Themes of 20th century history

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Fundamental Themes of 20th
Century History
Kevin J. Benoy
I. The Impact of Nationalism and
Imperialism in the 20th Century
Nationalism
A feeling which
leads people to
desire unity,
freedom and
complete control
over their own
affairs.
It unites people
and disrupts
empires.
Nationalism
It often leads
to intense
feelings of
pride in one’s
own country.
When this is
excessive, it is
called
chauvenism or
jingoism.
Nationalism
Nationalism led to Italian and
German unification.
It brought the collapse of the
Ottoman & Austro-Hungarian
Empires.
It contributed to causing
WW1 and WWII.
It caused the disintegration
of the Soviet Union.
Quebecois nationalism
threatens Canada.
Civic & Ethnic Nationalism
A key question for
nationalists is “Who
should belong to the
nation?”
Civic Nationalism
This gives membership to
all those born in a country
and to those who commit
to supporting it.
Such nationalism is blind
to race, colour, creed,
gender, language, or
ethnicity so long as
members subscribe to the
nation’s political creed.
This nationalism is created
by the state.
Ethnic Nationalism
This argues that it is
not the state that
creates the nation,
but the people who
create the state.
Belonging is a
matter of blood.
Four Stages of Nationalism
Integrative Nationalism (18151871)
This served as a
unifying force,
leading to the
creation of nation
states such as Italy
and Germany
Disruptive Nationalism (18711890)
Minority groups
clamored for
independence
from AustriaHungary and
the Ottoman
Empire.
Aggressive Nationalism (19001945)
Opposing national
forces collided.
This was a major
cause of both world
wars.
Contemporary Nationalism (1945
to present)
This includes the
retreat from
colonialism, the
collapse of the
Soviet “Empire” and
reaction to American
global supremacy.
Imperialism
This is the deliberate
attempt by the
people of one
country to extend
their rule over the
people of other
areas – against their
wishes.
Old Imperialism
This began with the
voyages of Columbus
and Vasco da Gama in
the late 15th century.
It involved “God, Gold
and Glory.”
This ended with the
effects of the industrial
revolution, the
Napoleonic Wars and
the problems of social
and political reform in
the 19th century.
New Imperialism
This dates to around
the 1870’s.
The old motivations
were still present.
National pride and
Social Darwinism are
added to the mix.
Imperialists called on
their people to
assume the “White
Man’s Burden”.
Consequences of the New
Imperialism
Imperial
interests
collided.
Imperial Disputes
France and Britain
nearly went to war
in 1898, during the
Fashoda Incident.
Imperial Disputes
Britain and
Russia were
in conflict
over control
of Iran and
Afghanistan.
Imperial Disputes
Russia and
Japan
conflicted
over control
of
Manchuria.
Imperial Disputes
Germany
and
France
vied for
influence
in
Morocco.
Imperial Disputes
Britain and
the United
States risked
war in their
dispute over
the AlaskanCanadian
border.
Degrees of Imperialism
Concession
This is a right given
up by one society to
another.
It might be political
or economic – like
France’s rights in
Morocco or the
extraterritorial rights
of many of the
powers in China.
Sphere of Influence
This involves one
society having
some ability to
control the
behavior of
another.
The influence of
the USA over
Latin American
countries would
be a good
example.
Protectorate or Dependency
These terms denote
open admission that
one country controls
another in terms of
protection.
Colony
This involves a high
degree of control, in
which the mother
country runs the
internal affairs of
the subject state.
Annexation
This involves a
complete takeover or
absorption.
Good examples
of this include
France’s control
over Algeria and
the USA and
Russia’s takeover of huge
land masses.
Neo-Imperialism
This is characteristic of
the post-1945 era, in
which the superpowers exercised
either political,
economic, or
ideological control
over parts of the
world.
It happened alongside
the retreat from
colonialism.
II. The Role of the Individual in
History
Great Men and Women
The 20th century
saw many
significant
figures.
Some were
event-making.
Others were
eventful.
Everyman
Social History devotes
itself to the study of
ordinary people and
their influence on
events.
What would have
happened if Londoners
had collapsed in the
Blitz? What if Russians
had collapsed to the
Nazis? What if
Germans rejected
Hitler?
III. The Nature of Conflict and
Conflict Resolution
Militarism
This implies a belief in war
as a means of achieving
national aims.
It also suggests the values
of a society which derives
national pride from military
armament.
Prussia was an outstanding
example of 19th century
militarism, as was Germany
in the early 20th century
Militarism
British pride
in its naval
dominance
in the 19th
and early
20th
centuries is
another
example of
this force.
Militarism
The arms race prior
to WWI and
rearmament before
WWII show the
importance of
military solutions to
national problems.
The Cold War was
another period of
intense military
development.
War in the 20th Century
This century
introduced man to
total war.
The world wars
required the
resources of every
level of society and
every citizen.
They also resulted in
destruction on an
unprecedented
scale.
