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MODERN HISTORY TRIVIA

1) What incident in 1962 nearly led to a nuclear confrontation between the U.S. and Russia?


On October 22, 1962, U.S. President John F. Kennedy announced to the world that he had acquired intelligence proving the Soviet Union was building a secret missile base in Cuba, just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. Hoping to avoid an armed invasion of Cuba, Kennedy instead opted for a naval quarantine of the island in order to prevent the Russians from equipping their bases with any additional missiles. He also demanded that Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev remove all weapons and bases from Cuba. In response to the blockade, Khrushchev authorized his field commanders to launch tactical nuclear weapons if attacked by U.S. forces. The two nations remained deadlocked for seven days before Khrushchev reconsidered and gave in to Kennedy's demands. The world breathed a collective sigh of relief at this news, glad to have avoided nuclear war. This incident became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

2) What year did women receive the right to vote in the United States?


In 1920, women received the right to vote in the United States with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It had been a long and hard fought battle, however, to achieve this important milestone, and it took many generations of supporters for women's suffrage lecturing, lobbying, and practicing civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans, at the time, considered a radical change to the Constitution. The balance finally began to shift in favor of women's suffrage in 1918 when U.S. President Woodrow Wilson changed his position to support the amendment.

3) What year did the first man walk on the Moon?


On July 20 (July 21 GMT), 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon. As he stepped onto the Moon's surface, in the Sea of Tranquility, Armstrong uttered the now-famous words: "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind."

4) What nation exploded its first nuclear bomb in the Rajasthan Desert in 1974?


On May 18, 1974, India exploded its first nuclear bomb in the Rajasthan Desert near the town of Pokhran, describing the event as a "peaceful nuclear explosion." According to various reports, the underground test produced a crater with a radius somewhere between 47 and 75 meters.

5) What U.S. President gave the White House its current name?


Although construction began in 1792, it was not until 1901 that President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name. At various times in history, the White House as been known as the "President's House," the "President's Palace," and the "Executive Mansion."

6) In 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first female _______?


On January 23, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell received the degree of "Doctor of Medicine" from Geneva Medical College, making her the first woman to graduate from medical school and the first female doctor in the modern era. Rejected by all the leading schools because of her sex, Blackwell applied to Geneva Medical College where her application was accepted only after being endorsed by the current students who thought it was a joke. Through hard work and dedication, however, she earned the respect of her classmates and graduated first in her class. After running a private practice for many years, Elizabeth opened a Women's Medical College to help other women achieve the dream of becoming a doctor.

7) June 6, 1944, is better known as what?


June 6, 1944 is better known as D-Day, the day on which the Invasion of Normandy began as U.S., British, and Canadian forces set out to liberate Europe from Nazi control. It was the largest air, land, and sea operation ever undertaken, involving more than 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes, and 150,000 soldiers. When the dust cleared, Allied Forces had suffered almost 10,000 casualties but the German lines had been breached and the defeat of Hitler was in sight. The success of D-Day was absolutely essential to Allied victory in World War II.

8) What toy was introduced in Australian stores in 1957 after proving to be a popular exercise tool in schools?


Wooden Hula Hoops were introduced in Australian stores in 1957 after they proved to be a popular exercise tool in schools. Richard P. Knerr and Arthur K. Melvin of Wham-O, a fledgling California toy manufacturer, soon took notice of the Hula Hoop craze and began selling plastic hoops in the United States. Within four months, twenty-five million Hula Hoops had been sold! For the true origin of the Hula Hoop, however, we must delve much deeper in history. Thousands of years ago, children in ancient Egypt were known to play a similar game with large hoops of dried grapevines which they propelled along the ground with a stick or swung around the waist. The word "hula" first became associated with the toy during the 1800s when British sailors visiting the Hawaiian Islands noticed the similar hip motions involved in "hooping" and hula dancing.

9) In what year did scientists complete a map of the human genome?


In June of 2000, scientists at Celera Genomics announced that they had completed the first map of the human genome. This accomplishment was immediately recognized as one of the greatest achievements in scientific history. A more complete map was released in April of 2003.

10) What famous painting was stolen from a Norwegian museum in 2004?


On August 22, 2004, two armed robbers stole "The Scream," a famous painting by Edvard Munch, from the Munch Museum in Norway. They also escaped with another Munch painting entitled "The Madonna." The museum estimated that the two stolen paintings were worth approximately $19 million (£10.4 million). On March 7, 2005, three more works by Munch were stolen from a hotel in Norway: a 1915 watercolor entitled "Blue Dress" and two lithographs including a self-portrait of the artist. Authorities did not know if the two robberies were related.


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