In this post we make a list of the most important events to occur around the world in the year 1989. This was the year communism fell.

1. Japanese Emperor Hirohito Dies

Emperor Hirohito died in 1989

Emperor Hirohito’s death reported in the newspaper at the time

The controversial Emperor of Japan whose role and involvement in World War II is shrouded in mystery, passed away on 7 January, 1989, due to duodenal cancer. He was the longest-reigning historical Japanese emperor. His state funeral was held on February 24 and it was attended by some 10,000 official guests.

2. Ted Bundy Is Executed

Ted Bundy is executed in 1989

Ted Bundy’s execution reported in the newspaper at the time

The supposed charming serial killer who has become a hot topic for recent movies and documentaries, was executed at Florida State Prison in Raiford on January 24, 1989. He had confessed to thirty murders he committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978, but the authorities are of the opinion that his tally of victims is significantly higher. Hundreds of revelers sang, danced and set off fireworks in a pasture across from the prison as the execution was carried out.

3. Ayatollah Khomeini Issues A Fatwa On Salman Rushdie

Ayatollah Khomeini issued fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989

The Satanic Verses controversy reported in the newspaper at the time

On 14 February, 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a fatwa calling for the death of Salman Rushdie. This was done because he and Muslims around the world were of the opinion that he made blasphemous references in his book, The Satanic Verses. Over the next few days, Iranian officials offered a bounty of $6 million for killing Rushdie. The British government put Rushdie under police protection and on 7 March, 1989, the United Kingdom and Iran broke diplomatic relations over the Rushdie controversy.

4. Madonna's "Like a Prayer" Music Video Attracts Criticism For Cross Burning Imagery

Madonna's Like a Prayer was released in 1989

Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” controversy reported in the newspaper at the time

Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” music video, recieved severe backlash from religious groups for its use of Catholic Church iconography and for the use of cross burning imagery. Even Pope John Paul II called for people in Italy to boycott Madonna. The video also caused problems even for Pepsi, which had recently paid Madonna more than $5 million to appear in an ad and had to cancel the deal, owing to the protests.

5. USSR Pulls Out Of Afghanistan

Soviet Union pulls out of Afghanistan

Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan reported in the newspaper at the time

On 15 February, 1989, under the leadership of Colonel-General Boris Gromov, the last of the Soviet soldiers ride out of Afghanistan. The withdrawal bought to end the nine year war between Afghan Mujahideen and Soviet army.

6. Tiananmen Square Massacre Takes Place

Tiananmen square massacre

Tiananmen Square massacre reported in the newspaper at the time

Tiananmen Square protests which began on 15 April, 1989, were forcibly suppressed on 4 June, 1989, when the government declared martial law and sent the People’s Liberation Army who fired at the demonstrators that were trying to block the military’s advance into Tiananmen Square. Estimates of the death toll vary from several hundred to several thousand. The protest took place because people desired a change towards more democracy.

7. Baltic Way Protest Was Held

The Baltic Way, which was a peaceful political demonstration that involved approximately two million people who joined their hands to form a human chain spanning 690 kilometers across the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, was held on 23 August, 1989. The event was organized by the Baltic pro-independence
movements: Rahvarinne of Estonia, the Tautas fronte of Latvia, and Sąjūdis of Lithuania. The protest was designed to draw global attention by demonstrating a popular desire for independence and showcasing solidarity among the three nations.

8. Berlin Wall Comes Down

On 9 November, 1989, five days after half a million people gathered in East Berlin in a mass protest, the Berlin Wall which separated communist East Germany from West Germany, collapsed. It signaled the fall of Iron Curtain that divided Europe into two separate areas since 1945.

9. Velvet Revolution Ends 41 Years Of One-Party Rule In Czechoslovakia

Velvet Revolution ends one-party rule in Czechoslovakia

Velvet Revolution’s success  reported in the newspaper at the time

Velvet Revolution, which was a non-violent demonstration against the one-party government of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, occurred from 17 November to 28 November 1989. The protests included students and older dissidents. It resulted in the desired outcome and the 41 years of one-party rule in Czechoslovakia, comes to an end.

10. US Troops Invade Panama And Overthrow Dictator Manuel Noriega

Noriega is overthrown in 1989

US invasion of Panama  reported in the newspaper at the time

On December 20, 1989, U.S. launched its invasion of Panama with the purpose of removing General Manuel Noriega from power and extraditing him to the U.S. to face charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. The invading force included more than 27,000 soldiers, as well as 300 aircraft. Noriega went on the run. He was eventually captured on January 3, 1990. He was detained as a prisoner of war, and later taken to the United States.

11. Romanian Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu Is Ousted

Nicolae Ceaușescu is executed in 1989

Nicolae Ceausescu’s ouster  reported in the newspaper at the time

On 22 December, 1989, Romanian Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, flees his palace in a helicopter, after his attempt to crush the protests failed and the demonstrators entered the palace. He was captured by the military, tried and convicted of economic sabotage and genocide, and immediately executed by firing squad on 25 December, along with his wife.

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