Jim Jones was 17 years old when World War II: Nazi Germany and Slovakia invade Poland, beginning the European phase of World War II. World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although conflicts reflecting the ideological clash between what would become the Allied and Axis blocs began earlier. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most global war in history; it directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. In a state of total war, the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Jim Jones was 23 years old when World War II: Combat ends in the Pacific Theater: The Japanese Instrument of Surrender is signed by Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and accepted aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War, was the theater of World War II that was fought in the Pacific and Asia. It was fought over a vast area that included the Pacific Ocean and islands, the South West Pacific, South-East Asia, and in China.
Jim Jones was 31 years old when Jonas Salk announced the successful test of his polio vaccine on a small group of adults and children (vaccination pictured). Jonas Edward Salk was an American medical researcher and virologist. He discovered and developed one of the first successful polio vaccines. Born in New York City, he attended New York University School of Medicine, later choosing to do medical research instead of becoming a practicing physician. In 1939, after earning his medical degree, Salk began an internship as a physician scientist at Mount Sinai Hospital. Two years later he was granted a fellowship at the University of Michigan, where he would study flu viruses with his mentor Thomas Francis, Jr.
Jim Jones was 41 years old when John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas; hours later, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in aboard Air Force One as the 36th President of the United States. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, commonly referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. He served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his presidency dealt with managing relations with the Soviet Union. As a member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy represented the state of Massachusetts in the United States House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate prior to becoming president.
Jim Jones was 50 years old when Munich massacre: Nine Israeli athletes die (along with a German policeman) at the hands of the Palestinian "Black September" terrorist group after being taken hostage at the Munich Olympic Games. Two other Israeli athletes were slain in the initial attack the previous day. The Munich massacre was an attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, in which the Palestinian terrorist group Black September took eleven Israeli Olympic team members hostage and killed them along with a West German police officer.
Jim Jones was 67 years old when Cold War: Fall of the Berlin Wall: East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall, allowing its citizens to travel to West Berlin. The Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Constructed by the German Democratic Republic, starting on 13 August 1961, the Wall cut off West Berlin from virtually all of surrounding East Germany and East Berlin until government officials opened it in November 1989. Its demolition officially began on 13 June 1990 and finished in 1992. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, accompanied by a wide area that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. The Eastern Bloc portrayed the Wall as protecting its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany.