"'70s" redirects here. For decades comprising years 70–79 of other centuries, see List of decades
The 1970s, pronounced "the Nineteen Seventies", was the decade that started on January 1, 1970, and ended on December 31, 1979.
In the Western world, social progressive values that began in the 1960s, such as increasing political awareness and political and economic liberty of women, continued to grow. The hippie culture, which started in the latter half of the 1960s, waned by the early 1970s and faded towards the middle part of the decade, which involved opposition to the Vietnam War, opposition to nuclear weapons, the advocacy of world peace, and hostility to the authority of government and big business. The environmentalist movement began to increase dramatically in this period.
Industrialized countries, except Japan, experienced an economic recession due to an oil crisis caused by oil embargoes by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries. The crisis saw the first instance of stagflation which began a political and economic trend of the replacement of Keynesian economic theory with neoliberal economic theory, in with the first neoliberal governments being created in Chile, where a military coup led by Augusto Pinochet took place in 1973, and in the United Kingdom with the 1979 elections resulting in the victory of its Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher in 1979.
Novelist Tom Wolfe coined the term Me decade in his article "The "Me" Decade and the Third Great Awakening", published by New York magazine in August 1976 referring to the 1970s. The term describes a general new attitude of Americans towards atomized individualism and away from communitarianism in clear contrast with the 1960s.
Wolfe attributes disappearance of the "proletariat" with the appearance of the "lower middle class", citing the economic boom of Post-War America as affording the average American a sort of self determination and individuation that ran alongside economic prosperity. Wolfe describes this abandoning of communal, left, and New Deal politics as "taking the money and running." He traces the preoccupation with one's self back to the aristocrat. The nature of the "chivalric tradition" and the philosophy behind "the finishing school" are inherently dedicated to the building and forming of personal character and conduct.
The attitude of the counter-culture of the 1960s and The New Left promoted a recovery of the self in the wave, of what was deemed, a flawed, corrupt, and almost fascistic, America. This philosophy left the 1970s with the promise that the use LSD or acid unveiled the true and the real self. Wolfe describes the revelatory experience of hallucinogens as attenuating the ecstatic religious experience, transforming the religious climate in American. Chronicling the First and Second Great Awakenings, Wolfe comes to describe the "Me decade as the "Third Great Awakening."
In Asia, affairs regarding the People's Republic of China changed significantly following the recognition of the PRC by the United Nations, the death of Mao Zedong and the beginning of market liberalization by Mao's successors. Despite facing an oil crisis due to the OPEC embargo, the economy of Japan witnessed a large boom in this period. The United States withdrew its military forces from their previous involvement in the Vietnam War which had grown enormously unpopular. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan which led to an ongoing war for ten years.
The 1970s saw an initial increase in violence in the Middle East as Egypt and Syria declared war on Israel, but in the late 1970s, the situation in the Middle East was fundamentally altered when Egypt signed the Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty. Anwar El Sadat, President of Egypt, was instrumental in the event and consequently became extremely unpopular in the Arab World and the wider Muslim world. He was assassinated in 1981. Political tensions in Iran exploded with the Iranian Revolution which overthrew the Pahlavi dynasty and established an Islamic republic of Iran.
The economies of much of the developing world continued to make steady progress in the early 1970s, because of the Green Revolution. They might have thrived and become stable in the way that Europe recovered after World War II through the Marshall Plan; however, their economic growth was slowed by the oil crisis but boomed immediately after.
Politics and wars
The most notable wars and/or other conflicts of the decade include:
- The Cold War (1947–1991)
- The Vietnam War came to a close in 1975 with the fall of Saigon and the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. The following year, Vietnam was officially declared reunited.
- Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979–1989) - Although taking place almost entirely throughout the 1980s, the war officially started on December 27, 1979.
- Angolan Civil War (1975–2002) - resulting in intervention by multiple countries on the Marxist and anti-Marxist sides, with Cuba and Mozambique supporting the Marxist faction while South Africa and Zaire support the anti-Marxists.
- Ethiopian Civil War (1974–1991)
- Arab–Israeli conflict (Early 20th century–present)
- Yom Kippur War (1973) - the war was launched by Egypt against Israel in October 1973 to recover the international standing Egypt had lost in the 1967 conflict. The Israelis were taken by surprise and suffered heavy losses before they rallied. In the end, they managed to repel the Egyptians (and a simultaneous attack by Syria) and crossed the Suez Canal into Egypt proper. In 1978, Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel at Camp David in the United States, ending outstanding disputes between the two countries. Sadat's actions would lead to his assassination in 1981.
- Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990) - A civil war in the Middle East which at times also involved the PLO and Israel during the early 1980s.
- Western Sahara War (1975–1991) - A regional war pinning the rebel Polisario Front against Morocco and Mauritania.
- Multiple conflicts and crises occur in India and Pakistan during the 1970s including the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Bangladesh Liberation War, and the Indian Emergency 1975–1977.
- Ugandan–Tanzanian War (1978–1979) - the war which was fought between Uganda and Tanzania was based on an expansionist agenda to annex territory from Tanzania. The war resulted in the overthrow of Idi Amin's regime.
- The Ogaden War (1977–1978) was another African conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia over control of the Ogaden region.
The most notable Internal conflicts of the decade include:
- Major conflict between capitalist and communist forces in multiple countries, while attempts are made by the Soviet Union and the United States to lessen the chance for conflict, such as both countries endorsing nuclear nonproliferation.
- In, 1976 peaceful student protests in the Soweto township of South Africa lead to the Soweto Uprising when more than 700 black school children were killed by South Africa's Security Police.
