History is Not Boring discussion

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Most significant event of the 20th century?

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message 1: by Mike (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:43PM) (new)

Mike | 9 comments I'm going to go with World War I. It resulted in the destruction of four monarchies and in a larger sense the fundamental order of Europe, it truly introduced the concept of total war, it brought the concept of national self-determination to the world stage, it laid the foundation for fascism and World War 2, and it enabled the creation of the Soviet Union. The Great War completely changed the course of history in ways that were both terrible and beyond the imagination of the participants ante bellum.


message 2: by Anthony, Trivial Pursuit Master (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:43PM) (new)

Anthony (bluekabuki) | 42 comments Mod
I'm going to have to agree with Mike!


message 3: by Dina (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:50PM) (new)

Dina Well there are lots of stuff that definately stick out in the 20th century. I'd say the dropping of the A-bombs and the Cuban missile crisis. The first events really showed the world the power we have. But, the second events also showed the world that the destruction of our world can occur by what we initially started.


message 4: by Jenn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:53PM) (new)

Jenn | 1 comments From my admittedly insular pov, "the development and rapid diffusion of new techonolgies of mass media/surveillance". Although its impact has not been acute (like that of WWI), I would argue that the cumulative and chronic effects have been similarly earth-shaking.


message 5: by Jim (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Jim I'd say the internet development or the computer which has the potential for bringing together the world, providing sources for learning about others, getting useful information,facilitating real time communication in tense situations etc. Of course, there's the flip underside for major abuse including total censorship, disseminating false or misleading information,paralysing society by wiping out financial records,all communication systems,corrupting FAA channels, traffic light systems, wiping out the power grids, ad nauseum.

Maybe related - heard on the radio the other day that in Germany a new system of paying for things etc is under way - 250,000 people have had their fingerprints scanned into a data base - all their transactions are processed by having a scanner read their fingerprints into the system - that's how the person pays for a purchase and completes other transactions - so there's no credit card, cash, check - sounds a little 1984 to me - what do you think: good or bad?

I would much rather someone steal my credit card,cash than my finger.


message 6: by Pam (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:18PM) (new)

Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee (pam_t) | 48 comments I'd say the development of vaccines. Vaccines have saved so many lives that it's greatly affected the number of people that are alive which in turn affects politics, war, education, the environment....


message 7: by Fred (new)

Fred   Provoncha (unclefred) | 15 comments Gotta go with the personal computer, for the 1st time, you may know someone in China better than you know the person next door...fvp


message 8: by Sera (new)

Sera I agree with Mark - WWI - for all the reasons he stated. I would also add that it set the stage for the creation of the UN when Woodrow Wilson established The League of Nations.


message 9: by Coyle (new)

Coyle | 15 comments Tough question- it's not my favorite event or the most exciting, but I think Ford Motor Company's use of the assembly line. Most of the other things people have mentioned (WWI, WWII, vaccines, computers, etc) wouldn't be possible without mass production, or at least wouldn't be as huge in scale as they have been.


message 10: by Jillian (last edited Feb 17, 2008 08:38PM) (new)

Jillian (mother_of_dinosaurs) I think the most significant event of the 20th century was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. I can remember my history teacher in HS drilling into our heads that this event shaped the world we live in. It was the spark that started WW1.


message 11: by Ainsley (new)

Ainsley | 9 comments Hi - surely it would be the development of the internet? Or the Wright brother's first flight? Or the computer?

Personally, I'd be a bit wary about nominating a specific political/military event (i.e. the assassination of Franz Ferdinand) - many of these have endless causal chains that could be traced back forever.

What an interesting question!


message 12: by Jillian (last edited Feb 21, 2008 04:24PM) (new)

Jillian (mother_of_dinosaurs) The internet is important but I think other events had a greater impact on the 20th century. There are parts of the world with citizens who still haven't even used the internet yet alone a computer. For example here in the U.S my own parents haven't ever touched a computer and don't understand what the internet is. But both of their lives were changed and affected by WW1 and WW2.

