Georges Vanier was asked to serve as Governor-General of Canada, the first French Canadian, and only the second Canadian native overall, to hold the job. He took office on September 15 and served until his death in 1967.
John Gotti, 18, was arrested for the first time, in a raid on a New York gambling establishment.
Portuguese soldiers and civilian police fired on a crowd of strikers at a dock in Pijiguiti, Portuguese Guinea, killing as many 50 and wounding 100. The massacre was the start of a 13 year battle that culminated in the independence of the colony in 1974 as Guinea-Bissau.
The Army's Combat Development Experimentation Center unveiled the "Soldier of Tomorrow", described in a press release as "America's ultimate weapon – the man." The soldier of 1965 would have "a helmet with a built-in radio, infra-red binoculars and his own rocket device", a "jump belt", which "will enable him to cross streams and cliffs with ease".
U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved a change in America's Basic National Security Policy, providing that "The United States will be prepared to use chemical and biological weapons to the extent that such use will enhance the effectiveness of the armed forces. The decisions as to their use will be made by the President."
Three months of negotiations between the Soviet Union, and the United States, Great Britain and France, ended in Geneva with no resolution on the future of Berlin.
The B-17 Flying Fortress was used in an American military operation for the last time. An unmanned radio-controlled drone was guided over the White Sands Missile Range, and shot down by Falcon air-to-air missiles from F-101 and F-106 jets.
In Taiwan, 1,075 people died in floods after Typhoon Ellen caused 1,164 mm (45 in) of rain to fall over three days.
Six city blocks in downtown Roseburg, Oregon, were levelled at 1:20 a.m. by the explosion of a dynamite truck. The blast killed 14 people and left a 50-foot-wide (15 m) crater.
The United Nations reported a deficit of $7,469,150. More than 60 member nations had not paid annual dues.
Pakistan passed the Elective Bodies Disqualification Order, barring 75 leaders in East Pakistan from political activity until 1967 December 31, 1966.
August 8, 1959 (Saturday)
After more than 1,000 performances in the London production of My Fair Lady, Julie Andrews retired from the role of Eliza Doolittle, freeing her to go on to a career in film and television. She was replaced in the role by Anne Rogers.
Four of the five singers for The Platters, who had hit No. 1 earlier in the year with "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", were arrested in Cincinnati and charged with soliciting prostitutes and using drugs. The charges were eventually dismissed, but the group's concert dates were cancelled, and disc jockeys refused to play their records, for several months.
The longest home run of all time was hit in a minor league baseball game in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Gil Carter literally knocked the ball out of the park, clearing the left field light tower at Montgomery Field. His team, the Carlsbad Potashers, lost to the Odessa (Texas) Dodgers, 6–2, in the Sophomore League (Class D) game. The ball was found the next day, 733 feet from home plate.
High schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, reopened, a year after being closed in order to avoid integration. GovernorOrval E. Faubus addressed a crowd of 1,000 segregationists in front of the State Capitol while the two schools, each admitting three black students, were beginning classes. Afterward, a group of 200 protestors outside of Central High School were dispersed by the city police.
The formation of the American Football League was announced at a press conference in Chicago, with at least six teams to begin play in autumn 1960, in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Denver and Minneapolis. Founder Lamar Hunt would later say that he had envisioned the AFL as being a six-team league in its inaugural season, but that interest from Ralph Wilson and others led to an 8-team circuit.
Earth was photographed for the first time from an orbiting satellite, Explorer 6, which had been launched on August 7. The first image, taken from an altitude of about 27,000 km or 17,000 miles, showed the clouds over the northern Pacific Ocean. Although the photo was crude, it demonstrated the potential of observing weather patterns from orbit.
The Federal Radiation Council was created by Executive Order 10831. Consisting of six cabinet members and the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, the council was established to advise the American President on federal standards for radiation and nuclear plant safety.
Typhoon Georgia struck Japan, killing 137 people. Hitting Honshu Island, the typhoon caused the worst damage in history to Japan's rail lines.
