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The 20th (twentieth) century began on January 1, 1901 ( MCMI), and ended on December 31, 2000 ( MM). It was the tenth and final century of the 2nd millennium. The 20th century was dominated by significant events that defined the era:
Spanish flu pandemic The Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 influenza pandemic, was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic An influenza pandemic is an epidemic of an influenza virus that spreads across a large region (either multiple continents or worldwide) ...
,
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
and
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
,
nuclear weapon A nuclear weapon (also known as an atom bomb, atomic bomb, nuclear bomb or nuclear warhead, and colloquially as an A-bomb or nuke) is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reaction In nuclear physics and nucl ...
s,
nuclear power Nuclear power is the use of s to produce . Nuclear power can be obtained from , and reactions. Presently, the vast majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced by of and in s. Nuclear decay processes are used in niche applicatio ...

nuclear power
and
space exploration Space exploration is the use of astronomy and space technology to explore outer space. While the exploration of space is carried out mainly by astronomers with telescopes, its physical exploration though is conducted both by robotic spacecra ...
,
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peop ...
and
decolonization Decolonization (American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U ...
, the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
and post-Cold War conflicts. The 20th century saw a massive transformation of the world order: global total fertility rates,
sea level rise Tide gauge measurements show that the current global sea level rise began at the start of the 20th century. Between 1900 and 2017, the globally averaged sea level rose by . More precise data gathered from satellite radar measurements reveal an a ...

sea level rise
and
ecological collapse Ecological collapse refers to a situation where an ecosystem suffers a drastic, possibly permanent, reduction in carrying capacity for all organisms, often resulting in mass extinction. Usually, an ecological collapse is precipitated by a disastrou ...
s increased; the resulting competition for land and dwindling resources accelerated
deforestation deforestation in 1750-2004 (net loss) showing anthropogenic modification of remaining forest. File:MODIS (2020-08-01).jpg, 300px, Dry seasons, exacerbated by climate change, and the use of slash-and-burn methods for clearing tropical forest ...

deforestation
, water depletion, and the
mass extinction An extinction event (also known as a mass extinction or biotic crisis) is a widespread and rapid decrease in the biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is ...
of many of the world's species and decline in the population of others; consequences which are now being dealt with. Man-made global warming resulted in more extreme weather conditions; the average global temperature on Earth has increased by a little more than 1° Celsius (2° Fahrenheit) since 1880; Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15–0.20 °C per decade. Additional themes include
intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through formal treaties for handling/serving common interests and governed by internat ...
s and
cultural homogenizationCultural homogenization is an aspect of cultural globalization, listed as one of its main characteristics, and refers to the reduction in cultural diversity through the popularization and diffusion of a wide array of cultural symbols—not only physi ...
through developments in emerging
transportation Transport (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval Engl ...

transportation
and
communications technology Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extensional term for information technology (IT) that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of informa ...
;
poverty reduction Poverty reduction, poverty relief, or poverty alleviation, is a set of measures, both economic An economy (; ) is an area of the Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution and trade, as well as Consumption ...
and
world population In demographics Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is oft ...

world population
growth, awareness of
environmental degradation Eighty-plus years after the abandonment of Wallaroo Mines (Kadina, South Australia), mosses remain the only vegetation at some spots of the site's grounds. Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment (biophysical), environmen ...
,
ecological extinction Ecological extinction is "the reduction of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the ...
; Wilson, E.O., ''The Future of Life'' (2002) (). See also: , ''The Sixth Extinction : Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind'', and the birth of the
Digital Revolution The Digital Revolution (also known as the Third Industrial Revolution) is the shift from mechanical and analogue electronic technology Technology ("science of craft", from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; ...
.
Automobile A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle Electric bicycles parked in Yangzhou's main street, Wenchang Lu. They are a very common way of transport in this city, in some areas almost outnumbering regular bicycles A motor vehicle, also ...

Automobile
s,
airplane An airplane or aeroplane (informally plane) is a fixed-wing aircraft A fixed-wing aircraft is a heavier-than-air flying machine Early flying machines include all forms of aircraft studied or constructed before the development of th ...

airplane
s and the use of
home appliance A home appliance, also referred to as a domestic appliance, an electric appliance or a household appliance, is a machine which assists in household A household consists of one or several persons who live in the same dwelling and share meals. I ...
s became common, as did
video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active de ...
and
audio Audio most commonly refers to sound In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion ( ...
recording. Great advances in power generation, communication and medical technology allowed for
near-instantaneous worldwide computer communication
near-instantaneous worldwide computer communication
and
genetic modification Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification or genetic manipulation, is the direct manipulation of an organism's gene In biology, a gene (from ''genos'' "...Wilhelm Johannsen coined the word gene to describe the Mendelian_in ...
of life. The repercussions of the World Wars, Cold War and globalization crafted a world where people are more united than any previous time in human history, as exemplified by the establishment of
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework to guide ...
,
international aid In international relations, aid (also known as international aid, overseas aid, foreign aid, economic aid or foreign assistance) is – from the perspective of governments – a voluntary transfer of resources from one country to another. ...
, and the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
. The
Marshall Plan The Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was an American initiative passed in 1948 for foreign aid to Western Europe. The United States transferred over $12 billion (equivalent to $ billion in ) in economic rec ...

Marshall Plan
—which spent $13 billion ($ billion in US dollars) to rebuild the economies of post-war nations—launched "
Pax Americana ''Pax Americana'' (Latin for "American Peace", modeled after ''Pax Romana'' and ''Pax Britannica''; also called Long Peace, the Long Peace) is a term applied to the concept of relative peace in the Western Hemisphere and later the world after the ...
". Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, the rivalry between the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and some . At , it is the world's . The United States shares significan ...

United States
and the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
created enormous tensions around the world which manifested in various armed proxy regional conflicts and the omnipresent danger of
nuclear proliferation Nuclear proliferation is the spread of nuclear weapons A nuclear weapon (also known as an atom bomb, atomic bomb, nuclear bomb or nuclear warhead, and colloquially as an A-bomb or nuke) is an explosive device that derives its destructiv ...

nuclear proliferation
. The
dissolution of the Soviet Union The dissolution of the Soviet Union, also negatively connoted as rus, Разва́л Сове́тского Сою́за, r=Razvál Sovétskovo Sojúza, ''Ruining of the Soviet Union''. (1988–1991) was the process of internal political, e ...
in 1991 after the collapse of its European alliance was heralded by the West as the end of
communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

communism
, though by the century's end roughly one in six people on Earth lived under communist rule, mostly in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
which was rapidly rising as an economic and geopolitical power. The 20th century ended with the United States as the sole preeminent military power. It took over two-hundred thousand years of modern human history and 6 million years of human evolution up to 1804 for the world's population to reach 1 billion;
world population In demographics Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is oft ...

world population
reached an estimated 2 billion in 1927; by late 1999, the global population reached 6 billion, with over half being concentrated in East, South and Southeast Asia. Global
literacy Literacy is popularly understood as an ability to read and write Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (ph ...
averaged 80%.
Penicillin Penicillins (P, PCN or PEN) are a group of antibiotics originally obtained from ''Penicillium'' Mold (fungus), moulds, principally ''Penicillium chrysogenum, P. chrysogenum'' and ''Penicillium rubens, P. rubens''. Most penicillins in clinica ...

Penicillin
and other medical breakthroughs combined with the
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the co-ordinating machinery of the Unite ...
's global campaigns for the eradication of smallpox and other diseases responsible for more human deaths than all wars and natural disasters combined yielded unprecedented results; smallpox now only existed in labs. Machines were being utilized in all areas of production, feeding an increasingly intricate national supply chain, meaning for the first time in history, mankind was no longer constrained by how much it could produce, but rather by peoples' willingness to consume. Trade improvements reversed the limited set of food-producing techniques used since the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
period, greatly enhancing the diversity of foods available, resulting in an upturn in the quality of
human nutrition Human nutrition deals with the provision of essential nutrients in food that are necessary to support human life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as signaling and self ...
. Until the early 19th century,
life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age, and other factors like sex. The most commonly used measure is life expectancy at birth (LEB), whi ...

life expectancy
from birth was about thirty in most populations; global lifespan-averages exceeded 40 years for the first time in history, with over half achieving 70 or more years (three decades ''longer'' than a century earlier).


