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1952 (MCMLII) was a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1952nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 952nd year of the 2nd millennium, the 52nd year of the 20th century, and the 3rd year of the 1950s decade.
- February 2 – Groundhog Day tropical storm forms just north of Cuba, moving northeast. The storm makes landfall in southern Florida the next day (the earliest reported landfall from a tropical storm).
- February 6
- February 7 – Elizabeth II is proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom at St James's Palace, London, England.
- February 14 – February 25 – The Winter Olympics are held in Oslo, Norway.
- February 15 – The funeral of George VI takes place at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
- February 18 – Greece and Turkey join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
- February 20
- February 21 – In Dhaka, East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh) police open fire on a procession of students, killing 4 people and starting a country-wide protest, which leads to the recognition of Bengali as one of the national languages of Pakistan. The day is later declared "International Mother Language Day" by UNESCO.
- February 25 – The Parícutin active volcano in Michoacán, west central Mexico, ceases its discontinuous eruption after spewing forth a gigaton of lava, and burying San Juan Parangaricutiro.
- February 26
- April 4
- April 7 – The American Research Bureau reports that the I Love Lucy episode, "The Marriage License", was the first TV show in history to be seen in around 10,000,000 homes, the evening the episode aired.
- April 8 – Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer: The U.S. Supreme Court limits the power of the President to seize private business, after President Harry S. Truman nationalizes all steel mills in the United States, just before the 1952 steel strike begins.
- April 9 – Hugo Ballivián's government is overthrown by the Bolivian National Revolution, which starts a period of agrarian reform, universal suffrage and the nationalization of tin mines.
- April 11 – Battle of Nanri Island: The Republic of China seizes the island from the People's Republic of China.
- April 15 – The United States B-52 Stratofortress flies for the first time.
- April 18
- April 26 – United States Navy aircraft carrier Wasp collides with destroyer Hobson while on exercises in the Atlantic Ocean, killing 175 men.
- April 28 – The Treaty of San Francisco goes into effect, formally ending the war between Japan and the Allies, and simultaneously ending the occupation of the four main Japanese islands by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.
- April 29 – Lever House officially opens at 390 Park Avenue in New York City, heralding a new age of commercial architecture in the United States. Designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, it is the first International Style skyscraper.
- August 5 – The Treaty of Taipei between Japan and the Republic of China goes into effect, to officially end the Second Sino-Japanese War.
- August 11 – The Jordanian Parliament forces King Talal of Jordan to abdicate due to mental illness; he is succeeded by his son King Hussein.
- August 12 – Night of the Murdered Poets: 13 Soviet Jewish poets are executed.
- August 13 – Japan joins the IMF.
- August 14 – West Germany joins the IMF and the World Bank.
- August 16 – Lynmouth, North Devon, England is devastated by floods; 34 die.
- August 22 – The most damaging shock of the 1952 Kern County earthquake sequence strikes with a moment magnitude of 5.8, and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). This event damages several hundred buildings in Bakersfield, California, with total additional losses of $10 million, with two associated deaths and some injuries.
- August 23 – Kitty Wells becomes the first woman to score a number 1 hit on the American country charts, with the song "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels".
- August 26 – A British passenger jet makes a return crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in the same day.
- August 27 – Reparation negotiations between West Germany and Israel end in Luxembourg: Germany will pay 3 billion Deutsche Marks.
- August 29 – Composer John Cage's 4′33″, during which the performer does not play, premieres in Woodstock, New York.
- August 30 – The last Finnish war reparations are sent to the Soviet Union.
- August 31 – The Grenzlandring racetrack closes in Wegberg, Germany.
The explosion of the first hydrogen bomb.
- Nearly 58,000 cases of polio are reported in the U.S.; 3,145 die, and 21,269 are left with mild to disabling paralysis.
- The Nordic Council agrees to the unrestricted transport of people, goods and services throughout the Nordic Countries.
- The National Prohibition Foundation is incorporated in Indiana.
- Supramar launched the first commercial high-speed craft, a hydrofoil.
- Säynätsalo Town Hall in Finland, designed by Alvar Aalto, is completed.
- The influential multistory residential building, Unité d'Habitation in Marseille, France, designed by Le Corbusier, is completed.
- The American Embassy School of New Delhi is founded.
- Swedish paratrooper training school Fallskärmsjägarna (FJS) is established.
- 13-year-old Jimmy Boyd's record of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus is released, selling 3 million records.
- Capitol Wrestling Corporation, the professional wrestling promotion that will later evolve into the modern day WWE, is founded by Jess McMahon and Toots Mondt.
- During the Mau Mau Uprising, the poisonous latex of the African milk bush is used to kill cattle, in an incident of Biological warfare.