I find it interesting. Ill be brief but I fancied jotting something down to note the events of this year. Maybe a younger member or someone will gain something from this short note.
The events of 1979 influenced the World a massive amount.
Some of the events are very famous. However, others don’t hold a great deal of public attention but changed the world.
Soviet Union Invades Afghanistan
Created the mess and void that led to the Taliban. Led to massive internal and external pressure. Created the political environment in which Gorbachev could gain increased power and ultimately bring down the USSR.
Shah of Iran Deposed
Iran becomes an Islamic republic under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It is the main event that "made Islamic fundamentalism a political force". The pro-Western policies of the Shah, his extravagances and behaviour of the government were known. They were further exaggerated and used to stir revolution. The theocracy came into being and changed global politics.
The Silent Chinese Revolution
In 1979, China and the USA resumed diplomatic relations. Also in 1979, realism in China saw a massive change in policy. It was deemed that Soviet-style polices were not working and that economic reform was needed. It was the start of the creation of the modern Chinese economic giant. 1979 saw the liberalisation of economic and trade policy but not the political system. A lesson the Soviet Union was to regret not learning.
In 1979, Margaret Thatcher was elected as British Prime Minister. The Western World has not been the same as old post-war style 'socialism' was thrown aside in favour of free-market principles. Closely followed into office by ally and close friend, Ronald Reagan, the pair (and others that followed) left the West as some would say a far wealthier and dynamic place whilst others would say less caring.
Pope John Paul II Visits Poland
In 1979, newly elected Pope, John Paul II visited his home country of Poland. Millions flocked to see him. At the same time Unions were being formed and fueled by the visit and a sense of pride and independence, people were challenging the Communist policies. The Gdansk Agreement of August 31, 1980, which gave the workers the right to strike and to organise their own independent union. The Catholic Church supported the movement and without the visit of the Pope in 1979, then none of it would have been possible.
So there we have it. In very simple terms, how 1979 brought modern Islamic fundamentalism to the global arena, how the seeds of Soviet collapse were planted, how the foundation of the Chinese economic miracle were set, how Western capitalism exploded and how the structure for the fall of communism in Eastern Europe was put in place.