Overview

The 20th (twentieth) century began on January 1, 1901, and ended on December 31, 2000. The term is often used erroneously to refer to "the 1900s", the century between January 1, 1900 and December 31, 1999. It was the tenth and final century of the 2nd millennium. Unlike most century years, the year
2000 2000 was designated as the International Year for the Culture of PeaceThe International Year for the Culture of Peace was designated by the United Nations as the year 2000, with the aim of celebrating and encouraging a culture of peace. Ori ...

2000
was a
leap year A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or year) is a that contains an additional day (or, in the case of a , a month) added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the or . Because astronomical events and seasons do not repeat in a ...

leap year
, and the second
century leap year A century leap year is a leap year in the Gregorian calendar that is divisible by 400 without a remainder. Like all leap years, it has an extra day in February for a total of 366 days instead of 365. In the obsolete Julian Calendar, all years that ...
in the
Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by as a modification of the , reducing the average year from 365.25 days to 365.2425 days, and adjusting for the drift in the that the inaccuracy ha ...
after . The century had the first global-scale
total war Total war is war War is an intense armed conflict between states, government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad asso ...
s between world powers across continents and oceans in
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
and
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
.
Nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more ove ...
became a major political issue in the world in the 20th century, acknowledged in
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework to guide ...
along with the right of
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. "Level of analysis" is distinct from the term " unit of observation ...

nation
s to
self-determination The right of a people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a cultu ...
, official
decolonization Decolonization (American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U ...
in the mid-century, and related regional conflicts. The century saw a major shift in the way that many people lived, with changes in politics, ideology, economics, society, culture, science, technology, and medicine. The 20th century may have seen more technological and scientific progress than all the other centuries combined since the dawn of civilization. Terms like ''
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peop ...
'', ''
globalism Globalism refers to various patterns of meaning beyond the merely international. It is used by political scientists, such as Joseph Nye Joseph Samuel Nye Jr. (born January 19, 1937) is an American political scientist. He is the co-founder, alo ...
'', ''
environmentalism Environmentalism or environmental rights is a broad philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical real ...
'', ''
ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes abo ...
'', ''
world war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newsp ...
'', ''
genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an , , , or group. coined the term in 1944, combining the word (, "race, people") with the ("act of killing").. In 1948, the defined genocide as "acts committed wi ...
,'' and ''
nuclear war Nuclear warfare (sometimes atomic warfare or thermonuclear warfare) is a military conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or paramilitary groups such as Mercenary ...
'' entered common usage. Scientific discoveries, such as the
theory of relativity The theory of relativity usually encompasses two interrelated theories by Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity, proposed and published in 1905 and 1915, respectively. Special relativity applies to all physical phenomena in ...
and
quantum physics Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory A theory is a reason, rational type of abstraction, abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated with ...
, profoundly changed the foundational models of physical science, forcing scientists to realize that the universe was more complex than previously believed, and dashing the hopes (or fears) at the end of the 19th century that the last few details of scientific knowledge were about to be filled in. It was a century that started with
horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to ...

horse
s, simple automobiles, and but ended with
high-speed rail High-speed rail (HSR) is a type of rail transport that runs significantly faster than traditional rail traffic, using an integrated system of specialised and dedicated tracks. While there is no single standard that applies worldwide, lines bui ...
,
cruise ships Cruise ships are large passenger ships used mainly for vacation A vacation (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the E ...

cruise ships
, global commercial air travel and the
Space Shuttle The Space Shuttle is a retired, partially reusable launch system, reusable low Earth orbital spacecraft system operated from 1981 to 2011 by the U.S. NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as part of the Space Shuttle progra ...

Space Shuttle
. Horses and other
pack animal A pack animal, also known as a sumpter animal or beast of burden, is an individual or type of working animal A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one grou ...
s, every society's basic form of personal transportation for thousands of years, were replaced by automobiles and buses within a few decades. These developments were made possible by the exploitation of
fossil fuel A fossil fuel is a -containing material formed underground from the remains of dead plants and animals that humans extract and to release for use. The main fossil s are , and , which humans extract through and . Fossil fuels may be burnt ...
resources, which offered energy in an easily portable form, but also caused concern about pollution and long-term impact on the
environment Environment most often refers to: __NOTOC__ * Natural environment, all living and non-living things occurring naturally * Biophysical environment, the physical and biological factors along with their chemical interactions that affect an organism or ...
. Humans explored
space Space is the boundless three-dimensional Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional space) is a geometric setting in which three values (called parameter A parameter (from the Ancient Greek language, Ancient Gre ...
for the first time, taking their first footsteps on the
Moon The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite. At about one-quarter the diameter of Earth (comparable to the width of Australia (continent), Australia), it is the largest natural satellite in the Solar System relative to the size of its plane ...

Moon
. Mass media, telecommunications, and information technology (especially computers,
paperback book A paperback, also known as a softcover or softback, is a type of book characterized by a thick paper or paperboard cover, and often held together with adhesive, glue rather than stitch (textile arts), stitches or Staple (fastener), staples. In c ...
s,
public education State schools ( British English) or public schools ( North American English) are generally primary or secondary educational institution, schools that educate all children without charge. They are funded in whole or in part by taxation. State fu ...
, and the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
) made the world's knowledge more widely available. Advancements in
medical technology Health technology is defined by the World Health Organization as the "application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures, and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of live ...
also improved the health of many people: the global life expectancy increased from 35 years to 65 years. Rapid technological advancements, however, also allowed warfare to reach unprecedented levels of destruction. World War II alone killed over 60 million people, while
nuclear weapons A nuclear weapon (also known as an atom bomb, atomic bomb, nuclear bomb or nuclear warhead, and colloquially as an A-bomb or nuke) is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reaction In nuclear physics and nucl ...

nuclear weapons
gave humankind the means to annihilate itself in a short time. However, these same wars resulted in the destruction of the imperial system. For the first time in human history,
empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and w ...

empire
s and their wars of expansion and colonization ceased to be a factor in international affairs, resulting in a far more globalized and cooperative world. The last time major powers clashed openly was in 1945, and since then, violence has seen an unprecedented decline. The world also became more culturally homogenized than ever with developments in transportation and communications technology,
popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training.Popular Music. (2015). ''Funk ...
and other influences of
Western culture Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired b ...
, international corporations, and what was arguably a truly
global economy Global means of or referring to a globe A globe is a spherical of , of some other , or of the . Globes serve purposes similar to s, but unlike maps, they do not distort the surface that they portray except to scale it down. A model globe of Ear ...
by the end of the 20th century.


Summary

Technological advancements during
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
changed the way war was fought, as new inventions such as
tank A tank is an armored fighting vehicle An armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) is an armed combat vehicle protected by armour, generally combining operational mobility with offensive and defensive capabilities. AFVs can be wheeled or tra ...

tank
s,
chemical weapons A chemical weapon (CW) is a specialized munition that uses chemicals formulated to inflict death or harm on humans. According to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), "the term chemical weapon may also be applied ...
, and
aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters the force of gravity by using either Buoyancy, static lift or by using the Lift (force), dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in ...

aircraft
modified tactics and strategy. After more than four years of
trench warfare Trench warfare is a type of using occupied fighting lines largely comprising , in which troops are well-protected from the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from . Trench warfare became archetypically associated with (19 ...

trench warfare
in
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
, and 20 million dead, the powers that had formed the
Triple Entente The Triple Entente (from French ''Entente (type of alliance), entente'' meaning "friendship, understanding, agreement") describes the informal understanding between the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic and the United Kingdom of Great B ...

Triple Entente
(
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Western Europe and Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Ame ...
,
Britain Britain usually refers to: * United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United ...

Britain
, and
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...
, later replaced by the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and some . At , it is the world's . The United States shares significan ...

United States
and joined by
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose ...
and
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...
) emerged victorious over the
Central Powers The Central Powers, also known as the Central Empires,german: Mittelmächte; hu, Központi hatalmak; tr, İttifak Devletleri / ; bg, Централни сили, translit=Tsentralni sili was one of the two main coalitions that fought World W ...
(
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according to population within city l ...
,
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exe ...

