The term describes a general new attitude of Americans towards atomized individualism and away from communitarianism in clear contrast with the 1960s.
In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan which led to an ongoing war for ten years.The 1970s saw an initial increase in violence in the Middle East as Egypt and Syria declared war on Israel, but in the late 1970s, the situation in the Middle East was fundamentally altered when Egypt signed the Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty.Anwar El Sadat, President of Egypt, was instrumental in the event and consequently became extremely unpopular in the Arab World and the wider Muslim world. Political tensions in Iran exploded with the Iranian Revolution in 1979 which overthrew the Pahlavi dynasty and established an Islamic republic of Iran under the leadership of the Ayatollah Khomeini. The 1970s (pronounced "nineteen-seventies" or "one-thousand, nine-hundred (and) seventies", commonly abbreviated as the "Seventies") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1970 and ended on December 31, 1979. President Richard Nixon doing the V for Victory sign after his resignation from office after the Watergate scandal in 1974; Refugees aboard a US naval boat after the Fall of Saigon, leading to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975; The 1973 oil crisis put the nation of America in gridlock and caused economic damage throughout the developed world; Both the leaders of Israel and Egypt shake hands after the signing of the Camp David Accords in 1978; The 1970 Bhola cyclone kills an estimated 500,000 people in the densely populated Ganges Delta region of East Pakistan (which would become independent as Bangladesh in 1971) in November 1970; The Iranian Revolution of 1979 ousted Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi who was later replaced by an Islamic theocracy led by Ayatollah Khomeini; The popularity of the disco music genre peaked during the middle to late 1970s.
In the 21st century, historians have increasingly portrayed the 1970s as a "pivot of change" in world history focusing especially on the economic upheavals.
In the Western world, social progressive values that began in the 1960s, such as increasing political awareness and economic liberty of women, continued to grow.
In the United Kingdom, the 1979 elections resulted in the victory of its Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher, the first female British Prime Minister.
Industrialized countries, except Japan, experienced an economic recession due to an oil crisis caused by oil embargoes by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The crisis saw the first instance of stagflation which began a political and economic trend of the replacement of Keynesian economic theory with neoliberal economic theory, with the first neoliberal governments being created in Chile, where a military coup led by Augusto Pinochet took place in 1973.
Novelist Tom Wolfe coined the term "'Me' decade" in his essay "The 'Me' Decade and the Third Great Awakening", published by New York Magazine in August 1976 referring to the 1970s.