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JFK | Timeline

1961-63: Timeline of Events

JFK's short time in office was marked by several major events. Explore them in this timeline.


  • UN General Assembly condemns apartheid in South Africa
  • Berlin Wall is built, dividing East and West Germany
  • American-backed Cuban exiles fail in an attempt to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs
  • Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo is assassinated
  • Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin completes the first orbit of Earth by a human



  • U.S. establishes a military council in South Vietnam
  • USSR sends arms to Cuba, setting off the "Cuban Missile Crisis" with the U.S.
  • Uganda and Tanganyika become independent nations (Tanganyika subsequently merged with Zanzibar in 1964 to become Tanzania)
  • U2 pilot Gary Powers is traded by the USSR for Soviet spy Rudolf Abel, who had been captured by the U.S.



  • French president Charles de Gaulle prevents Great Britain's entry into the Common Market
  • Nuclear test ban treaty is signed by the U.S., Great Britain, and USSR
  • Buddhist-led military group overthrows the government of South Vietnam
  • Kenya becomes an independent republic
  • John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas -- Lyndon B. Johnson becomes president
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