Portal:1980s
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Portal:1980s


The 1980s Portal

From left, clockwise: The first Space Shuttle, Columbia, lifts off in 1981; American president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev eases tensions between the two superpowers, leading to the end of the Cold War; The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 is considered to be one of the most momentous events of the 1980s; In 1981, the IBM Personal Computer is released; In 1985, the Live Aid concert is held in order to fund relief efforts for the famine in Ethiopia during the time Mengistu Haile Mariam ruled the country; Ukraine and much of the world is filled with radioactive debris from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster; The Iran-Iraq War leads to over one million dead and $1 trillion spent.

The 1980s (pronounced "nineteen-eighties", shortened to "the 80s") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1980, and ended on December 31, 1989.

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USSR stamp, Propaganda for Perestroika, 1988, 5 kop.
Perestroika was a political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the 1980s, widely associated with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his glasnost (meaning "openness") policy reform. The literal meaning of perestroika is "restructuring", referring to the restructuring of the Soviet political and economic system.

Perestroika is sometimes argued to be a cause of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe, and the end of the Cold War.

Perestroika allowed more independent actions from various ministries and introduced some market-like reforms. The goal of the perestroika, however, was not to end the command economy but rather to make socialism work more efficiently to better meet the needs of Soviet consumers. The process of implementing perestroika arguably exacerbated already existing political, social, and economic tensions within the Soviet Union and no doubt helped to further nationalism in the constituent republics. Perestroika and resistance to it are often cited as major catalysts leading to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

In May 1985, Gorbachev gave a speech in Leningrad in which he admitted the slowing down of the economic development and inadequate living standards. This was the first time in Soviet history that a Soviet leader had done so.

The program was furthered at the 27th Congress of the Communist Party in Gorbachev's report to the congress, in which he spoke about "perestroika", "uskoreniye", "human factor", "glasnost", and "expansion of the khozraschyot" (commercialization).

During the initial period (1985-87) of Mikhail Gorbachev's time in power, he talked about modifying central planning but did not make any truly fundamental changes (uskoreniye; "acceleration"). Gorbachev and his team of economic advisors then introduced more fundamental reforms, which became known as perestroika (economic restructuring).

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Soul Train publicity photo.
Credit: Friends and Associated of Soul Train

Soul Train publicity photo.

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Steven Spielberg at the Cannes Film Festival
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE OMRI (born December 18, 1946) is an American director, producer and screenwriter. Spielberg is considered as one of the founding pioneers of the New Hollywood era, as well as being viewed as one of the most popular directors and producers in film history. He is one of the co-founders of DreamWorks Studios.

In a career spanning more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as archetypes of modern Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking. In later years, his films began addressing humanistic issues such as the Holocaust (in Schindler's List), the transatlantic slave trade (in Amistad), war (in Empire of the Sun, Saving Private Ryan, War Horse and Bridge of Spies) and terrorism (in Munich). His other films include Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Jones film series, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence.

Spielberg won the Academy Award for Best Director for Schindler's List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). Three of Spielberg's films--Jaws (1975), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Jurassic Park (1993)--achieved box office records, originated and came to epitomize the blockbuster film. The unadjusted gross of all Spielberg-directed films exceeds $9 billion worldwide, making him the highest-grossing director in history. His personal net worth is estimated to be more than $3 billion. He has been associated with composer John Williams since 1974, who composed music for all save five of Spielberg's feature films.


Did you know...

...that the Princess Bride was not a major box-office success, but it became a cult classic after its release to the home video market?

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