- Intransigence dominates the world stage. In January, the US breaks off diplomatic relations with Cuba. The Bay of Pigs crisis between the two countries occurs in March.

- In April, the Soviet Union wins the space race by putting 27 year-old Air Force major Yuri Gagarin into orbit.

- In August, the most famous wall of the 20th century, the Berlin Wall, is erected. Built of prefabricated concrete blocks and at stunning speed, it separates the two sectors of Berlin. The division between East and West Berlin is the communists’ answer to those Germans wanting to leave for the West.

- A composer aged just twenty is the talk of New York, and over the next few years Bob Dylan will become a household name around the world.

- In another area, film and fashion are brought together in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” starring Audrey Hepburn wearing creations designed by French couturier Givenchy.