The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Millennia: 1st millennium - 2nd millennium - 3rd millennium

19th century - 20th century - 21st century

1940s 1950s 1960s - 1970s - 1980s 1990s 2000s


1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979


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.


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.



World leaders


Sports figures



See also: List of rock and roll albums in the 1970s


External links

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