- Rise of separatism in the province of Quebec in Canada. In 1970, radical Quebec nationalist and Marxist militants of the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) kidnap the Quebec labour minister Pierre Laporte and British Trade Commissioner James Cross during the October Crisis, resulting in Laporte being killed, and the enactment of martial law in Canada under the War Measures Act, resulting in a campaign by the Canadian government which arrests suspected FLQ supporters. The election of the Parti Québécois led by René Lévesque in the province of Quebec in Canada, brings the first political party committed to Quebec independence into power in Quebec. Levesque's government pursues an agenda to secede Quebec from Canada by democratic means and strengthen Francophone Québécois culture in the late 1970s, such as the controversial Charter of the French Language more commonly known in Quebec and Canada as "Bill 101".
- Martial law was declared in the Philippines on September 21, 1972, by President Ferdinand Marcos.
- In Cambodia the communist leader Pol Pot led a revolution against the American-backed government of Lon Nol. On April 17, 1975, his forces captured Phnom Penh the capitol, two years after America had halted the bombings of their positions. His communist government, the Khmer Rouge, forced people out of the cities to clear jungles and establish a radical, Marxist agrarian society. Buddhist priests and monks, along with anyone who spoke foreign languages, had any sort of education, or even wore eyeglasses were tortured or killed. As many as 3 million people may have died. Vietnam invaded the country at the start of 1979, overthrowing the Khmer Rouge and installing a satellite government. This provoked a brief, but furious border war with China in February of that year.
- The Iranian Revolution of 1979 transformed Iran from an autocratic pro-western monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to a theocratic Islamist government under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Distrust between the revolutionaries and Western powers led to the Iran hostage crisis on November 4, 1979, where 66 diplomats, mainly from the U.S., were held captive for 444 days.
- Growing internal tensions take place in Yugoslavia beginning with the Croatian Spring movement in 1971 which demands greater decentralization of power to the constituent republics of Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia's communist ruler Joseph Broz Tito subdues the Croatian Spring movement and arrests its leaders, but does initiate major constitutional reform resulting in the 1974 Constitution which decentralized powers to the republics, gave them the official right to separate from Yugoslavia, and weakened the influence of Serbia (Yugoslavia's largest and most populous constituent republic) in the federation by granting significant powers to the Serbian autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina. In addition, the 1974 Constitution consolidated Tito's dictatorship by proclaiming him president-for-life. The 1974 Constitution would become resented by Serbs and began a gradual escalation of ethnic tensions.
was overthrown from power in Ethiopia
, ending one of the world's longest lasting monarchies in history.
The most prominent coups d'état of the decade include:
The most notable terrorist attacks of the decade include:
- The Munich massacre takes place at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, where Palestinian Arab terrorists of the Black September terrorist organization kidnap and murder eleven Israeli athletes.
- Rise in the use of terrorism by militant organizations across the world. Groups in Europe like the Red Brigades and the Baader-Meinhof Gang were responsible for a spate of bombings, kidnappings, and murders. Violence continued in Northern Ireland and the Middle East. Radical American groups existed as well, such as the Weather Underground and the Symbionese Liberation Army, but they never achieved the size or strength of their European counterparts.
- On September 6, 1970, the world witnessed the beginnings of modern rebellious fighting in what is today called as Skyjack Sunday. Palestinian terrorists hijacked four airliners and took over 300 people on board as hostage. The hostages were later released, but the planes were blown up.
Prominent political events
- United States President Richard Nixon resigns as President in 1974 while facing charges for impeachment for the Watergate scandal.
- Augusto Pinochet rises to power as ruler of Chile after overthrowing the country's Socialist president Salvador Allende in 1973 with the assistance of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States. Pinochet would remain the dictator of Chile until 1990.
- In Guyana, the Rev. Jim Jones led several hundred people from the United States to establish a Utopian Marxist commune in the jungle named Jonestown. Amid allegations of corruption, mental and physical abuse by Jones on his followers, and denying them the right to leave Jonestown, a Congressional committee visited Guyana to investigate in November 1978. They were attacked by Jones' guards and Congressman Leo Ryan was killed. The demented Jones then ordered everyone in the commune to commit suicide. The people drank or were forced to drink cyanide-laced fruit punch. A total of 900 dead were found, including Jones, who shot himself.
- Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative party rise to power in the United Kingdom in 1979, initiating a neoliberal economic policy of reducing government spending, weakening the power of trade unions, and promoting economic and trade liberalization.
- Francisco Franco dies after 39 years. Juan Carlos I crowned King of Spain and calls for reintroduction of democracy, dictatorship in Spain ends. First general elections held in 1977 and Adolfo Suarez becomes President of Spain after his Centrist Democratic Union wins. Socialist and Communist parties legalised. Current Spanish Constitution signed in 1977.
- In 1971, Erich Honecker was chosen to lead East Germany, a role he would fill for the whole of the 1970s and 1980s. The mid-1970s were a time of extreme recession for East Germany, and as a result of the country's higher debts, consumer goods became more and more scarce. If East Germans had enough money to procure a television set, a telephone, or a Trabant automobile, they were placed on waiting lists which caused them to wait as much as a decade for the item in question.
- The Soviet Union under the leadership of Leonid Brezhnev, having the largest armed forces and largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, pursued an agenda to lessen tensions with its rival superpower, the United States for most of the Seventies. That policy known as détente abruptly ended with the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan at the end of 1979. While known as a 'period of stagnation' in Soviet historiography the Seventies are largely considered as a sort of a golden age of the USSR in terms of stability and relative well-being. Nevertheless, hidden inflation continued to increase for the second straight decade, and production consistently fell short of demand in agriculture and consumer goods manufacturing. By the end of the 1970s, signs of social and economic stagnation were becoming very pronounced.
- Enver Hoxha's rule in Albania was characterized in the 1970s by growing isolation, first from a very public schism with the Soviet Union the decade before, and then by a split in friendly relations with China in 1978. Albania normalized relations with Yugoslavia in 1971, and attempted trade agreements with other European nations, but was met with vocal disapproval by the United Kingdom and United States .