Austria-Hungary
, the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
and
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...
). In addition to annexing many of the of the vanquished states, the Triple Entente exacted punitive restitution payments from them, plunging Germany in particular into
economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recession, which is a slowdown in economic activity over the course of a norma ...
. The Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires were dismantled at the war's conclusion. The
Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution was a period of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relatio ...
resulted in the overthrow of the
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

Tsar
ist regime of
Nicholas II Nicholas II or Nikolai II Alexandrovich Romanov . ( 186817 July 1918), known in the Russian Orthodox Church as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer, . was the last Emperor of All Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until Abdication of Nicholas II ...
and the onset of the
Russian Civil War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Russian Civil War , partof = the Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution was a period of political and social revolution across the territory of the Russian Empire The R ...
. The victorious
Bolsheviks The Bolsheviks (Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (росс ...
then established the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
, the world's first
communist state A communist state, also known as a Marxist–Leninist state, is a one-party state that is administered and governed by a communist party guided by Marxism–Leninism. Marxism–Leninism was the Ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Uni ...
. At the beginning of the period, the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
was the world's most powerful nation, having acted as the world's policeman for the past century.
Fascism Fascism () is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and the economy that rose to prominence in early 20th-century Europ ...

Fascism
, a movement which grew out of post-war
angst Angst means or (' is its , and the words ''anxious'' and ''anxiety'' are of similar origin). The dictionary definition for angst is a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity. Etymology The word ''angst'' was introduced into English ...

angst
and which accelerated during the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
of the 1930s, gained momentum in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose ...
,
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according to population within city l ...

Germany
, and
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...
in the 1920s and 1930s, culminating in
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
, sparked by
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
's aggressive expansion at the expense of its neighbors. Meanwhile,
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
had rapidly transformed itself into a technologically advanced industrial power and, along with Germany and Italy, formed the Axis powers. Japan's military
expansionism In expansionism, states expand their territory through military empire-building or colonialism Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colony, colonies and general ...
in
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both Geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The modern State (polity), states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. ...

East Asia
and the
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's five oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents o ...

Pacific Ocean
brought it into conflict with the United States, culminating in which drew the US into World War II. After some years of dramatic military success, Germany was
defeated Defeated may refer to: *Defeated (Breaking Benjamin song), "Defeated" (Breaking Benjamin song) *Defeated (Anastacia song), "Defeated" (Anastacia song) *"Defeated", a song by Snoop Dogg from the album ''Bible of Love'' *Defeated, Tennessee, an uninc ...
in 1945, having been
invaded An invasion is a Offensive (military), military offensive in which large numbers of combatants of one geopolitics, geopolitical Legal entity, entity aggressively enter territory (country subdivision), territory owned by another such entity, gene ...
by the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
and
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...
from the East and by the United States, the United Kingdom,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Oce ...

Canada
, and
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Western Europe and Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Ame ...
from the West. After the victory of the
Allies An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alli ...
in Europe, the war in Asia ended with the
Soviet invasion of Manchuria The Soviet invasion of Manchuria, formally known as the Manchurian strategic offensive operation (russian: Манчжурская стратегическая наступательная операция, Manchzhurskaya Strategicheskaya Nastu ...
and the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan by the US, the first nation to develop
nuclear weapons A nuclear weapon (also known as an atom bomb, atomic bomb, nuclear bomb or nuclear warhead, and colloquially as an A-bomb or nuke) is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reaction In nuclear physics and nucl ...

nuclear weapons
and the only one to use them in warfare. In total, World War II left some 60 million people dead. After the war, Germany was occupied and divided between the
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
powers and the Soviet Union.
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...
and the rest of
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...
became Soviet
puppet states A puppet is an object, often resembling a human, animal or mythical figure, that is animated or manipulated by a person called a puppeteer A puppeteer is a person who manipulates an inanimate object, called a puppet, to create the illusion t ...
under communist rule. Western Europe was rebuilt with the aid of the American
Marshall Plan The Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was an American initiative passed in 1948 for foreign aid to Western Europe. The United States transferred over $12 billion (equivalent to $ billion in ) in economic rec ...

Marshall Plan
, resulting in a major Post–World War II economic expansion, post-war economic boom, and many of the affected nations became close allies of the United States. With the Axis defeated and Britain and France rebuilding, the United States and the Soviet Union were left standing as the world's only superpowers. Allies during the war, they soon became hostile to one another as their competing ideologies of
communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

communism
and democratic capitalism proliferated in Europe, which became divided by the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall. They formed competing military alliances (NATO and the Warsaw Pact) which engaged in a decades-long standoff known as the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
. The period was marked by a Nuclear arms race, new arms race as the USSR became the second nation to develop nuclear weapons, which were produced by both sides in sufficient numbers to Nuclear holocaust, end most human life on the planet had a large-scale nuclear exchange ever occurred. Mutual assured destruction, Mutually assured destruction is credited by many historians as having prevented such an exchange, each side being unable to Pre-emptive nuclear strike, strike first at the other without ensuring an equally devastating Second strike, retaliatory strike. Unable to engage one another directly, the conflict played out in a series of proxy wars around the world—particularly in Chinese Civil War, China, Korean War, Korea, Cuban revolution, Cuba, Vietnam War, Vietnam, and Soviet–Afghan War, Afghanistan—as the USSR sought to World communism, export communism while the US attempted to Containment, contain it. The technological competition between the two sides led to substantial investment in research and development which produced innovations that reached far beyond the battlefield, such as Space Race, space exploration and the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
. In the latter half of the century, most of the History of colonialism, European-colonized world in Africa and Asia gained independence in a process of
decolonization Decolonization (American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U ...
. Meanwhile, globalization opened the door for several nations to exert a strong influence over many world affairs. The US's global military presence spread Culture of the United States, American culture around the world with the advent of the Cinema of the United States, Hollywood motion picture industry, Broadway (Manhattan), Broadway, rock and roll, pop music, fast food, big-box stores, and the hip-hop lifestyle. Britain also continued to influence world culture, including the "British Invasion" into Music of the United States, American music, leading many Band (rock and pop), rock bands from other countries (such as Swedish ABBA) to sing in English. After Dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union collapsed under internal pressure in 1991, most of the communist governments it had supported around the world Revolutions of 1989, were dismantled—with the notable exceptions of
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, and Laos—followed by awkward transitions into market economies. Following World War II, the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
, successor to the League of Nations, was established as an international forum in which the world's nations could discuss issues diplomatically. It enacted United Nations resolution, resolutions on such topics as the conduct of warfare, environmental protection, international sovereignty, and human rights. Peacekeeping forces consisting of troops provided by various countries, with various United Nations and other aid agencies, helped to relieve famine, disease, and poverty, and to suppress some local armed conflicts. Europe slowly united, economically and, in some ways, politically, to form the European Union, which consisted of 15 European countries by the end of the 20th century.


Nature of innovation and change

Due to continuing industrialization and expanding trade, many significant changes of the century were, directly or indirectly, economic and technological in nature. Inventions such as the light bulb, the automobile, and the telephone in the late 19th century, followed by supertankers, airliners, motorways, radio, television, antibiotics,
nuclear power Nuclear power is the use of s to produce . Nuclear power can be obtained from , and reactions. Presently, the vast majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced by of and in s. Nuclear decay processes are used in niche applicatio ...

nuclear power
, frozen food, computers and microcomputers, the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
, and mobile telephones affected people's quality of life across the developed world. Scientific research, engineering professionalization and technological development—much of it motivated by the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
arms race—drove changes in everyday life.


Social change

At the beginning of the century, strong discrimination based on race and sex was significant in general society. Although the Atlantic slave trade had ended in the 19th century, the fight for equality for non-white people in the white-dominated societies of Civil rights movement, North America, Europe, and Apartheid, South Africa continued. During the century, the social taboo of sexism fell. By the end of the 20th century, women had the same legal rights as men in many parts of the world, and racism had come to be seen as abhorrent. Attitudes towards homosexuality also began to change in the later part of the century.


