Titlu referat: 20th century
Nivel referat: liceu
The twentieth century saw a remarkable shift
in the way that vast numbers of people lived, as a result of technological,
medical, social, ideological, and political innovations. Terms like ideology,
world war, genocide, and nuclear war entered common usage and became an
influence on the lives of everyday people. War reached an unprecedented scale
and level of sophistication; in the Second World War (1939-1945) alone,
approximately 57 million people died, mainly due to massive improvements in
weaponry. The trends of mechanization of goods and services and networks of
global communication, which were begun in the 19th century, continued at an
ever-increasing pace in the 20th. In spite of the terror and chaos, the 20th
century saw many attempts at world peace. As the 35th President of the United
States John F. Kennedy said:
What kind of peace do we seek? I am talking
about a genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living.
Not merely peace in our time, but peace in all time. Our problems are man-made,
therefore they can be solved by man. For in the final analysis, our most basic
common link is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same
air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal.
Virtually every aspect of life in virtually
every human society changed in some fundamental way or another during the
twentieth century and for the first time, any individual could influence the
course of history no matter their background. Arguably, the 20th century
re-shaped the face of the planet in more ways than any previous
Maternal death rates
Scientific discoveries such as relativity and
quantum physics radically changed the worldview of scientists, causing them to
realize that the universe was much more complex than they had previously
believed, and dashing the hopes at the end of the preceding century that the
last few details of knowledge were about to be filled in.
The 20th century has sometimes been called,
both within and outside the United States, the American Century, though this is
a controversial term.
For a more coherent overview of the
historical events of the century, see The 20th century in review.
Timeline of the Twentieth Century
Model-T, First Flight, San Francisco Earthquake, Einstein's Theory of
Relativity, Boxer Rebellion, First Silent Movie;
1910-1919 - World
War I, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, the Titanic, Russian Revolution, Mata Hari,
Women's Suffrage, King Tut's Tomb, Mussolini, J. Edgar Hoover, Mein Kampf,
Monkey Trial, Charles Lindbergh;
1930-1939 - Great
Depression, Mohandas Gandhi, Empire State Building, Amelia Earhardt, Nazis,
"Monopoly," the Hindenburg;
1940-1949 - World
War II, Adolf Hitler, Pearl Harbor, Manhattan Project, Chuck Yeager, Berlin
Airlift, Apartheid, Communist China;
Hydrogen Bomb, McCarthyism, Korean War, Color TV, Polio Vaccine, Mt. Everest,
Disneyland, Rosa Parks, Sputnik;
1960-1969 - JFK,
Martin Luther King Jr., Eichmann Trial, Berlin Wall, Cuban Missile Crisis,
Draft Protests, Charles Manson;
Vietnam War, Munich Olympic Games, Watergate, Abortion, Patty Hearst, Pol Pot,
Star Wars, Disco, Margaret Thatcher;
Mikhail Gorbachev, Mount St. Helens, AIDS, Pac-Man, Personal Computers,
Ethiopian Famine, Exxon Valdez;
Internet, Nelson Mandela, Operation Desert Storm, Waco, O.J. Simpson, Oklahoma
City Bombing, Princess Diana, Y2K.
Important developments, events and
Science and technology
The assembly line and mass production of
motor vehicles and other goods allowed manufacturers to produce more and
cheaper products. This allowed the automobile to become the most important
means of transportation.
The invention of heavier-than-air flying
machines and the jet engine allowed for the world to become "smaller". Space
flight increased knowledge of the rest of the universe and allowed for global
real-time communications via geosynchronous satellites.
Mass media technologies such as film, radio,
and television allow the communication of political messages and entertainment
with unprecedented impact
Mass availability of the telephone and
later, the computer, especially through the Internet, provides people with new
opportunities for near-instantaneous communication
Applied electronics, notably in its
miniaturized form as integrated circuits, made possible the above mentioned
rise of mass media, telecommunications, ubiquitous computing, and all kinds of
"intelligent" appliances; as well as many advances in natural sciences such as
physics, by the use of exponentially growing calculation power (see
The development of Nitrogen fertilizer,
pesticides and herbicides resulted in significantly higher agricultural
Advances in fundamental physics through the
theory of relativity and quantum mechanics led to the development of nuclear
weapons (known informally as "the Bomb" and dropped on the industrial town of
Hiroshima and the historic one of Nagasaki), the nuclear reactor, and the
laser. Fusion power was studied extensively but remained an experimental
technology at the end of the century.
Inventions such as the washing machine and
air conditioning led to an increase in both the quantity and quality of leisure
time for the middle class in Western societies.
Most influential inventions in the 20th
century: antibiotics, oral contraceptives, new plastics, transistors,
Wars and politics
Democratic nations began to extend voting
privileges to all adults.
Rising nationalism and increasing national
awareness were among the causes of World War I, the first of two wars to
involve all the major world powers including Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the
United States and the British Commonwealth. World War I led to the creation of
many new countries, especially in Eastern Europe. Ironically, it was said by
many to be the 'War to end all Wars'.
The economic and political aftermath of
World War I led to the rise of Fascism and Nazism in Europe, and shortly to
World War II. This war also involved Asia and the Pacific, in the form of
Japanese aggression against China and the United States. While the First World
War mainly cost lives among soldiers, civilians suffered greatly in the Second
-- from the bombing of cities on both sides, and in the unprecedented German
genocide of the Jews and others, known as the Holocaust.
During World War I, in Russia the Bolshevik
putsch led to the Russian Revolution of 1917. After the Soviet Union's
involvement in World War II, Communism became a major force in global politics,
spreading all over the world: notably, to Eastern Europe, China, Indochina and
Cuba. This led to the Cold War and proxy wars with the western world, including
wars in Korea (1950-53) and Vietnam (1957 - 75).
The "fall of Communism" in the late 1980s
freed Eastern and Central Europe from Soviet supremacy. It also led to the
dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia into successor states, many rife
with ethnic nationalism, and left the United States as the world's
Through the League of Nations and, after
World War II, the United Nations, international cooperation increased. Other
efforts included the formation of the European Union, leading to a common
currency in much of Western Europe, the euro around the turn of the
The end of colonialism led to the
independence of many African and Asian countries. During the Cold War, many of
these aligned with the USA, the USSR, or China for defense.
The creation of Israel, a Jewish state in a
mostly Arab region of the world, fueled many conflicts in the region, which
were also influenced by the vast oil fields in many of the Arab
The term Southeast Asia coined.
Culture and entertainment
Movies, music and the media had a major
influence on fashion and trends in all aspects of life. As many movies and
music originate from the United States, American culture spread rapidly over
After gaining political rights in the United
States and much of Europe in the first part of the century, and with the advent
of new birth control techniques women became more independent throughout the
Rock and Roll and Jazz styles of music are
developed in the United States, and quickly become the dominant forms of
popular music in America, and later, the world. The Beatles, a 1960s British
Rock and Roll band, becomes one of the most successful acts of all time, and is
credited, in their experimental later albums, with permanently changing what
was thought possible in popular music.
Modern art developed new styles such as
expressionism, cubism, and surrealism.
The automobile provided vastly increased
transportation capabilities for the average member of Western societies in the
early to mid-century, spreading even further later on. City design throughout
most of the West became focused on transport via car. The car became a leading
symbol of modern society, with styles of car suited to and symbolic of
Sports became an important part of society,
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