History & Headlines

Done in February 1951

Baby Boomer Trivia From February 1951: First atomic blast telecast live from Las Vegas; Nazi Germany war criminal Krupp released after 3 years; Jake LaMotta loses his World Middleweight title to Sugar Ray Robinson in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Atomic Bomb Testing Near Las Vegas

In the early morning of February 1, 1951, Los Angeles television station KTLA had a cameraman filming atop a Las Vegas hotel when the Operation Ranger atomic bomb Easy was dropped, making it the live first telecast of an atomic bomb.

february 1951, atomic bomb testing, atomic bomb tests, nevada test site, las vegas, united states soldiers, troops, nuclear field exercise, tourist attractions, 1950s, operation buster jangle dog, desert rock 1(Atomic Bomb Testing Mushroom Cloud 1951 Photo: U.S. Government)

Troops were only 6 miles from the blast when this particular test took place later in 1951. 

(february 1951, atomic bomb testing, atomic bomb tests, nevada test site, las vegas, nevada, tourist attractions, 1950s, Mushroom Cloud From Downtown Las Vegas 1950s Photo)

In 1951 the Department of Energy conducted aerial Atomic Bomb testing in the desert of the Nevada Test Site as part of Operation Ranger.

The Mushroom clouds from the 100 aerial tests conducted during the 1950’s at the Nevada Test Site could be seen from the downtown Las Vegas hotels, and became a tourist attraction for families of the baby boomer generation.

Later in 1951, more atomic bomb tests were performed as part of Operation Greenhouse in the Pacific.

Convicted WWII German War Criminal Alfried Krupp Pardoned

At 9:00 am on February 3, 1951, industrialist Alfried Krupp and 20+ other German World War II prisoners that had been convicted of war crimes and had their property forfeited during the Nuremberg Military Tribunal and Dachau trials, were released from Landsberg prison in Bavaria, Germany.

february 1951, world war ii, wwii, alfried krupp, german war criminal, nuremburg trials, friedrich krupp AG, nazi party member, ss member, nazi germany minister, german arms manufacturing, war crimes, plunder, use of slave labor(Alfred Krupp & associates, Nuremberg 1947 Photo: German Federal Archives)

Alfried’s (full name Felix Alwyn Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach) great-great-great grandfather Friedrich Krupp had first created a steel foundry in Germany in 1810. 133 years later, Friedrich Krupp AG was the largest company in German, employing over 100,000 people. 

In the early 1930s, Alfried was a member of the SS and his father Gustav donated heavily to the Nazi Party. Alfried joined the Nazi Party in 1938, and in 1943 Hittler declared a special order making Friedrich Krupp AG a sole proprietorship under the ownership of Alfried Krupp, and made him a government Minister.

The Krupp company was the center for German arms during World War II. They used POW’s and civilians from occupied countries, selecting laborers from concentration camps during the war. It is estimated that there were approximately 100,000 slave laborers at Friedrich Krupp AG during WWII.

Post WWII, during the Krupp Trial, Alfried and ten other associates in the company were convicted of the war crimes of plunder and use of slave labour, and sentenced to 12 years in prison. His property was forfeited and he went to prison in 1948. Their crimes were pardoned (but they were not acquitted) 3 years later in 1951 as part of a U.S. initiative to appease Germany during the Cold War. Just two years later, Alfried Krupp was back in control of Friedrich Krupp AG.

Upon Alfried’s death in 1967 of lung cancer, his son Arndt gave up his claim on the estate in return for a yearly stipend. The entire Krupp family holdings were transferred to the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, which funds philanthropic projects . The foundation was the major shareholder in ThyssenKrupp, one of the largest steelmakers in the world. It was headed from it’s inception in 1968 by Berthold Beitz (savior of hundreds of Jews from the SS during World War II) until his death in 2013.

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre – Jake LaMotta vs Sugar Ray Robinson 

On February 14, 1951, New York-based boxer Jake “The Raging Bull” LaMotta, the reigning middleweight title holder, entered the ring to box Sugar Ray Robinson for the title, in their sixth match. Sugar Ray Robinson had narrowly won their four of their five previous fights, beginning in 1942. In this final match of these two boxing greats – dubbed The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” by the press – Sugar Ray Robinson scored a technical knockout against Jake LaMotta in the 13th round to win the middleweight title.

Jake LaMotta was inducted into the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012. At the ceremony he shared some jokes from his 1970’s stand-up comedy routine, including

“I fought Sugar Ray Robinson so many times (six, losing five) that it’s a wonder I didn’t get diabetes.”

In 1976, the PBS series The Way It Was captured clips from their bouts (including the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre), and caught up with both Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta.

Born July 10, 1921, Jake LaMotta was 92 when he married for the 7th time in January 2013. His life inspired two big-screen films – Raging Bull (1980) starring Robert DeNiro, Cathy Moriarty, and Joe Pesci, and The Bronx Bull (2016), with William Forsythe, Joe Mantegna, Tom Sizemore, Paul Sorvino, Penelope Ann Miller, Cloris Leachman, Ray Wise, and others.

Jake LaMotta was 95 when died of pneumonia complications in September 2017.

Note: This article was first published in 2016. It has been updated with new / additional content.

*Images are believed to be in the public domain or Creative Commons licensed & sourced via Wikimedia Commons or Flickr, unless otherwise noted*

Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & baby boomer writer Anita Hamilton has always been interested in the "real people" stories behind the characters that create and inhabit the world of music, books, movies, television shows, current events, history, etc. A lifelong love of research (ok, nosiness) and writing, combined with a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.

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