The first fatal crash of a passenger jet killed five American Airlines crewmen, who were on a training flight of a Boeing 707. The crew were practicing landings at a private airfield owned by Grumman Aircraft when the jet crashed in a potato field at Calverton, New York, at 4:40 pm.
The U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Arleigh Burke, disclosed that the Soviet Union could fire submarine-launched ballistic missiles, based on observations made in May. At the time, the United States was still constructing its own Polaris missile subs. Burke added, "I don't know how many they have."
Indonesia's President Sukarno outlined his political manifesto, which he called "Manipol-USDEK", a five-point plan (Undang-Undang Dasar 1945, Sosialisme a la Indonesia, Demokrasi Terpimpin, Ekonomi Terpimpin, Kepribadian Indonesia) stressing the 1945 Constitution, Indonesian socialism and Indonesian identity, guided democracy and guided economy.
The Pilar II, an inter-island transport ship, capsized and sank off of the coast of Palawan Island in the Philippines, drowning more than 100 people on board.
August 21, 1959 (Friday)
Hawaii was proclaimed the 50th state of the United States of America. At 3:14 p.m. Washington time, 10:14 a.m. in Honolulu, President Dwight D. Eisenhower called William F. Quinn, who was then administered the oath as the first state governor. Quinn had been the last territorial governor, appointed by Eisenhower in 1957. Eisenhower then issued Executive Order 10834, prescribing the standards for the 50-star American flag.
Professional baseball was played at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field for the last time. A crowd of 4,000 turned out to watch a doubleheader featuring Negro League teams in an exhibition. In the first game, the Kansas City Monarchs beat the Brooklyn Stars 3–1. In the second, the Monarchs lost to the Havana Cubans, 6–4.
Troops in India and China clashed for the first time in a border dispute. A squad of Indian troops at Longju fired across the "McMahon Line" at Chinese guards stationed at the Tibetan village of Migyitun.
The wives and daughters of senior government officials in Afghanistan appeared in public without veils. After initial resistance by Islamic scholars, the controversy over the unveiling ceased within a month.
The Bulgarian prison camp at Belene Island, in the River Danube, was closed permanently when the Politburo of the Bulgarian Communist Party ordered the release of 276 political prisoners. Another 166 "incorrigible recidivsts" were transferred to the newer Lovech camp. At one time, Belene Island held 4,500 detainees.
The Polaris missile was successfully launched for the first time. Designed to be fired by a submarine from underwater, the Polaris was tested above the surface from the ship USNS Observation Island. The 28-foot-tall (8.5 m) missile was fired by compressed air, with engine ignition at 70 feet.
Mercury astronaut Donald "Deke" Slayton was found to have an irregular heartbeat while undergoing centrifuge training, later diagnosed as atrial fibrillation. A month later, he was disqualified from spaceflight. Slayton eventually went into space in 1975 on board the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project.
Poet Frank O'Hara created what he called "Personism", noting later in "Personism: A Manifesto" that "It was founded by me after lunch with LeRoi Jones on August 27, 1959, a day in which I was in love with someone not Roi, by the way, a blond). I went back to work and wrote a poem for this person. While I was writing it I was realizing that if I wanted to, I could use the telephone instead of writing the poem, and so Personism was born." He added "It is too new, too vital a movement to promise anything ..."
The Casbah Coffee Club, located at West Derby in suburban Liverpool, opened for business. The Les Stewart Quartet had been scheduled to play on opening night, but the group broke up after an argument. Instead, Quartet members George Harrison and Ken Brown teamed up with two members of The Quarry Men, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and the four guitarists played the opener. Dissatisfied with the pay, Brown quit The Quarry Men after six weeks, while Lennon, McCartney and Harrison went on to greater fame.
Dressed in a black cape with a red lining, 15-year-old Salvador Agron murdered two other teenagers, Tony Krzesinski and Bobby Young, on a New York City playground, in the mistaken belief that they were members of a rival street gang. The story would later inspire The Capeman a 1998 Broadway musical authored by Paul Simon and Derek Walcott.