Earth at the end of the 20th century

Communications and information technology, transportation technology, and medical advances had radically altered daily lives. Europe appeared to be at a sustainable peace for the first time in recorded history. The people of the Indian subcontinent, a sixth of the world population at the end of the 20th century, had attained an Partition of India, indigenous independence for the first time in centuries. China, an ancient nation comprising a fifth of the world population, was finally Chinese economic reform, open to the world, creating a new state after the near-complete destruction of the old cultural order. With the end of colonialism and the Cold War, nearly a billion people in Africa were left in new nation states after centuries of foreign domination. The world was undergoing its second major period of globalization; the first, which started in the 18th century, having been terminated by World War I. Since the US was in a dominant position, a major part of the process was Americanization. The influence of China and India was also rising, as the world's largest populations were rapidly integrating with the world economy. Terrorism, dictatorship, and the spread of
nuclear weapon A nuclear weapon (also known as an atom bomb, atomic bomb, nuclear bomb or nuclear warhead, and colloquially as an A-bomb or nuke) is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reaction In nuclear physics and nucl ...
s were pressing global issues. The world was still blighted by small-scale wars and other violent conflicts, fueled by competition over resources and by ethnic conflicts. Disease threatened to destabilize many regions of the world. New viruses such as the West Nile virus continued to spread. Malaria and other diseases affected large populations. Millions were infected with HIV, the virus which causes AIDS. The virus was becoming an AIDS in Africa, epidemic in southern Africa. Based on research done by climate scientists, the majority of the scientific community consider that in the long term environmental problems may threaten the planet's habitability. One argument is that of global warming occurring due to human-caused emission of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide produced by the burning of
fossil fuel A fossil fuel is a -containing material formed underground from the remains of dead plants and animals that humans extract and to release for use. The main fossil s are , and , which humans extract through and . Fossil fuels may be burnt ...
s. This prompted many nations to negotiate and sign the Kyoto Protocol, Kyoto treaty, which set mandatory limits on carbon dioxide emissions. World population increased from about 1.6 billion people in 1901 to 6.1 billion at the century's end.


Wars and politics

The number of people killed during the century by government actions was in the hundreds of millions. This includes deaths caused by wars, genocide, politicide and mass murders. The deaths from acts of war during the two world wars alone have been estimated at between 50 and 80 million. Political scientist Rudolph Rummel estimated 262,000,000 deaths caused by democide, which excludes those killed in war battles, civilians unintentionally killed in war and killings of rioting mobs. According to Charles Tilly, "Altogether, about 100 million people died as a direct result of action by organized military units backed by one government or another over the course of the century. Most likely a comparable number of civilians died of war-induced disease and other indirect effects." It is estimated that approximately 70 million Europeans died through war, violence and famine between 1914 and 1945. * After gaining political rights in the United States and much of Europe in the first part of the century, and with the advent of new birth control techniques, Women's suffrage, women became more independent throughout the century. * Rising nationalism and increasing national awareness were among the many causes of World War I (1914–1918), the first of two wars to involve many major world powers including Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia/USSR, the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
and the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and some . At , it is the world's . The United States shares significan ...

United States
. World War I led to Aftermath of World War I#Territorial gains and losses, the creation of many new countries, especially in Eastern Europe. At the time, it was said by many to be the "The war to end war, war to end all wars". * Industrial warfare greatly increased in its scale and complexity during the first half of the 20th century. Notable developments included chemical warfare, the introduction of military aviation and the widespread use of submarines. The introduction of nuclear warfare in the mid-20th century marked the definite transition to modern warfare. * Civil wars occurred in many nations. A violent Spanish Civil War, civil war broke out in Spain in 1936 when General Francisco Franco rebelled against the Second Spanish Republic. Many consider this war as a testing battleground for World War II, as the fascist armies bombed some Spanish territories. * The
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
in the 1930s led to the rise of
Fascism Fascism () is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and the economy that rose to prominence in early 20th-century Europ ...

Fascism
and Nazism in Europe. *
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
(1939–1945) involved Pacific War, Eastern Asia and the Pacific, in the form of Japanese aggression against Second Sino-Japanese War, China and the Attack on Pearl Harbor, United States. Civilians also suffered greatly in World War II, due to the aerial bombing of cities on both sides, and the German
genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an , , , or group. coined the term in 1944, combining the word (, "race, people") with the ("act of killing").. In 1948, the defined genocide as "acts committed wi ...
of the Jews and others, known as the Holocaust. * During World War I, in the
Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution was a period of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relatio ...
of 1917, 300 years of House of Romanov, Romanov reign were ended and the
Bolsheviks The Bolsheviks (Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (росс ...
, under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, established the Russian SFSR, world's first Communist state. After the Soviet Union in World War II, Soviet Union's involvement in World War II, communism became a major force in global politics, notably in Eastern Europe, China, Indochina and Cuba, where Communist party, communist parties gained near-absolute power. This led to the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
and proxy wars with the Western bloc, including wars in Korean War, Korea (1950–1953) and Vietnam War, Vietnam (1957–1975). * The Cold War had caused an arms race and increasing competition between the two major players in the world: the Soviet Union and the United States. This competition included the development and improvement of
nuclear weapon A nuclear weapon (also known as an atom bomb, atomic bomb, nuclear bomb or nuclear warhead, and colloquially as an A-bomb or nuke) is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reaction In nuclear physics and nucl ...
s and the Space Race. * The Human rights in the Soviet Union, Soviet authorities caused the deaths of millions of their own citizens in order to eliminate domestic opposition. More than 18 million people passed through the Gulag, with a further 6 million being Population transfer in the Soviet Union#Timeline, exiled to remote areas of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
. * The civil rights movement in the United States and the movement against apartheid in South Africa challenged racial segregation in those countries. * The two
world war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newsp ...
s led to efforts to increase Multilateralism, international cooperation, notably through the founding of the League of Nations after World War I, and its successor, the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
, after World War II. * Nationalism, Nationalist movements in the Indian subcontinent, subcontinent led to the independence and partition of India and Pakistan. * Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi's nonviolence and Indian independence movement against the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
influenced many political movements around the world, including the civil rights movement in the U.S., and freedom movements in South Africa and Burma. * The Israeli Declaration of Independence, creation in 1948 of Israel, a Jewish state in the Middle East, by the Mandatory Palestine, British Mandate of Palestine fueled many Arab–Israeli conflict, regional conflicts. These were also influenced by the vast oil fields in many of the other countries of the mostly Arab region. * Decolonization, The end of colonialism led to the independence of many African and Asian countries. During the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
, many of these aligned with the United States, the USSR, or China for defense. * After a long period of civil wars and Boxer Rebellion, conflicts with western powers, China's Qing dynasty, last imperial dynasty Xinhai Revolution, ended in 1912. The resulting Republic of China (1912–49), republic was replaced, after Chinese Civil War, another civil war, by a communist People's Republic in 1949. At the end of the 20th century, though still ruled by a communist party, China's economic system had Chinese economic reform, largely transformed to capitalism. * The Great Chinese Famine was a direct cause of the death of tens of millions of Chinese peasants between 1959 and 1962. It is thought to be the largest famine in human history.China's great famine: 40 years later
. ''British Medical Journal'' 1999;319:1619–1621 (December 18 )
* The Vietnam War caused Vietnam War casualties, two million deaths, changed the dynamics between the Eastern Bloc, Eastern and Western Blocs, and altered North–South divide in the World, North-South relations. * The Soviet–Afghan War, Soviet War in Afghanistan caused one million deaths and contributed to the downfall of the Soviet Union. * The revolutions of 1989 released Eastern and Central Europe from Soviet Empire, Soviet supremacy. Soon thereafter, the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Soviet Union, Dissolution of Czechoslovakia, Czechoslovakia, and Breakup of Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia dissolved, the latter violently over several years, into successor states, many rife with ethnic nationalism. Meanwhile,
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...
and West Germany German reunification, were reunified in 1990. * The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, culminating in the deaths of hundreds of civilian protesters, were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. Led mainly by students and intellectuals, the protests occurred in a year that saw the collapse of a number of communist governments around the world. * European integration began in earnest in the 1950s, and eventually led to the European Union, a political and economic union that comprised 15 countries at the end of the 20th century.


Culture and entertainment

* As the century began, Paris was the artistic capital of the world, where both French and foreign writers, composers and visual artists gathered. By the end of the century New York City had become the artistic capital of the world. * Theater, films, music and the media had a major influence on fashion and trends in all aspects of life. As many films and much music originate from the United States, American culture spread rapidly over the world. * 1953 saw the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, an iconic figure of the century. * Visual culture became more dominant not only in films but in comics and television as well. During the century a new skilled understanding of narrativist imagery was developed. * Computer games and internet surfing became new and popular form of entertainment during the last 25 years of the century. * In literature, science fiction, fantasy (with well-developed fictional worlds, rich in detail), and alternate history, alternative history fiction gained unprecedented popularity. Detective fiction gained unprecedented popularity in the interwar period. In the United States in 1961 Grove Press published ''Tropic of Cancer (novel), Tropic of Cancer'' a novel by Henry Miller redefining pornography and censorship in publishing in America.


