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1914 to present - 1914-Present I Introduction Most...

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1914-Present I. Introduction Most historians agree that analyzing the “marker events” and important patterns in recent years is more difficult than assessing the earlier periods, largely because we don’t know yet what the full consequences of the present and recent past will be. The process of identifying the most important events and trends is by its very nature a tentative one. Each era builds on the developments of the previous one, and the era of 1914 to the present began with the important marker event of WWI. Before 1914 the world was dominated by western powers. This global power resulted form 3 interrelated changes that occurred during the era form 1750-1914: o 1. The formation of nation states- governments were better able to mobilize popular support for their ambitious economic and political endeavors. o 2. The industrial revolution- increased production and technological capacity dramatically and provided a market incentive to control other areas of the world. o 3. Imperialism- divided countries into “have” and “have not” categories increased inequalities. At the turn of the 20 th c. the British Empire, France, the Netherlands and Germany were strong Imperialists. However, tensions were building among them as had happened before in Europe, but they also succeeded in avoiding conflicts. By the early 20 th c. European dominance of the globe increased competitiveness among the continent’s nations, leading to two great wars that ended the imperialist world order of the 19 th c. The pace of change quickened significantly after 1914 so even though this era has not run quite 100 years so far, dynamics of interactions among societies are radically different today than they were in the early 20 th c. Although we cannot know the future consequences of events of this period of world history, clearly some important developing patterns are shaping the world’s continuing story. What’s happening now?
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o Major civilization areas are being rebalanced o Contacts among civilizations are intensifying o Patterns of interaction are evolving. A. The Big Picture 1914-Present 7 themes that run through the period from 1914 to the Present that make it distinct from other period include: o 1. The hegemony of Western Europe was broken by 1945 and replaced by competition between two “superpowers”: the U.S. and the soviet Union. This cold war world order ended in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. o 2 . International organization became increasingly important so that new power arrangements may be supplanting the political division of the world’s nation-states. o 3. Nationalism continues to be important during this era, but takes on new patterns: fascism, decolonization, racism, genocide, and the break-up of the Soviet Union.
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