King Norodom Suramarit and Queen Sisowath Kosamak of Cambodia escaped an assassination attempt when a present for the Queen was opened instead by the Chief of Protocol, Prince Norodom Vakrivin. A bomb inside the package exploded, killing Vakrivin and two other servants. Ten years later, Tran Kim Tuyen, who had been director of intelligence for South Vietnam at the time, admitted that the gift box had been prepared on orders of Ngo Dinh Nhu, because the Queen was known to enjoy opening her own gifts.
Died:David Carr, a 25-year-old English sailor, died at the Manchester Royal Infirmary from an unknown disease that destroyed his immune system, and tissue samples were saved for future study. Thirty years later, a team of researchers concluded that Carr (whose name would be revealed by a newspaper expose′) had been infected with HIV, more than 20 years before the virus's identification as the cause of AIDS, and reported their results in the July 7, 1990, issue of The Lancet. By 1995, the diagnosis was again called into doubt.
^Deborah Cowley, Georges Vanier, Soldier: The Wartime Letters and Diaries, 1915–1919 (Dundurn Press Ltd., 2000), p301
^"The New Godfather", by Michael Daly, New York Magazine, June 23, 1986, p30
^Vladimir A. Kozlov, Elaine McClarnand MacKinnon translator, Mass Uprisings in the USSR: Protest and Rebellion in the Post-Stalin Years (M.E. Sharpe, 2002), pp32–43
^Richard A Lobban, Cape Verde: Crioulo Colony to Independent Nation (Westview Press, 1998), pp89–90
^"Army Unveils Secret Weapon for 1965 – a Super-Soldier", Independent (Long Beach, California), August 4, 1959, pA-6
^Nick Cullather, Illusions of Influence: The Political Economy of United States-Philippines Relations, 1942–1960 (Stanford University Press, 1994), pp156–157; "Chronology", The World Almanac and book of facts 1960 (New York World-Telegram Corporation, 1960), p114
^Mark Wheelis, Lajos Rózsa and Malcolm Dando, Deadly Cultures: Biological Weapons Since 1945 (Harvard University Press, 2006), p403
^Joseph Smith and Simon Davis, Historical Dictionary of the Cold War (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), pp88–89
^"Once Mighty Flying Fortress On Its Last And Lonely Trip", Las Vegas Daily Optic, August 20, 1959, p11
^Matthias Jakob and Oldrich Hungr, Debris-flow Hazards and Related Phenomena (Springer, 2005), p556
^Gregg Ivers and Kevin T. McGuire, Creating Constitutional Change: Clashes Over Power and Liberty in the Supreme Court (University of Virginia Press, 2004), p20; "Club-Swinging Police Beat Back Crowd at Central High", Blytheville (Ark.) Courier News, August 12, 1959, p1;
^Warren Upham and Patricia C. Harpole, Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2001), pp157–58
^Balázs Szalontai, Kim Il Sung in the Khrushchev era: Soviet-DPRK Relations and the Roots of North Korean Despotism, 1953–1964 (Stanford University Press, 2005) p146
^Robert B. Kaplan and Richard B. Baldauf, Jr., Language and Language-in-Education Planning in the Pacific Basin (Springer, 2003), pp72–73
^Jeff Miller, Going Long: The Wild 10-Year Saga of the Renegade American Football League in the Words of Those Who Lived It (McGraw-Hill Professional, 2003), pp7–8
^Encyclopedia of Optical Engineering (Vol. 3), CRC Press, 2003), pp2049–50
^Harry Foreman, Ed., Nuclear Power and the Public (University of Minnesota Press, 1970), pp149–150
^"Second Typhoon Hits Central Japan", San Antonio Light, August 14, 1959, p28
^"Jetliner Crashes On Training Flight", Oakland Tribune, August 16, 1959, p1