Music

The invention of music recording technologies such as the phonograph record, and dissemination technologies such as radio broadcasting, massively expanded the audience for music. Prior to the 20th century, music was generally only experienced in concert, live performances. Many new genres of music were established during the 20th century. * Igor Stravinsky revolutionized classical composition. * In the 1920s, Arnold Schoenberg developed the twelve-tone technique, which became widely influential on 20th-century composers. * In classical music, Musical composition, composition branched out into many completely new domains, including dodecaphony, aleatoric music, aleatoric (chance) music, and minimalism. * Argentine tango, Tango was created in Argentina and became extremely popular in the rest of the Americas and Europe. * Blues and jazz music became popularized during the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s in the United States. * Country music develops in the 1920s and 1930s in the United States. * Blues and country went on to influence rock and roll in the 1950s, which along with American folk music revival, folk music, increased in popularity with the British Invasion of the mid-to-late 1960s. * Rock soon branched into many different genres, including folk rock, Heavy metal music, heavy metal, punk rock, and alternative rock and became the dominant genre of
popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training.Popular Music. (2015). ''Funk ...
. * This was challenged with the rise of hip hop music, hip hop in the 1980s and 1990s. * Other genres such as House music, house, techno, reggae, and soul music, soul all developed during the latter half of the century and went through various periods of popularity. * Synthesizers began to be employed widely in music and crossed over into the mainstream with new wave music in the 1980s. Electronic instruments have been widely deployed in all manners of popular music and has led to the development of such genres as house music, house, synthpop, synth-pop, electronic dance music, and industrial music, industrial. Popular music artists of the 20th century include: Béla Bartók, Carl Orff, Benjamin Britten, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Ernesto Lecuona, Gustav Mahler, Sergei Prokofiev, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leonard Bernstein, Maurice Ravel, Arnold Schoenberg, Dmitri Shostakovich, Igor Stravinsky, Philip Glass, Richard Strauss, ABBA, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Harry Belafonte, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Cher, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Prince (musician), Prince, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Bee Gees, Madonna (entertainer), Madonna, Queen (band), Queen, Bob Marley, Black Sabbath, Metallica, The Smiths (band), The Smiths, Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, David Bowie, Nirvana (band), Nirvana, The Notorious B.I.G., Pink Floyd, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Tupac Shakur, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Robert Johnson, Amr Diab, Fairuz, Abdel Halim Hafez, Umm Kulthum, and many more.


Film, television and theatre

Film as an artistic medium was created in the 20th century. The first modern movie theatre was established in Pittsburgh in 1905. Hollywood developed as the center of American film production. While the first films were in black and white, technicolor was developed in the 1920s to allow for color films. Sound films were developed, with the first full-length feature film, ''The Jazz Singer'', released in 1927. The Academy Awards were established in 1929. Animation was also developed in the 1920s, with the first full-length cel animated feature film ''Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937 film), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'', released in 1937. Computer-generated imagery was developed in the 1980s, with the first full-length computer animation, CGI-animated film ''Toy Story'' was released in 1995. * Julie Andrews, Harry Belafonte, Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, James Cagney, Charlie Chaplin, Sean Connery, Tom Cruise, James Dean, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn, Bruce Lee, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Sidney Poitier, Meryl Streep, Elizabeth Taylor, James Stewart, and John Wayne are among the most popular Cinema of the United States, Hollywood stars of the 20th century. * Oscar Micheaux, Sergei Eisenstein, D. W. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille, Frank Capra, Howard Hawks, John Ford, Orson Welles, Martin Scorsese, John Huston, Alfred Hitchcock, Akira Kurosawa, Spike Lee, Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Walt Disney, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, William Friedkin and George Lucas are among the most important and popular filmmakers of the 20th century. * In theater, sometimes referred to as Broadway theater, Broadway in New York City, playwrights such as Eugene O'Neill, Samuel Beckett, Edward Albee, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams introduced innovative language and ideas to the idiom. In musical theater, figures such as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, and Irving Berlin had an enormous impact on both film and the culture in general. * Modern Dance is born in America as both a 'rebellion' against centuries-old European ballet, as well as born from the oppression in America. Dancers and choreographers Alvin Ailey, Isadora Duncan, Vaslav Nijinsky, Ruth St. Denis, Martha Graham, José Limón, Doris Humphrey, Merce Cunningham, and Paul Taylor (choreographer), Paul Taylor re-defined movement, struggling to bring it back to its 'natural' roots and along with Jazz, created a solely American art form. Alvin Ailey is credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th-century concert dance. His company gained the nickname "Cultural Ambassador to the World" because of its extensive international touring. Ailey's choreographic masterpiece Revelations is believed to be the best known and most often seen modern dance performance.


Video games

Video games—due to the great technological steps forward in computing since the second post-war period—are the new form of entertainment emerged in the 20th century alongside films. * While already conceptualized in the 1940s–1950s, 50s, video games only emerged as an industry during the 1970s, and then exploded into social and cultural phenomenon such as the golden age of arcade video games, with notable releases such as Taito Corporation, Taito's ''Space Invaders'', Atari, Inc., Atari's ''Asteroids (video game), Asteroids'', and Namco's ''Pac-Man'', the worldwide success of Nintendo's ''Super Mario Bros.'' and the release in the 1990s of Sony PlayStation (console), PlayStation console, the first one to break the record of 100 million units sold. * Video game design becomes a discipline and a job. Some game designers in this century stand out for their work, as Shigeru Miyamoto, Hideo Kojima, Sid Meier and Will Wright (game designer), Will Wright.


Art and architecture

* The art world experienced the development of new styles and explorations such as fauvism, expressionism, Dadaism, cubism, de stijl, surrealism, abstract expressionism, color field, pop art, minimal art, lyrical abstraction, and conceptual art. * The modern art movement revolutionized art and culture and set the stage for both Modernism and its counterpart postmodern art as well as other contemporary art practices. * Art Nouveau began as advanced architecture and design but fell out of fashion after World War I. The style was dynamic and inventive but unsuited to the depression of the Great War. * In Europe, modern architecture departed from the decorated styles of the Victorian era. Streamlined forms inspired by machines became commonplace, enabled by developments in building materials and technologies. Before World War II, many European architects moved to the United States, where modern architecture continued to develop. * The automobile increased the mobility of people in the Western countries in the early-to-mid-century, and in many other places by the end of the 20th century. Urban planning, City design throughout most of the West became focused on transport via car.


Sport

* The popularity of sport increased considerably—both as an activity for all, and as entertainment, particularly on television. * The modern Olympic Games, first held in 1896, grew to include tens of thousands of athletes in dozens of sports. * The FIFA World Cup was first held in 1930, and was held every four years after World War II.


Science


Mathematics

Multiple new fields of mathematics were developed in the 20th century. In the first part of the 20th century, measure theory, functional analysis, and topology were established, and significant developments were made in fields such as abstract algebra and probability. The development of set theory and formal logic led to Gödel's incompleteness theorems. Later in the 20th century, the development of computers led to the establishment of a theory of computation. Other computationally-intense results include the study of fractals and a proof of the four color theorem in 1976.


Physics

* New areas of physics, like special relativity, general relativity, and quantum mechanics, were developed during the first half of the century. In the process, the internal structure of atoms came to be clearly understood, followed by the discovery of elementary particles. * It was found that all the known forces can be traced to only four fundamental interactions. It was discovered further that two forces, electromagnetism and weak interaction, can be merged in the electroweak interaction, leaving only three different fundamental interactions. * Discovery of nuclear reactions, in particular nuclear fusion, finally revealed the source of sun, solar energy. * Radiocarbon dating was invented, and became a powerful technique for determining the age of Prehistory, prehistoric animals and plants as well as History, historical objects.


Astronomy

* A much better understanding of the evolution of the universe was achieved, its Age of the universe, age (about 13.8 billion years) was determined, and the Big Bang theory on its origin was proposed and generally accepted. * The age of the Solar System, including Earth, was determined, and it turned out to be much older than believed earlier: more than 4 billion years, rather than the 20 million years suggested by Lord Kelvin in 1862. * The planets of the Solar System and their moons were closely observed via numerous space probes. Pluto was discovered in 1930 on the edge of the solar system, although in the early 21st century, it was reclassified as a dwarf planet instead of a planet proper, leaving eight planets. * No trace of life was discovered on any of the other planets in the Solar System (or elsewhere in the universe), although it remained undetermined whether some forms of primitive life might exist, or might have existed, somewhere. Extrasolar planets were observed for the first time.


