11 April 1951

The Stone of Scone, the stone upon which Scottish monarchs were traditionally crowned, is found on the site of the altar of Arbroath Abbey.

The Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny or the Coronation Stone, holds a significant place in the history and tradition of the British Isles, particularly Scotland.

It is a large block of sandstone, roughly 26 inches long, 16 inches wide, and 10.5 inches tall, weighing around 336 pounds (152 kg). Its origin is shrouded in myth and legend, with some accounts suggesting it was brought to Scotland from Ireland, while others claim it was used by the ancient Scottish kings for coronations.

The stone became closely associated with the monarchy of Scotland and later with that of England and the United Kingdom. For centuries, it was used in the coronation ceremonies of Scottish monarchs, traditionally placed under the coronation chair.

In 1296, the Stone of Scone was seized by King Edward I of England during his invasion of Scotland and was subsequently installed in Westminster Abbey in London. From then on, it was used in the coronation ceremonies of English and later British monarchs.

The stone remained in Westminster Abbey for several centuries, serving as a symbol of English dominance over Scotland. However, in 1950, a group of Scottish nationalists managed to steal the stone from the abbey, but it was soon recovered and returned to London.

In 1996, amidst growing calls for its return to Scotland, the British government decided to return the Stone of Scone to Scotland on the condition that it would be used for future coronations of British monarchs. It was finally returned to Scotland and is now kept in Edinburgh Castle when not in use.

The Stone of Scone continues to symbolize the historic ties between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, as well as the struggle for Scottish independence and identity.

24 December 1951

Libya becomes independent. Idris I is proclaimed King of Libya

Idris I, born in 1889, led the Senussi Order, a Sufi Islamic movement, and played a crucial role in resisting Italian colonization in the early 20th century. After World War II, as Libya gained independence, Idris I became the king in 1951. His reign lasted until 1969 when he was overthrown by a military coup led by Muammar Gaddafi. Following the coup, Libya became a socialist republic, and Idris I lived in exile until his death in 1983.

26 July 1951

Walt Disney’s 13th animated film, Alice in Wonderland, premieres in London, England, United Kingdom.

“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (commonly known as “Alice in Wonderland”) is a classic children’s novel written by Lewis Carroll, the pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. The book was first published in 1865 and has since become one of the most beloved and enduring works of literature in the English language.

The story follows a young girl named Alice, who finds herself in a whimsical and surreal world after following a White Rabbit down a rabbit hole. This world is filled with peculiar and nonsensical characters, strange creatures, and bizarre situations, defying the laws of logic and reason.

As Alice ventures through Wonderland, she encounters a series of eccentric characters, including:

The Cheshire Cat – A grinning cat with the ability to appear and disappear at will, offering puzzling and sometimes helpful advice to Alice.

The Mad Hatter and the March Hare – Two characters engaged in an eternal tea party, where time is stuck at six o’clock, and their behavior is rather nonsensical.

The Queen of Hearts – A tyrannical and short-tempered ruler with a penchant for ordering beheadings at the slightest offense.

The Caterpillar – A hookah-smoking insect who perplexes Alice with his cryptic questions.

The Mock Turtle and the Gryphon – A mock turtle with a sad story to tell and a gryphon with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion.

Throughout her adventures, Alice experiences changes in her size, sometimes growing very tall and other times becoming small enough to fit inside teapots. She navigates through a series of bizarre scenarios and often finds herself struggling to understand the peculiar rules and logic of this curious land.

The book is celebrated for its imaginative and nonsensical nature, as well as its exploration of themes such as identity, growing up, and the nature of reality. Carroll’s clever use of wordplay, puns, and linguistic tricks adds to the whimsy and charm of the story.

The success of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” led to the publication of a sequel, “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There” in 1871. Both books remain popular worldwide, inspiring numerous adaptations, films, plays, and other media interpretations over the years. Alice’s journey has become an enduring symbol of curiosity and wonder, capturing the imaginations of readers of all ages.

25 February 1951

The first Pan American Games are officially opened in Buenos Aires by Argentine President Juan Perón.

The Pan American Games were a multi-sport event that was held every four years, featuring athletes from countries in North, South, and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. The games were first held in 1951 and continued until 2019.

The Pan American Games were created to promote friendly competition and cultural exchange among the countries of the Americas. The games included a variety of sports, including athletics, swimming, basketball, boxing, cycling, and many others. The number of sports and events included in the games varied over the years.

The Pan American Games were organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), which was founded in 1940. The games were modeled after the Olympic Games and were held in the year prior to the Summer Olympics, making them an important competition for athletes seeking to qualify for the Olympics.

The most recent Pan American Games were held in Lima, Peru in 2019, and featured over 6,500 athletes from 41 countries competing in 39 sports. The next edition of the games is scheduled to be held in Santiago, Chile in 2023. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the dates for the games have been postponed from the original scheduled dates.

27 January 1951

Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site starts.

‘Able’ was the first air-dropped nuclear device to be exploded on American soil. The test took place on 27 January 1951 at Frenchman Flat, a dry lakebed in the Nevada Test Site. The 1-kiloton explosion launched the fourth U.S. nuclear test series code-named ‘Ranger’, which consisted of five air-dropped nuclear tests in early 1951.

The initial post-war U.S. nuclear tests – including the similarly named Able test on 1 July 1946 at the Bikini atoll – had been conducted at remote atolls in the Pacific Ocean, far from U.S. mainland. With the first Soviet nuclear test in 1949, the United States had lost its monopoly on nuclear weapons. The United States decided to significantly expand nuclear testing programme and chose the Nevada Test Site as the main location for subsequent tests.

