1956: A year of revolution, protest and rock ‘n roll -an article by yorkshirepost
From the Suez Crisis and the Hungarian uprising, to the Civil Rights Movement and the rise of rock ‘n’ roll, 60 years ago the world was in the grip of revolt. Chris Bond reports.
IN an editorial on New Year’s Day in 1956, the New York Times proclaimed: “We can say this year more than ever before that the future depends on the courage, the resolution and the energy of the democratic man.”
The tumultuous events that unfolded during the ensuing 12 months proved these words to be more prescient than anyone could have realised at the time.
All years are memorable for one reason or another, but 1956 was to prove one of the most seismic of the 20th Century. All over the world ordinary people spoke out, filled streets and city squares and in some cases took up arms in a bid to claim the freedoms for which so many had died during the Second World War.
It’s a year that is the focus of a new book by Dr Simon Hall, a senior lecturer in American history at the University of Leeds. 1956 – The World In Revolt, provides a vivid, sweeping view of events, the reverberations of which can still be felt today.
But what caused him to focus on this particular year? “The Fifties suffer in comparison a bit amid all the drama of the Second World War and the 1960s, they’re seen as a kind of grey decade and one of conformity. But I became interested in the growing rebellions and confrontations, the birth of rock ‘n’ roll and the growing Civil Rights Movement. I started noticing a lot of things happening in 1956 and I thought it would make an interesting subject for a book,” he says.