Great Events from History: the 20th Century, 1901-1940 | Richland Library Skip to content

Great Events from History: the 20th Century, 1901-1940

The early twentieth century receives worldwide coverage with the priority of meeting the needs of history students at the high school and undergraduate levels. The events covered include the curriculum-oriented geopolitical events of the era--from World War I (1914-1918) and the Russian Revolution (1917) to the rise of the German Nazi Party , the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), and the eruption of World War II in Europe (1939). Essays also address important social and cultural developments in daily life: major literary movements, significant developments in art and music, trends in immigration, and landmark social legislation. Among the many broad subjects that receive extensive coverage are Europe's changing political divisions and shifting alliances, the struggles of women around the world to gain the right to vote, the development of trade unionism and the labor movement, and the global impacts of the Great Depression.

The early twentieth century was also a time of immense advances in science and technology--discoveries and innovations that rival those of later years for the fundamental changes they brought to daily lives. At the beginning of the century, aviation was in its infancy and the automotive industry was just beginning. By 1940, passenger air travel was safe and increasingly affordable, and automobiles had become reliable and ubiquitous. The drudgery of housework was lightened with the invention of such appliances as the vacuum cleaner and the electric washing machine, and the development of radio broadcasting and talking motion pictures changed how many people spent their leisure time. Advances in medicine during this period were groundbreaking: In addition to the discovery of penicillin, scientists learned the causes of and developed vaccines, treatments, and tests for numerous diseases, including yellow fever, diphtheria, tuberculosis, syphilis, and diabetes. Discoveries in astronomy led to a greater understanding of the universe and Earth's place within it, and physicists such as Albert Einstein developed theories that pointed the way to the nuclear age.

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