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- February 8 - The Stasi is founded to serve as the secret police of East Germany.
- February 9 - In his speech to the Republican Women's Club at the McClure Hotel in Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator Joseph McCarthy accuses the United States Department of State of being filled with 205 Communists.
- February 14 - The Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance is signed by the Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
- April 8 - In the first shootdown of an American military aircraft by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, two Soviet Lavochkin La-11 fighters intercepted and downed a U.S. Navy PB4Y-2 Privateer surveillance plane that was flying over or near the Latvian SSR with ten men on board, the first of over 350 American servicemen lost in Cold War missions.
- June 25 - North Korea invades South Korea, beginning the Korean War.
- July 25 - Walter Ulbricht is named First Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany.
- July 26 to 29 - The No Gun Ri Massacre takes place.
- October 12 - The Pathet Lao is founded.
- December 1 - Richard Nixon is elected to the United States Senate.
- May 23 - Richard Trenton Chase
- May 24 - Lorenzo Gilyard
- June 25 - Jim Adkisson
- July 1 - David Duke
- July 9 - Viktor Yanukovych
- September 17 - Narendra Modi
- September 20 - Eli Stutzman
- September 24 - Carlton Gary
- December 26 - Randall Woodfield
- January 11 - James A. Colescott