25 September 1963

Lord Denning releases the UK government’s official report on the Profumo affair.

The Profumo affair was a British political scandal that unfolded in the early 1960s. It revolved around the extramarital affair between John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War in the Conservative government of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, and Christine Keeler, a young woman who was also romantically involved with a Soviet naval attaché, Yevgeny Ivanov.

The scandal came to light in March 1963 when Profumo was forced to admit to the affair in the House of Commons, after initially denying any impropriety. This revelation had serious consequences for both Profumo and the government. It raised concerns about national security, as Profumo had been in a position to know sensitive information, and there were fears that Keeler might have passed on confidential information to Ivanov.

In addition to the security concerns, the affair became a major public scandal due to its salacious nature and the involvement of high-ranking government officials. It damaged the reputation of the Conservative government and contributed to the resignation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan later that year.

The Profumo affair is often seen as a symbol of the decline of the British establishment’s moral authority and marked a turning point in British political and cultural history. It remains one of the most famous political scandals in British history.

30 August 1963

The Moscow–Washington hotline between the leaders of the U.S. and the Soviet Union goes into operation.

The Moscow-Washington hotline, also known as the “Red Telephone” or “Hotline,” is a direct communication link established between the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It was intended to provide a quick and reliable means of communication to prevent misunderstandings and miscommunications that could potentially escalate into a nuclear conflict.

1. Cold War Context: The hotline was established at a time when tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union were high due to the Cold War. The fear of a nuclear confrontation prompted both superpowers to seek ways to improve communication and reduce the risk of accidental conflict.

2. Installation: The hotline was established in 1963 after the Cuban Missile Crisis, a particularly tense period during the Cold War. It was installed using dedicated communication equipment, including teletype machines, that allowed for rapid exchange of messages between Moscow and Washington, D.C.

3. Communication Channel: Contrary to popular depictions in media, the hotline was not a physical red telephone, but rather a secure teletype link. The messages typed into the teletype machine would be sent directly to the receiving end without the need for manual encryption or decryption.

4. Purpose: The primary purpose of the hotline was to provide a direct channel of communication that could be used in times of crisis to quickly share information, clarify intentions, and avoid misunderstandings. It was meant to reduce the risk of accidental nuclear war due to misinterpretation of actions or intentions.

5. Usage: While the hotline was in place, it wasn’t frequently used for direct communication between the U.S. President and the Soviet Premier. Instead, it was mostly used by lower-level officials to exchange information or to inform each other about military exercises or other significant events.

6. Modernization: Over the years, the technology behind the hotline has evolved. The original teletype communication has been replaced with more modern secure communication systems. The hotline is now part of the broader communication infrastructure used by both countries.

7. Continued Relevance: Despite the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Moscow-Washington hotline remains in use today. It continues to serve as an essential communication link between the United States and Russia, providing a means of direct communication between leaders in times of tension or crisis.

4 April 1963

Bye Bye Birdie, a musical romantic comedy film directed by George Sidney, was released.

Bye Bye Birdie is a popular musical comedy that premiered on Broadway in 1960. It features music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams, and a book by Michael Stewart. The story is a satire of the rock and roll phenomenon that was popular in the late 1950s, and it is loosely based on the real-life events surrounding Elvis Presley’s induction into the army.

The plot revolves around Conrad Birdie, a rock and roll superstar who has been drafted into the army. His manager, Albert Peterson, comes up with a scheme to give Conrad a big send-off before he leaves for duty: Conrad will give a farewell performance on the Ed Sullivan Show and then bestow a kiss on a lucky fan from Sweet Apple, Ohio. The fan selected is a teenage girl named Kim MacAfee, and the whole town is thrown into chaos as they prepare for Conrad’s arrival.

The musical features a number of popular songs, including “Put On a Happy Face,” “One Last Kiss,” and “A Lot of Livin’ to Do.” It was a huge hit on Broadway, winning four Tony Awards including Best Musical, and it has since been adapted into a number of films, television productions, and stage revivals. Bye Bye Birdie remains a beloved classic of musical theater, known for its catchy tunes, witty humor, and lighthearted spirit.

19 February 1963

The publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique reawakens the feminist movement in the United States as women’s organizations and consciousness raising groups spread.

Betty Friedan’s book “The Feminine Mystique” is considered a groundbreaking work in the feminist movement and is often credited with sparking the second wave of feminism in the United States.

Published in 1963, “The Feminine Mystique” is a critical analysis of the ideal of femininity that prevailed in American culture at the time. Friedan argued that this ideal, which emphasized the importance of marriage, motherhood, and domesticity, was not fulfilling for many women and often left them feeling empty and unfulfilled.

Friedan’s book resonated with many women who had been struggling with similar feelings of dissatisfaction and helped to create a sense of collective consciousness among women that their experiences were not unique but rather shared by many others.

“The Feminine Mystique” was also significant because it challenged the prevailing notion that women’s place was in the home and that their primary role was to be wives and mothers. Friedan argued that women were capable of much more than just domestic work and that they should have the same opportunities as men to pursue their interests and careers.

Overall, “The Feminine Mystique” was a catalyst for the women’s liberation movement and helped to shift societal attitudes towards gender roles and women’s rights. Its impact can still be felt today, as its message of empowerment and equality for women continues to inspire and inform feminist activism around the world.