What happened in the 20th century characteristics and events

20TH century

Last century of the second millennium. What happened in the 20th century?

The 20th century is the period that constitutes the last century of the second millennium. This and began on January 1, 1901 and ended on December 31, 2000 , according to the Gregorian calendar. In the traditional periodization of history, it is part of the Contemporary Age .

The 20th century was characterized by great social transformations ; advances in technology, medicine and science in general, but also by a large number of deaths caused by wars, revolutions, ethnic massacres and state terrorism.

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Characteristics of the 20th century

The main characteristics of the 20th century were the following:

  • The disappearance of the colonial empires and the affirmation of the independent national states . This decolonization process accelerated after the end of World War II, and was particularly strong in Asia and Africa.
  • The United States replaced Great Britain as the main power in the West . American hegemony was questioned by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, but after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the United States emerged as a hegemonic power worldwide. What happened in the 20th century?
  • The gradual replacement of the monarchy by the republic as a form of government. Most of the monarchies that managed to survive did so under the constitutional or parliamentary form , in which the king is head of state but not head of government.
  • Despite the affirmation of republican principles, Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe suffered dictatorial governments that threatened people’s lives and freedom.
  • The capitalism asserted itself as hegemonic economic and social system, after overcoming the challenge of socialism and planned economy raised him for much of the century.
  • The increasing automation of work to mass produce standardized products led to the formation of consumer societies , where a growing supply of goods and services creates its own demand.
  • There were accelerated technological changes , both in the field of transport (airplanes, ocean liners, space shuttles), as well as in communications (radio, television, telephone, computer, internet) and in materials, as a result of the invention of stainless steel, silicone, Teflon, different types of plastic, etc.
  • Huge advances in medicine were made from the invention of antibiotics, the development of new surgical techniques, organ transplantation, the invention of contraceptives, and the development of genetic engineering.
  • The demographic explosion , mainly due to the improvement of sanitary conditions and advances in medicine.
  • The deepening of the process of urbanization of the world population . Towards the end of the century, the percentage of the urban population was the majority in almost the entire world.
  • The recognition of women’s rights and their equality with those of men in most Western countries and in fields such as personal, family, labor, educational, political, health, etc.
  • The struggle for the recognition of the rights of numerous minorities (ethnic, national, religious, among others).
  • The environmental pollution and global warming , which put at risk the ecological balance of large areas of the planet.

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Most important events

Among the most important events and processes of the 20th century, the following stand out:

  • In 1905, the German physicist Albert Einstein enunciated the theory of relativity .
  • In 1912 the Chinese Empire was dissolved , and after the abolition of the monarchy a republic was established.
  • Between 1914 and 1918 the First World War took place, which ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles . What happened in the 20th century?
  • In 1917 there was the Russian Revolution that overthrew the government of the Tsars and brought the Bolsheviks to power . In 1922 the Soviet Union was established .
  • Between 1918 and 1920 the Spanish flu pandemic killed around 50 million people.
  • In 1923 the Ottoman Empire ended after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey.
  • In 1927, the BBC in England made the first public television broadcasts .
  • Between 1929 and 1939, the Great Depression that began after the collapse of the New York Stock Exchange in 1929 left millions of people around the world unemployed.
  • Between 1936 and 1939 the Spanish Civil War pitted the Republicans against the Nationalists. It ended with the establishment of the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco (1939-1975).
  • In 1938 what is considered the first computer was created .
  • Between 1939 and 1945 World War II pitted the Allies against the Axis powers .
  • In 1947 India achieved its independence from the British Empire through non-violent resistance against colonialism, promoted by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Between 1950 and 1953 the Korean War took place , a warlike conflict between South Korea and North Korea that unleashed in the context of the Cold War .
  • Between 1955 and 1975 the Vietnam War pitted South Vietnam and North Vietnam. This ended with the victory of the Northern forces and the reunification of Vietnam.
  • In 1969, the American Apollo XI mission reached the Moon in the context of the space race .
  • In 1989 the Berlin Wall was demolished , which had divided the city in two since 1961. This was the prelude to the reunification of Germany in 1990, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
  • In 1990 the World Wide Web (WWW) document distribution system was developed , which is the base popularly used to interact with the Internet.
  • In 1990 and 1991 there was the Gulf War , during which an international coalition led by the United States attacked the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.
  • Between 1991 and 2001, the Yugoslav wars ended with the fragmentation of Yugoslavia into 6 independent states.
  • In 1992 , apartheid , which segregated the black populationended in South Africa . Two years later, Nelson Mandela became the first black president to head the Executive Branch.
  • In 1993 the European Union was created , an international political community created to promote peace, trade and the integration of the European peoples.

20th century in America

At the beginning of the 20th century, Latin American countries exported raw materials, minerals, and food, while importing capital, labor, and manufactured products from industrialized countries. What happened in the 20th century?

The validity of this agro-export model was disrupted by the Great Depression, which caused a deep economic crisis and political instability . From then on, several Latin American countries suffered coups d’état and military dictatorships, at the same time that they tried industrialization processes through import substitution.

The interference of the military in political life increased in the 1960s and 1970s, during which the National Security Doctrine was disseminated, promoted by the United States after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

Starting in the 1980s, almost all Latin American countries experienced processes of return to democracy . The new constitutional governments had serious difficulties in paying their external debts and ensuring well-being and progress for all their inhabitants. What happened in the 20th century?

Culture and art in the 20th century

The main cultural and artistic characteristics of the 20th century were the following:

  • Various cultural products such as music and cinema were transformed into mass consumption industries. At the same time, new industries linked to entertainment appeared, such as television and video games:
    • Cinematographic techniques were perfected and cinema became popular. Its influence was evidenced in fashion and customs, which became global.
    • New musical forms were developed , such as jazz and rock, which reached mass audiences, especially young people. In addition, new forms of entertainment emerged, such as mass recitals .
    • The popularization of television contributed to the immediate dissemination of audiovisual information.
  • In art, there was a break with the European artistic tradition, starting with the avant-gardes . New artistic manifestations emerged such as the happening, performances, installations, video art, pop art and conceptual art, among others.
  • There was a revaluation of Latin American cultural currents , with a wide diffusion of traditional musical rhythms and, in literature, the rise of magical realism.
  • New philosophical currents emerged such as analytical philosophy, continental philosophy in Europe, phenomenology, existentialism and postmodern currents. What happened in the 20th century?

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