The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain in the 1700s. New machinery and new methods were used to increase productivity. Productivity is how much work can be done in a certain amount of time. The Industrial Revolution brought on changes that affected the way that work was done and how people lived.
The Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain for several reasons including: There was a large supply of natural resources. There was plenty of raw materials to use. There was a large population of people who needed work. Farmers were relying on new machinery to help with planting and harvesting crops, so fewer people were needed in the fields. Many of these people moved to cities to find jobs in factories and shops.
Textiles, or woven cloth, was the first industry to move to factories. Before this, it had been a cottage industry. This means that families used their own equipment to make goods. With industrialization, large quantities of goods could be produced in the factories that employed hundreds of workers.
The steam engine was invented by Thomas Newcomen in the early 1700s. It was first used to pump water out of coal mines. In 1769, , James Watt invented a more efficient steam engine. It was used for locomotives and steamboats. The invention of the railroad improved transportation. By the 1800s, the Industrial Revolution had reached North America and the rest of Western Europe.
Factory workers, including women and children, worked for long hours and dangerous working conditions.
The factory workers eventually formed groups called unions. Unions spoke for all of the workers in that factory or industry. They bargained for better working conditions, higher pay, and a shorter working day. If a factory owner did not give into the demands, the workers would go on strike. They refused to work until the demands were met. Western Europe would come to dominate the 1800s and early 1900s.
Industrialization created new rivalries among the countries of Great Britain, France, Germany, and several others. These countries were competing for markets and resources.. Under imperialism, countries claimed colonies in Africa and Asia in the 1800s. Armies and navies were built up to protect their empires. Countries created alliances. These alliances were agreements to support one another in times of war.
World War I In 1914, war broke out in Europe, which also spread to the colonies of those countries. It was known as the Great War, and later as World War I. This war was different from all other wars. The Industrial Revolution had allowed machines designed for war to be mass-produced. Tanks, heavy artillery, machine guns, and airplanes helped make the war more violent than ever before. The war lasted four years and killed or wounded millions of people. Many cities were completely destroyed.
Europe was in social and political turmoil after the war. The massive devastation left millions of Europeans homeless and hungry. Germany was blamed for the war and was forced to pay for most of the damages. The United States and Japan became major powers in the world. They had two of the biggest economies and biggest military in the world.
In 1917, a revolution erupted in Russia. A new economic, political, and social system were the results. This new system was Communism. Communism is based on the teachings of Karl Marx. He believed industrialization had created two classes of people. One class owned the factories, and the other worked in them. He believed the system was unfair and needed to be overthrown.
World War II In the 1930s, the Great Depression hit. Governments could no longer provide for their citizens. Germany became a dictatorship under Adolf Hitler. His political party was the Nazis (National Socialist German Workers’ Party). They believed in German superiority. New alliances were formed. Germany, Italy, and Japan formed the Axis Powers. By 1939, they were at war with Great Britain, France, and China, the Allies. In 1941, the United States and Russia entered the war we know as World War II.
Hitler and the Nazis carried out the Holocaust in World War II. Twelve million people were murdered. Six million of those were Jews from all across Europe. Other groups persecuted in the Holocaust were Poles, Gypsies, people with disabilities, and many others. They were considered undesirables by the Nazis. The Holocaust is an example of genocide, the mass murder of people because of race, religion, ethnicity, politics, or culture.
Italy surrendered in 1943. Germany was defeated in May 1945, but the Japanese continued to fight. In August 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in an effort to end the war in Asia. The United States and Russia came out of the war as superpowers.