- West Germany takes in 2,500 South Vietnamese “boat people”; a total of 35,000 refugees from Southeast Asia come to Germany during the next few years.
- The American television series Holocaust airs in West Germany and attracts 20 million viewers, more than half the adult population. The world watches how the nation reacts to Hollywood’s presentation of Nazi atrocities.
- In July, Homolulu, the biggest gathering of the gay/lesbian community in Germany takes place in Frankfurt am Main.
- Michael Kühnen (1955-1991), a prominent leader of the Neo-Nazi scene and a former lieutenant of the Bundeswehr, is sentenced to four years for the dissemination of NS-propaganda materials.
- West Germany’s first commissioner of foreigner affairs, Heinz Kühn, argues that the country must recognize itself as an “immigration country.” He writes a memorandum suggesting that the government consider adopting policies that focus on cultural and political, as well as economic, integration.
- Amendments to the general administrative regulations of the Foreigner Act grant immigrants a permanent residence permit after five years.
- The East German cosmonaut Sigmund Jähn trains with the Soviet Intercosmos program, and is subsequently the first German in space.
- Romania allows 10,000 to 13,000 ethnic Germans per year to emigrate to West Germany. The government’s payment to Romania per ethnic German emigrant increases from some $2,600 to $5,600 in 1988.
- From July to October, the West German terrorist organization Red Army Faction commits a series of kidnappings and murders of prominent politicians and industrialists. A Lufthansa flight is hijacked in Mogadishu. Also known as the Baader-Meinhof Group, the RAF had trained with Palestinian guerrilla groups and was supported by East German secret police.
- In April, the West German government announces that no foreigners may move to a neighborhood or region where the percentage of foreigners exceeds 12 percent of the entire population. This law is repealed in 1976 on constitutional grounds.
- The first multicultural conference of foreigners in Germany (Ausländerkongress) takes place in Bochum under the title ’75 Kemnade International. At this conference the social and political position of foreigners in Germany is discussed. In particular poor living and housing prospects, as well as limited rights and opportunities of foreign citizens living in Germany are criticized.
- Songwriter and performer Wolf Biermann, who had immigrated from West to East Germany in 1953 at age 17, is stripped of his East German citizenship while on tour in West Germany. This punishment for his long-standing criticism of the GDR’s Stalinist policies leads to protests by Christa Wolf and other East German writers and intellectuals.
- The newly formed G6 convenes for a three-day summit to discuss issues of common concern. This “Group of Six” includes the heads of state of six major industrial democracies: France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and West Germany. This transnational group, which became the G8 upon the accession of Canada and Russia in 1991, has met annually for the past 30 years. Often called the unofficial “world government,” the G8 meetings have become occasions to point out global problems (in 2005, for instance, the leaders focused on poverty in Africa).
- Poland allows 161,000 ethnic Germans to emigrate to West Germany.