21 April 1962

The Seattle World’s Fair (Century 21 Exposition) opens. It is the first World’s Fair in the United States since World War II.

The Seattle World’s Fair, also known as the Century 21 Exposition, was held in Seattle, Washington, from April 21 to October 21, 1962. The fair was a pivotal event for the city and the nation, showcasing a futuristic vision of the world that emphasized science, technology, and space exploration—themes that captured the imagination of the American public during the Space Age.

Space Age Theme: The fair’s theme was centered around the concept of a futuristic world in the 21st century, which was heavily influenced by the ongoing Space Race. It featured exhibits that predicted technological innovations and gave visitors a glimpse into what the future could hold.

Iconic Structures: The fair left behind several significant landmarks. The most notable is the Space Needle, which became an iconic symbol of Seattle. Another significant structure is the Monorail, which connected the fairgrounds to downtown Seattle and still operates today.

Cultural Impact: The fair had a substantial cultural impact, attracting nearly 10 million visitors. It featured science exhibits, art displays, and performances, and contributed significantly to the cultural and economic revitalization of Seattle. It helped to establish Seattle’s reputation as a major cultural and technological hub.

U.S. Science Pavilion: This was one of the fair’s main attractions, later becoming the Pacific Science Center. It showcased American advancements in science and technology, emphasizing the importance of scientific education.

Global Participation: The exposition featured pavilions from several countries, enhancing its international stature and promoting cultural exchange.

5 October 1962

The first of the James Bond film series, based on the novels by Ian Fleming, Dr. No, is released in Britain

“Dr. No” was the first film in the James Bond franchise, released in 1962. It is based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. The film was directed by Terence Young and produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. “Dr. No” is known for introducing the iconic British secret service agent James Bond, played by Sean Connery.

The story follows James Bond, also known by his code number 007, who is sent on a mission to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a fellow British agent in Jamaica. Bond’s mission leads him to the enigmatic Dr. Julius No, a reclusive scientist with nefarious intentions.

Dr. No, portrayed by Joseph Wiseman, is a criminal mastermind with a bionic hand and a secret base on the fictional island of Crab Key. He plans to disrupt American rocket launches by interfering with their guidance systems, potentially triggering a global catastrophe. Bond must thwart Dr. No’s plans and rescue the missing agent, all while navigating a web of intrigue, danger, and seduction.

Key Characters:

James Bond (Sean Connery): The suave and resourceful British secret agent known for his charm, wit, and combat skills. Sean Connery’s portrayal of Bond in “Dr. No” established the character’s enduring popularity.

Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress): A stunning and independent woman Bond encounters on Crab Key while investigating Dr. No’s operations. She is known for her iconic entrance, emerging from the ocean in a white bikini.

M (Bernard Lee) and Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell): Bond’s superior, M, and his flirtatious secretary, Miss Moneypenny, who provide him with his assignments and support.

Quarrel (John Kitzmiller): A local Jamaican ally who helps Bond in his mission.

“Dr. No” set the stage for the long-running James Bond film series, which has become one of the most successful and enduring franchises in cinema history. The film’s formula of espionage, action, gadgets, and charismatic characters became a template for subsequent Bond films. Sean Connery’s portrayal of Bond in “Dr. No” contributed significantly to the character’s iconic status.

5 August 1962

Nelson Mandela is jailed. He would not be released until 1990.

Nelson Mandela was jailed primarily for his involvement in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. Apartheid was a system of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the South African government from 1948 to the early 1990s, which institutionalized racial inequalities and denied basic human rights to the non-white population, particularly Black South Africans.

Mandela, a prominent leader of the African National Congress (ANC), was arrested and imprisoned for his role in advocating for the rights of Black South Africans and opposing apartheid policies. He was involved in various activities aimed at challenging the racial injustices of the system, including acts of civil disobedience, protests, and even acts of sabotage.

In 1962, Mandela was arrested and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 for his involvement in planning acts of sabotage against government installations. He spent a total of 27 years in prison, most of it on Robben Island, before he was released in 1990. His imprisonment transformed him into a global symbol of resistance against apartheid, and his release marked a significant turning point in the struggle against racial segregation in South Africa.

Mandela’s long incarceration did not deter his commitment to peaceful negotiation and reconciliation. Following his release, he played a pivotal role in negotiating an end to apartheid and the establishment of a multiracial democratic government in South Africa. In 1994, Nelson Mandela became the country’s first Black president in its first fully representative democratic elections, and he continued to work towards national unity, social justice, and human rights until his retirement from politics in 1999.

17 July 1962

Nuclear weapons testing: The “Small Boy” test shot Little Feller I becomes the last atmospheric test detonation at the Nevada National Security Site.

Operation Dominic was a series of 31 nuclear tests conducted in 1962, during the height of the Cold War, to demonstrate the capabilities of the United States’ nuclear arsenal. The purpose of these tests was to gather data on nuclear weapons performance and explore various weapon designs.

The “Small Boy” test shot, specifically named Little Feller I, was notable because it involved the testing of a lightweight, deliverable nuclear warhead intended for use with artillery systems. The goal was to evaluate the feasibility of employing nuclear weapons in a battlefield or tactical scenario.

The Little Feller I test involved the detonation of a low-yield nuclear device with an estimated yield of around 0.022 kilotons (22 tons of TNT equivalent). The yield was relatively small compared to other nuclear tests, and this was intentional to create a low-yield, tactical weapon that could be used in combat situations with reduced collateral damage.

During the test, a 155mm M-28 nuclear artillery shell was fired from a howitzer cannon to demonstrate the use of nuclear weapons in a field artillery context. The shell successfully detonated at the designated target area, demonstrating the ability to employ small nuclear warheads with conventional artillery systems.

The Little Feller I test was part of the U.S. government’s efforts to develop and enhance its nuclear arsenal during the Cold War. It also showcased the versatility and flexibility of nuclear weapons deployment, as the United States sought to maintain a credible nuclear deterrence posture against potential adversaries.