20th Century TimelinesEpisode Ten: Century of the Globe (1900-2000) • http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/1999/millennium/learning/timelines/
The Shape of the Twentieth Century The history of the twentieth century can be summarized--excessively briefly--in five propositions: First, that the history of the twentieth century was overwhelmingly economic history. Second, that the twentieth century saw the material wealth of humankind explode beyond all previous imagining.
Third, that because of advances in technology, productivity, and organization--and the feelings of social dislocation and disquiet that these advances generated--the twentieth century’s tyrannies were the most brutal and barbaric in history. Fourth, that the twentieth century saw the relative economic gulf between different economies grow at a rapid pace. .
Fifth and last, that economic policy--the management of their economies by governments--in the twentieth century was at best inept. Little was known or learned about how to manage a market or a mixed economy.
One Hundred Years Ago Bob Hope was born (May 1903) The Wright Brothers Flew (Dec, 1903) Average Life Expectancy was 47 14% of homes had a bathtub 8% of homes had a telephone A three minute call from Denver to New York cost 11 dollars There were 8, 000 cars in the US and only 144 miles of paved roads The maximum speed in most cities was 10 miles per hour
One hundred Years Ago Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa and Tennssee were more heavily populated than California. California, 1.4 million, was only the 21st most populous state in the Union Average pay was 300 dollars a year The highest paid professional was a veterinarian at $4000 dollars a year 95% of all births in the US took place at home Sugar cost 4 cents a pound. Eggs were 14 cents a dozen. Coffee was 15 cents a pound Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or eggs yolks to shampoo.
One hundred Years Ago Canada passes a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason. The five leading causes or death in the US were 1. Pneumonia, 2. Tuberculosis 3. Diarrhea, 4. Heart disease and 5. Stroke The American flag has 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska had not been admitted to the Union. The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30. Canned beer and iced tea had not been invented. There were no Mother’s or Father’s Day One in ten US adults could not read or write. Only 6% of All Americas had graduated from high school.
One hundred Years Ago Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacists, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health.” Eighteen percent of households in the US had a least one full-time servant or domestic. There were only 230 reported murders a year in the entire US. Worldwide cities in the industrial north claimed the top 10 largest cities in the world. London was the largest at 6.5 million. Population of the world is 1.5 billion.
The Larger Twentieth-Century World Context The 20th century revealed a world dominated by Western European Imperial interests. Events of World War I, the depression, and World War II told a long story of how European nation-states in their competitive quest for alliances, more colonies, and new markets destroyed what they had gained.
From a global perspective the first half of the 20th century is a story of how Western Europe lost its relative position of global power. The disappearance of the European dominance in 1945 created a power vacuum. Within two years the United States and the Soviet Union replaced the old power structures as the new super powers. The Cold War replaced the fiery World War II inferno.
The Lure of the Superpowers With the demise of western European imperialism, former colonies, often poorly prepared to be independent, became new nation states. Colonial experiences shaped the transition to independence. Many of the 100+ newly formed nation-states that joined the United Nations lacked the infrastructure and political stability necessary for nation building as they faced severe economic problems.
These new nations were wooed by competing interests of both the Soviets and the U.S. Since the immediate task in the aftermath of World War II was rebuilding, each side offered foreign aid and military support as well as advantageous trade agreements to those who became allies.
Both sides competed to establish networks of regional alliances. Many former colonies, however, refused and joined a network of non-aligned nations led by India.
The Cold War The Iron Curtain divided the communist East and the capitalist West. The arms race of the Cold War continued for forty years. However, both U.S. and Soviet leadership were challenged by their own allies. Marshall Tito successfully ended Soviet influence in Yugoslavia in 1948.
Hungary (1956) and later Czechslovakia (1968) suffered the consequences of Soviet invasion following unsuccessful revolts against Soviet rule. In Asia competitive interests along a shared, common border and the issue of Chinese aid led to a split between China and the USSR. Events indicated that not all communists shared the same interests.
In the West, France withdrew from NATO, challenging the leadership of the United States. At times the Cold War brought the Super Powers into direct confrontation. The Cuban missile crisis led the world to the brink of nuclear war. The weakness of both sides was demonstrated during the 70's by the U.S.defeat in Viet Nam and the failure of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
In the end, the West out-produced the East. In 1989 the Berlin Wall was torn down by East and West Germans as Communist guards watched. The Soviet Empire disintegrated two years later leaving the global stage to the American military and the global market.
Technology and Transportation 20th century technologies altered the lives of ordinary peoples and the structure of their societies. A person whose life spanned the greater part of the 20th century witnessed more technological change than any other generation in human history.
Humans were liberated from the efforts of slow, non-mechanized travel. 20th Century transportation became inexpensive, dependable, and fast. The horse and buggy was replaced by trains, automobiles, and planes, enabling large migrations of peoples around the globe from agricultural regions to urban centers and to suburban clusters outside the city cores.
Streetcars and subways and later complex highway systems allowed peoples in industrialized societies to commute long distances to work by the end of the century.
Urban Migration These changes were coupled with environment consequences as valuable agricultural lands and forest were cleared for highways. Air pollution in urban centers increased. Urban migrations served as a prelude to international migrations of peoples seeking work.