- 1978 would become known as the "Year of Three Popes". In August, Paul VI, who had ruled since 1963, died. His successor was Cardinal Albino Luciano, who took the name John Paul. But only 33 days later, he was found dead, and the Catholic Church had to elect another pope. On October 16, Karol Wojtyła, a Polish cardinal, was elected, becoming Pope John Paul II. He was the first non-Italian pope since 1523.
- On 17 September 1978 the Camp David Accords are signed between Israel and Egypt. The Accords led directly to the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. They also resulted in Sadat and Begin sharing the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize.
- Major changes in the People's Republic of China. US president Richard Nixon visited the country in 1972, restoring relations between the two countries, although diplomatic ties were not established until 1979. In 1976, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai both died, beginning a new era. After the brief rule of Mao's chosen successor Hua Guofeng, Deng Xiaoping emerged as China's paramount leader, and began to shift the country towards market economics and away from ideologically driven policies.
- In Iraq, Saddam Hussein began to rise to power by helping to modernize the country. One major initiative was removing the western monopoly on oil which later during the high prices of 1973 oil crisis would help Hussein's ambitious plans. On July 16, 1979, he assumed the presidency cementing his rise to power. His presidency led to the breaking off of a Syrian-Iraqi unification, which had been sought under his predecessor Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr and would lead to the Iran–Iraq War starting in the 1980s.
- Japan's economic growth surpassed the rest of the world in the 1970s, unseating the United States as the world's foremost industrial power.
- On April 17, 1975, Khmer Rouge take over Cambodia's capital Phnom penh
- Idi Amin, President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979, after rising to power in a coup becomes infamous for his brutal dictatorship in Uganda. Amin's regime persecutes opposition to his rule, pursues a racist agenda of removing Asians from Uganda (particularly Indians who arrived in Uganda during British colonial rule). Amin initiates the Ugandan–Tanzanian War in 1978 in alliance with Libya based on an expansionist agenda to annex territory from Tanzania which results in Ugandan defeat and Amin's overthrow in 1979.
- South African activist Steve Biko dies in 1977.
- Francisco Macías Nguema ruled Equatorial Guinea as a brutal dictator from 1969 until his overthrow and execution in 1979.
- Jean-Bédel Bokassa, who had ruled the Central African Republic since 1965, proclaimed himself emperor Bokassa I and renamed his impoverished country the Central African Empire in 1977. He was overthrown two years later and went into exile.
- The 1970 Bhola cyclone, a 120-mph (193 km/h) tropical cyclone, hit the densely populated Ganges Delta region of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) during November 1970, killing an estimated 500,000 people (considered the 20th century's worst cyclone disaster).
- On July 28, 1976 the Tangshan earthquake flattened Tangshan, China, killing 242,769 people, and injuring 164,851.
- On August 8, 1975 the Banqiao Dam, in China's Henan Province, failed after a freak typhoon; over 200,000 people perished.
- Bangladesh famine of 1974 — Official records claim 26,000. However, various sources claim about 1,000,000.
- On January 5, 1970 an earthquake (Richter Scale 7.7 magnitude) at Yunnan, China killed at least 15,621.
- On May 31, 1970 the 1970 Ancash earthquake caused a landslide that buried the town of Yungay, Peru; more than 47,000 people were killed.
- On September 29, 1971 a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal, in Orissa State in India, killed 10,000.
- On February 4, 1976 a mayor earthquake in Guatemala and Honduras killed more than 22,000.
- On December 24, 1974 Cyclone Tracy devastated the Australian city of Darwin.
- On April 3, 1974 the Super Outbreak occurred in the U.S. producing 148 tornadoes and killing a total of 330 people.
- On November 14, 1970, a Southern Airways jet carrying the entire Marshall (West Virginia) football team and boosters crashed into a Ceredo (West Virginia) mountainside on approach to the Tri-State airport in heavy rain and fog. They were returning from a road game loss at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. There were no survivors.
- On September 10, 1976, in the Zagreb mid-air collision a British Airways Trident and a Yugoslav DC-9 collide near Zagreb, Yugoslavia (now Croatia), killing all 176 aboard.
- On March 27, 1977, two Boeing 747s (a KLM and a Pan Am) collided on the runway in heavy fog at Los Rodeos Airport in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, killing 583 people, the worst single aviation accident on record.
- On May 25, 1979, the American Airlines Flight 191 from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles International Airport, crashed during take-off, killing all 271 on board and 2 people on the ground.
The color orange was popular in the 1970s
Developing nations that were rich in oil experienced economic growth; others, not so endowed, saw the economic strain of oil price hikes lead to economic decline, particularly in Africa where a number of moderately democratic states became dictatorial regimes. Many Middle Eastern democracies turned into regimes with pseudo-democratic governments. Several Asian countries also saw the rise of dictators, including Indonesia, Philippines, and South Korea.
People were influenced by the rapid pace of societal change and the aspiration for a more egalitarian society in cultures that were long colonized and have an even longer history of hierarchical social structure.
The Green Revolution of the late 1960s brought about self sufficiency in food in many developing economies. At the same time an increasing number of people began to seek urban prosperity over agrarian life. This consequently saw the duality of transition of diverse interaction across social communities amid increasing information blockade across social class.
Other common global ethos of the 1970s world include: increasingly flexible and varied gender roles for women in industrialized societies. More women could enter the work force. However, the gender role of men remained as that of a bread-winner. The period also saw the socioeconomic effect of an ever-increasing number of women entering the non-agrarian economic workforce. The Iranian revolution also affected global attitudes to and among those of the Muslim faith toward the end of the 1970s.
