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The Seventies was the decade that ran from January 1, 1970 to 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 1960s, continued in 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. Western countries experienced an economic recession due to oil crisis caused by oil embargoes by Arab countries in the Middle East, while Japan’s economy boomed. 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 government being created in the United Kingdom with election of the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher in 1979. 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. The economy of Japan witnessed a large boom in this period. The United States withdrew its military forces from their previous involvement in Vietnam 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 a peace agreement with Israel which was followed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat being assassinated. Political tensions in Iran exploded with the Iranian Revolution which overthrew the Iranian monarchy and established an Islamic theocracy in Iran. The economies of many third world countries 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 the war through the Marshall Plan; however, their economic growth was slowed by the oil crisis.
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 crumbled into chaotic regimes with pseudodemocratic governments. Several Asian countries also saw the rise of dictators, including South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia. As well, 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 first face lifts were attempted in the 1970s. 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.
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Other common global ethos of the seventies 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 polarised between the United States and the Soviet Union. Novelist Tom Wolfe coined the term Me decade in New York magazine in August 1976 referring to the 1970s. The term describes a general new attitude of Americans towards self-awareness and, in clear contrast with the 1960s, away from history, community, and human reciprocity awareness.
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 Western nations. On the other hand, export-driven economic development in the Far East, 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.
The 1970s were perhaps the worst decade of Western and certainly of American 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. Then, the world economy was buoyed by the Marshall Plan and the robust American economy. However, the high standing enjoyed by the American economy gradually became unglued by years of high domestic spending (begun during the Kennedy administration and continued with the Great Society campaign) and funding for the Vietnam War. 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. Soaring oil prices compelled most American businesses to raise their prices as well, with inflationary results. 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
Economically, the seventies 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
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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 affect on the economy at that time.
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, thirdwave in the early 1990s which addressed sexual harrasment (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.
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. Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Betty Ford, Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug, Robin Morgan, Kate Millet, Elizabeth Holtzman, and many other women-and men-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
While still around in the ’70s, 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,
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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 onslaught 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.
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 ’70s 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.
Science and technology
Voyager spacecraft and space explorations 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 boundarycondition of the universe at this period. 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.
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 Kennedy’s goal of landing on the moon by the end of the ’60s, 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
The birth of modern computing was in the 1970s, which saw the development of the world’s first general microprocessor, the C programming language, rudimentary personal computers, pocket calculators, the first supercomputer, and consumer video games. The 1970s were also the start of fiber optics, which transformed the communications industry. Microwave ovens became commercially available, as did VCRs.
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Ford Europe, specifically Ford Germany, also eclipsed the profits of its American mother 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, poor quality control effectively halted development at British Leyland, owner of all other British car companies during the 1970s.
The period is collectively known as ’The Era of Poor Quality Control’ with respect to established manufacturers, and the period in which current market leading models from Europe first made their impact. When the 1970s began, the muscle car was starting to die out. Rising insurance rates, safety concerns, and emissions controls would result in the near-extinction of performance cars by the middle of the decade. For similar reasons, convertibles faded from favor, and the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado would be the last American-built one until 1982, although at the time it was believed that they would never return. The 1973 oil embargo would also cause a move towards smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles. Attempts were made to produce electric cars, but they were largely unsuccessful. Imports became a significant factor for the first time, and subcompact cars entered the market. The rise of imports (particularly Japanese cars) owed a great deal to the fuel crises, but also had a lot to do with the poor quality control that was characteristic of American cars during the decade. Styling on cars became progressively more boxy and rectilinear during the 1970s, and coupes were the most popular body style. Wood paneling and shag carpets dominated interiors. American cars reached the largest sizes they would ever attain, but in 1977 General Motors staged an unprecedented coup by downsizing its full-sizers to more manageable dimensions. Ford followed suit two years later, but Chrysler could not, 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), made the controversial move of asking for a government bailout. Meanwhile, American Motors beat out the 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 a renascence in the 1970s due to the need for performance with high fuel efficiency - designs such as the Volkswagen Golf & Passat, BMW 3, 5 and 7 series, and Mercedes Benz S-class appeared at the latter half of the decade.
Role of women in society
Isabel Martínez de Perón becomes the first woman President of Argentina in 1974 and the first woman non-monarch head of state in the Western hemisphere. 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
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Margaret Thatcher 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. 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.
