What happened in the 1970s and why is it important to us now? 

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Covering everything that happened in the entire world over a decade, including politics, economics, science, literature, art, popular culture, medicine, and technology in the space of a few paragraphs is impossible. A few important events are listed below.

In the United States, two of the most significant political events were the opening of diplomatic relations between the US and China and the Watergate scandal and subsequent impeachment of Richard Nixon. 

The Yom Kippur or 1973 Arab–Israeli War led to an uncomfortable military stalemate, eventually leading to the 1978 Camp David peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. 

A notable economic event was the oil crisis in which prices rose dramatically as supplies were curtailed by OAPEC in retaliation for the US and European support of Israel. In response, many countries became more focused on conservation and energy self-sufficiency. This also changed the automotive industry, with many people shifting to more efficient cars and, as a result, the rapid growth of the Japanese automotive industry which offered smaller, more economical models than the US "big three" carmakers. 

In technology, the computer industry developed rapidly in the 1970s, and the first personal computers were developed. The Apollo moon landing dated to 1969 but Skylab and the Space Shuttle were important continuations of the Apollo program.