The global experience of the cultural transition of the 1970s and an experience of a global zeitgeist revealed the interdependence of economies since World War II, in a world increasingly polarized between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The 1970s were perhaps the worst decade of most industrialized countries' economic performance since the Great Depression. Although there was no severe economic depression as witnessed in the 1930s, economic growth rates were considerably lower than previous decades. As a result, the 1970s adversely distinguished itself from the prosperous postwar period between 1945 and 1973. The oil shocks of 1973 and 1979 added to the existing ailments and conjured high inflation throughout much of the world for the rest of the decade. U.S. manufacturing industries began to decline as a result, with the US running its last trade surplus (as of 2009) in 1975. In contrast, Japan's economy continued to expand and prosper during the decade, boosted by growing exports.
The average annual inflation rate from 1900 to 1970 was approximately 2.5%. From 1970, however, the average rate hit about 6%, topping out at 13.3% by 1979. This period is also known for "stagflation", a phenomenon in which inflation and unemployment steadily increased, therefore leading to double-digit interest rates that rose to unprecedented levels (above 12% per year). The prime rate hit 21.5 in December 1980, the highest in history. By the time of 1980, when U.S. President Jimmy Carter was running for re-election against Ronald Reagan, the misery index (the sum of the unemployment rate and the inflation rate) had reached an all-time high of 21.98%. The economic problems of the 1970s would result in a sluggish cynicism replacing the optimistic attitudes of the 1950s and 1960s. Faith in government was at an all-time low in the aftermath of Vietnam and Watergate, as exemplified by the low voter turnout in the 1976 United States presidential election.
In Eastern Europe, Soviet-style command economies began showing signs of stagnation, in which successes were persistently dogged by setbacks. The oil shock increased East European, particularly Soviet, exports, but a growing inability to increase agricultural output caused growing concern to the governments of the COMECON block, and a growing dependence on food imported from democratic nations.
On the other hand, export-driven economic development in Asia, especially by the Four Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan), resulted in rapid economic transformation and industrialization. Their abundance of cheap labor, combined with educational and other policy reforms, set the foundation for development in the region during the 1970s and beyond.
Economically, the 1970s were marked by the energy crisis which peaked in 1973 and 1979 (see 1973 oil crisis and 1979 oil crisis). After the first oil shock in 1973, gasoline was rationed in many countries. Europe particularly depended on the Middle East for oil; the U.S. was also affected even though it had its own oil reserves. Many European countries introduced car-free days and weekends. In the U.S., customers with a license plate ending in an odd number were only allowed to buy gasoline on odd-numbered days, while even-numbered plate-holders could only purchase gasoline on even-numbered days. The realization that oil reserves were not endless and technological development was not sustainable without potentially harming the environment ended the belief in limitless progress that had existed since the 19th century. As a result, ecological awareness rose substantially. This had a huge effect on the economy at that time.
Science and technology
The 1970s witnessed an explosion in the understanding of solid-state physics, driven by the development of the integrated circuit, and the laser. Stephen Hawking developed his theories of black holes and the boundary-condition of the universe at this period with his theory called Hawking radiation. The biological sciences greatly advanced, with molecular biology, bacteriology, virology, and genetics achieving their modern forms in this decade. Biodiversity became a cause of major concern as habitat destruction, and Stephen Jay Gould's theory of punctuated equilibrium revolutionized evolutionary thought.
spacecraft and space explorations
As the 1960s ended, the United States had made two successful manned lunar landings. Many Americans lost interest afterward, feeling that since the country had accomplished President John F. Kennedy's goal of landing on the moon by the end of the 1960s, there was no need for further missions. There was also a growing sentiment that the billions of dollars spent on the space program should be put to other uses. The moon landings continued through 1972, but the near loss of the Apollo 13 astronauts in April 1970 served to further anti-NASA feelings. Plans for missions up to Apollo 20 were canceled, and the remaining Apollo and Saturn hardware was used for the Skylab space station program in 1973–1974, and for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, which was carried out in July 1975. Many of the ambitious projects NASA had planned for the 1970s were canceled amid heavy budget cutbacks, and instead it would devote most of the decade to the development of the space shuttle. ASTP was the last manned American space flight for the next five years. 1979 witnessed the spectacular reentry of Skylab over Australia. NASA had planned for a shuttle mission to the space station, but the shuttles were not ready to fly until 1981, too late to save it.
Meanwhile, the Soviets, having failed completely in their attempt at manned lunar landings, canceled the program in 1972. But by then, they had already started flying space stations. This would have problems of its own, especially the tragic loss of the Soyuz 11 crew in July 1971. It eventually proved a success, with missions as long as six months being conducted by the end of the decade.
In terms of unmanned missions, a variety of lunar and planetary probes were launched by the US and Soviet programs during the decade. The greatest success was that of the Voyagers, which took advantage of a rare alignment of the outer planets to visit all of them except Pluto by the end of the 1980s.
China entered the space race in 1970 with the launching of its first satellite, but technological backwardness and limited funds would prevent the country from becoming a significant force in space exploration. Japan launched a satellite for the first time in 1972. The European Space Agency was founded during the decade as well.
- The first face lifts were attempted in the 1970s.
- The first MRI image was published in 1973.
- César Milstein and Georges Köhler report their discovery of how to use hybridoma cells to isolate monoclonal antibodies, effectively beginning the history of monoclonal antibody use in science
- Carl Woese and George E. Fox classify archaea as a new, separate domain of life.
- After successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the WHO certified the eradication of smallpox in December 1979.
- The first organisms genetically engineered were bacteria in 1973 and then mice in 1974.
- 1977 The first complete DNA genome to be sequenced is that of bacteriophage φX174.
Social science intersected with hard science in the works in natural language processing by Terry Winograd (1973) and the establishment of the first cognitive sciences department in the world at MIT in 1979. The fields of generative linguistics and cognitive psychology went through a renewed vigor with symbolic modeling of semantic knowledge while the final devastation of the long standing tradition of behaviorism came about through the severe criticism of B.F. Skinner's work in 1971 by the cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky.