They sent money home to their families, became immigrants in a new land or simply returned home again. Turks migrated to Germany, Indians to South Africa, Chinese to Canada, Egyptians to the Gulf States and Mexicans to the United States.
The Communications Revolution Between 1850 and 1913 world trade expanded tenfold, aided by the use of telephones and telegraphs. As the century ended, world trade had fully recovered from the devastation of two world wars and a depression.
Global trade was facilitated by the computer, the Internet, multinational corporations, and other parts of a true communications revolution. The sun never set on the global exchange nor on the news. Older forms of communications technology such as telephones and telegraphs have were augmented but not replaced by newer forms of technology.
Newspapers and radios were supplemented by television. CNN was the first to establish continual international reporting around the globe. Now reports from even the most remote regions of the planet were transmitted by cell phone and modem to be circulated via web sites, television, radio, newspapers and magazines.
The realization that not all peoples share the same interpretation of events or the same understanding of the past has led to the need to understand multiple perspectives. At the same time, others recognized the importance of developing a clear understanding of one's own history and cultural traditions.
Future Challenges As we enter the 21st century, economies in many parts of the world are booming, yet 20% of the world's peoples earn less than $500 a year. The earth's population has grown from 2.50 billion in 1950 to over 6 billion today.
Diseases like small pox have been eradicated yet the mobility of peoples traveling the globe increases the possibility of another pandemic like the flu outbreak of 1918 or the spread of a new disease like AIDS. Crop failure and natural disasters no longer need to result in famine, provided an infrastructure exists for the purchase, delivery, and distribution of food.
The global market seeks new consumer products and new technologies, Meeting these demands may have global consequences such as deforestation, the extinction of plant and animals, or global warming. Religious differences, ethnic cleansing, competing commercial interests, or territorial disputes could result in new warfare.
Yet within the rich cultural traditions of our multi-ethnic world, individuals are seeking solutions to these current challenges. If there is a legacy from the 20th century, perhaps it is the resilience of human societies to develop solutions to global issues using ideas and technology within their own cultural context.
Ideas about how something has been done in one society may prove useful to the rest of us. Like a mountain meadow covered with wildflowers of every color and size, the diversity of peoples and cultures offers us a vast array of human experience from which we can learn lessons of the past and anticipate the new creativity of the human mind.
We are free to pick and choose which ideas and legacies will enrich our lives in the 21st century.
Important Dates from the 20th Century 1901 – Marconi sends first tranatlantic wireless message 1903 – Wright brothers fly 1903 – Panama Canal begun 1908 – Ford Builds the Model T
1914 – World War I begins 1914 – Sanger founds birth control movement, 1917 – Russian Revolution begins, 1928 – Fleming discovers penicillin 1928 – First regular TV broadcast
1929 – Depression moves to the United States 1933 – Hitler takes power 1934 – Mao leads Long March to Chinese revolution 1945 – Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima
1947 – Transistors lead way to computer age. 1947 – India gains independence, 1953 – DNA mapped 1962 – Carson’s Silent Spring 1969 – Armstrong walks on the moon
1989 - the Berlin Wall was torn down 1991 - The Soviet Empire disintegrated.
VIDEO SEGMENTS FREUDIAN TIMES Twentieth-century science investigated both the internal world of the mind and the external world of physics
EUROPE Twentieth-century world wars, ideological fanaticism, and genocide smashed nineteenth-century optimism and belief in human progress.
USA Population increases, faster and cheaper modes of transportation, and the end of European empires led to mass population movements in the twentieth century.
NORTH AMERICA In many ways, the twentieth century belongs to America. Americans developed, exploited, and marketed worldwide new technologies like the automobile, telephone, television, and computer.
JAPAN The post-World War II economic boom affected Asia as well as Europe and America. With the help of American aid, Japan rebuilt and began to challenge the American export market in the field of cars and electronics. The economies of other Asian "dragons" like Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea also grew at extraordinary rates.
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People – 20th Century Albert Einstein 1879 – 1955 He bumped Newton from the pinnacle of physics and painted a fantastic new picture of our universe. In the process, Albert Einstein changed the political and scientific balance of power in our century and for the foreseeable future.
Henry Ford 1863 – 1947 His revolutionary assembly line enabled him to sell his cars at a price the average American family could afford, and to double his workers' wages while cutting hours. What had been a toy of the rich became a necessity of life, spawning gas stations, superhighways and traffic jams around the world.
Sigmund Freud 1856 – 1939 Freud's emphasis on the power of the unconscious to influence behavior broadened our view of human nature and sexuality and gave rise to the age of self-examination.
Mohandas Gandhi 1869 – 1948, Gandhi's powerful strategy, called satyagraha, involved nonviolent noncooperation, boycotts of all things British, civil disobedience, marches and fasts. His methods use for Indian independence have been adopted by protest movements throughout the world.
Adolf Hitler 1889 – 1945 Along with his mastery of propaganda, his ideology of racial purity and his ruthless political skills, Hitler possessed a diabolical personal magnetism. By the time Hitler was defeated in 1945, as many as 77 million people had died, leaving him responsible for more death than any other man in the history of the world.