Millennia: 1st millennium - 2nd millennium - 3rd millennium
Events and trends
Although in the United States and in many other Western societies the 1970s are often seen as a period of transition between the turbulent 1960s and the more conservative 1980s and 1990s; many of the trends that are associated widely with the Sixties, from the "Sexual Revolution" to radical left-wing activism, reached fruition during this decade. Outside of the West, the continuing process of decolonization continued to define the relationship between developing and developed nations, as well as mark the course of the Cold War.
While personal computers did not become widespread in the developed world until the 1980s, rapid advances in consumer electronics began to impact the marketplace by the middle of the decade.
Space exploration, both manned and unmanned, continued into the 1970s, with the realization of lunar and interplanetary missions and the launching of interstellar Pioneer spacecraft.
War, peace and politics
Relations between the rival Cold War power blocs improved substantially during the early and mid-1970s, with high profile exchanges between The United States and the Soviet Union (see détente), and increased cooperation between West Germany and East Germany. The United States and most other Western bloc nations also extended diplomatic recognition to The Peoples Republic of China. However, the rapprochement between superpowers did little to quell guerrilla warfare and terrorism in many parts of the world, often directed by proxies of one of the two superpowers. In 1979, the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan, and the Islamic Revolution in Iran ended the spirit of détente and involved both powers in a complex struggle with an increasingly assertive Muslim world.
- fear of nuclear war despite détente, SALT treaties.
- Watergate break-in, cover-up, and scandal, leading to U.S. president Richard Nixon's resignation
- Yom Kippur War of 1973; Egypt and Israel establish diplomatic relations through Camp David Accords of 1978
- Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. East Pakistan wins independence as Bangladesh. Martial law declared in Pakistan. Indira Gandhi suspends constitution in India
- U.S. expansion of, then withdrawal from Vietnam War. Saigon falls to North Vietnamese forces in 1975.
- Genocide in Cambodia under Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot deposed by Vietnamese troops
- widespread strikes and industrial unrest in the United Kingdom throughout decade; Conservative Party's Margaret Thatcher elected first female prime minister
- Coup in Chile topples government of Salvador Allende, who is replaced by Augusto Pinochet. Coups and revolutions topple governments of Afghanistan, Argentina, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Nicaragua among others. Iranian Revolution and hostage crisis. Assassination of South Korea's Park Chunghee.
- USSR begins disastrous military campaign in Afghanistan
- Spain establishes democracy after death of dictator Francisco Franco; withdraws from Western Sahara to see it occupied by Morocco
- Portugal's decolonization from Mozambique, Angola, Portuguese Guinea, and East Timor; Indonesia invades the last. Carnation Revolution
- Torrijos-Carter Treaties promise U.S. withdrawal from Panama Canal
- Rise of environmental awareness and green movements, peace movement and women's liberation in Europe and the USA. First Earth Day (1970). Whole Earth Catalog becomes widely popular and wins National Book Award.
- Decline of the Black Panther Party. Peak of activity of the Japanese Red Army, Red Army Faction, Red Brigades, Symbionese Liberation Army, and Weathermen.
In many developed nations, the long post-World War II period of economic growth came to an end. Established industrial regions such as Northern England and the United States Midwest were particularly hard hit by falling demand, rising energy costs, labor conflict, and increased competition from emerging Asian producers of steel, ships, and automobiles. By contrast Japan emerged as an economic power through the use of new technologies, and a highly skilled and productive workforce.
In American cinema, the 1970s was the decade of the blockbuster; high-budget films which are promoted through extensive merchandising, and when successful, prompt sequels. Star Wars, and Superman spawned successful film franchises that continued into the 1980s, and broke new ground in the use of special effects. Jaws, and Rocky were also successful films that led to numerous sequels and had a tremendous impact on popular culture.
The relaxation of censorship in the late 1960s continued, leading to a brief "golden age" of pornographic film (Deep Throat), as well as frank depictions of sexuality in "mainstream" cinema (Last Tango in Paris, Waiting for Mr. Goodbar ) Many noted 1970s films also serious examine the impact of crime and violence on society (The Godfather, Taxi Driver).
The early 1970s saw the death of several notable rock musicians (Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison) as well as the break-up of the Beatles, who had dominated rock in the 1960s. Rock music increasingly fragmented into genres (heavy metal, soft rock), and became increasingly commercialized. Punk rock and Disco emerge in the mid-1970s partly as reactions against the mainstream rock music promoted on FM Radio and in arena concerts. Rock and pop music in its various forms also inspired several popular musicals on the stage and in film, such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, and Saturday Night Fever.
- Funk, Glam rock, Disco, Punk rock, Gothic rock music,
- Star Wars
- An age of superstars and idols in sports, music, literature and film.
- Jamaican reggae music begins to gain an international audience, while dub music influences African Americans in New York City, leading to the development of hip hop
- In design, 1970s forms tended to be squared off and voluminous.
- Beginnings of a widespread, strong interest in bringing the considerations of ecology together with the disciplines of planning and design in Environmental design.
- American popular culture refers to this time period as the "Me Decade"
- Alan Alda (M*A*S*H)
- David Cassidy (The Partridge Family)
- Gary Coleman (Diff'rent Strokes)
- Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, American Graffiti)
- Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry, Escape from Alcatraz)
- Mark Hamill (Star Wars`)
- Goldie Hawn (Butterflies Are Free, Shampoo, $ )
- George Lucas (Star Wars, American Graffiti, THX 1138)
- Jack Nicholson (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Chinatown, The Last Detail, Five Easy Pieces)
- Sylvester Stallone (Rocky)
- Henry Winkler (The Fonz on Happy Days)
- Harrison Ford
- Redd Foxx
- Louis de Funes
- Serge Gainsbourg
- Mel Gibson
- Ron Howard
- Jack Lemmon
- Steve Martin
- Robert De Niro
- Bob Newhart
- The Not Ready for Prime-Time Players
- Carroll O'Connor
- Al Pacino
- Robert Redford
- Barbra Streisand
- John Travolta
- Mary Tyler Moore
- Johnny Whitaker
See also: List of rock and roll albums in the 1970s