This happened during the production period of the FIAT 125:
- Prof. Wolfgang Hilberg invents the radio clock controlled by a digital signal at Telefunken AG.
- On April 19, Konrad Adenauer, who was the first Federal Chancellor in West Germany from 1949 to 1963, dies.
- On June 2, during the state visit of the Shah of Persia (Iran), the student Benno Ohnesorg is shot dead by the West Berlin police officer Kurras, which contributes to the radicalization of the West German student movement in the 1960s.
- Beginning of the Biafra War in Nigeria. An estimated two million people die of malnutrition in the civil war as a result of a food blockade.
- The first episode of “Cartoon” is broadcasted by ARD in West Germany, moderated and produced by Vicco von Bülow alias “Loriot”.
- Tony Banks (kb), Mike Rutherford (b, g), Peter Gabriel (voc, fl), Anthony Phillips (g) and Chris Stewart (dr) found the rock group Genesis.
- Car premieres: FIAT Dino Coupé, NSU Ro 80, Opel Commodore A
- And the radio plays: “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (Procol Harum) – “Penny Lane” (The Beatles) – “San Francisco – Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair” (Scott McKenzie)
- At the beginning of the year, the Deutsche Bundesbahn still had around 3,000 steam locomotives in its vehicle fleet. A good decade later, the switch to electric and diesel operation will be fully completed.
- North Vietnam starts the “Tet Offensive”. The cities of Saigon and Huế are badly hit. The growing awareness among the US population of the possibility of defeat in the Vietnam War has led to a loss of popularity for the Lyndon B. Johnson administration and an increase in protests.
- On April 4, Afro-American civil rights activist Martin Luther King is shot dead in Memphis, Tennessee. The suspect James Earl Ray initially confesses, but retracts his confession a few days later. Based on the evidence, he is sentenced to 99 years in prison.
- The students take to the streets all over Europe. They protest against the consumption-oriented capitalist model of society and demand fundamental reforms for the elimination of social inequalities and more participation in all areas of life. Another subject of the protests was the massively increasing armament of the great powers and their presence in proxy wars such as in Vietnam. In West Germany, the students also demand an appropriate reappraisal of the time of National Socialism and the removal of perpetrators from public offices.
- On July 18, Gordon E. Moore and Robert Noyce found the company Intel in California with the aim of developing and marketing semiconductor-based memory for computers.
- On August 21, troops of the “Warsaw Pact” marched into Czechoslovakia and forcibly ended the efforts of the Communist Party there, led by Alexander Dubček, for comprehensive reforms. Dubček wanted to achieve “socialism with a human face” through decentralization, pluralism, freedom of expression and democracy in all areas of life.
- Car premieres: Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina, BMW 2500/2800 limousines and CS coupés (E 3/E 9), Ford Capri, Jaguar XJ-6, Mercedes-Benz 200 D to 250 (W 114/W 115), Opel GT, Peugeot 504, VW 411
- And the radio plays: “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye) – “Mrs. Robinson” (Simon & Garfunkel) – “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” (Otis Redding)
- The movie “Easy Rider” celebrates its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 8th. The main actors are Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson plays an alcohol addicted lawyer.
- On July 21, Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to step on the moon. This event as part of NASA’s “Apollo 11” mission is followed by 500 to 600 million television viewers worldwide.
- Under the motto “3 Days of Peace & Music”, the “Woodstock” music festival takes place from August 15 to 18 in the pasture fields of a dairy farmer in White Lake, New York State. Performances there include: Ravi Shankar, Melanie, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Santana, Canned Heat, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, Ten Years After, Johnny Winter, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – and of course Jimi Hendrix !!!
- There are changes of government in the USA, France and Germany. In the United States, Republican Richard Nixon replaces Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson. After Charles de Gaulle’s resignation, his group colleague Georges Pompidou is elected President of France on June 15. In West Germany, the “grand coalition” under Chancellor Kiesinger is followed by an alliance of the Social Democrats and the Liberals. Willy Brandt is elected the first Social Democratic Chancellor of the Federal Republic with a narrow majority.
- Car premieres: Autobianchi A112, FIAT 128, FIAT 130, Peugeot 304, Renault 12
- And the radio plays: “Honky Tonk Women” (The Rolling Stones) – “The Israelites” (Desmond Dekker) – “Eloise” (Barry Ryan)
- On April 10, the separation of the Beatles is publicly announced by Paul McCartney. The last album “Let It Be” is released on May 8th.
