1 January: In the GDR, a new code of labour laws comes into force, based on the assumed harmony between the interests of the Party, companies and workers.
10 January: After the publication of the "Manifesto" of a so-called "League of Democratic Communists of Germany", an allegedly dissident group within the SED, the office of the "Spiegel" magazine in East Berlin is closed because of "continual and malicious defamation of the GDR and its citizens". The "Manifesto" calls for a "theoretically and politically totally reformed communism". The SPD describes the "Manifesto" as a "New Year’s cocktail" and a "shot against the policy of détente"; the SED calls it a "miserable piece of work" and claims it has been authored by the West German intelligence agency and the "Spiegel". In the nineties, it comes out that the GDR secret diplomat and dissident Professor Hermann von Berg is the author of the "Manifesto". In 1986, the GDR expatriates von Berg. No "League of Democratic Communists of Germany" ever existed in the GDR.
1 February: The GDR People’s Education Minister, Margot Honecker, issues a directive ordering military instruction with arms training to be introduced in schools for boys and girls as of 1 September.
6 March: Talks between SED General Secretary Erich Honecker and the board of the Federation of Evangelical Churches (BEK) in the GDR (Bishop Albrecht Schönherr, Bishop Werner Krusche and Consistorial Councillor Manfred Stolpe as the head of the BEK Sekretariat). Among other things, the talks cover church building projects, the preparation of the Luther anniversary in 1983, pastoral care in penal institutions, church literature and media. However, the meeting aims primarily at clarifying positions in the difficult relationship between the Evangelical (Protestant) Church and the SED on the basis of the motto "church in socialism". Both sides – each according to its own interpretation – describe the talks as a success. The results of the talks are published as an official statement in "Neues Deutschland".
April: US President Jimmy Carter moves away from the construction of a neutron bomb.
4-7 May: Second visit of the CPSU General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev to West Germany.
19 June: During an incident at the junction of Friedrichstrasse and Unter den Linden in East Berlin, a member of the Soviet armed forces who obviously wishes to desert exchanges fire with the People’s Police. Several passers-by, including a staff member of the Permanent Mission of West Germany in East Berlin, are injured. The Soviet soldier is killed.
30 June: The regime critic and SED economics official Rudolf Bahro is sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment for "betrayal of secrets" and "intelligence activities".
7 July: The East Berlin conscientious objector Nico Hübner is sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. He had cited the demilitarised status of Berlin as a reason for his objection.
13-15 July: Visit by US President Jimmy Carter to West Germany.
25 July: Meeting between CPSU leader Leonid Brezhnev and SED General Secretary Erich Honecker in the Crimea. Brezhnev tells Honecker that the policies of the Chinese leadership are becoming more and more aggressive; he says that it backs the unity of Germany, which in fact means the "incorporation of the GDR".
Speaking about the development of the relations between the GDR and West Germany, Brezhnev says that it is advisable " to control or restrict all channels through which the Federal Republic tries to exert influence on developments in the GDR." Whether Honecker’s wish for Soviet grain deliveries to the GDR – which stopped during the years between 1976 and 1978 – could be fulfilled, Brezhnev says, depends on the harvest in the Soviet Union; according to the Soviet leader, it was just as little possible to promise anything here as in the case of the delivery of raw materials in general and particularly of crude oil.
24/25 August: The SED Central Committee decides to step up the formation of centrally controlled collective combines.
26 August - 3 September: The cosmonaut Sigmund Jähn becomes the first German to take part in a space flight on board the Soviet spaceship Soyuz 31.
1 September: Military instruction is introduced in grades 9 and 10 of GDR schools.
19 September: The SED leadership celebrates the 25th anniversary of the "Combat Groups of the Working Class" with a military parade. The paramilitary "Combat Groups" were founded in 1953 following the June national uprising to prepare the state better for future rebellions. Ahead of the anniversary, Defence Minister Heinz Hoffmann for the first time admits the military mission of the more than 300,000-strong "Combat Groups".
28 September: Ewald Moldt is appointed the new Permanent Representative of the GDR in Bonn.
16 October: The Archbishop of Kraców, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, is elected as pope. He takes the name John Paul II.
16 November: The signing of a traffic agreement between Bonn and East Berlin, which includes the construction of a transit motorway between Berlin and Hamburg, the reopening of the Teltow Canal for inland navigation and a new regulation for the transit fee to the GDR.
17 December: OPEC raises the price of oil by an average of ten percent, triggering the first oil-price crisis among its Western buyers.
December: In a new trial, the GDR escapee Werner Weinhold is sentenced to five and a half years in prison for the manslaughter of two GDR border soldiers during his escape on 19 December. The sentence is upheld by the Federal High Court on 23 August 1979. Weinhold had been acquitted of the charge of manslaughter at first instance on 2 December 1976.