The 1980s, spoken as “the Nineteen Eighties” or abbreviated as “The Eighties” or “the ’80s”, was the decade that began on Tuesday January 1, 1980, and ended on Sunday December 31, 1989. This was the ninth decade of the 20th century.
The time period saw great social, economic, and general change as wealth and production migrated to newly industrializing economies. As economic liberalization increased in the developed world, multiple multinational corporations associated with the manufacturing industry relocated into Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, and China. Japan and West Germany are the most notable developed countries that continued to enjoy rapid economic growth during the decade while other developed nations, particularly the United States and United Kingdom, re-adopted laissez-faire economic policies.
Developing countries across the world faced economic and social difficulties as they suffered from multiple debt crises in the 1980s, requiring many of these countries to apply for financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Ethiopia witnessed widespread famine in the mid-1980s, resulting in the country having to depend on foreign aid to provide food to its population and worldwide efforts to address and raise money to help Ethiopians, such as the famous Live Aid concert in 1985.
Major civil discontent and violence occurred in the Middle East, including the Iran-Iraq War, the ongoing Soviet-Afghan War, the 1982 Lebanon War, the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the Bombing of Libya in 1986, and the First Intifada in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
In the eastern world, hostility to authoritarianism and the failing command economies of communist states resulted in a wave of reformist policies by communist regimes such as the policies of perestroika and glasnost in the Soviet Union, along with the overthrows and attempted overthrows of a number of communist regimes, such as in Hungary, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in China, the Czechoslovak “Velvet Revolution”, Poland and the overthrow of the Nicolae Ceauşescu regime in Romania and other communist Warsaw Pact states in Central and Eastern Europe including the Fall of the Berlin Wall. It came to be called the late 1980s’ “purple passage of the autumn of nations”. By 1989, with the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet Union announced the abandonment of political hostility toward the western world and, thus, the Cold War ended. These changes continued to be felt in the 1990s and into the 21st century.