World History 1980- 1981


Strikes Across Poland, Lech Walesa, Gang of our on Trial, Libya Intervenes in Chad Civil War, Iraq- Iran War, Woman to the Supreme Court, President Reagan shot, Reagan Fires Air traffic Controllers, Embassy of Columbia Seized, Iran Seizes US Hostages, Soviets Invade Afghanistan, Pope John Paul II Shot, $180 Billion in new arms, Anwar Sadat Assassinated, Mitterand Elected, Martial Law in Poland, Israel Destroys Iraq's NuclearReactor, Saddam Hussein

1980 Strikes Across Poland Polish workers, led by Lech Walesa, struck the Gdansk shipyards. The workers won a major victory, when the government agreed to demands made by the newly-formed Solidarity Trade Union to both legalize unions, as well as affirm the right to strike. The victory of Solidarity was the first step in the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union.
1980 Gang of our Goes on Trial The "Gang of Four" went on trial in China. The Gang of Four consisted of Chiang Ching (Mao’s fourth wife), Chun-Chia, Wang Hung-Wen and Yao Wen Yuan; all of whom had been important in the Cultural Revolution.
1980 Libyan Troops Intervene in Chad Civil War Civil war broke out in Chad between the forces of President Goukouni Oueddei and Prime Minister Hisseene Habre. Hundreds were killed in the initial fighting. In November, Libya intervened on behalf of Oueddei and soon captured the capital.
1980 Iraq- Iran War Breaks Out Iraq invaded Iran. Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein decided to attack Iran for a number of reasons. Saddam feared the effect fundamentalism would have on the Shi'ite majority of his country. Furthermore, Iraq and Iran had had longstanding border disputes. Saddam also believed that the anarchy gripping Iran--especially within the armed forces--made this an especially propitious moment to attack. The war lasted until 1988, and it is estimated that over 450,000 people died on both sides.
1980 Leftists Seize Embassy of Columbia Members of the Colombian April 19th movement took over the Dominican Republic's embassy during a reception. They took 44 hostages, including 16 ambassadors. A stalemate ensued that lasted two months. At that time, the guerillas and some of their hostages were allowed to fly to Havana, Cuba.


1981 Pope John Paul II Shot Twice Pope John Paul II was wounded in an assassination attempt. The assassin was Turkish-born Mehmet Ali Agca. There have been many reports indicating that the assassination attempt was the work of the Eastern bloc's intelligence community.
1981 Mitterand Elected French Premier Francois Mitterand was elected as the first French Socialist President in a surprise win over incumbent, Valery Giscard d'Estaing.
1981 Martial Law in Poland Martial law was imposed in Poland by Polish leader General Wojciech Jaruzelski. The Solidarity Labor Union was outlawed and its leaders, including Lech Walesa, imprisoned.
1981 Israel Destroys Iraq's Nuclear Reactor Israeli fighter bombers launched an air attack against Iraq's nuclear reactor that had been scheduled to go on line shortly. Iraq maintained an obvious program to build atomic weaponry. The Israeli government, fearing that such a weapon would be used against Israel, took the pre-emptive action of destroying the reactor and disrupting Iraq's plan to become a nuclear power.
1981 Anwar Sadat Assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Moslem extremists who opposed his peace agreement with Israel. Hosni Mubarak became the new Egyptian President.
1981 President progress $180 Billion in new arms President Reagan proposed a $180 billion expansion of the American military over the next six years. The plan included 100 B-1 bombers that President Carter had canceled. The plan was received favorably by Congress, and by-and-large was approved.
1981 President Reagan Fires Air traffic Controllers President Reagan fired 2,000 of the nation's striking air traffic controllers, after they refused to return to work. The strikers defied a law that bars strikes by federal workers. The controllers rejected a proposed 11.4% annual wage increase. The failure of the strike was a major defeat for organized labor.
1981 Assasination attempt on President Reagan On March 30, President Reagan was shot and gravely wounded by a lone gunman, John Hinckley, Jr. President Reagan recovered fully, but his press secretary, Jim Brady, who was wounded in the head, has remained partially paralyzed to this day. Hinckley was committed to a mental institution.
1981 First Woman to the Supreme Court On September 25, Sandra Day O'Connor was sworn in as the first female judge on the Supreme Court. Mrs. O'Connor had been nominated by President Reagan.