Biology

* Genetics was unanimously accepted and significantly developed. The structure of DNA was determined in 1953 by James D. Watson, James Watson, Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins, following by developing techniques which allow to read DNA sequences and culminating in starting the Human Genome Project (not finished in the 20th century) and Dolly (sheep), cloning the first mammal in 1996. * The role of sexual reproduction in evolution was understood, and bacterial conjugation was discovered. * The convergence of various sciences for the formulation of the modern synthesis (20th century), modern evolutionary synthesis (produced between 1936 and 1947), providing a widely accepted account of evolution.


Medicine

* Placebo-scientific control, controlled, random sample, randomized, blind experiment, blinded clinical trials became a powerful tool for testing new medicines. * Antibiotics drastically reduced mortality from bacterial diseases and their prevalence. * A vaccine was developed for polio, ending a worldwide epidemic. Effective vaccines were also developed for a number of other serious infectious diseases, including influenza vaccine, influenza, DPT vaccine, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, MMR vaccine, measles, mumps vaccine, mumps, MMR vaccine, rubella (German measles), varicella vaccine, chickenpox, hepatitis A vaccine, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B vaccine, hepatitis B. * Epidemiology and vaccination led to the eradication of the smallpox virus in humans. * X-rays became powerful diagnostic tool for wide spectrum of diseases, from bone fractures to cancer. In the 1960s, computerized tomography was invented. Other important diagnostic tools developed were sonography and magnetic resonance imaging. * Development of vitamins virtually eliminated scurvy and other vitamin-deficiency diseases from industrialized societies. * New psychiatric drugs were developed. These include antipsychotics for treating hallucinations and delusions, and antidepressants for treating depression. * The role of tobacco smoking in the causation of cancer and other diseases was proven during the 1950s (see British Doctors Study). * New methods for cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy, were developed. As a result, cancer could often be cured or placed in remission (medicine), remission. * The development of blood type, blood typing and blood banking made blood transfusion safe and widely available. * The invention and development of immunosuppressive drugs and tissue typing made organ transplant, organ and tissue transplantation a clinical reality. * New methods for heart surgery were developed, including pacemakers and artificial hearts. * Cocaine/Crack cocaine, crack and heroin were found to be dangerous addictive drugs, and their wide usage had been outlawed; mind-altering drugs such as LSD and MDMA were discovered and later outlawed. In many countries, a war on drugs caused prices to soar 10–20 times higher, leading to profitable black market drugdealer, drugdealing, and to prison inmate sentences being 80% related to drug use by the 1990s. * Contraceptive drugs were developed, which reduced population growth rates in industrialized countries, as well as decreased the taboo of premarital sex throughout many western countries. * The development of medical insulin during the 1920s helped raise the life expectancy of diabetes, diabetics to three times of what it had been earlier. * Vaccines, hygiene and clean water improved health and decreased mortality rates, especially among infants and the young.


Notable diseases

* An influenza pandemic, 1918 flu pandemic, Spanish Flu, killed anywhere from 17 to 100 million people between 1918 and 1919. * A new virus, viral disease, called the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, arose in Africa and subsequently killed millions of people throughout the world. HIV leads to a syndrome called Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. Treatments for HIV remained inaccessible to many people living with AIDS and HIV in developing countries, and a cure has yet to be discovered. * Because of increased Life expectancy, life spans, the prevalence of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other diseases of old age increased slightly. * Sedentary lifestyles, due to labor-saving devices and technology, along with the increase in home entertainment and technology such as television, video games, and the internet contributed to an "epidemic" of obesity, at first in the rich countries, but by the end of the 20th century spreading to the developing world.


Energy and the environment

* The dominant use of fossil sources and
nuclear power Nuclear power is the use of s to produce . Nuclear power can be obtained from , and reactions. Presently, the vast majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced by of and in s. Nuclear decay processes are used in niche applicatio ...

nuclear power
, considered the conventional energy sources. * Widespread use of petroleum in industry—both as a chemical precursor to plastics and as a fuel for the automobile and
airplane An airplane or aeroplane (informally plane) is a fixed-wing aircraft A fixed-wing aircraft is a heavier-than-air flying machine Early flying machines include all forms of aircraft studied or constructed before the development of th ...

airplane
—led to the 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. (For example, oil was a factor in Japan's decision to go to war against the United States in 1941, and the oil cartel, OPEC, used an oil embargo of sorts in the wake of the Yom Kippur War in the 1970s). * The increase in
fossil fuel A fossil fuel is a -containing material formed underground from the remains of dead plants and animals that humans extract and to release for use. The main fossil s are , and , which humans extract through and . Fossil fuels may be burnt ...
consumption also fueled a major scientific controversy over its effect on air pollution, global warming, and global climate change. * Pesticides, herbicides and other toxicity, toxic chemical substance, chemicals accumulated in the environment, including in the bodies of humans and other animals. * Population growth and worldwide
deforestation deforestation in 1750-2004 (net loss) showing anthropogenic modification of remaining forest. File:MODIS (2020-08-01).jpg, 300px, Dry seasons, exacerbated by climate change, and the use of slash-and-burn methods for clearing tropical forest ...

deforestation
diminished the environmental quality, quality of the environment. * In the last third of the century, concern about humankind's impact on the Earth's
environment Environment most often refers to: __NOTOC__ * Natural environment, all living and non-living things occurring naturally * Biophysical environment, the physical and biological factors along with their chemical interactions that affect an organism or ...
made
environmentalism Environmentalism or environmental rights is a broad philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical real ...
popular. In many countries, especially in Europe, the movement was channeled into politics through Green party, Green parties. Increasing awareness of global warming began in the 1980s, commencing decades of social and political debate.


Engineering and technology

One of the prominent traits of the 20th century was the dramatic growth of technology. Organized research and practice of science led to advancement in the fields of communication, electronics, engineering, travel, medicine, and war. * Basic
home appliance A home appliance, also referred to as a domestic appliance, an electric appliance or a household appliance, is a machine which assists in household A household consists of one or several persons who live in the same dwelling and share meals. I ...
s including washing machines, clothes dryers, furnaces, exercise machines, refrigerators, freezers, electric stoves and vacuum cleaners became popular from the 1920s through the 1950s. Radios were popularized as a form of entertainment during the 1920s, which extended to television during the 1950s. * The first airplane, the ''Wright Flyer'', was flown in 1903. With the engineering of the faster jet engine in the 1940s, mass air travel became commercially viable. * The assembly line made mass production of the automobile viable. By the end of the 20th century, billions of people had automobiles for personal transportation. The combination of the automobile, motor boats and air travel allowed for unprecedented personal mobility. In western nations, motor vehicle accidents became the greatest cause of death for young people. However, expansion of divided highways reduced the death rate. * The triode, triode tube was invented. * New materials, most notably stainless steel, Velcro, silicone, polytetrafluoroethylene, teflon, and plastics such as polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, PVC, polyethylene, and nylon came into widespread use for many various applications. These materials typically have tremendous performance gains in strength, temperature, chemical resistance, or mechanical properties over those known prior to the 20th century. * Aluminum became an inexpensive metal and became second only to iron in use. * Thousands of chemicals were developed for industrial processing and home use.


Space exploration

* The Space Race between the United States and the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
gave a peaceful outlet to the political and military tensions of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
, leading to the first human spaceflight with the Soviet Union's Vostok 1 mission in 1961, and man's first landing on another world—the
Moon The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite. At about one-quarter the diameter of Earth (comparable to the width of Australia (continent), Australia), it is the largest natural satellite in the Solar System relative to the size of its plane ...

Moon
—with America's Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Later, the first space station was launched by the Soviet space program. The United States developed the first reusable spacecraft system with the Space Shuttle program, first launched in 1981. As the century ended, a permanent manned presence in space was being founded with the ongoing construction of the International Space Station. * In addition to human spaceflight, unmanned space probes became a practical and relatively inexpensive form of exploration. The first orbiting space probe, Sputnik 1, was launched by the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
in 1957. Over time, a massive system of artificial satellites was placed into orbit around Earth. These satellites greatly advanced navigation, communications, military intelligence, geology, climate, and numerous other fields. Also, by the end of the 20th century, unmanned probes had visited the Moon, Mercury (planet), Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and various asteroids and comets. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, greatly expanded our understanding of the Universe and brought brilliant images to TV and computer screens around the world. * The Global Positioning System, a series of satellites that allow land-based receivers to determine their exact location, was developed and deployed.