Electronics and communications
The birth of modern computing was in the 1970s, which saw the development of:
The 1970s was an era of fuel price increases, rising insurance rates, safety concerns, and emissions controls. The 1973 oil crisis caused a move towards smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles. Attempts were made to produce electric cars, but they were largely unsuccessful. In the United States, imported cars became a significant factor for the first time, and several domestic-built subcompact models entered the market. American-made cars such as the "quirky" AMC Gremlin, the jelly bean shaped AMC Pacer, and Pontiac Firebird's powerful Trans Am "sum up" the decade. Muscle cars and convertible models faded from favor during the early-1970s. It was believed that the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado would be the last American-built convertible, ending the open body style that once dominated the auto industry.
Styling on American cars became progressively more boxy and rectilinear during the 1970s, with coupes being the most popular body style. Wood paneling and shag carpets dominated interiors. American cars reached the largest sizes they would ever attain, but by 1977 General Motors managed to downsizing its full-size models to more manageable dimensions. Ford followed suit two years later, with Chrysler offering new small front-wheel-drive models, but was suffering from a worsening financial situation caused by various factors. By 1979, the company was near bankruptcy, and under its new president Lee Iaccoca (who had been fired from Ford the year before), asked for a government bailout. Meanwhile, American Motors beat out the U.S. Big Three to a subcompact car (the Gremlin) in 1970, but its fortunes declined throughout the decade, forcing it into a partnership with the French automaker Renault in 1979.
European car design underwent major changes during the 1970s due to the need for performance with high fuel efficiency – designs such as the Volkswagen Golf and Passat, BMW 3, 5 and 7 series, and Mercedes Benz S-Class appeared at the latter half of the decade. Ford Europe, specifically Ford Germany, also eclipsed the profits of its American parent company. The designs of Giorgetto Giugiaro became dominant, along with those of Marcello Gandini in Italy. The 1970s also saw the decline and practical failure of the British car industry – a combination of militant strikes and poor quality control effectively halted development at British Leyland, owner of all other British car companies during the 1970s.
The Japanese automobile industry flourished during the 1970s compared to other major auto industries. Japanese vehicles became internationally renowned for their affordability, reliability, and fuel-efficiency, which was very important to many customers due to the oil embargo. Japanese car manufacturing was prominent in its computerized robotic manufacturing techniques and lean manufacturing, and this contributed to high-efficiency and low production costs. The Honda Civic was introduced in 1973, and sold at record numbers due to its high fuel-efficiency. Other popular compact cars included the Toyota Corolla and the Datsun Sunny, in addition to other cars from those companies and others such as Subaru, Mitsubishi, and Mazda
Role of women in society
shortly after becoming the United Kingdom's first woman Prime Minister in 1979. Thatcher's political and economic agenda began the first government committed to neoliberalism
The role of women in society was profoundly altered with growing feminism across the world and with the presence and rise of a significant number of women as heads of state outside of monarchies and heads of government in a number of countries across the world during the 1970s, many being the first women to hold such positions. Non-monarch women heads of state and heads of government in this period included Isabel Martínez de Perón as the first woman President in Argentina and the first woman non-monarch head of state in the Western hemisphere in 1974 until being deposed in 1976, Elisabeth Domitien becomes the first woman Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, Indira Gandhi continuing as Prime Minister of India until 1977 (and taking office again in 1980), Prime Minister Golda Meir of Israel and acting Chairman Soong Ching-ling of the People's Republic of China continuing their leadership from the sixties, Lidia Gueiler Tejada becoming the interim President of Bolivia beginning from 1979 to 1980, Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo becoming the first woman Prime Minister of Portugal in 1979, and Margaret Thatcher becoming the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1979. Both Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher would remain important political figures in the following decade in the 1980s.
The opposition to the War in Vietnam that began in the 1960s grew exponentially during the early 1970s. One of the best-known anti-war demonstrations was the Kent State shootings. In 1970, university students were protesting the war and the draft. Riots ensued during the weekend and the National Guard was called in to maintain the peace. However, by Monday, 4 May 1970, tensions arose again, and as the crowd grew larger, the National Guard started shooting. Four students were killed and nine injured. This event caused disbelief and shock throughout the country and became a staple of anti-Vietnam demonstrations.
The 1970s started a mainstream affirmation of the environmental issues early activists from the 1960s, such as Rachel Carson and Murray Bookchin had warned of. The moon landing that had occurred at the end of the previous decade transmitted back concrete images of the Earth as an integrated, life-supporting system and shaped a public willingness to preserve nature. On April 22, 1970, the United States celebrated its first Earth Day in which over two thousand colleges and universities and roughly ten thousand primary and secondary schools participated.
The Feminist Movement in the United States which began in the 1960s carried over to the 1970s, and took a prominent role within society. The fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (which legalized female suffrage) in 1970 was commemorated by the Women's Strike for Equality and other protests.
With the anthology Sisterhood is Powerful and other works, such as Sexual Politics, being published at the start of the decade, feminism started to reach a larger audience than ever before. In addition, the Supreme Court's 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade that constitutionalized the right to an abortion brought the women's rights movement into the national political spotlight.
Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Betty Ford, Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug, Robin Morgan, Kate Millet, Elizabeth Holtzman, amongst many others, led the movement for women's equality.
Most efforts of the movement, especially aims at social equality and repeal of the remaining oppressive, sexist laws, were successful. Doors of opportunity were more numerous and much further open than before as women gained unheard of success in business, politics, education, science, the law, and even the home. Though most aims of the movement were successful, however, there were some significant failures, most notably the failure to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution with only three more states needed to ratify it (efforts to ratify ERA in the unratified states continues to this day and twenty-two states have adopted state ERAs). Also, the wage gap failed to close, but it did become smaller (there is also action still taken to ensure pay equality to this day).
