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20th century

(19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries)


The twentieth century comprises the years 1901 to 2000 inclusive. Colloquially, this is often conflated with the nineteen hundreds, which is the century comprising the years 1900 to 1999.

The twentieth century was remarkable due to the technological, medical, social, ideological, and international innovations, and due to the rise of war, genocide, and democide on an unprecedented scale. The trends of mechanization of goods & services and networks of global communication which were begun in the 19th century continued at an ever increasing pace in the 20th. Virtually every aspect of life in virtually every human society changed in some fundamental way during the twentieth century.

Table of contents

Important developments, events and achievements

  • Five overall worst atrocities of the 20th century (also see [1] (http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/ssrg/misc/misery)):
    • World War II and regime of Adolf Hitler (1937-1945), over 50 million dead, including two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe (6 million).
    • Regime of Mao Tse-Tung and Chinese famine (1949-1976), over 48 million dead.
    • Regime of Joseph Stalin (1924-1953), over 20 million dead.
    • World War I (1914-1918), over 15 million dead.
    • Russian Civil War (1918-1921), over 8.5 million dead.

  • Culture and Entertainment
    • Movies, music and the media had a major influence on fashion and trends in all aspects of life. As many movies and music originate from the United States, American culture spread rapidly over the world.
    • After gaining political rights in the United States and much of Europe in the first part of the century, women became more independent throughout the century.
    • Modern art developed new styles such as expressionism, cubism, and surrealism.
    • The automobile provided vastly increased transportation capabilities for the average member of Western societies in the early to mid-century, spreading even further later on. City design throughout most of the West became focused on transport via car. The car became a leading symbol of modern society, with styles of car suited to and symbolic of particular lifestyles.
    • Sports became an important part of society, becoming an activity not only for the privileged. Watching sports, later also on television, became a popular activity.

  • Natural Resources and the Environment
    • The widespread use of petroleum in industry -- both as a chemical precursor to plastics and as a fuel for the automobile and airplane -- led to the vital geopolitical importance of petroleum resources. The Middle East, home to many of the world's oil deposits, became a center of geopolitical and military tension throughout the latter half of the century.
    • A vast increase in fossil fuel consumption leads to depletion of natural resources, while air pollution possibly leads to global warming and the ozone hole. The problem is increased by world-wide deforestation, also causing a loss of biodiversity. The problem of a depletion of natural resources is decreased by advances in drilling technology which led to a net increase in the amount of fossil fuel that is readily obtainable at the end of the century, as compared with the amount considered obtainable at the beginning of the century.

Significant people

World Leaders

Scientists

Aerospace Pioneers

Military Leaders

Religious Figures

Artists

Entertainers

Writers and Poets

Sports Figures

Notorious Figures

Decades and Years

Note: years before or after the twentieth century are in italics.

1890s 1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899
1900s 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909
1910s 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919
1920s 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
1930s 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
1940s 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
1950s 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960s 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1970s 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980s 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990s 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000s 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009



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