History is replete with facts and events that continuously modify our perception of the world. Individuals and groups of people were born and eventually died but few of them were able to alter the course of history. Although some individuals made an impact on the world’s history, they are diminutive compared to the way history itself altered the course of the whole of humanity. Many changes have taken place since the dawn of civilization, and history has witnessed all of these.
But the entry of the 20th century into consciousness of modern civilization posed a major alteration of how we think and see the world today. The summation of changes that happened during the 20th century could eclipse the contributed effects to the world of the changes made during the past centuries. Modern history, as the 20th century is often called, had seen innovations in science, technology, and politics which were unheard of more most of the past centuries. Enlightened thinkers emerged and different kinds of philosophies and theories were created.
While most of these were happening, great countries started to dream of conquering lands beyond their borders and hoped to take advantage of the natural resources of the newly discovered lands or expand the frontiers of their present territories. Thus, the age of imperialism and colonialism started. The reasons as to why imperialism started were as diverse as the countries that embarked on a journey to discover new lands and riches. According to three conservative theorists, Disraeli, Rhodes, and Kipling, imperialism is necessary to preserve the existing social order in the more developed countries.
It is necessary to secure trade, markets, to maintain employment and capital exports, and to channel the energies and social conflicts of the metropolitan populations into foreign countries. There is a very strong ideological and racial assumption of Western superiority within this body of thought (mytholyoke. edu). Thus, with this explanation, imperialism is a means to maintain the social and economic way of life of a particular country’s citizens. Imperialism establishes wide trade and communication routes to enable the people to exchange the needed goods for living and to make contact with each other.
As more and more countries joined the race for territorial expansionism, some of them rub elbows with each other and had disputes over lands and natural wealth. As the population of the inhabitants of most colonies grew, they felt a sense of dissatisfaction towards the colonizers because of the latter’s acts of abuses and injustices. Therefore, insurrection and rebellion flourished within the colonies. Still, imperialism continued until such time that conflicts between countries started to erupt and immediately turned like a wildfire into large-scale wars, thus, the era of the World Wars started.
The two world wars that happened during the 20th century took millions of lives, changed the political structures of many countries again and again, and simultaneously contributed to the collapse of some of the economic systems of many countries, In World War I alone, the economic burdens experienced by the countries involved “were partly due to heavy expenditures on armaments and stockpiling for war in what was rapidly developing into a second pre-war era, and out of sixty-five million men mobilized for war, about one in five had been killed or permanently disabled (Knapton & Derry, pp. 46-147). ” After the war countries struggled to survive with were left behind of their populace and resources. The event was followed by extensive rebuilding and reparations of the different damages caused by the war. However, the world after the First World Was gained a new perspective and insights as to how conflicts emerge; thus, it has learned to make policies and precautions to avert a new war from happening again. Peace treaties were examples of these policies. They compelled the aggressor-countries to pay reparation payments to those countries gravely affected by the war.
Peace temporarily reigned, and society believed that this state will continue for a long time. The people were proven wrong. When Adolf Hitler took over the leadership of Germany, he soon employed what is called a blitzkrieg war. He started his dream of conquest by invading Poland on September 1, 1939, and from them commanded his army to conquer most of Europe, including France, Denmark and Norway. The cost of human life after this war is hard to imagine, but the figures stated that the combined total number of soldiers killed alone was about 15 million people.
This consequences of the war caused indirect negative effects on the socio-economic environment of the countries involved in the war, as well as all over the world. Land borders and territories were changed, the distribution of wealth was imbalanced, and the economic workforce was severely diminished. At the time the war ended in Europe, Socialism started to expand. This is a plan of government which is grounded on the theory that all the primary industries and economic institutions, and businesses should be owned by the government.
Socialism played an important role in the transition of the Russian government into a Communist Russia. At this time, the world embraced the concept of Capitalism, which partially explained that the world’s progress could be hastened based on profit-making. Socialism provided an alternative to this thinking. It advocated voluntary social living. Those who cannot compete with the capitalist market, rendering them helpless and poor, could be provided with their basic needs because the harvest of the whole socialist population is centralized to the government, and eventually distributed equally to the citizens.
This concept appealed to some poor countries; thus, they adopted this as a plan of their government. Two of such countries are China and Cuba. The year 1960 saw the start of innovations in technology and the sciences. It produced the deadly Hydrogen bomb. Humanity had discovered a means to annihilate itself. With the continued expansion of the Socialist ideology and coupled with the advent of thermonuclear weaponry, the capitalist West became more concerned. Thereafter, the United States became entangled in an issue over nuclear armament with Communist Russia. Thus, the political climate was ripe for the dawn of the Cold War.
This situation put millions of lives under the terror-driven belief that thermonuclear Armageddon would start with one false move. These seemingly different events are interconnected in more ways than one, and altered the course of history, changing the face of the world politically, economically, and socially. The major events of the 20th century were tainted with negative effects; some of these events provided positive effects to only a few number of people, but majority of them suffered because of the more damaging results these events caused. References: 1) Theories of Imperialism, [web page] (2006) http://www. tholyoke. edu/acad/intrel/pol116/imperial. htm, Date accessed: 29 March 2007. 2) Knapton, Ernest J. & Derry, Thomas K. (1966) Europe, 1815 to the Present. New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons.
Question #2 Despite the many events that happened during the 20th century which caused negative repercussions all throughout the world, we can benefit from the advantages provided to us by the invention of the computer and the subsequent advancement of the Internet technology. After the 2nd World War ended, the space race started between the USSR and the United States of America. President John F. Kennedy dreamt of landing the first man on the moon; yet, this dream is shared also by the Russians, who at that time succeeded in launching the first man into space. Launching a rocket into space needs complex calculations in order to determine the path of the rockets as well as the space-manned vehicle as they revolve around the Earth. Thus, this dilemma was resolved by upgrading and integration of basic calculation tools into one single calculating machine. Thus, the advent of computers has arrived. Later on, these computers were adopted as a calculating tool in other industries and offices.
Eventually, some programs were later incorporated into these, and eventually, many tasks and functions were able to be done with the helped of computers. In the field of the sciences, computers are used to make schematic diagrams, three-dimensional images of anatomical parts, and complex calculations, particularly in physics. The computer also aids in making architectural designs and makes it easy for designers to do their job. The computer applicability is endless. The only limitation is when human beings stop to imagine the possibilities that computers can make.
Business communications and human interactions have become easy and efficient because of computers. As the number of individuals who owned computers grew, so were modern computer networking technology. This technology allowed one computer user to interact with another one situated at the other half of the world. Moreover, this technology was used for “interconnecting independent networks that could then be federated into a seamless whole without changing any of the underlying networks. This was the genesis of the Internet as we know it today (Kahn & Cerf, 1999). ”
According to Kahn and Cerf (1999), the underpinnings of the Internet are formed by the global interconnection of hundreds of thousands of otherwise independent computers, communications entities and information systems. What makes this interconnection possible is the use of a set of communication standards, procedures and formats in common among the networks and the various devices and computational facilities connected to them. As the internet grew, the overwhelming need for it became apparent; in the end sectors such as the military and the government took extensive advantage over the benefits this technology provide.
Thereafter, the academic, commercial, and international sectors of society caught up with the trend and made the internet as one of their mediums of communication, business interactions, and knowledge dissemination. One important advantage of using the internet is the convenience in messaging through its e-mailing function. As was found at, “the existing connectivity of the Internet made it possible for users and servers all over the world to participate in this activity. As of today, over 60 million computers take part in the Internet and about 3. 6 million web sites were estimated to be accessible on the net.
Virtually every user of the net has access to electronic mail (Kahn & Cerf, 1999). ” With this, speedy communication with other individuals, no matter how distant, became accessible. Years had already passed since the computer and internet were conceived. Yet, the memory of those moments contrasts to the present concept of what these technologies have become as of the present time. Many technological innovations have been made on these that they radically changed the way humans interacts with each other, alter the way we view things, and modify the structure of the present society.
However, due to the differing perspectives and ideological worldviews, the internet technology in particular is viewed as a threat to the security of some individuals. The internet makes it possible to hack into computer systems; thus, making possible the theft of bank accounts, personal information, and military data. These circumstances allow a possibility of misunderstanding between parties that could possibly grow into armed conflict. Other people believe that the internet could be used as a terrorism tool meant to destroy thousands of lives.
Yet, as of the moment, this scenario is an implausible possibility. However, the advantages, so far, that the internet has exhibited far outweigh the negative implications that could result from using this technology. Humans have the inherent fear of the unknown. If one doesn’t know the circumstances about the internet and its applications, he/she would tend to be wary of using this technological tool. Hence, what should be implemented is a continuing and comprehensive information drive that wipes out computer and internet illiteracy.
Kahn, Robert E. & Cerf, Vinton G. (1999).
What is the Internet (And what makes it Work) [web page].
Date accessed: 30 March 2007