The original feminist movement largely ended in 1982 with the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment, and with new conservative leadership in Washington, D.C.. American women created a brief, but powerful, third-wave in the early 1990s which addressed sexual harassment (inspired by the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas Senate Judiciary Committee hearings of 1991) and violence against women. The results of the movement included a new awareness of such issues amongst women, and unprecedented numbers of women elected to public office, particularly the United States Senate.
While still around in the 1970s, the African American Civil Rights Movement had achieved its main goals, lost much passion with the murders of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Bobby Kennedy, and backed into the shadows, largely to make way for the feminist revolution which it itself had overshadowed for most of the 1960s. The seventies were seen as the "woman's turn", though many feminists incorporated civil rights ideals into their movement. A courageous feminist who had inherited the leadership position of the civil rights movement from her husband, Coretta Scott King, as leader of the black movement, called for an end to all discrimination, helping and encouraging the Woman's Liberation movement, and other movements as well. At the National Women's Conference in 1977 a minority women's resolution, promoted by King and others, passed to ensure racial equality in the movement's goals, after which, in one of the most emotional moments of the Conference, women of all races joined hands and sung "We Shall Overcome". Similarly, the gay movement made a huge step forward in the 1970s with the election of political figures such as Harvey Milk to public office and the advocating of anti-gay discrimination legislation passed and not passed during the decade. Many celebrities, including Freddie Mercury and Andy Warhol, also "came out" during this decade, bringing gay culture further into the limelight.
Main article: 1970s in music
the popularity of the Disco
music genre peaked during the middle to late 1970s.
The early 1970s saw the rise of popular soft rock/pop rock music, with recording artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, The Carpenters, Ray Stevens, Elton John, James Taylor, John Denver, The Eagles, America, Chicago, The Doobie Brothers, Paul McCartney and Wings, Bread and Steely Dan as well as the further rise of such popular, influential rhythm and blues (R&B) artists as multi-instrumentalist Stevie Wonder and the popular quintet The Jackson 5. A major event in music in the early 70s, were the deaths of popular rock stars Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison all at the age of 27. Funk, an offshoot of Soul music with a greater emphasis on beats, influences from rhythm and blues, jazz, and psychedelic rock, was also very popular. The mid-1970s also saw the rise of disco music, which dominated during the last half of the decade with bands like the Bee Gees, ABBA, Boney M, Donna Summer, KC and the Sunshine Band, etc. In response to this, rock music became increasingly hard-edged with artists such as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Minimalism also emerged, led by composers such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Michael Nyman. This was a break from the intellectual serial music of the tradition of Schoenberg which lasted from the early 1900s to 1960s.
Experimental classical music influenced both art rock and progressive rock genres with bands such as Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues and Soft Machine. Hard rock and Heavy metal also emerged among British bands Led Zeppelin, Free, The Who, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and Judas Priest. Rock opera was launched by Queen. Australian band AC/DC also found its hard rock origins in the early 1970s and its breakthrough in 1979's Highway to Hell, while popular American rock bands included Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith, Blue Öyster Cult, "shocksters" Alice Cooper and Kiss, and guitar-oriented Ted Nugent and Van Halen. In Europe, there was a surge of popularity in the early decade for glam rock. The mid-'70s saw the rise of punk music from its protopunk/garage band roots in the 1960s and early 1970s. Major acts include the Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols, and The Clash, while seminal band The Runaways would produce 1980s solo recording artists Joan Jett and Lita Ford. The highest-selling album was Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon (1973). It remained on the Billboard 200 albums chart for 741 weeks. Electronic instrumental prog rock was particularly significant in continental Europe, allowing bands like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Can, and Faust to circumvent the language barrier. Their synthesiser-heavy "Kraut rock", along with the work of Brian Eno (for a time the keyboard player with Roxy Music), would be a major influence on subsequent synth rock. The mid-1970s, saw the rise of electronic art music musicians such as Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, and Tomita, who with Brian Eno were a significant influence of the development of New Age Music.Japanese band Yellow Magic Orchestra helped pioneer synthpop,with their self-titled album(in 1978)setting a template with less minimalism and with a strong emphasis on melody, and drawing from a wider range of influences than had been employed by Kraftwerk.YMO also introduced the microprocessor-based Roland MC-8 sequencer and TR-808 rhythm machine to popular music.
The rise of disco music occurred in the late 1970s; however, the first half of the 1970s saw many jazz musicians from the Miles Davis school achieve cross-over success through jazz-rock fusion with bands like Weather Report, Return to Forever and The Mahavishnu Orchestra who also influence this genre. In Germany, Manfred Eicher started the ECM label, which quickly made a name for 'chamber jazz'. Towards the end of the decade, Jamaican Reggae music, already popular in the Caribbean and Africa since the early 1970s, became very popular in the U.S. and in Europe, mostly because of reggae superstar and legend Bob Marley. The late '70s also saw the beginning of hip-hop music with the songs "Rapper's Delight" by Sugarhill Gang and "King Tim III" by the Fatback Band. Hip Hop was also influenced by the song "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" by Gil Scott Heron. Country music remained very popular in the U.S. Between 1977 and 1979, it became more mainstream, as Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Allman Brothers Band all scored hits which reached both country and pop charts.
Two of popular music's most successful artists died within eight weeks of each other in 1977: Elvis Presley (on August 16) and Bing Crosby (October 14). Presley — whose top 1970s hit was 1972's "Burning Love" — ranked among the top artists of the rock era, while Crosby was among the most successful pre-rock era artists.
Statistically, ABBA was the most successful musical act of the 1970s, topping approximately 370 million sales since 1972, followed by Led Zeppelin at approximately 300 million sales since 1968.
