The building of the Berlin Wall, which finally cemented the division of Germany, is defining for the year 1961. Meanwhile, the newly elected US President John F. Kennedy announces his New Frontier policies, including ending racial segregation in the United States. With the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, however, he had to accept a foreign policy defeat right from the start. Yuri Gagarin overcomes a completely different frontier and becomes the first person in space on board Vostok 1.
Politics and world affairs
January 1st: Friedrich Traugott Wahlen becomes the new Federal President of Switzerland.
January 1st The Hamburg Senate elects the previous Finance Senator Paul Nevermann (SPD) from among its members as the new First Mayor and thus the successor to Max Brauer, who had resigned the day before.
January 7th: A group of African states leaning towards radical Pan-Africanism adopts an African charter at a conference in Casablanca. The drafting of the Casablanca Group becomes the occasion for a counter-position paper for the majority of the other states that have become independent.
January 8: In a referendum, 75 percent of French voters vote in favor of Charles de Gaulle's policies, which result in an independent Algeria.
January 17: Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of the Congo, and two of his followers are murdered in Katanga. The act apparently happened with the approval of Belgium and the USA.
January 20: John F. Kennedy is sworn in as the new President of the United States. He replaces Dwight D. Eisenhower.
January 20: A meeting in Madrid between Jean-Jacques Susini, General Raoul Salan and Pierre Lagaillarde gives rise to the OAS, the French underground movement in the final phase of the Algerian war. She wants to thwart the looming independence of Algeria through terrorist acts.
February 23: The federal German employers agree with the trade unions the Federal Employees' Collective Agreement (BAT) in the public sector.
February 26th: With the death of his father Mohammed V, Hassan II becomes the new king in Morocco.
February 27: Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba calls for the return of two French military bases in Tunisia at a meeting with French President Charles de Gaulle. Delayed negotiations as a result gave rise to the Bizerte crisis.
March 1: Foundation of the Peace Corps
March 3: King Hassan II ascends to the throne in Morocco.
April 17th: Bay of Pigs invasion
April 18: Cultural agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and Afghanistan. In force since June 14, 1963
April 21: On the night of April 22, four conspiratorial generals of the French armed forces decommissioned - Raoul Salan, Maurice Challe, Edmond Jouhaud and André Zeller - put on a coup against the Algerian policy of the French President Charles de Gaulle. Foreign Legion soldiers bring Algiers under their control. The uprising ended unsuccessfully after a few days because the putschists found no support in motherland France.
April 27: Cultural agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands. In force since April 21, 1962
May 13th: The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland is established in North Korea.
May 16: General Park Chung-hee takes power in South Korea with a military coup against the government of the Second Republic under Yun Bo-seon.
May 30: In the Dominican Republic, its dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina is killed by conspirators when he is ambushed near Santo Domingo.
May 31: The Republic of South Africa is proclaimed after the country withdraws from the British Commonwealth under pressure from other members.
May 31: After a referendum in February, the musli takes over