Digital revolution

A technological revolution began in the late 20th century, variously called the
Digital Revolution The Digital Revolution (also known as the Third Industrial Revolution) is the shift from mechanical and analogue electronic technology Technology ("science of craft", from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; ...
, the information revolution, the electronics revolution, the microelectronic revolution, the Information Age, the silicon revolution, the Silicon Age, and/or the third industrial revolution. * The first transistor was invented by John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain at Bell Labs in 1947. However, early junction transistors were relatively bulky devices that were difficult to manufacture on a mass-production basis, which limited them to a number of specialised applications. * The MOSFET (metal-oxide-silicon field-effect transistor), also known as the MOS transistor, was invented by Mohamed M. Atalla and Dawon Kahng at Bell Labs, in November 1959. It was the first truly compact transistor that could be MOSFET scaling, miniaturised and mass-produced for a wide range of uses. The widespread adoption of MOSFETs revolutionized the electronics industry, becoming the fundamental building block of the Digital Revolution and "the base technology" of the late 20th to early 21st centuries. The MOSFET went on to become the List of best-selling electronic devices, most widely manufactured device in history. * Semiconductor materials were discovered, and methods of production and purification developed for use in electronic devices. Silicon became one of the purest substances ever produced. The wide adoption of the MOSFET led to silicon becoming the dominant manufacturing material during the late 20th century to early 21st century, a period that has been called the Silicon Age, similar to how the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age were defined by the dominant materials during their respective Three-age system, ages of civilization. * The MOS integrated circuit chip (a silicon integrated circuit chip built from MOSFETs) revolutionized electronics and computers. The MOS chip was invented in the early 1960s. The silicon-gate MOS chip later developed by Federico Faggin in 1968 was the basis for the first single-chip microprocessor, the Intel 4004, in 1971. MOS integrated circuits and microprocessors led to the microcomputer revolution, the proliferation of the personal computer in the 1980s, and then cell phones and the public-use
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
in the 1990s. * Metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) image sensors, which first began appearing in the late 1960s, led to the transition from analog to digital imaging, and from analog to digital cameras, during the 1980s1990s. * Discrete cosine transform (DCT) coding, a data compression technique first proposed in 1972, enabled practical digital media transmission in the 1990s, with image compression formats such as JPEG (1992), video coding formats such as H.26x (1988 onwards) and MPEG (1993 onwards), audio coding standards such as Dolby Digital (1991) and MP3 (1994), and digital television standards such as video-on-demand (VOD) and high-definition television (HDTV). * The number and types of home appliances increased dramatically due to advancements in technology, the wide adoption of MOSFETs, electricity availability, the transition from analog to digital media, and increases in wealth and leisure time. The microwave oven became popular during the 1980s and have become a standard in all homes by the 1990s. Cable and satellite television spread rapidly during the 1980s and 1990s. Personal computers began to enter the home during the 1970s–1980s as well. * Video games were popularized during the late 1970s to 1980s, with the golden age of arcade video games. * The age of the portable music player was enabled by the development of the transistor radio, Stereo 8, 8-track and cassette tapes in the 1960s, which slowly began to replace gramophone record, record players, culminating in the Sony Walkman in the late 1970s. These were in turn replaced by the digital compact disc (CD) during the 1980s to 1990s. The proliferation of the MDCT-based MP3 audio coding format on the Internet during the mid-to-late 1990s made digital distribution of music possible. * Video cassette recorders (VCRs) were popularized in the 1970s, but by the end of the 20th century, DVD players were beginning to replace them, making the VHS obsolete by the end of the first decade of the 21st century. * There was a rapid growth of the telecommunications industry towards the end of the 20th century, driven by the development of large-scale integration (LSI) complementary MOS (CMOS) technology, information theory, digital signal processing, and wireless communications such as cellular networks and mobile telephony.


Religion

* The Vatican II council was held from 1962 to 1965, and resulted in significant changes in the Catholic Church. * The Wahhabism, Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam gained in influence with the growth of Saudi Arabia. * Multiple new religions were founded, including the Nation of Islam, Scientology, and the Pentecostalism movement. * Atheism became considerably more common, both in secular Western countries, and Communism, Communist countries with a policy of state atheism.


Economics

* The
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
was a worldwide economic slowdown that lasted throughout the early 1930s. * The
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
implemented a series of Five-year plans for the national economy of the Soviet Union, five-year plans for industrialization and economic development. * Most countries abandoned the gold standard for their currency. The Bretton Woods system involved currencies being Fixed exchange-rate system, pegged to the United States dollar; after the system Nixon shock, collapsed in 1971 most major currencies had a floating exchange rate.


Significant people


World leaders, activists

*Martin Luther King, American, civil rights leader *Malcolm X, American, social activist *John F. Kennedy, American, President of the United States *Lyndon B. Johnson, American, President of the United States *Franklin D. Roosevelt, American, President of the United States *Theodore Roosevelt, American, President of the United States *Harry S. Truman, American, President of the United States *Dwight D. Eisenhower, American, President of the United States *Richard Nixon, American, President of the United States *Jimmy Carter, American, President of the United States *Ronald Reagan, American, President of the United States *George H.W. Bush, American, President of the United States *Bill Clinton, American, President of the United States *Woodrow Wilson, American, President of the United States *Juan Perón, Argentinian, President of Argentina *Isabel Martínez de Perón, Argentinian, President of Argentina *Franz Joseph I, Austro-Hungarian, emperor *Getulio Vargas, Brazilian, President of Brazil *Juscelino Kubitschek, Brazilian, President of Brazil *Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazilian, President of Brazil *Edward VII, British, King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, also Emperor of India *George V, British, King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, also Emperor of India *Elizabeth II, British, Queen of the United Kingdom and other 15 realms of the Commonwealth of Nations *David Lloyd George, British, Prime Minister *Winston Churchill, British, prime-minister *Margaret Thatcher, British prime-minister *Salvador Allende, Chilean, President of Chile *Augusto Pinochet, Chilean, President of Chile *Sun Yat-sen, Chinese, President of China *Mao Tse-tung, Chinese, leader of China *Deng Xiaoping, Chinese, leader of China *Fidel Castro, Cuban, President of Cuba *Georges Clemenceau, French, Prime Minister *Charles de Gaulle, French, President of France *Konrad Adenauer, German, Chancellor of West Germany *Adolf Hitler, German, leader *Erich Honecker, German, President of East Germany *Helmut Kohl, German, Chancellor of West Germany (and later of the unified Germany) *Wilhelm II, German Emperor, German, Emperor *Kwame Nkrumah, first President of Ghana *Vigdís Finnbogadóttir first woman democratically elected president of a country (Iceland) *Indira Gandhi, Indian, Prime Minister *Mahatma Gandhi, Indian, key figure in Indian independence *Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian, prime-minister *Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iranian, Shah of Iran * Ruhollah Khomeini, Iranian, Supreme Leader of Iran *Victor Emmanuel III, Italian, King of Italy *Alcide De Gasperi, Italian, prime minister *Giulio Andreotti, Italian, prime minister *Benito Mussolini, Italian, leader *Emperor Taishō of Japan *Emperor Showa of Japan *Jomo Kenyatta, Prime Minister and President of Kenya * Kim Il-sung, North Korean, President of North Korea * Kim Jong-il, North Korean, Supreme Leader of North Korea *Muhammad Ali Jinnah first President of Pakistan *Nicholas II of Russia, Russian, Czar *Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabian, King *Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabian, King *Nelson Mandela, South African, oppositor to Apartheid, first black president *Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet, head of state *Joseph Stalin, Soviet, leader of the Soviet Union *Vladimir Lenin, Soviet, leader of the Soviet Union *Boris Yeltsin, Soviet, President of Russia *Francisco Franco, Spanish, general and political leader *Juan Carlos of Spain, Juan Carlos, Spanish, King *Sirimavo Bandaranaike first woman ever elected prime minister of a country (Sri Lanka) *Chiang Kai-shek, Taiwanese, leader of Taiwan *Ataturk, Turkish, President of Turkey *Mehmed VI, Turkish, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire


Humanitarians

*Rosa Parks, civil rights movement in the United States *Abbe Pierre, French priest, founder of Emmaus *Eleanor Roosevelt, American First Lady and 1st Chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights *Albert Schweitzer, French polymath *Mother Teresa, Teresa of Calcutta (charity) *Elie Wiesel, Romanian-born American writer, political activist,


