The year 1979 begins much as the previous year had ended: in bitter cold. East Germany’s brown coal freezes and can no longer be extracted. As the supply of coal-fired power plants comes to a halt, the power supply breaks down. The People’s Army tries to defrost coal production units with the help of modified aircraft engines.
Politics too are affected by the “ice age“. The NATO Double-Track Decision marks the beginning of the Cold War’s last phase. The Western powers offer disarmament negotiations to the Warsaw Pact members. Should these negotiations fail, U.S. American missiles are to be stationed in Western Europe. The topic dominates this year’s political discussion.
The Germans are moved by Nazi crimes shown on television. The U.S. American TV series “Holocaust” documents the fate of millions of murdered Jews.
What else happened?
For the first time, a smog warning is issued in the Ruhr Area, indicating a new level of environmental awareness.
Two families flee from the GDR in a spectacular escape, crossing the border in a home-made hot-air balloon.