- On May 14, Andreas Baader, who was incarcerated in Frankfurt department stores, was forcibly released from custody. The action in which a person is shot and seriously injured is considered to be the hour of birth of the “Red Army Faction”. According to its own description, a “communist urban guerrilla”, its attacks repeatedly shock the Federal Republic of Germany in the following years, trigger large-scale searches and put the democratic constitutional state to the toughest test to date.
- On December 7th, West German Chancellor Willy Brandt visits the People’s Republic of Poland to sign the “Warsaw Contracts”. While visiting the memorial for the deads of the Warsaw ghetto, Brandt falls on his knees completely unexpectedly and without any prior agreement and remains silent. This grand gesture of reconciliation sparks extremely controversial reactions.
- Car premieres: Audi 100 Coupé S (C1), Citroën GS, Ford Taunus, Opel Ascona A, Opel Manta A, VW-Porsche 914, VW K 70
- And the radio plays: “Whole Lotta Love” (Led Zeppelin) – “In the Summertime” (Mungo Jerry) – “Venus” (Shocking Blue)
- The so-called “hairnet decree” enables young soldiers to keep their long head of hair even during military service. The 740,000 ordered hair nets ensure quite bizzare comments: The Bundeswehr is referred to as the “German Hair Force”, the “Bayernkurier” even ascribes Defense Minister Helmut Schmidt “invaluable merits for the spread of head lice”.
- In May Erich Honecker takes over the job of First Secretary of the Central Committee of the SED in the “German Democratic Republic”, replacing Walter Ulbricht as Head of State. It remains so until October 1989.
- A group of peace activists in Vancouver founds the non-profit organization “Greenpeace”, the aim of which is to fight with direct nonviolent actions for the protection of the natural foundations of human life and nature and justice for all living beings. A striking sign of the times, because the awareness of the overexploitation of nature and the limitless pollution of planet earth is increasingly reaching the minds of many people.
- On December 4th, during the concert of Frank Zappa and the “Mothers of Invention” at the Montreux Jazz Festival, a fire brakes out in the Montreux casino, probably caused by a visitor’s signal pistol being fired into the ceiling. No one is seriously harmed, mainly due to the disciplined reaction of Zappa and festival director Claude Nobs. The event and the clouds of smoke spreading over Lake Geneva form the content for one of the most successful rock songs of all time: “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple.
- Car premieres: FIAT 127, Mercedes-Benz 350 SL (R 107), Opel Rekord D, Renault Alpine A310
- And the radio plays: “My Sweet Lord” (George Harrison) – “Rose Garden” (Lynn Anderson) – “Mamy Blue” (Pop Tops)
- The Audi 80 (also called “B1” or “Typ 80”) goes on sale in June. This model is the initial spark for the end of the “Beetle era” in the Volkswagen Group. The active, economical vehicle with transverse engine and front-wheel drive, which has been highly praised by the press, is the cornerstone of a modular system from which the first Passat, Scirocco, Golf and Polo are created.
- The 20th Summer Olympics are taking place in Munich. The world event, which began on August 26th, is abruptly interrupted on September 5th by an attack of Palestinian terrorists in which 11 Israeli athletes are first taken hostage and later killed. However, after a day of mourning, the games continue.
- In order to reduce the dramatic increase in the number of road deaths, a speed limit of 100 km/h on country roads is introduced in West Germany on October 1, initially as a large-scale trial. Until then, there was generally no speed limit on country roads.
- The compact cassette, developed by Philips in 1963, continues to soar unabated and has become a real billionaire seller. It has long found its way into the car. While portable devices and radio-recorder combinations are particularly popular with young people, high-quality hi-fi components are gradually creating serious competition for open reel tape recorders. There they shine with features such as Dolby B noise reduction and auto reverse operation.
- Car premieres: Alfa Romeo Alfetta, Alfa Romeo Alfasud, BMW 5er (E 12), FIAT 132, Ford Consul/Granada, Mercedes-Benz S-class (W 116), Renault 5
- And the radio plays: “Metal Guru” (T. Rex) – “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” (The Temptations) – “Heart of Gold” (Neil Young)