- January 7 – the first black hole is discovered in a neighbouring galaxy. This is the first black hole confirmed outside the Milky Way.
- January 10 – Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States launch Fraggle Rock, a worldwide program advocating peace. The series is first shown on German TV in November as Die Fraggles.
- January 19 – High-ranking Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie is arrested in Bolivia. He will be put on trial later this year.
- January 31 – Seatbelt use for drivers and front seat passengers becomes mandatory in the United Kingdom.
- Tennis star, Bjoern Borg, retires from active sports.
- February 2 – Giovanni Vigliotto goes on trial for multiple counts of bigamy involving 105 women.
- February 28 – The final episode of M*A*S*H airs in the USA, setting a record for most watched television episode and reaching a total audience estimated at 125 million.
- March 3: The Adventures of Tintin creator Hergé dies at age 75.
- March 23 – Strategic Defense Initiative: U.S. President Ronald Reagan makes his initial proposal to develop technology to intercept enemy missiles. The media dub this plan “Star Wars”.
- March 25 – Motown celebrates its 25th anniversary with the television special Motown 25, during which Michael Jackson performs “Billie Jean” and introduces the moonwalk.
- March – Earlier re-elections in Germany after a votum of no confidence against chancellor Schmidt (SPD) in 1982. Helmut Kohl (CDU) becomes the new chancellor. For the first time, Die Gruenen enter the Bundestag.
- A census is planned in Germany but cancelled after massive protests.
- Swatch watches are introduced.They will become a fashion staple of the 1980s.
- April 4 – First flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger
- May 6 – Stern magazine publishes the “Hitler Diaries” (which are later found to be forgeries).
- May 25 – Return of the Jedi opens in theatres.(German opening in December).
- June – Throughout the local summer – Many Midwestern American states are affected by a severe drought that causes water shortages.
- June – German magazine, Der Spiegel, has its first report on AIDS.
- June 13 – Pioneer 10 passes the orbit of Neptune, becoming the first man-made object to leave the vicinity of the major planets of the Solar System.
- June 14, Nintendo releases Mario Bros., which features the first appearance of Mario‘s brother, Luigi.
- June 19, Cinematronics releases Advanced Microcomputer Systems’s Dragon’s Lair, the second laserdisc video game, and the first in the American market.
- June 16 – Cork Graham is caught off the Vietnamese island of Phú Quốc looking for treasure buried by Captain Kidd. He is convicted and imprisoned until 1984 for illegal entry.
- June 18 Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space aboard Space Shuttle Challenger on the STS-7 mission.
- July 1 A technical failure causes the release of iodine-131 from the Philippsburg Nuclear Power Plant, Germany. Several other incidents in nuclear reactors in the course of the year. Plenty of protests.
- July 15 Nintendo‘s Family Computer, also known as the Famicom, goes on sale in Japan.
- The Orly Airport attack in Paris leaves 8 dead and 55 injured.
- July – heat record in Austria
- September 1 – Cold War: Korean Air Lines Flight 007 is shot down by Soviet Union Air Force Su-15 Flagon pilot Major Gennadi Osipovich near Moneron Island when the commercial aircraft enters Soviet airspace. All 269 on board are killed including U.S. Congressman Larry McDonald. Five days later, the Soviet Union admits to shooting down the plane, stating that the pilots did not know it was a civilian aircraft when it violated Soviet airspace.
- September 16 – President Ronald Reagan announces that the Global Positioning System (GPS) will be made available for civilian use.
- September 18 – U.S. heavy metal band Kiss officially appears in public without makeup for the first time on MTV.
- September 26 1983 Soviet nuclear false alarm incident: Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov averts a worldwide nuclear war by correctly identifying a warning of attack by U.S. missiles as a false alarm.
- October 22 – In Bonn, West Germany, people demonstrate for nuclear disarmament and against the “NATO Doppelbeschluss”. Peace movement is at its peak.
25 Oktober West German rock singer, Udo Lindenberg has a concert in East Berlin after asking East German president, Honecker, cheekily for permission in his song “Sonderzug nach Pankow” (Special Train to Pankow, melody of Chattanooga Choo Choo) earlier this year.
- November 2
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: At the White House Rose Garden, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs a bill creating a federal holiday on the third Monday of every January to honor American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. It is first observed in 1986.
- Able Archer 83: Many Soviet officials misinterpret this NATO exercise as a nuclear first strike, causing the last nuclear scare of the Cold War.
- December 2
- Michael Jackson’s Thriller video is aired on MTV for the first time.
- Solar eclipse of December 4, 1983.
- December 17
USA: Ronald Reagan is President. Britain: Margaret Thatcher is PM. Germany: Helmut Kohl is chancellor.
Movies: BMX Bandits, Return of the Jedi, A Christmas Story, Flashdance, Christine, Cujo, Krull, Jaws 3D, Lone Wolf McQuade, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, Mr Mom, Octopussy, Scarface, Silkwood, Rumble Fish, War Games, Zu – Warriors of the Magic Mountain, The Outsiders, La Boum, Rocky 3, Annie, Staying Alive,
Home video: VHS vs Betamax
Music: Michael Jackson – Thriller; Beat It; Billie Jean; Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams; Nena – Nena; Culture Club: Karma Chameleon, Do you really want to hurt me; Flashdance; David Bowie: Let´s Dance, China Girl; Africa (Toto, Rose Laurens); Rod Stewart: Baby Jane; Tracey Ullman:Breakaway; Dexys Midnight Runners: Come On Eileen; Styx: Mr Roboto; “You Can’t Hurry Love” – Phil Collins; “Up Where We Belong” – Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warne; “Uptown Girl“, Tell her about it – Billy Joel; Spandau Ballet: Gold, True; “Too Shy” – Kajagoogoo; “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler; “Tonight I Celebrate My Love” – Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack; “Temptation” – Heaven 17; “Say Say Say” – Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney; “Run Runaway” – Slade; “The Safety Dance” – Men Without Hats, Juliet – Robin Gibb, I like Chopin – Gazebo, Sunshine Reggae, NDW: Major Tom -Peter Schilling, 99 Luftballons – Nena, Bruttosozialprodukt – Geier Sturzfkug, Codo- DöF, Come back and stay- Paul Young, What a feeling -Irene Cara, Living on video – Trans X,
Februar – Juni – TV: „Anna und der König von Siam“ (Anna and The King, 1972)
Juni – September – TV: „Bilder,die die Welt bewegten“ (3. Staffel)
TV: „Spaß am Montag“
Bravo-Otto-Leserlieblinge (Readers´ favourites in a poll by teenage magazine, BRAVO): John Travolta, Sylvester Stallone, Mark Hamill, Jennifer Beals, SophieMarceau, Cynthia Rhodes
The sales of Atari video games slow down due to the growing spread of home computers; in 1984, the video game market will crash.
Scotland Yard, Glücksbärchis/Care Bears,GLO Worm, My Little Pony, Transformers