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1964 - Cyprus Violence

Intercommunal violence on Cyprus - tensions between the Greek and Turkish communities on Cyprus erupt into sporadic outbreaks of violence, with the UN called in the keep the fragile peace

Three years of peace followed Cypriot independence in 1960. Beneath the peace, however, lay the resentment of some Greek Cypriots at the prevention of political union with Greece and a growing conflict between Greek and Turkish Cypriots over the bicommunal provisions of the constitution. 


EOKA,  a Greek Cypriot nationalist guerrilla organisation that fought a campaign for the end of British rule had officially disbanded and surrendered its weapons in 1959. In fact, however, many former EOKA members had retained their weapons, and some joined groups of armed irregulars. The Turkish Cypriot community responded to the growth of these groups by reviving the TMT (Turkish paramilitary) in early 1962.

In late November 1963, the president, Archbishop Makarios, introduced a proposal to amend the constitution in a way that would ensure the dominance of Greek Cypriots.  In the tense atmosphere that ensued, a street brawl broke out on December 21 in Nicosia, between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriot police. This fight was followed by major attacks by Greek Cypriot irregulars in Nicosia and Larnaca. Looting and destruction of Turkish villages forced many Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into defensible enclaves guarded by the TMT paramilitary. Fearful that Turkey might carry out its threat to invade, Makarios agreed to British intervention from its bases on the island.

On December 27 British troops assumed positions between opposing irregular units, and the fighting, which had claimed 100 lives on each side during the previous week, subsided temporarily. The cease-fire held in Nicosia, but by mid-February 1964 Greek Cypriot attacks at Limassol brought a renewed threat of Turkish landings. Britain appealed to the UN Security Council, and on March 4, 1964, the UN approved a resolution to establish an international peace-keeping force for duty in Cyprus. 

In June 1964, the National Guard was formed by the Greek Cypriot government, which also instituted male conscription. The National Guard absorbed the various private armies into a single national military force loyal to the government and served as a deterrent to a Turkish invasion. Greek Army soldiers were clandestinely transferred to the guard on a large scale; by midsummer the National Guard consisted of an estimated 24,000 officers and men, about half from the Greek Army. Grivas, thought to be the only man who could enforce discipline over the disparate armed Greek Cypriot factions, returned from Athens to command the National Guard.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Cypriot community, in its newly created enclaves, organized militarily under the TMT, supported by conscription of Turkish Cypriot youths. Turkish Army troops trained the Turkish Cypriot forces, totaling an estimated 10,000 fighters, and directed the defense of the enclaves. Outbreaks of fighting continued, although the presence of UN prevented them from erupting into major hostilities. In August 1964, the National Guard carried out a coordinated sea and land assault against Kokkina on the northwest coast, in an effort to cut off the major Turkish Cypriot supply line to the mainland. Heavy attacks by Turkish jet fighter-bombers, operating beyond the range of the Greek Air Force, halted the Greek Cypriot offensive. Several years of peace followed, while the two communities improved their military readiness.


Further Reading


Cyprus Mail - 1963 is still a Historical Minefield

1964 - Beatlemania

Beatlemania - the British chart topping band embarked on a world tour that saw their celebrity status shoot into the stratosphere, attracting massive crowds of screaming fans wherever they performed

By the time the successful British rock n rollers set off on their first visit across the Atlantic in February 1964, I Wanna Hold Your Hand was at Number One, and 3,000 people had gathered to greet their plane at John F. Kennedy airport in New York.

When they have their first live performance on the Ed Sullivan Show two days later, a staggering 34% of the population of the USA tuned in to watch in an age where TV’s were still something of a novelty. What was being called the “British Invasion” had began in earnest.

The term Beatlemania had been coined a little earlier back in England, and was first seen in print when the Daily Mail published an article called BEATLEMANIA: It’s happening everywhere…even in sedate Cheltenham.” 

Particularly after the trip to the US, Beatlemania became charcterised by the high-pitched screaming and near-hysteria of the vast crowds of teenage girls who came to see the band as the four lads from Liverpool with floppy hair became unlikely international sex symbols.  After one gig in Hull in the UK it was reported that over 40 pairs of knickers had to be cleared away.

The reasons for this explosion of almost manic obsession with the band have been debated and analysed ever since. Some ideas have been their coinciding with the post World War Two baby boom, when there were far more teenage girls than there had ever been before, even in the recent days of Elvis or Frank Sinatra.

Another has been the non sexually-threatening long hair, youth and British charm of the group, far more appealing to the new generation of girls than the sexually voracious Elvis or other older performers. There are a multitude of other ever more wacky explanations, though in the end the novelty and brilliance of the Beatles’ music is perhaps the most convincing.

Beatlemania also embodies the 60s and its rebellious counter-culture. The fathers and elder brothers of Beatles fans scorned what they saw as their unmanly appearance and music, but that made their appeal even stronger, particularly after they took a darker and more psychedelic path later in the decade.


Further Reading


Rolling Stone - How the Beatles Took America: Inside the Biggest Explosion in Rock & Roll History - Beatlemania Sweeps the United States 

The Atlantic - Beatlemania

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