War in the 20th Century
The development of
nuclear weapons
brought man to the
brink of mutual
assured destruction,
and made war
between nuclear
powers almost
unthinkable – except
through human
error.
War in the 20th Century
The risks of total
war encouraged the
powers to fight
limited wars in
fringe areas, like
Korea or Vietnam or
to test equipment
and tactics in proxy
wars involving their
lesser allies.
War in the 20th Century
In the face of the
overwhelming strength
of the USA or regional
powers since the end of
the Cold War, weaker
adversaries began to
adopt new tactics in
what has become
known as asymmetrical
warfare. Usually this is
called terrorism, as the
enemy wears no
uniform and may use
unconventional
weapons.
Conflict Resolution
Deterrence
failed when the
alliance
systems before
World War I
resulted in
continental
war.
Conflict Resolution
Collective
security
through
international
cooperation
was tried,
but failed, in
the interwar
years.
Conflict Resolution
Since World War II,
international
cooperation through
the United Nations
has sometimes
maintained peace.
Conflict Resolution
Treaties of all kinds
were employed
since 1919 to force
conflict resolution
and prevent war.
Success was never
complete, but much
was accomplished
nonetheless.
IV. The Growth of Internationalism in
the 20th Century
Internationalism
Some believe the
ultimate loyalty is
not to the nation,
but to the human
race.
Internationalism
Some 19th century
organizations were
dedicated to this
belief.
The International
Red Cross.
The Universal Postal
Union.
Internationalism
Some 19th century
writers dedicated
themselves to the
peace movement.
Victor Hugo
Leo Tolstoy
Internationalism
Prominent
industrialists like
Andrew Carnegie
and Alfred Nobel
used their fortunes
to foster
international
cooperation.
The Nobel Peace
Prize is still
awarded.
Internationalism
Two Peace
conferences were
held at the Hague in
1899 and 1907 to
regulate and limit
war.
Some weapons were
outlawed – like the
dum dum bullet .
They did not discuss
outlawing war itself.
Modern Internationalism
The two most
important
international
organizations of the
20th century were
the League of
Nations and the
United Nations.
Internationalism
The League failed to
prevent World War
II, but did resolve
lesser conflicts.
The League’s
agencies survived
the death of the
parent organization
and are now part of
the United Nations
Organization.
Internationalism
The UN failed to
prevent a host of
conflicts, but
remains a potent
and important force
for peace.
All major crises are
debated here.
Internationalism
Many
organizations
promote
internationalism,
from the
Commonwealth
and Francophonie
to the Olympic
movement.
V. The Changing Role of the
Individual in Society
The Individual in Society
Huge changes in roles and
attitudes took place in the 20th
century.
We moved from Social
Darwinism to Multiculturalism.
The Role of Women evolved
substantially.
Pay particular attention to
chapters in Howarth entitled
People and Societies as they
chronicle these shifts.
VI. The Impact of Dominant Political
Philosophies in the 20th Century
Ideologies
Be sure to review what
we studied in Social
Studies 11.
Totalitarianism
Authoritarianism
Autocracy
Democracy
Communism
Socialism
Liberalism
Conservatism
Fascism
Democracy & Totalitarianism
These are
best
understood
in contrast
to each
other.
Deomocracy
Democracy seeks to
allow each individual to
develop in a society of
maximum freedom and
mutual respect.
Social controls exist –
but to enhance individual
self-development and
not the power of the
state.
The individual is the
master.
Totalitarianism
The goal is
total control of
man by the
state or social
class as
represented by
the state.
There are no
limits to goals
or means.
Totalitarianism
A totalitarian system
wants all of man,
body and soul to
submit to the will of
the government.
There is no human
activity exempt from
government control.
Totalitarianism
The government is
the master; the
individual is the
servant.
There are no
inalienable rights.
Modern
totalitarianism found
success through
using science and
technology as tools
of state repression.
Totalitarianism
Totalitarian states
often borrow symbols,
techniques and
institutions from
democracies.
People are allowed to
express consent in the
form of elections or
plebiscites where
results are carefully
controlled or
monitored.
VII. The Impact of Technological and
Economic Change in the 20th Century
Industrialization and
Globalization
The 20th century
saw huge increases
in the production of
goods.
It also saw
tremendous
integration of
regional economies
into a global whole.
Industrialization
Production increases
unleashed first
European and then
American and Asian
might.
It sustained
totalitarianism and
democracy.
Industrialization
Warfare in the
20th century
was driven by
technological
developments.
Industrialization
Major economic
trends , like the
Great Depression of
the 1930’s or
German
hyperinflation were
closely tied to the
management of
industrial
production.
Globalization
By the end of the
20th century, most of
the world was part
of a single,
integrated
production and
trading unit.
However, not all
have shared in the
wealth that has
been generated.
Technological and Economic
Change
A key question for the
20th century is:
“Has man been
controlled by
technological
development or has
technological
development
controlled man?”
finis
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