in conversation with Soviet emissary Anastas Mikoyan.

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14 August 1962

Gunmen hijack a mail truck in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and make off with $1.5 million.

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The Plymouth Mail robbery, or what the press called “The Great Plymouth Mail Truck Robbery” was, at that point in time, the largest cash robbery of all time. On the 14th August  1962, the two gunmen stopped a US Mail truck which was delivering $1.5 million in smaller bills from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston, Massachusetts. The hijacking occurred on Route 3 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The two robbers who were dressed as police officers and where carrying submachine guns, tied up the driver and the guard and then drove the truck themselves to some unknown destinations, where the money was dropped off in several places. The truck and its two captured occupants were then left in Randolph, Massachusetts alongside Route 128.

A federal grand jury later indicted four men and one woman for this robbery. One of those indicted just before trial and has never been found. The other defendants were acquitted at trial. The $1.5 million in cash (equivalent to almost $12 million in 2013 dollars) has never been found.

A Boston mobster, Vincent “Fat Vinnie” Teresa, who was a a lieutenant of Raymond L.S. Patriarca, made the claim in his book called, My Life in the Mafia, that it was John “Red” Kelley who actually planned the robbery. Kelly allegedly got 80 cents on the dollar when the money was finally laundered.