The Year the World Changed

In a new Foreign Policy article, Christian Caryl describes how the events of 1979 defined the world we live in today. In 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in Iran, Margaret Thatcher led the conservative movement to power in Britain, Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to Poland, and Deng Xiaoping began laying the groundwork for China’s market economy. Caryl writes that the counterrevolutionary events of 1979 may also offer insights into the future for “… the transformations of 1979 have themselves grown into decadent established orders, the excesses of which may now be inspiring new reactionary movements and counterrevolutions.” [%comments]


And I was born. Coincidence? Unlikely.

Me too

I was born too! No coincidence there either.


Israel and Egypt signed the peace accords.


It's not quite 1066, but ...


One would think that 1989 was more earth-shattering.

Start of the end of communism. Berlin Wall goes down. Tiananmen. Premier of the Simpsons...


I thought that the Iranian revolution and Thatcher were already reactionary counterrevolutions. So if there were to be a reactionary counterrevolution to the reactionary counterrevolution it would mean that the Taliban would be taking control in Iran (or a Shiite equivalent thereof) and absolute monarchy would return to England.

Eric M. Jones

It's not quite 1966, but ….


Well thank goodness someone has now finally identified something pivotal about the 1970s!!! I've been really jealous of all these people born in the 80s and 90s and the attention the millennials are getting.


Has an article or book like this been written for every year in human history?


Does anyone consider the title of this post ironic, considering the link on the right side of the page to Patricia Cohen's Times article, "Titlenomics", in which she states, "Exorbitant claims are inherent in another title genre: things that have changed the world. That list includes books, ideas, beliefs, decisions, inventions, plants, bridges, gigs, battles, speeches, photographs and molecules." So now we can add the events of 1979 to the list, too.


24 December 1979: Russian/Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan - of greater effect on the Arab and Muslim world than the revolution in Iran, I guess.

Dr Anurakshat Gupta

The UN International Year of te Child.

I got to see movies for just 1 Rupee at the best movie hall in Mumbai then. They gave us free snax during the break too. THAT WAS REVOLUTIONARY!!

Tennessee Dave

This doesn't seem to carry the same long-term importance as 1914.

Eric M. Jones


Richard Nixon elected.
250,000 Peaceniks march on Washington (changing Nixon's mind regarding nuking North Vietnam).
First humans land on the Moon.
Golda Meir elected PM of Israel.
PLO is launched
Edward Kenedy Chappaquiddick affair.
Hurricane Camille
Beatles release first album.
Concorde test flight
First quartz watch
ARPANET launched
Boeing 747
The microprocessor is invented.