General Dwight D. Eisenhower was nominated for president by the Republicans in 1952. He had no strong preference for a vice presidential candidate, and Republican officeholders and party officials met in a "smoke-filled room" and recommended Nixon to the general, who agreed to the senator's selection.
On 5 March 1953, Joseph Stalin died, ushering in a period of moderate liberalization, when most European communist parties developed a reform wing. In Hungary, the reformist Imre Nagy replaced Rákosi, "Stalin's Best Hungarian Disciple", as Prime Minister. However, Rákosi remained General Secretary of the Party, and was able to undermine most of Nagy's reforms.
On April 9, 1953, Giáp, after having failed repeatedly in direct attacks on French positions in Vietnam, changed strategy and began to pressure the French by invading Laos, surrounding and defeating several French outposts such as Muong Khoua.
The Battle of Pork Chop Hill comprises a pair of related Korean War infantry battles during April and July of 1953. These were fought while the United Nations Command (UN) and the Chinese and North Koreans negotiated the Korean Armistice Agreement. In the U.S., they were controversial because of the many soldiers killed for terrain of no strategic or tactical value, although the Chinese lost many times the number of US soldiers killed and wounded. The first battle was described in the eponymous history Pork Chop Hill: The American Fighting Man in Action, Korea, Spring 1953, by S.L.A. Marshall, from which the film Pork Chop Hill was drawn. The UN won the first battle but the Chinese won the second battle.
In 1953, the Republican Party's Old Guard presented Eisenhower with a dilemma by insisting he disavow the Yalta Agreements as beyond the constitutional authority of the Executive Branch; however, the death of Joseph Stalin in March 1953 made the matter a moot point. At this time, Eisenhower gave his Chance for Peace speech in which he attempted, unsuccessfully, to forestall the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union by suggesting multiple opportunities presented by peaceful uses of nuclear materials. Biographer Stephen Ambrose opined that this was the best speech of Eisenhower's presidency. Eisenhower sought to make foreign markets available to American business, saying that it is a "serious and explicit purpose of our foreign policy, the encouragement of a hospitable climate for investment in foreign nations".
Churchill developed a close friendship with Elizabeth II. It was widely expected that he would retire after her Coronation in June 1953 but, after Eden became seriously ill, Churchill increased his own responsibilities by taking over at the Foreign Office. Eden was incapacitated until the end of the year and was never completely well again.
In June 1953, instead of attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, his niece, in London, the Duke and Duchess watched the ceremony on television in Paris. The Duke said that it was contrary to precedent for a Sovereign or former Sovereign to attend any coronation of another.
Louis Armstrong and his All Stars were featured at the ninth Cavalcade of Jazz concert also at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles produced by Leon Hefflin Sr. held on June 7, 1953 along with Shorty Rogers, Roy Brown, Don Tosti and His Mexican Jazzmen, Earl Bostic, and Nat "King" Cole.
Outpost Harry was a remote Korean War outpost located on a tiny hilltop in what was commonly referred to as the "Iron Triangle" on the Korean Peninsula. This was an area approximately 60 miles (100 km) northeast of Seoul and was the most direct route to the South Korean capital.
Although foreign media speculated on Margaret and Townsend's relationship, the British press did not. After reporters saw her plucking fluff from his coat during the coronation on 2 June 1953—"I never thought a thing about it, and neither did Margaret", Townsend later said; "After that, the storm broke"—The People first mentioned the relationship in Britain on 14 June. With the headline "They Must Deny it NOW", the front-page article warned that "scandalous rumors about Princess Margaret are racing around the world", which the newspaper stated were "of course, utterly untrue". The foreign press believed that the Regency Act 1953—which made Prince Philip, the Queen's husband, regent instead of Margaret on the Queen's death—was enacted to allow the princess to marry Townsend, but as late as 23 July most other British newspapers except the Daily Mirror did not discuss the rumors. Acting Prime Minister Rab Butler asked that "deplorable speculation" end, without mentioning Margaret or Townsend.
On the evening of 23 June 1953, Churchill suffered a serious stroke and became partially paralyzed down one side. Had Eden been well, Churchill's premiership would most likely have been over. The matter was kept secret and Churchill went home to Chartwell to recuperate. He had fully recovered by November.
Churchill arranged for Townsend's assignment as air attaché at the British Embassy in Brussels; he was sent on 15 July 1953, before Margaret's return from Rhodesia on 30 July. The assignment was so sudden that the British ambassador learned about it from a newspaper. Although the princess and Townsend knew about his new job, they had reportedly been promised a few days together before his departure.
Castro gathered 165 revolutionaries for the mission, ordering his troops not to cause bloodshed unless they met armed resistance. The attack took place on 26 July 1953, but ran into trouble; 3 of the 16 cars that had set out from Santiago failed to get there. Reaching the barracks, the alarm was raised, with most of the rebels pinned down by machine gun fire. Four were killed before Castro ordered a retreat. The rebels suffered 6 fatalities and 15 other casualties, whilst the army suffered 19 dead and 27 wounded. Meanwhile, some rebels took over a civilian hospital; subsequently stormed by government soldiers, the rebels were rounded up, tortured and 22 were executed without trial.
Hepburn had her first starring role in Roman Holiday (1953), playing Princess Ann, a European princess who escapes the reins of royalty and has a wild night out with an American newsman (Gregory Peck). The producers of the movie initially wanted Elizabeth Taylor for the role, but director William Wyler was so impressed by Hepburn's screen test that he cast her instead.
The Pact of Madrid, signed on September 23, 1953, by Francoist Spain and the United States, was a significant effort to break the international isolation of Spain after World War II, together with the Concordat of 1953. This development came at a time when other victorious Allies of World War II and much of the rest of the world remained hostile (for the 1946 United Nations condemnation of the Francoist regime, see "Spanish Question") to a fascist regime sympathetic to the cause of the former Axis powers and established with Nazi assistance. This accord took the form of three separate executive agreements that pledged the United States to furnish economic and military aid to Spain. The United States, in turn, was to be permitted to construct and to utilize air and naval bases on Spanish territory (Naval Station Rota, Morón Air Base, Torrejón Air Base, and Zaragoza Air Base).
Castro was sentenced on 16 October, during which he delivered a speech that would have been printed under the title of History Will Absolve Me. Castro was sent to 15 years' imprisonment in the hospital wing of the Model Prison (Presidio Modelo), a relatively comfortable and modern
Operation Castor was launched on November 20, 1953, with 1,800 men of the French 1st and 2nd Airborne Battalions dropping into the valley of Điện Biên Phủ and sweeping aside the local Việt Minh garrison. The paratroopers gained control of a heart-shaped valley 12 miles (19 km) long and 8 miles (13 km) wide surrounded by heavily wooded hills. Encountering little opposition, the French and Tai units operating from Lai Châu to the north patrolled the hills.
On December 10, 1953, before leaving for Guatemala, Guevara sent an update to his Aunt Beatriz from San José, Costa Rica. In the letter Guevara speaks of traversing the dominion of the United Fruit Company, a journey which convinced him that the Company's capitalist system was a terrible one.