Patti Smith performing in Copenhagen, October 6, 1976 multi-instrumentalist Stevie Wonder and the popular quintet The Jackson 5. Funk, an offshoot of blues, 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, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, etc. In response to this, rock music became increasingly hard-edged with artists such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Minimalism also emerged, lead 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 as well as the punk rock and New Wave genres. Hard rock and Heavy metal also emerged among British bands The Who, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest. Australian band AC/DC also found its hard rock origins in the early 1970s. 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
The early 1970s saw the rise of popular soft rock/pop rock music, with such legendary recording artists as The Carpenters, 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
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early 1970s. Major acts include the Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols, and The Clash. The highest-selling album was Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon (1973). It remained on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart for 741 weeks. 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 crossover success through jazz-rock fusion. 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 song "Rapper’s Delight" by Sugarhill Gang. Country music remained very popular in the U.S. In 1977, it became more mainstream after Kenny Rogers became a solo singer and scored many hits on both the country and pop charts.
"The Godfather" (1973) was also one of the decade’s greatest successes. The Rocky Horror Picture Show bombed terribly (1974), only to reappear as a midnight show (1977). The Exorcist (1973) was truly a box office success for the horror genre. 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 (sitcoms) 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. 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. The television western, which had been very popular in the 1950s and 1960s, all but died out during the ’70s, 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
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 ’70s was traditional Hong Kong martial arts film which sparked a greater interest in Chinese martial arts to the West. Martial arts film reached the peak of its popularity largely in part due to its greatest icon, Bruce Lee. Hollywood emerged from its early 1970s slump 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) singlehandedly touched off disco mania in the US.
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Charlie’s Angels 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.
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 highprofile 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. 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
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
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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 freestanding 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 Dubai 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.
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.
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 were 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 Comaneci and the strong U.S. boxing team, but suffered from boycotts by several countries in protest of South Africa’s apartheid policies.
• Major conflict between pro-western (capitalist) and pro-eastern (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. • Rise in the utilization 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
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
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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. • The presence and rise of a significant number of women as heads of state and heads of government in a number of countries across the world, many being the first women to hold such positions, such as Soong Ching-ling continuing as the first Chairwoman of the People’s Republic of China until 1972, Isabel Martínez de Perón as the first woman President in Argentina in 1974 until being deposed in 1976, Elisabeth Domitien becomes the first woman Prime Minister of Lesotho, Indira Gandhi continuing as Prime Minister of India until 1977, 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. • Oil crises in 1973 and 1979.
• Francisco Macias Nguema ruled Equatorial Guinea as a brutal dictator from 1969 until his overthrow and execution in 1979. • Jean-Bedel 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.
• 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. • The Angolan Civil War begins in 1975, 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 antiMarxists. • Haile Selassie is overthrown from power in Ethiopia, ending one of the world’s longest lasting monarchies in history. • The death of Steve Biko in South Africa.
United States President Richard Nixon in 1974, shortly after resigning as President. • 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 John 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 Levesque 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
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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". 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 Marxist 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. Jorge Rafael Videla seizes control of Argentina in 1976 through a coup sponsored by the Argentine military, establishing himself as a dictator of a military junta government in the country. 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.
• Martial law was declared in the Philippines on September 21, 1972 by President Ferdinand Marcos. • The Vietnam War came to a close in 1973 with the Paris Peace Accords. But without American aid, South Vietnam was helpless. Nothing could stop North Vietnam from its goal of reunifying the country, and it began an all-out invasion of the South, something it waited until the American withdrawal to attempt. This culminated in the fall of Saigon in April 1975 and the following year, Vietnam was officially declared reunited. • In Cambodia the communist leader Pol Pot led a revolution against the Americanbacked 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. • 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 1970, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser died, and was succeeded by Anwar Sadat. He broke off ties with the Soviet Union, and launched the Yom Kippur War 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
• 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. • 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.
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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. • 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. • The Iranian Revolution of 1979 transformed Iran from an autocratic prowestern 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. • Japan’s economic growth surpassed the rest of the world in the 1970s.
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 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany witness the kidnapping and murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian Arab nationalist militants of the Black September terrorist organization. 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. 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 governments in Washington, D.C. and London. 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
United States President Jimmy Carter and Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT II treaty, June 18, 1979, in Vienna, Austria. • In 1971, Erich Honecker was chosen to lead East Germany, a role he would fill for
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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. • The Soviet Union under the leadership of Leonid Brezhnev, the country pursues an agenda to lessen tensions with its rival superpower, the United States, while beginning the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979. The Soviet Union becomes the world’s leading producer in steel, and oil in the decade. Despite this growth, inflation continued to grow for the second straight decade, and production consistently fell short of demand in agriculture and manufacturing. By the end of the ’70s,
social and economic stagnation were becoming very pronounced. • 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. Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s previous record by hitting 715 home runs April 8, 1974.
 ^ Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The ’70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. pp. 292–293. ISBN 0465041957.