Scientists, researchers, archaeologists, inventors

*John Logie Baird, Scottish inventor of television *Frederick Banting, Canadian medical scientist *Tim Berners-Lee, British inventor of World Wide Web *Niels Bohr, Danish physicist *Howard Carter, British archaeologist *Francis Crick, British biologist *Marie Curie, Polish born French chemist and physicist *Albert Einstein, German-born American physicist *Enrico Fermi, Italian physicist *Alexander Fleming, Scottish scientist. Discovered penicillin *Rosalind Franklin, British chemist *Robert Goddard, American physicist *Stephen Hawking, British physicist *Werner Heisenberg, German physicist *Edwin Powell Hubble, American astronomer *Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. *Georges Lemaître, Belgian mathematician, astronomer *Garrett Morgan, American inventor *Max Planck, German physicist *Carl Sagan, American scientist *Jonas Salk, American virologist and medical researcher *Nikola Tesla, Serbian-born American physicist, inventor. *James Watson, American biologist


Painters, sculptors

*Jean Arp, German-French painter *Louise Bourgeois, French-born American sculptor *Constantin Brancusi, Romanian sculptor *Alexander Calder, American sculptor *Marc Chagall, Russian-French artist of Belarusian Jewish origin *Salvador Dalí, Spanish painter *Naum Gabo, Russian sculptor *Barbara Hepworth, British sculptor *David Hockney, British painter *Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter *Kazimir Malevich, Soviet painter *Piet Mondrian, Dutch painter *Henry Moore, British sculptor *Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter *Georgia O'Keeffe, American painter *Pablo Picasso, Spanish painter *Jackson Pollock, American painter


Photographers

*Ansel Adams, American *Cecil Beaton, British *Margaret Bourke-White, American * Henri Cartier-Bresson, French *Walker Evans, American *Lewis Hine, American *Yevgeny Khaldei, Soviet *Semyon Kirlian, Armenian *Dorothea Lange, American *Gordon Parks, American *Man Ray, American *Edward Steichen, American *Carl Van Vechten, American *Edward Weston, American


Architects

*Ernest Cormier, Canadian *Le Corbusier, Swiss-French *Sven Markelius, Swedish *Oscar Niemeyer, Brazilian *Howard Robertson (architect), Howard Robertson, British *Eliel Saarinen Finish *Julio Vilamajó, Uruguayan * Frank Lloyd Wright, American


Writers

*Samuel Beckett, Irish *Albert Camus, French *Agatha Christie, British (creator of the character Hercule Poirot) *Umberto Eco, Italian *Ian Fleming, British (creator of the character James Bond) *Ernest Hemingway, American *Aldous Huxley, British *Franz Kafka, German-speaking Bohemian *Ursula K Le Guin, American *Doris Lessing, British-Zimbabwean (Rhodesian) *C.S. Lewis, British *Clarice Lispector, Brazilian *James Joyce, Irish *Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian *Toni Morrison, American *George Orwell, British *Georges Perec, French *Beatrix Potter, British *Marcel Proust, French *Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French *J. D. Salinger, American *F. Scott Fitzgerald, American *Rabindranath Tagore, Indian *J. R. R. Tolkien, South African-born British *Virginia Woolf, British *W. B. Yeats, Irish


Philosophers

*Hannah Arendt, German *Gaston Bachelard, French *Georges Bataille, French *Martin Buber, Austrian *Stanley Cavell, American *Noam Chomsky, American *Simone de Beauvoir, French *George Gurdjieff, Russian *Friedrich Hayek, Austria-British *Thomas Kuhn, American *Herbert Marcuse, German-American *Jean-Luc Nancy, French *Karl Popper, Austrian-British *John Rawls, American *Nicholas Rescher, German-American *Richard Rorty, American *Bertrand Russell, British *Jean-Paul Sartre, French *B. F. Skinner, American *Ludwig Wittgenstein, Austrian-British


Sportsmen / women

*Muhammed Ali, American Boxer *Roger Bannister, British middle-distance athlete *George Best, Northern Irish footballer *Sir Donald Bradman, Australian cricketer *Nadia Comaneci, Romanian gymnast *Johan Cruyff, Dutch footballer *Garrincha, Brazilian footballer *Magic Johnson American basketball player *Michael Jordan, American basketball player *Imran Khan, Pakistani cricketer *Billie Jean King, American tennis player *Carl Lewis, American track and field athlete, nine-time Olympic gold medallist *Diego Maradona, Argentinian footballer *Eddy Merckx, Belgian cyclist *Bobby Moore, English footballer *Jesse Owens, American track and field athlete, 1936 four-time Olympic gold medalist *Pelé, Brazilian footballer *Michel Platini, French footballer *Babe Ruth, American baseball player *Ayrton Senna, Brazilian Formula 1 driver *Alfredo di Stefano, Argentinian-born Spanish footballer *Sachin Tendulkar, Indian cricketer


Businessmen

* * William Boeing (aviation), USA * Richard Branson (media, transportation, space), UK * Coco Chanel (fashion), France * Michael Dell (computers), USA * Walt Disney (animation), USA * Larry Ellison (computers), USA * Enzo Ferrari (sports cars), Italy * Henry Ford (automobile manufacturing), USA * Bill Gates (computers, philanthropy, investments) USA * Howard Hughes (aviation, film), USA * Steve Jobs (computers, technology, animation), USA * Ingvar Kamprad (retail), Sweden * Ferruccio Lamborghini (sports cars), Italy * Vince McMahon (entertainment media), USA * Carlos Slim (telecommunications), Mexico * J. R. D. Tata (steel, aviation, information technology, transportation, cosmetics, consumer products, education), France/India * Ted Turner (entertainment media), USA * Madam C.J. Walker (retail, philanthropy), USA * Sam M. Walton (retail), US


Spiritual figures

*Sri Aurobindo, Indian guru *Billy Graham, American preacher *Tenzin Gyatso,Tibetan, the 14th Dalai Lama *John XXIII, Italian Pope *John Paul II, Polish Pope *Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Indian guru *Paul VI, Italian Pope *Pius XII, Italian Pope *Desmond Tutu, South African priest *Paramahansa Yogananda, Indian monk


Others

*Neil Armstrong, American, first man on moon *Lord Baden Powell, British, founder of Scouting movement *Yuri Gagarin, Soviet, first man to journey into outer space *Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, American first lady, socialite *John Maynard Keynes, British economist *Vilfredo Pareto, Italian sociologist and economist


See also

* Timeline of historic inventions#20th century, 20th-century inventions * Death rates in the 20th century * Infectious disease in the 20th century * Modern art * Short twentieth century * Timelines of modern history * List of 20th-century women artists * List of notable 20th-century writers * List of 20th-century American writers by birth year * List of battles 1901–2000 * List of stories set in a future now past


References


Further reading

* Brower, Daniel R. and Thomas Sanders. ''The World in the Twentieth Century'' (7th Ed, 2013) * CBS News
''People of the century''
Simon and Schuster, 1999. * Grenville, J. A. S. ''A History of the World in the Twentieth Century'' (1994)
online free
* Hallock, Stephanie A. ''The World in the 20th Century: A Thematic Approach'' (2012) * Langer, William. ''An Encyclopedia of World History'' (5th ed. 1973); highly detailed outline of event
online free
* Milward, Alan S, and S. B. Saul, eds. ''The economic development of continental Europe: 1780–1870 '' (1973)
online
note there are two different books with identical authors and slightly different titles. They cover all major topics and nations but their coverfage does not overlap. ** Milward, Alan S, and S. B. Saul, eds. ''The development of the economies of continental Europe, 1850–1914'' (1977
online
* Morris, Richard B. and Graham W. Irwin, eds. ''Harper Encyclopedia of the Modern World: A Concise Reference History from 1760 to the Present'' (1970
online
* Pollard, Sidney, ed. ''Wealth and Poverty: an Economic History of the 20th Century'' (1990), 260 pp; global perspectiv
online free
* Stearns, Peter, ed. ''The Encyclopedia of World History'' (2001) * *
Climate Change 2013 Working Group 1 website.
} * (pb: )


External links

* *
The 20th Century Research Project


* [http://www.bl.uk/20th-century-literature ''Discovering Literature: 20th century''] at the British Library {{DEFAULTSORT:20th century 20th century, 2nd millennium Centuries Late modern period