50 Years Ago: The World in 1962

A half-century ago, the space race was heating up and the Cold War was freezing over. Soviet missile bases discovered in Cuba triggered a crisis that brought the U.S. to the brink of war with the U.S.S.R. Civil rights activists won hard-earned victories against segregationists in the American South, and John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. Algeria gained independence from France and the U.S. slowly escalated its involvement in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Seattle held a World's Fair called the the Century 21 Exposition, celebrating the themes of space, science, and the future. Let me take you 50 years into the past now, for a look at the world as it was in 1962.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Bibek Ghosh / 2020 Audubon Photography Awards

    The 2020 Audubon Photography Awards

    Some of the best bird photography of the year—a collection of the 2020 winners and runners-up

  • Dave Allen Photography / Shutterstock

    Tennessee: Images of the Volunteer State

    A few glimpses of Tennessee’s landscape, and some of the animals and people calling it home

  • Gary Hershorn / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Chicken Offering, Virginia Creeper, Comet Neowise

    Ominous statues in Thailand, solar boats in the Netherlands, the empty streets of Pamplona, a zoo reopening in Ecuador, a nuclear-power plant in France, and much more

  • Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

    Photos: Deadly Flooding in Japan

    Days of unprecedented rainfall have caused rivers to overflow their banks, sweeping away bridges and roads, thereby cutting off many communities.