Troops participated in nuclear testing with little or no protective clothing.
The Able test was followed by about 100 more atmospheric nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site. By the end of the 1950s, the grave effects of radioactivity on personnel involved in the testing and the surrounding population became evident. Public outrage helped to conclude the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, which banned all nuclear tests above ground, in the atmosphere, underwater and in outer space. Nuclear weapon testing underground, though, not only continued but increased in numbers. A total of 928 nuclear tests were conducted at the Nevada Test Site, more than anywhere else.

6 February 1951

The Canadian Army enters combat in the Korean War.

Lieutenant General Charles Foulkes, then Chief of the General Staff was in favour of Canada providing an infantry brigade for the 1st Commonwealth Division. Since Foulkes favoured keeping the Canadian Army’s Mobile Striking Force intact for the defence of North America, he recommended recruiting a separate Special Force for the Korean War.

Recruits for the Special Force were enlisted for a period of eighteen months with recruits coming from both the Active Force, World War II veterans and adventure seeking young men. The normal recruitment standards were lowered since “the army would not wish to retain the ‘soldier of fortune’ type of personnel on a long term basis'”. Units of the Special Force would be second battalions of the existing three Permanent Force regiments.

On 15 August 1950, the 2nd Battalion was created within Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry as a component of the Canadian Army Special Force in response to the North Korean invasion of South Korea. The new battalion trained in Calgary and at CFB Wainwright, before boarding the USS Private Joe P. Martinez on 25 November 1950, to Pusan in South Korea. The battalion landed in Korea in December and trained in the mountains for eight weeks before finally taking part in the war on 6 February, becoming a component of the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade of the IX Corps in the 8th US Army. The 2nd Battalion of the PPCLI was the first Canadian infantry unit to take part in the Korean War.

Special Force Second Battalions of the Royal Canadian Regiment and Royal 22nd Regiment were formed and sent to Korea in 1951.

By spring 1951, 8500 Canadians troops were supporting the United Nations, alongside 12,500 British, 5000 Filipino troops and 5000 Turkish troops.

Two Canadian officers Lt. Green and Captain Claxton Ray in Korea

Area of operations.
From the summer of 1951 to the end of the war, most of the Canadian involvement centered on a small area north of Seoul “between the 38th parallel on the south and the town of Chorwon on the north, and from the Sami-Chon River east to Chail-li”.

The Canadian war front was about 30 miles across and was a section of the United Nations front occupied by British Commonwealth forces. Most of the Canadians’ combat missions took place on the 30 mile zone. The Canadians’ two main adversaries during the war were the North Korean army and the Chinese in the Battle of Kapyong. Canada’s military objective was to give military support towards the resolution of the war on the central front, which was central Korea.

4 January 1951

Chinese and North Korean forces capture Seoul during the Korean War.

The Korean War was a war between North Korea and South Korea. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following a series of clashes along the border. The United Nations, with the United States as the principal force, came to the aid of South Korea. China came to the aid of North Korea, and the Soviet Union also gave some assistance to the North.

With Lieutenant-General Matthew Ridgway assuming the command of the U.S. Eighth Army on 26 December, the PVA and the KPA launched their Third Phase Offensive on New Year’s Eve of 1950. Utilizing night attacks in which UN Command fighting positions were encircled and then assaulted by numerically superior troops who had the element of surprise, the attacks were accompanied by loud trumpets and gongs, which fulfilled the double purpose of facilitating tactical communication and mentally disorienting the enemy. UN forces initially had no familiarity with this tactic, and as a result some soldiers panicked, abandoning their weapons and retreating to the south. The Chinese New Year’s Offensive overwhelmed UN forces, allowing the PVA and KPA to conquer Seoul for the second time on 4 January 1951.

B-26 Invaders bomb logistics depots in Wonsan, North Korea, 1951
These setbacks prompted General MacArthur to consider using nuclear weapons against the Chinese or North Korean interiors, with the intention that radioactive fallout zones would interrupt the Chinese supply chains. However, upon the arrival of the charismatic General Ridgway, the esprit de corps of the bloodied Eighth Army immediately began to revive.

UN forces retreated to Suwon in the west, Wonju in the center, and the territory north of Samcheok in the east, where the battlefront stabilized and held. The PVA had outrun its logistics capability and thus were unable to press on beyond Seoul as food, ammunition, and matériel were carried nightly, on foot and bicycle, from the border at the Yalu River to the three battle lines. In late January, upon finding that the PVA had abandoned their battle lines, General Ridgway ordered a reconnaissance-in-force, which became Operation Roundup. A full-scale X Corps advance proceeded, which fully exploited the UN Command’s air superiority, concluding with the UN reaching the Han River and recapturing Wonju.

Following the failure of ceasefire negotiations in January, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 498 on 1 February, condemning PRC as an aggressor, and called upon its forces to withdraw from Korea.

In early February, the South Korean 11th Division ran the operation to destroy the guerrillas and their sympathizer citizens in Southern Korea. During the operation, the division and police conducted the Geochang massacre and Sancheong-Hamyang massacre. In mid-February, the PVA counterattacked with the Fourth Phase Offensive and achieved initial victory at Hoengseong. But the offensive was soon blunted by the IX Corps positions at Chipyong-ni in the center. The U.S. 2nd Infantry “Warrior” Division’s 23rd Regimental Combat Team and the French Battalion fought a short but desperate battle that broke the attack’s momentum. The battle is sometimes known as the “Gettysburg of the Korean War”. 5,600 South Korean, U.S., and French troops were surrounded on all sides by 25,000 Chinese. United Nations forces had previously retreated in the face of large Communist forces instead of getting cut off, but this time they stood and fought, and won.