1988 History Events: What Happened in 1988

1988 was a pivotal year in world events, particularly in the Middle East. The Soviet Union decided to withdraw its soldiers from Afghanistan in accordance with the Geneva Accords in this year. The Soviets eventually withdrew from Afghan land after years of harsh combat, reminding the world once more that Afghanistan is the Graveyard of Empires. In a related event, Osama bin Laden and other veterans of the Soviet-Afghan War founded the transnational terrorist group Al Qaeda in this year. Another war was coming to an end at the same time as the Soviet-Afghan struggle was winding down. After eight years of battle, the terrible Iran-Iraq War ended in August of 1988. While it’s impossible to say how many people died in the battle with any accuracy, the number is very certainly in the hundreds of thousands. As both opposing countries vied for greater geopolitical placement, the political upshot was a stalemate, setting the groundwork for future strife in the region.

At this time in the Cold War, several Soviet authorities saw the need for a shift in economic strategy. The objective was to begin the process of restructuring the Soviet Union’s political and economic structure, dubbed “perestroika” or “restructuring.” These liberalising changes, led by Mikhail Gorbachev, were intended to create a semblance of a market economy in the Soviet economy, allowing for increased production and, as a result, an increase in the typical Soviet consumer’s standard of living. People seemed to regard the reforms as the start of the end of the old command economy as the reforms progressed. It’s probable that this reorganisation contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union.

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 1988.


(January 13, 1988)
Lee Teng-hui becomes the Republic of China's first native Taiwanese President. photo source:


(January 26, 1988)
The Phantom of the Opera, a musical adaptation of Gaston Leroux's melodramatic novel, premiered in New York City and went on to become Broadway's longest-running show.

(February 06, 1988)
Michael Jordan's iconic slam dunk from the free throw line is the inspiration for the Air Jordan and Jumpman logos.

(May 05, 1988)
Adele, the English pop singer and songwriter whose soulful expressive voice and classically produced songs made her one of her generation's most widely popular performers, was born.

(September 07, 1988)
After a total of nine days in the Mir space station, the first Afghan and fourth Muslim in space, Abdul Ahad Mohmand, is returned to Earth. photo source:


(September 10, 1988)
Steffi Graf completed the Grand Slam of tennis by winning the US Open; she was the first woman to do so since Margaret Court in 1970.

(November 02, 1988)
Robert Morris, a computer science student, launched the first computer worm into the Internet as an experiment, which brought 6,000 computers (about one-tenth of the Internet) to a halt. photo source:

(November 16, 1988)
On this day in 1988, Benazir Bhutto was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to lead a Muslim country in modern history. She served as Prime Minister from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996. photo source:

(December 01, 1988)
The United Nations has declared December 1 as World AIDS Day. photo source:

Written by James

James has always been intrigued by dinosaurs, the universe, technology, and animals. With a Bachelor of Computer Science and years of writing expertise, he joined World Amazing Facts in 2021 as a staff writer.

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