17 January: Pupils are taking an increasing interest in lessons on military policy, according to Lieutenant Colonel Liebusch from the Military-Political College "Wilhelm Pieck". Liebusch is speaking during a series of events entitled "The Current Military-Political Argument" at the "House of the Teacher" ("Haus des Lehrers") in East Berlin.
19 January: The Stasi officer Werner Stiller, who has been spying for the GDR in the West, defects to the West. He provides information leading to the unmasking of 44 Stasi agents in West Germany.
1 February: After Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi flees on 16 January, the Shi’ite leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Iran after 15 years in exile in Paris. On 5 February, he proclaims a "revolutionary government" in Tehran.
17/18 March: In Frankfurt am Main, the "Greens" are founded as an "Other Political Association" to take part in European elections. Petra Kelly becomes their leading candidate.
9 March: The sprinter Renate Neufeld, who escaped to the West in 1977, reports on doping in GDR sports in the news magazine "Der Spiegel".
28 March: Serious accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Harrisburg in the United States.
31 March: In Hanover, 40,000 opponents of nuclear power demonstrate against the planned atomic waste depot in Gorleben.
11 April: The GDR tightens the working restrictions for Western correspondents in an implementing regulation in accordance with the existing regulation on journalists’ activities. Among other things, it becomes mandatory to inform the authorities of and gain permission for interviews as well as trips to East Germany outside of East Berlin.
15 April: The GDR philosopher Wolfgang Harich, who was sentenced to ten years in prison in 1957 for founding a "group hostile to the state", leaves the GDR and moves to Austria.
16 April: From now on, GDR citizens are no longer allowed to pay at Intertank and Genex or in "Intershop" stores using DM; they must use so-called "Forum cheques" (DM-vouchers). The vouchers have to be purchased at GDR banks with Western currency.
14 May: The West German ZDF correspondent Peter van Loyen is extradited from the GDR because of a report on GDR author Stefan Heym for which he did not obtain permission.
16 May: GDR head of planning Gerhard Schürer again tells the SED Politburo that the GDR’s capacity to import and to maintain solvency "is to a huge extent dependent on the willingness of capitalist banks to lend us money."
22 May: The GDR author Stefan Heym is given a fine of 9,000 DM for "currency offences".
23 May: The previous parliamentary speaker, Karl Carstens (CDU), is elected as the new West German president.
7 - 10 June: First direct elections for the European Parliament. The Social Democrats/Socialists receive 112 seats, Christian Democrats and Conservatives together 169 seats, Communists 44 seats, Liberals 40 seats, and other groups together 45 seats.
18 June: In Vienna, US President Jimmy Carter and the Soviet party and state leader Leonid I. Brezhnev sign the SALT II agreement on the limitation of strategic weapons.
20 June: The dissident Professor Robert Havemann is fined 10,000 marks for alleged "currency offences".
27 July: Meeting between CPSU leader Leonid Brezhnev and SED General Secretary Erich Honecker in the Crimea. Brezhnev voices surprise that the GDR has recently carried out joint economic projects with Western companies rather than with the Soviet Union. "Could it be," he asks Honecker, "that some of your comrades involved with economic matters underestimate the danger of too close relations with the West and the resulting increase in foreign debt?" He says that he has "material" to this effect.
Honecker receives praise for the measures taken to gain more control over Western journalists in the GDR and to contain the D-mark as the "second currency" in the GDR; Brezhnev says, however, that more measures to limit the influence of West Germany are necessary. Honecker promises that further steps will follow: "Rest assured that the GDR will always take a firm stance."
August: In a bid to counter the GDR's economic crisis, Erich Honecker asks his economics experts to come up with proposals for price rises. The stability of consumer prices has up to now been seen as one of the unimpeachable achievements of the unity of economic and social policies. For years, a bread roll has cost five pfennigs, a kilogram of bread 60 pfennigs, a bockwurst 80 pfennigs, a kilogram of pork chops eight marks, an underground or rail ticket in East Berlin 20 pfennigs, postage also 20 pfennigs and electricity eight pfennigs per kilowatt/hour.
When the proposals for price rises are finally presented, Honecker ends up backing down in November. The State Security has warned him that price hikes would have a shock effect on the people and could provoke "counter-revolutionary rioting".
1 August: The 3rd Penal Law Amendment Act is enacted in the GDR. It considerably stiffens the possible penalties under the penal law for political offences. The Volkskammer also decides on an amendment to the electoral laws so that Berlin Volkskammer representatives are directly elected.
23 August: Joint "Statement on Peace" by the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and the Federation of Evangelical Churches in the GDR (BEK) on the 40th anniversary of the outbreak of war.
1 September: Robert Havemann publishes ten theses in the Spanish Communist-Party newspaper "Mundo Obrero" ahead of the 30th anniversary of the GDR. They contain criticism of the dictatorship of the central party apparatus in real socialist countries.
5 September: Signing of an energy agreement between West Germany and East Germany in Leipzig.
16 September: Spectacular escape by two families from Thuringia in a home-made hot-air balloon over the border to Bavaria.
20 September: The social-liberal West German government draws attention to the fact that any denunciations of human rights violations in the GDR to international authorities could negatively affect the success of concrete humanitarian actions (it is referring to ransoming and family reunifications). In a response to a parliamentary question posed by the CDU/CSU parliamentary party, it says: "The policy of carrying out deals with the GDR as a part of the policy of détente in Europe is an important basis for the achievement of humanitarian objectives that must not be put at risk."
4-8 October: In a discussion with the SED Politburo on the 30th anniversary of the GDR, the Soviet party and state leader Leonid Brezhnev warns that productivity must be increased. After all, he says, it is right "when it is said that one can only use what one has produced. None of us wants to live at the cost of others or declare himself bankrupt." Officially, Brezhnev announces the withdrawal of 20,000 Soviet soldiers and 1,000 tanks from the GDR ("Berlin Initiative").
7 October: At city parliamentary elections in Bremen, the party "The Greens" enters the Land Parliament for the first time.
21-28 October: The Chinese party leader and premier Hua Guofeng visits West Germany. Among other things, a cultural agreement is signed.
31 October: The two German states strike new agreements on transport issues. Instead of the previous fee for road use, a lump sum is set of 50 million DM annually.
10 November: Rudolf Bahro is released from prison under an amnesty; he migrates to West Germany.
26 November: A West German cultural institute is opened in Bucharest, the first in an Eastern Bloc country.
5/6 December: At a conference in East Berlin, the foreign ministers of the Warsaw Pact countries speak out in favour of the SALT II agreement and call for a SALT III agreement.
12-14 December: The NATO Council of Ministers agrees on the so-called "Double-Track Decision": in response to the stationing of Soviet SS-20 missiles, medium-range nuclear missiles are to be stationed in West Germany, Great Britain and Italy from the end of 1983 if the disarmament talks on medium-range missiles that have been offered to the Warsaw Pact countries remain without results until then.
14 December: Almost 22,000 prisoners are released as part of the amnesty marking the 30th anniversary of the GDR.
25 December: Soviet troops move into Afghanistan.