Main article: 1970s in film
Oscar winners: Patton (1970), The French Connection (1971), The Godfather (1972), The Sting (1973), The Godfather Part II (1974), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Rocky (1976), Annie Hall (1977), The Deer Hunter (1978), Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
The 10 highest-grossing films of the decade are (in order from highest to lowest grossing): Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Jaws, Grease, The Exorcist, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, The Godfather, Saturday Night Fever, Rocky and Jaws 2 Two of these movies came out on the same day, June 16, 1978.
In 1970s European cinema, the failure of the Prague Spring brought about nostalgic motion pictures such as István Szabó's Szerelmesfilm (1970). German New Wave and Rainer Fassbinder's existential movies characterized film-making in Germany. The movies of the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman reached a new level of expression in motion pictures like Cries and Whispers (1973).
Asian cinema of the 1970s catered to the rising middle class fantasies and struggles. In the Bollywood cinema of India, this was epitomized by the movies of Bollywood superhero Amitabh Bachchan. Another Asian touchstone beginning in the early 1970s was Hong Kong martial arts film which sparked a greater interest in Chinese martial arts around the world. Martial arts film reached the peak of its popularity largely in part due to its greatest icon, Bruce Lee.
During the 1970s, Hollywood continued the New Hollywood revolution of the late-1960s with young film-makers. Top-grossing Jaws (1975) ushered in the blockbuster era of filmmaking, though it was eclipsed two years later by the science-fiction epic Star Wars (1977). "Saturday Night Fever" (1977) single-handedly touched off disco mania in the U.S. "The Godfather" (1972) was also one of the decade's greatest successes and its first follow-up, The Godfather Part II (1974) was also successful for a sequel.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show flopped in its 1975 debut, only to reappear as a more-popular midnight show later in the decade.
The Exorcist (1973) was a box office success for the horror genre, inspiring many other so-called "devil (Satan)" films like The Omen and both of their own first sequels.
All That Jazz (1979) closes out the 1970s. It won four Oscars and several other awards. In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
In the United Kingdom, color channels were now available; three stations had begun broadcasting in color between 1967 and 1969. UK dramas included Play for Today and Pennies From Heaven. The science fiction show Doctor Who reached its peak. Many popular British situation comedies (sit-coms) were gentle, innocent, unchallenging comedies of middle-class life; typical examples were Terry and June, Sykes, and The Good Life. A more diverse view of society was offered by series like Porridge and Rising Damp. In police dramas there was a move towards increasing realism; popular shows included Dixon of Dock Green, Softly, Softly, and The Sweeney.
In the United States, long-standing trends were declining. The Red Skelton Show and The Ed Sullivan Show, long-revered American institutions, were canceled. The innocent, 1950s-style family sitcom saw its last breath at the start of the new decade with The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family. To reflect the new social trends, television changed dramatically with more urban/edgy settings and replaced the popular rural/country wholesome look of the previous decade. This particular trend was known as the Rural purge. Television was transformed by what became termed as "social consciousness" programming such as All in the Family, which broke down television barriers. With the women's movement reflected in new shows about single women in 'traditionally male' careers, such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Police Woman and others. In addition to this, shows featuring minorities as main characters, such as Sanford and Son and Good Times, broke down barriers and became very popular. The television western, which had been very popular in the 1950s and 1960s, all but died out during the 1970s, with Bonanza, The Virginian, and Gunsmoke ending their runs. Replacing westerns were police and detective shows, a trend that would last through the 1980s. By the mid- to late 1970s, "jiggle television"—programs centered around sexual gratification and bawdy humor and situations such as Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat and Three's Company—became popular. Soap operas expanded their audience beyond housewives with the rise of All My Children and As the World Turns. Game shows such as Match Game, The Hollywood Squares and Family Feud were also popular daytime television. The height of Match Game's popularity occurred between 1973 and 1977, before it was overtaken by Family Feud in 1978. Television's current longest-running game show, The Price is Right began its run hosted by Bob Barker in 1972. Another influential genre was the television newscast, which built on its initial widespread success in the 1960s. Finally, the variety show received its last hurrah during this decade, with shows such as Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and Donny & Marie. The science fiction phenomenon of the late-1970s that began with Star Wars went to television with shows such as Battlestar Galactica.
The television information retrieval service Teletext was initially introduced when the BBC Ceefax system went live on 23 September 1974.
HBO Launched in November 8, 1972 becomes first pay-TV channel.On September 30, 1975, HBO became the first TV network to continuously deliver signals via satellite when it showed the "Thrilla in Manila" boxing-match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. BBC2 became the first computer generated ident in the world. In 1974 Australian TV tests color transmissions (full-time color comes in '75.) South Africa has television service for the first time.
Computer and video games
In the 1970s, the renegade sports leagues of the American Basketball Association (founded in 1967), the North American Soccer League (also founded in 1967), the World Hockey Association (lasting from 1972 through 1979), and the World Series Cricket (lasting from 1977 to 1979) challenged older, established organizations. The "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, who proclaimed the women's game to be inferior, was a turning point in sports during the decade; after King's victory, the match was heralded as a major victory for women in athletics.
