Home » 80s Capsule 1981 – What Happened In 1981?

80s Capsule 1981 – What Happened In 1981?

by Kim

In 1981 the world was a very different place with many significant changes having taken place in the previous decade or so.

Social Politics

The year 1981 began with the people of Iran under the rule of the Shah overthrown and replaced by a new government. The American Embassy was taken by Iranian students who were protesting against US-Iranian relations, and in February, Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in Iran following violent street battles between his supporters and rival groups. Another revolution saw a similar coup take place on 12 April in East Germany, when thousands stormed the Berlin Wall. One month later, that same wall also gave way to freedom as tens of thousands fled over it to West Berlin.

The year 1981 was a tumultuous one for the world, but especially for the United States.  With the Iranian hostage crisis and several other international conflicts, America’s role as leader of the free world took a severe hit. 1981 was a very important year nevertheless.  It marked the beginning of the end for the Soviet Empire, and along with that, the end of Communism as well.

In Bolivia, General Hugo Banzer seized power from President Luis Garcia Meza Serra on April 11th. The previous president had resigned in the face of growing social unrest and violent demonstrations against his government. On April 12th he was executed by an elite military unit for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.


1981 was a great year for the entertainment industry. The decade had brought about new innovations, trends and ideas. These were carried into the following decade with more innovations, trends and ideas making their way into our lives. New technologies like VHS and video tapes were distributed throughout the world in this period. Many people used to watch movies at home which made them demand for better quality films thus giving rise to Blockbuster Video chains in many countries across Asia, Europe and America. It was also during this time that television began to get popular as a source of entertainment thereby creating some very interesting TV series like David Copperfield, Dallas, Dynasty and Magnum PI etc.

The top 12 movies from the 80s include Superman II,  Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial, Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, Coming to America, Laverne & Shirley, Poltergeist, Raiders, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Terms of Endearment, and Grease.


In the year 1981 there were four major sport events occurring in the world. The first event of 1981 was the British Open Golf Championship which occurred from July 31 to August 3, 1981. The second event of 1981 was the World Cup Soccer Tournament which occurred from September 15 to 22, 1981. The third event of 1981 was the Ryder Cup Golf Tournament which occurred from September 29 to October 5, 1981. The fourth event of 1981 was the Australian Open Tennis Championship which occurred from December 23 to 27, 1981.

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