Week 1 - Toward the Second Twentieth Century

Week 1 - Toward the Second Twentieth Century - Toward the...

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Toward the Second Twentieth Century: The Last World War The First Twentieth Century: Industrialism and Imperialism The Great War and its Aftermath The Road to World War II The world before the Second World War is so totally different than our own that it could be called the First Twentieth Century. Nations like England and France ruled vast colonial empires from Africa to Asia. The world at the end of the nineteenth century – the fin de siecle – seemed safe and secure. But the forces of nationalism would soon challenge and eventually destroy this imperialistic world. The road to the Second Twentieth Century was paved by the First. The First Twentieth Century: Industrialism and Imperialism Coal mine workers The Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries paralleled the rise of nationalism in Western Europe. Before 1750, goods were made in so-called cottage industries. The value of the good was tied to the worker who made it. But new sources of energy would change this old pattern of life. James Watt, a Scottish engineer, is often called the father of the Industrial Revolution. Building on an earlier model of Thomas Newcomen, Watt perfected and began to manufacture a reliable steam engine. The steam engine made factories possible and later powered the railroad. Britain led the way for several reasons. First, it had the advantage of natural ports, navigable rivers, and most importantly, plentiful coal to power the new machines. Second, new capital from the West Indies and other oversea colonies provided the money to invest in these new enterprises. New technologies like the spinning jenny and flying shuttle doomed the old system, as the textile industry almost overnight shifted to factories. The factory system led to huge population shifts, as farmers from rural areas moved to such cities as Manchester and Birmingham. But the technologies that created this system also led to harsh working conditions, loss of human dignity, and child labor. The very technologies that created huge urban centers also led to profound demographic and social changes. The Industrial Revolution fueled the economies of England and other nations like France, Germany, and Holland. It furthered their nationalistic ambitions and supported a world-wide colonial empire. A series of political reforms during the late 1800s and early 1900s transformed England from a constitutional monarchy to a parliamentary democracy. Social and economic reforms soon followed that protected the lower classes. In 1900 the Labour Party was formed, which quickly became one of the two major parties in England. But events in Germany took a different
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Week 1 - Toward the Second Twentieth Century - Toward the...

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