World History - the 1980s

  • Embargo against the Soviet Union

    Embargo against the Soviet Union
    President Jimmy Carter announces the embargo on sale of grain and high technology to the Soviet Union due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
  • U.S. Olympic Athletes Withdraw from the Olympics

    U.S. Olympic Athletes Withdraw from the Olympics
    Video of Athlete Interviews The United States Olympic Committee, responding to the request of President Jimmy Carter on March 21, votes to withdraw its athletes from participation in the Moscow Summer Olympic Games, due to the continued involvement of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
  • Period: to

    Failed Rescue Attempt

    The attempt to rescue the American hostages held captive in the U.S. Embassy in Iran fails with eight Americans killed and five wounded in Operation Eagle Claw when a mid-air collision occurs.
  • Mt. St. Helens Literally Explodes

    Mt. St. Helens Literally Explodes
    Click here for the 22-minute documentary The Mt. St. Helens volcano, in Washington State, erupts, killing fifty-seven people and economic devastation to the area with losses near $3 billion. The blast was estimated to have the power five hundred times greater than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
  • Reagan Elected President

    Reagan Elected President
    Ronald Reagan, the former Republican governor of California, beats President Jimmy Carter and independent candidate John B. Anderson, also a Republican, in a landslide victory, ousting the incumbent from office. The victory in the Electoral College, 489 to 49, as well as an 8 million vote margin in the popular vote over Carter, ensured a mandate for the new president.
  • John Lennon Assasinated

    John Lennon Assasinated
    News Footage A month after Reagan’s election, a deranged fan shot and killed John Lennon outside his New York home. While Reagan’s election signaled the end of the sixties and seventies politically, Lennon’s death spelled the end of the period culturally. The former Beatles’ wife, Yoko Ono, has continued to release his material which serves to both satisfy the desire for more John, but also remind fans what was lost.
  • Reagan Inaugurated

    Reagan Inaugurated
    Watch the Inauguration The inauguration of Ronald Reagan as the 40th president of the United States occurs in Washington, D.C. It was followed by the release of the fifty-two Americans still held hostage in Tehran. The Iranian hostage crisis, which lasted four hundred and forty-four days, was negotiated for the return of $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets.
  • Assasination Attempt on Reagan

    Assasination Attempt on Reagan
    Video Footage President Ronald Reagan withstands an assassination attempt, shot in the chest while walking to his limousine in Washington, D.C.
  • First Launch of the Space Shuttle

    First Launch of the Space Shuttle
    Watch the first Space Shuttle launch The first launch of the Space Shuttle from Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center occurs as Columbia begins its STS-1 mission. The Space Shuttle is the first reusable spacecraft to be flown into orbit, and it returned to earth for a traditional touch down landing two days later.
  • Assasination Attempt on Pope John Paul II

    Assasination Attempt on Pope John Paul II
    News Footage The first attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II took place on Wednesday, May 13, 1981, in St. Peter's Square at Vatican City. The Pope was shot and critically wounded by Mehmet Ali Ağca, a trained sniper from Turkey, while he was entering the square. The Pope was struck 4 times, and suffered severe blood loss. Ağca was apprehended immediately, and later sentenced to life in prison by an Italian court. The Pope later forgave Ağca for the assassination attempt.
  • First Female Supreme Court Justice

    First Female Supreme Court Justice
    Sandra Day O'Connor is approved unanimously, 99-0, by the United States Senate to become the first female Supreme Court associate justice in history.
  • AT&T Monopoly Busted

    AT&T Monopoly Busted
    The AT&T lawsuit was settled with the U.S. Justice Department. The agreement forced the independence of the twenty-two regional Bell System companies in return for expansion into the prohibited areas of data processing and equipment sales.
  • Reaganomics in Action - Unemployment Soars

    Reaganomics in Action - Unemployment Soars
    News Report The highest unemployment rate since 1940 was recorded at 10.4%. By the end of November, over eleven million people would be unemployed.
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commissioned.

    Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commissioned.
    Commission Footage The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C., holding the names of the more than 58,000 killed or missing in action during the conflict.
  • Regan Proposes Star Wars

    Regan Proposes Star Wars
    Video Documentary The initial proposal to develop technology to intercept incoming missiles, the Strategic Defense Initiative Program, or Star Wars, is made by President Ronald Reagan.
  • First American Woman in Space

    First American Woman in Space
    Astronaut Sally Ride becomes the first American woman to travel into space.
  • Soviets Shoot Down Airliner

    Soviets Shoot Down Airliner
    News Footage South Korean Boeing 747 jetliner bound for Seoul apparently strays into Soviet airspace and is shot down by a Soviet SU-15 fighter after it had tracked the airliner for two hours; all 269 aboard are killed.
  • Terrorists attack Marines in Lebanon

    Terrorists attack Marines in Lebanon
    Video Documentary A terrorist truck bomb kills two hundred and forty-one United States peacekeeping troops in Lebanon at Beirut International Airport. A second bomb destroyed a French barracks two miles away, killing forty there.
  • U.S. Invasion of Grenada

    U.S. Invasion of Grenada
    Video Documentary The United States invasion of Grenada occurs at the request of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to depose the Marxist regime.
  • Soviet Union Withdraws Olympic Athletes

    Soviet Union Withdraws Olympic Athletes
    The opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympic Games is held. The games run by Peter Ueberroth, prove a financial and U.S. success, despite a retaliatory boycott by most allies of the Soviet Union due to the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow games.
  • Reagan Reelected

    Reagan Reelected
    Watch the Address President Ronald Reagan wins reelection over Democratic challenger Walter F. Mondale, increasing his Electoral College victory since the 1980 election to a margin of 525 to 13.
  • Famine Relief Concert of Epic Proportion

    Famine Relief Concert of Epic Proportion
    Watch the Cars play at the concert[Hi Def] Watch U2 play at the concert A famine relief concert organized by British artist Bob Geldof and held simultaneously in London and Philadelphia is seen in one hundred and fifty-two countries. The seventeen hour concert raised $70 million for relief efforts in Ethiopia and other African nations.
  • The Decline of the Cold War

    The Decline of the Cold War
    The first meeting in six years between the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States occurs when Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan engage in a five hour summit conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Martin Luther King Day Established

    Martin Luther King Day Established
    Martin Luther King Day is officially observed for the first time as a federal holiday in the United States.
  • Challenger Explosion

    Challenger Explosion
    Video Footage The Challenger Space Shuttle explodes after lift off at Cape Canaveral, Florida, killing seven people, including Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire school teacher.
  • Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Meltdown

    Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Meltdown
    1986 News Report The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986, at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine (then in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, part of the Soviet Union). It is considered the worst nuclear power plant accident in history and is the only level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
  • Iran-Contra Affair Discovered

    Iran-Contra Affair Discovered
    Colonel North's Hearing The first reporting of the Iran-Contra affair, diverting money from arm sales to Iran to fund Nicaraguan contra rebels, begins the largest crisis in the Reagan tenure.
  • Black Monday

    Black Monday
    EXCELLENT video coverage The stock market crash known as Black Monday occurred on the New York Stock Exchange, recording a record 22.6% drop in one day. Stock markets around the world would mirror the crash with drops of their own.
  • Massive Decommission of Nuclear Weapons

    Massive Decommission of Nuclear Weapons
    The United States and the Soviet Union sign an agreement, the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, to dismantle all 1,752 U.S. and 859 Soviet missiles in the 300-3,400 mile range.
  • Immigration Amnesty Issued

    Immigration Amnesty Issued
    The deadline for amnesty application by illegal aliens is met by 1.4 million, who apply. It is estimated that 71% of those who applied had entered the United States from Mexico.
  • Bush Sr. Elected

    Bush Sr. Elected
    Vice President under Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, claims victory in the presidential election over Democratic challenger Michael S. Dukakis, Governor of Massachusetts. The Electoral College vote tallied 426 for Bush and 111 for Dukakis.
  • Pan Am Crash in Lockerbie, Scotland

    Pan Am Crash in Lockerbie, Scotland
    News Footage Pan-Am 747 explodes from terrorist bomb and crashes in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 aboard and 11 on ground.
  • Valez Oil Spill

    Valez Oil Spill
    News Footage The Exxon Valdez crashed into Bligh Reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound, causing the largest oil spill in American history at the time, eleven million gallons, which extended forty-five miles.
  • Tiananmen Square Massacre

    Tiananmen Square Massacre
    Video Footage Angry Chinese citizens staged the largest protest in Communist China's history, in the pursuit of democracy and more civil rights.
  • First African American Joint Chiefs of Staff

    First African American Joint Chiefs of Staff
    Army General Colin Powell is elevated to the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, becoming the first African American to be nominated to that post.
  • The Fall of the Berlin Wall

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall
    Footage from the WallVideo Documentary (German with English Subtitles) The Berlin Wall, after thirty-eight years of restricting traffic between the East and West German sides of the city, begins to crumble when German citizens are allowed to travel freely between East and West Germany for the first time. One day later, the influx of crowds around and onto the wall begin to dismantle it, thus ending its existence.