The assassination of Franz Ferdinand led to a war which involved every powerful nation on the face of the earth. The economic and political aftermath of WW1 helped to create fascism and nazism which then led to WW2. Genocide of the Jews, homosexuals, Catholics, Gypsies and others.

This to me has a much greater impact on the world then the internet. Millions of people died, cities were destroyed, countries created, dynasties fell and empires disappeared. No other war before or since has changed the map of Europe so dramatically. Basically World War 1 laid the foundation of the world we live in today.

In my opinion the creation of the internet yes had an impact on the world. But nothing like WW1. They can't even be compared.

Also the creation of the internet can also be traced back to Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie being killed and the bombings in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914.

Cold War -> WW2 -> WW1 -> June 28, 1914.


message 13: by Holly (new)

Holly | 5 comments Possibly World War II. It re-shaped the map, drew lines in the sand, and led -- directly or indirectly -- to many other conflicts around the world. Those conflicts, from Vietnam to Korea, to the Bay of Pigs, all centered around "cold war" issues.

Also, World War II led to the invention of a great number of devices, things that were precursors to tools and machinery and computers we use today.

For Americans, WWII started the country thinking anew about democracy and equality. I argue that the civil rights advances made in subsequent years would not have happened without the "Greatest Generation," those for whom WWII showed quite starkly that it was more than high time for the USA to start living up to its founding ideals.


message 14: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 17 comments OK... I agree that the World Wars most definitely helped shape our present world. And the start of WW1 is very important, although I would argue that the war could have started with an event other than the assassination of the Archduke, it was just a matter of time.

But, sort of attached to the WWs, I think the atomic bomb explosion on Hiroshima is, at least, one of the most significant events. Not because of the death and destruction, etc., but because the explosion itself launched the world into the Atomic Age where we now possess the power to destroy our planet several times over. There are some political changes that went along with the bomb, but beyond the politics I think that it is significant that in the 2nd half of the 20th century, unlike any other time in human history, we have the capacity to annihilate our entire world civilization.



message 15: by Ainsley (new)

Ainsley | 9 comments Jillian / Mike - are you suggesting that WW1 (and the subsequent train of events) would not have occurred if the Archduke wasn't assassinated? I'm more inclined to agree with Jessica that WW1 could have started with an event other than the assassination. As Henry Kissinger noted in his rather wonderful book Diplomacy: 'The astonishing aspect of the outbreak of the First World War is not that a crisis simpler than many already surmounted had finally triggered a global catastrophe, but that it took so long for it to happen' (Ch.8) .


message 16: by Sera (new)

Sera The King, the Kaiser and the Tsar also provides excellent insight into the events leading up to WWI. The assination was the straw that broke the camel's back, but I agree with the others who say that the war was inevitable for myriad reasons.


message 17: by Jillian (last edited Feb 24, 2008 12:51PM) (new)

Jillian (mother_of_dinosaurs) I was just trying to point out that the invention of the internet isn't as important as WW1 or other events of the last century.

Yes the internet is important but as I stated before it didn't have the impact on the world that WW1 or WW2 did. I lost a few family members to both wars. Their deaths had huge impacts on my family.

My family members who survived include my one Great Uncle took part in the Bataan Death March and was a Japanese prisoner of war for many years. Another Great Uncle was a German POW.

I'm sure computer folks will disagree with me. And that is alright.

I'm also well aware that the Archduke's death was the 'spark' that started WW1 and I stated that in my first post. I also know others events led to it.


message 18: by Ryan (new)

Ryan | 28 comments What do you think of this proposition, that the internet, as well as the birth of computers would not have happened, at least not as quickly if the two world wars had not happened.
Without the wars, our country would not have been pushed to the cold war of which the computer age went through its first huge evolutionary step. If the governments of the cold war had not striven to find a way to kill each other better through the control computers give them, we would never have benefited to the extent we do today.
My vote for the most significant event would have to be the assassination of Ferdinand, it was the "tipping point" that through which everything else was achieved.


message 19: by Jillian (new)

Jillian (mother_of_dinosaurs) Very well said Ryan and I completely agree.


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