Monday, July 4, 2011

20th century

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The 0th century has been a period that has seen things such as great political and social change, great advancements, and great catastrophe as well. From World War I in 114, through the beginnings of the nuclear age in the 140’s, to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 10, the century has been full of major and influential occurrences that have strongly affected our global society as a whole. The century has seen two full-scale global wars, and a series of smaller wars to go along with great changes in governments, ideals, and society, as well as great industrial and societal advancements.

Our world has seen two global scale wars as well as several smaller scale wars to go along with them. In the early 100’s the world was completely dominated by European countries such as Germany, Austria, Britain, France, and Italy. These countries had great amounts of land throughout the world carved up into colonies. By 114 Europe was divided into two combinations of great powers originally formed by defensive purposes to decreases risk of attack. This turned out to be quite the opposite however. The two alliances formed were, The Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria, and Italy (who later joined the Triple Entente), and the Triple Entente of France, Russia, and Britain. Nationalism was also becoming an extremely important theme in the early 0th century. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was a state that included people of dozens of ethnic groups. This became a problem in this age of nationalism; this sparked the independent kingdom of Serbia who wanted to take in these Slavic groups to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne. If it wasn’t for these alliances and ideas of nationalism, Austria-Hungary if they had not been sure of Germany’s support would not have risked war with the greatest Slavic nation Russia, by attacking Serbia after the assassination. Thus began a global war with both alliances battling amongst one another. Thus World War I was fought and millions of lives were lost. The Triple Entente emerged victorious with the aid of the United States and many things changed after the war. Empires such as the Austrian and Ottoman crumbled and this proved that multinational states could not survive and that each people must have their separate country. The war also showed that the most developed countries of the world (Europe), could not indefinitely dominate the globe. And the war to end all wars that was World War I did not do what it was supposed to, approximately 0 years later the sides were lining up and an even more overwhelming war was about to take place.

The Holocaust is one of the most well known events in world history. The Holocaust extermination of five to six million Jews by means of forced labor, shootings, and gassings. This was undoubtedly a catastrophe on an enormous scale. Hitler Germany’s leader at the time used the Jews as scapegoats for many of Germany’s problems claiming they were taking money away from the country. The Jews were deprived of their civil rights and forced into extermination camps were they were more than likely headed for death. There was an extreme amount of people being demoralizing and horrible the experience of the Holocaust was to millions of Jews. The Holocaust made many realizes the horror that humans can put each other through. Freedom of the press, worship, organization, and association all completely disappeared for four years.

World War II began as a junction of originally separate drives for empire into one conflict. The Japanese had invaded Manchuria in 11, Italy invaded Ethiopia in 15, Hitler invaded Poland in 1, and the Japanese launched an attack on the U.S. possession in Peal Harbor. All these invasions represented a yearning for empire by the invading countries. By the end of 141, the German and Japanese drives had converged into a conflict of continents against the worldwide British Empire. Total war was again upon the world and this time it was uglier and showed we could not learn from what happened in the past. This war is arguably worse however, nearly 50 million people were left dead after this war and almost half of these casualties were civilians. Many of these victims were that of indiscriminate aerial bombing which was taken for granted in the plans of all nations. Also a new age began towards the end of war, this being in my opinion one of the worst things to happen to us in the century, is that of the nuclear age. In 145 the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki successively three days apart effectively ending World War II. The bombs used primarily for the intent of ending the war did that duty, but also left long lasting shocking effects on Japan and initiated a new weapon of mass destruction into the world arena. Besides these wars over empires the unfortunate theme of war has plagued us throughout the century.

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The two World Wars brought us up to the 150s when we saw the world begin to divide up into two sides, that of democratic principles, and that of communist/socialist principles. This split marked the beginning of the inactive fighting of the Cold war between the communist USSR and the democratic US, which sparked another series of wars beginning with the war in Korea in the early 150’s. This war pitted the US and the democratic South Korea against the socialist North Korea. The war ended with nearly 55,000 Americans dead and a return to the previous borders from before the war. Another war that raged in the midst of the Cold War was the one in Vietnam in the 160s. This war proved most disastrous to the United States in that it was The United States’ longest and most expensive war. 60,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese died. Total American expenses have been calculated at over a trillion dollars the loss of lives is priceless in a war that many think should’ve never happened. Our century has most definitely been haunted with unfortunate war.

The nuclear age was a very frightening period throughout the past century. After the development of the atomic bomb at the end of World War II a weapons race ensued due to the constant threat of war between the US and the USSR. In 15 the US tested the first hydrogen bomb, quickly to be followed the first Soviet explosion in 15. In a way the development of these mass destruction type weapons helped a full-scale war to be avoided. The idea of mutually assured destruction was constant in that if one of the countries would strike first it would assure “the end of the world”. The latter part of the century has seen a movement to expel these weapons due to the end of the Cold War and the fall of Communism. There has been a great push to eliminate these weapons from existence to ensure that they will not be used in the future if obtained my rouge nations.

In conclusion our world in the 0th century has been filled with monumental events both good and bad as well as a great deal of change. In the past one hundred or so years we have seen things that we aren’t to proud of and things that have made us a better place to live in as a whole. Things such as Holocaust make us look like an extremely evil society of people and this is one thing that we must ensure will not follow us into the upcoming century and beyond. We have gone through the all too common fields of war too many times and this destruction is also something that we must do our best to leave behind. The world has done a great amount to harm its people with these themes of war and nuclear weapons. We have witnessed a near half-century power struggle between the communist and democratic principles. Communism as risen and fallen along with the great colonial empire that was evident in the beginning of the century. The globe has come along way with its technologies and this has aided the advancement of society as a whole. We have seen the advancements of cultures as well as various groups of people throughout the century. In all we must take our mistakes and learn from them, and take our advancements and improve on them to remain protected in the week and months that follow us through a second Gulf War in the near future.

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