The 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany was marred by terrorism and Cold War-related international controversy. Among the competition's highlights was the performance of swimmer Mark Spitz, who set seven World Records to win a record of seven gold medals in one Olympics. The 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada were highlighted by the legendary performance of Romanian female gymnast Nadia Comăneci, but suffered from boycotts by several countries in protest of South Africa's apartheid policies. - Brazil won FIFA World Cup 1970 in Mexico. - West Germany won FIFA World Cup 1974 in West Germany. - Argentina won FIFA World Cup 1978 in Argentina. - West Germany won UEFA European Football Championship 1972 in Belgium. - Czechoslovakia won UEFA European Football Championship 1976 in Yugoslavia. - The 1970 FIFA World Cup became he first world cup to be televised in color. - ESPN is Launched in September 7, 1979
Fiction in the early '70s brought a return to old-fashioned storytelling, especially with Erich Segal's Love Story. The seventies also saw the decline of previously well-respected writers, such as Saul Bellow and Peter De Vries, who both released poorly received novels at the start of the decade. Racism remained a key literary subject. John Updike emerged as a major literary figure. Reflections of the 1960s experience also found roots in the literature of the decade through the works of Joyce Carol Oates and Morris Wright. With the rising cost of hard-cover books and the increasing readership of "genre fiction", the paperback became a popular medium. Criminal non-fiction also became a popular topic. Irreverence and satire, typified in Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, were common literary elements. The horror genre also emerged, and by the late '70s Stephen King had become one of the most popular genre novelists.
In non-fiction, several books related to Nixon and the Watergate scandal topped the best-selling lists. 1977 brought many high-profile biographical works of literary figures, such as those of Virginia Woolf, Agatha Christie, and J.R.R. Tolkien.
The Sears Tower
became the world's tallest building when completed in 1973.
Architecture in the 1970s began as a continuation of styles created by such architects as Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Early in the decade, several architects competed to build the tallest building in the world. Of these buildings, the most notable are the John Hancock Center and Sears Tower in Chicago, both designed by Bruce Graham and Fazlur Khan and the World Trade Center towers in New York by American architect Minoru Yamasaki. The decade also brought experimentation in geometric design, pop-art, postmodernism and early deconstructivism.
In 1974, Louis Kahn's last and arguably most famous building, the National Assembly Building of Dhaka, Bangladesh was completed. The building's use of open spaces and groundbreaking geometry brought rare attention to the small south Asian country. Hugh Stubbins' Citicorp Center revolutionized the incorporation of solar panels in office buildings. The seventies brought further experimentation in glass and steel construction and geometric design. Chinese architect I. M. Pei's John Hancock Tower in Boston, Massachusetts is an example, although like many buildings of the time, the experimentation was flawed and glass panes fell from the façade. In 1976, the completed CN Tower in Toronto became the world's tallest free-standing structure on land, an honor it held until 2007. The fact that no taller tower had been built between the construction of the CN Tower and the Burj Khalifa shows how innovative the architecture and engineering of the structure truly was.
But modern architecture was increasingly criticized, both from the point of view of postmodern architects such as Philip Johnson, Charles Moore and Michael Graves who advocated a return to pre-modern styles of architecture and the incorporation of pop elements as a means of communicating with a broader public. Other architects, such as Peter Eisenman of the New York Five advocated the pursuit of form for the sake of form and drew on semiotics theory for support.
"High Tech" architecture moved forward as Buckminster Fuller continued his experiments in geodesic domes while the George Pompidou Center, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, which opened in 1977, was a prominent example. As the decade drew to a close, Frank Gehry broke out in new direction with his own house in Santa Monica, a highly complex structure, half excavated out of an existing bungalow and half cheaply built construction using materials such as chicken wire fencing.Terracotta Army figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers in Lintong District, Xi'an, Shaanxi province, near the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor (Chinese: 秦始皇陵; pinyin: Qín Shǐhuáng Ling). In 1978 electrical workers in Mexico City find the remains of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in the middle of the city.
Clothing styles during the 1970s were influenced by outfits seen in popular music groups and in Hollywood films. In clothing, prints, especially from India and other parts of the world, were fashionable.
Much of the 1970s fashion styles were influenced by the hippie movement.
Significant fashion trends of the 1970s include:
- Sideburns were popular for men, as were beards, which had been out of fashion since the 19th century.
- The large, round Afro was very popular among African-Americans.
- Women's hairstyles went from long and straight in the first half of the decade to the feathery cut of Farrah Fawcett.
The following articles contain brief timelines which list the most prominent events of the decade:
1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979
- ^ Wolfe, Tom. ""The "Me" Decade and the Third Great Awakening". http://nymag.com/print/?/news/features/45938/index2.html.
- ^ Vatikiotis, P.J. (1992). The History of Modern Egypt (Fourth ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University. p. 443. ISBN 0-8018-4214-X.
- ^ a b Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York: Basic Books. pp. 292–293. ISBN 0-465-04195-7.
- ^ Hinckley, James; Robinson, Jon G. (2005). The Big Book of Car Culture: The Armchair Guide to Automotive Americana. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing Company. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-7603-1965-9. http://books.google.com/?id=vziU_ZfY-0cC&pg=PA8&dq=Pacer+Gremlin+sum+up+1970s. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- ^ Davis, Michael W. R. (1999). General Motors: A Photographic History. Arcadia Publishing SC. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-7385-0019-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=UgvoFKJkqMIC&pg=PA100&dq=1976+Cadillac+Eldorado+would+be+the+last+American-built+convertible. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- ^ Baxter, Mike (1995). Product Design: A Practical Guide to Systematic Methods of New Product Development. Taylor & Francis. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-7487-4197-7. http://books.google.com/?id=2j6R1nMBL20C&pg=PA53&dq=boxy+cars+1970s+design. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- ^ Unterberger, 2002, pp. 1330-1.
- ^ "All-Time Box Office: World-wide". http://www.imdb.com/boxoffice/alltimegross?region=world-wide.
- ^ a b "Time Machine > 1970s". Collectors Weekly, undated, retrieved on 2009-01-06.
- Edward D. Berkowitz. Something Happened: A Political and Cultural Overview of the Seventies (Columbia University Press, 2006). 283 pp.), liberal perspective
- Peter Carroll. It Seemed Like Nothing Happened: The Tragedy and Promise of America in the 1970s (1982)
- David Frum. How We Got Here: The 70’s (2000), conservative perspective
- Bruce Schulman. The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics (2001)