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The 20th Century

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This is the age of machinery,
A mechanical nightmare,
The wonderful world of technology,
Napalm, hydrogen bombs, biological warfare,
This is the twentieth century,
But too much aggravation
It's the age of insanity,
What has become of the green pleasant fields of Jerusalem.
The Kinks, "20th Century Man"

The Twentieth Century: A Century that witnessed changes in technology, society, culture and attitudes in more ways and more circumstances than any other century before it. The historian Eric Hobsbawm who labelled it The Age of Extremes considers it "A Short 20th Century" (comprising 77 years between 1914-1991) that really began and ended with the rise and fall of the USSR, while others argue that it began with World War I ("The Seminal Tragedy") and more or less continued into the Turn of the Millennium until 9/11.

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The century was characterized by rapid, shocking and sudden changes in governments, society, culture, science and technology. So much of this transformation that the world of the 1990s would feel different to the world of the 1910s. The idea that every decade had to have its own aesthetics was more or less invented in this century, chronicled through photography, motion picture, and television. Art and science came to depend on one another, and the technologies they made led to the rise of cinema (what is called "the art of the 20th century") and popular music which depended on radio, sound-recording equipment, portable media note , and music videos for their commercial viability.

It was the century that saw the greatest advances and gains in society, such as women's rights note ; widespread decolonization, the end of the 19th Century empires, and the rise of a global community of nations; anti-racism as a central pillar of acceptable civilization; the possibility for more people to travel the globe via commercial air transport; great permissiveness with sexuality expressed more freely by all classes than centuries before it; profanity in serious literature such as James Joyce's Ulysses; and towards the end of the century, the acceptance and debate of LGBT rights becoming a public movement. note 

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Yet despite this, the century was remembered by the two bloodiest world wars, by violent genocides, by brutal famines, the use of chemical weapons, and later city-destroying nuclear weapons; a huge dissonance among developed and undeveloped nations; a situation on overpopulation; great environmental crises and an awareness in pollution and climate change; and the growth and spread of political movements such as fascism, socialism, and democracy that overthrew the old systems, and created governments with varying results.

In a nutshell, with the greater entanglement, flourishing of information, and greater complexities of life and society as a whole the message of the 20th Century was that "the world got better and nobody's happy about it".

Note that while decades technically end in 10 years, there would be a cultural bleed in between decades. Culturally, the century started with the death of Queen Victoria and ended with Y2K or 9/11. Or alternatively, it started and ended with the affair around the Balkans.

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The Twentieth Century is divided into decades with each one having it's own cultural identity (though many do overlap with others), which are:


You know what? Forget it. Off to the Twenty First Century!!! Where there'll be jetpacks, and food pills, and holographic møøse, and...

The editor of this page hired to continue writing this index after the people had been sacked, wish it to be known that they have just been sacked. The edits involving The Twenty First Century will be completed in an entirely different style at great expense and at the last minute.



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