World History 1978- 1979

1978 Indira Gandhi Expelled From Parliament- Indira Gandhi was expelled from Parliament after being indicted on a charge of election fraud. She was ordered arrested, but was quickly released. On January 3, the Congress party, of which she had been one of the founders, also expelled her.
1978 Aldo Moro Killed Aldo Moro was found shot. He was the former premier of Italy and had been kidnapped by Red Brigade terrorists. They had demanded the release of other members of the Red Brigade.
1978 Sandinista Guerillas Seize Hostages Sandinista Guerillas captured the National Palace in Managua. They seized 1,500 hostages, including members of the legislature. The hostages were released when the Somoza government agreed to the release of 59 political prisoners.
1978 Smallpox Eradicated The smallpox disease was completely eradicated from the Earth, thanks to a worldwide prevention program, combined with wide distribution of a vaccine.
1978 First Birth Due to Invitro The first birth due to in vitro fertilization occurred in 1978. The process involved the insemination of a woman's eggs outside her body.


1979 SALT II The S.A.L.T. II Accord was reached in June of 1979. The Accord allowed both the US and U.S.S.R. to build up to 2,250 missiles, of which 1,320 could be MIRVD (Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles). The MIRVD missiles could carry many warheads. The agreement was received with disdain by critics of the Soviets, who believed that the accord granted the Soviets the advantage. The S.A.L.T. II agreement was never ratified, as the subsequent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan eliminated any support for the treaty. The treaty's terms, however, continued to be observed by both sides.
1979 US and China Establish Full Diplomatic Relations In January 1979, the United States and Communist China established formal diplomatic relations. The US broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan, thereby meeting the Communist Chinese precondition for the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.
1979 Vietnamese take Phnom Penh, China invades Vietnam In January 1979, Vietnamese troops captured Phnom Penh, in attempt to overthrow the government of Pol Pot. In response, the Chinese invaded North Vietnam.
1979 Ali Bhutto Hanged In 1978, a military coup led by General Zia unseated President Bhutto. Bhutto was charged with corruption and sentenced to death. Despite pleas from many world leaders, the new Pakistani government hung Bhutto on April 5.
1979 Soviets invade Afghanistan Soviet troops poured into Afghanistan to support Hafizullah Amin, who had recently unseated Mohammed Taraki. The Soviets quickly sent 40,000 troops, but were unable to put down the rebellion launched by Taraki loyalists. The United States and Islamic countries began giving aid to the rebels, who were called the Mujahedeen. Afghanistan soon became the "Soviet Vietnam," tying up ever greater numbers of Soviet troops and resulting in countless body bags being sent back to Russia.
1979 Idi Amin Overthrown The despotic rule of Idi Amin came to an end when a joint force of Ugandan rebels and Tanzanian troops entered the Ugandan capital of Kampala. Amin fled.
1979 War between Somalia and Ethiopia On August 8, Somalia invaded Ethiopia, the latest chapter in the ongoing dispute over the Ogaden. The Somalis were initially successful in their attack, but the Soviets -- initially patrons of the Somalis -- switched sides and started supporting the Ethiopians. They withdrew all aid to the Somalis, who were forced to rapidly retreat.
1979 Southern Rhodesia Becomes Zimbabwe The white-controlled government, under Ian Smith, successfully held out against majority rule until 1976. At that point, the South Africans decided to withhold further military aid. The white government then began negotiations with black nationalist groups and agreed to transfer majority rule to the Blacks by the end of 1978. In January 1979, white Rhodesians agreed to a constitutional change that would insure majority rule. In addition, they agreed to change the name of Rhodesia to Zimbabwe.
1979 Shah of Iran Ousted Throughout 1978, demonstrations increased against the rule of the Shah. These demonstrations were fueled by religious leaders who opposed the Shah's Western outlook. The exiled Ayatollah Khomeini was especially effective in stirring opposition to the Shah. In August, a movie theater was set on fire by extremists in Abadan. On September 8, the Army opened fire on demonstrators, killing hundreds.

The Shah declared martial law. However, he seemed to lack the will to crack down on demonstrators as he had done in the past. On January 16, the Shah left Iran for exile. One week later, the Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile and formed an Islamic Revolutionary Government.
1979 Peace treaty Between Egypt and Israel On March 26, in Washington D.C., a peace agreement was signed between Egypt and Israel. The peace treaties, known as the Camp David Accords, called for a complete Israeli withdrawal from Sinai. In return, Egypt would recognize Israel and maintain full diplomatic relations with the Jewish State. Sinai was to be demilitarized, with the United States providing troops to monitor the demilitarization.
1979 Militant Students seize US Embassy In Teheran Angered by the arrival of the Shah for medical treatment in the US, militant students attacked and seized the American embassy in Teheran. The students held 49 embassy employees hostage for over a year. The US attempted a rescue mission but it was aborted.
1979 Trade Act On July 26, President Carter signed the Trade Act Bill. The bill, which was the culmination of the Tokyo round of trade talks, reduced further tariffs on a wide range of items, and introduced a mechanism to handle unfair trade practices.
1979 Three Mile Island A nuclear accident occured at the Three Mile Island nuclear facility near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The accident, which was contained, raised fears of nuclear accidents. In its aftermath, the building of almost all nuclear power plants in the US came to a halt.
1979 Sandinistas Force Samozas out of Nicuragua An ongoing revolution against the government of Anastasio Somoza came to an end when Somoza fled the country. Somoza was forced out when the middle class deserted him after the assassination of newspaper editor Pedro Joaquin Chamorro. The US cut off all aid for the Somoza regime, and eventually the 43-year Somoza dynasty in Nicaragua came to an end. Taking power in its stead were the Sandinistas, who were pro-Communist and received support from Cuba's Castro and the Soviet Union. This antagonized the US and led to American support for the Contras, who opposed the new Nicaraguan government.
1979 Civil War in El Salvador Civil war broke out in El Salvador. A military coup unseated President Carlos Humberto Romero. The goal of the military was to try to stem the increasing violence between right- and left-wingers. The clashes continued and, in December 1980, three American nuns were killed. This incident caused American President Carter to suspend all aid to El Salvador.