This also began the wholesale shift towards a global economy based on oil. Portrait of Henry Ford ca. Hartsook, photographer. In the military sphere, European and American armies and navies were being affected by industrialisation, with machine guns, barbed wire, dreadnought battleships, torpedoes, mines and submarines making their appearance. These innovations gave Western military forces massive advantages over those of other societies, and the late 19th and early 20th centuries saw Western empires expand to cover most of the surface of the world.
Western trade networks, their reach extended by the spread of railways around the globe, disrupted local economies; Christian missionary activity challenged local beliefs and traditions; local elites adopted Western-style education, clothing, architecture. Even lands which were not actually ruled directly from Europe, such as China , Thailand and Iran , were absorbed into the Western-dominated global economy, in such a way that deprived them of much of their political independence as well. The only country to successfully enter the Western world on its own terms was Japan — and indeed was soon carving out an empire of its own.
Britain ended up with the largest of these Western empires, and London was, by the end of the 19th century, the de facto financial capital of the world. This laid the foundations for the dominance of English as the lingua franca of the world. During the early 20th century, however, rivalries between the European powers became increasingly intense. The nationalist movements on the continent had also not been resolved. These issues, plus imperial jostling as countries such as Germany and Italy tried to elbow their way into the group of imperialist powers, led to the outbreak of the World War One.
This horrific conflict mainly took place on European soil and resulted in more than 10 million deaths.
The defeated European powers, the German, Austrian and Ottoman empires, ended the war in a state of complete collapse, and were wiped off the map by the Treaty of Versailles and other treaties which ended the war. One other power which had started the war had also vanished. The stresses of waging total war had been too much for this huge but ramshackle state, and it had fallen to Communist agitators in the Russian Revolution of The old Russian Empire had been replaced with a new entity, the Soviet Union.
The war dealt a huge blow to the economic ability of western European powers like Britain and France to sustain their overseas empires. It also changed Western culture for ever.
Previous modes of culture, now associated with the lead up to the terrible carnage of the First World War, were discredited, and in their place new cultural expressions arose. The early post-war years saw new fashions from America , such as the flappers and jazz music, become wildly popular.
Outline of the history of Western civilization - Wikipedia
Modern art and architecture, based on completely new forms and ideas, replaced old styles which stretched in an unbroken tradition back, via the Renaissance, to Greece and Rome. In many countries, equality between the sexes received a major step up when women gained the vote for the first time. The boom times of the s came to an end all too soon.
The Wall Street Crash of ushered in a period of economic depression around the world. Banks were broken, factories closed, millions of workers were throw out of work, middle classes families lost their savings. In Europe, this led directly to the rise of fascism, above all the coming to power of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party in Germany.
This in turn led in a straight line to the outbreak of World War Two. This was a far larger conflict than World War One had been, and involved a much greater proportion of the world. It also involved one of the most horrific episodes in world history, the slaughter of six million Jews in the Holocaust. This rivalry led to a new period of tension known as the Cold War. The European nations ended Word War 2 economically ruined. The rivalry between the superpowers was soon given a sharper edge by the ability of both sides to deploy nuclear weapons in their arsenals.
The Cold War soon spread right around the world. In their place, the superpowers began to compete for influence. In this, the Soviet Union was apparent the more successful, as communist regimes became established in China, South East Asia, Africa and even the Caribbean. Other newly-independent nations took on a non-aligned stance , though many of these leaned more towards the Soviet Union and the Communist Bloc. Western Europe during the Cold War.
Civilization and Its Consequences
The Cold War years also, paradoxically, saw huge economic advance, especially for Western nations. The United States gave or lent money on a vast scale the Marshall Plan to get European countries , plus Japan , back on their feet after the Second World War, so as to staunch the spread of communism. The standard of living rose dramatically in these countries, with millions of homes becoming equipped with TVs, fridges, electric cookers and other home appliances.
The Cold War led to great technological innovation, for example with advances in military aviation feeding through to mass air travel and mass tourism. A space race , born of American and Russian efforts to build arsenals of long-range nuclear missiles, ended with the Americans sending a man to the moon. It also led to the placing of numerous satellites in orbit around the world, laying the foundations for dramatic progress in civilian communications, navigation, land surveying and other uses.
Military rivalry stimulated amazing advances in electronics, miniaturisation and computing, laying the foundations for a revolution in automation in the workplace which began to gather pace in the s, as well as the emergence of a whole new entertainments industry.
- George Orwell: Animal Farm, Burmese Days, A Clergymans Daughter, Coming Up for Air, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Nineteen Eighty-Four: Complete & Unabridged?
- Western Civilization.
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On the other hand, superpower rivalry undermined the political stability and economic welfare of many countries in the poorer parts of the world. Countries in South East Asia, especially Malaya and Indonesia, experienced long and bloody communist insurgencies, and in Africa anti-communist forces tended to keep in power minority White regimes, especially in South Africa and in the Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique.
Except for Faraclas and Joseph a linguist and a mathematician , they are all modernists. None appears to hold an appointment that would normally include teaching Western Civilization, though this certainly does not mean there are no Western Civilization teachers in the group. There is, in any case, a lack of perspective on current Western Civilization teaching as well as on the historiography and current literature on Europe and its colonial period.
First, the volume tilts against the same strawman version of Western Civilization that appears in Federici's essay even as it fails to look at any European history between the Hellenic period and the Enlightenment. Instead, the collection attacks the presentation of Western Civilization as a sort of Whig History of the triumph of Western Values, a narrative structure so long since discredited at least in the United States that even middle school and high school history standards have mostly abandoned it.
The last forty years of attempts to re-define Europe's place in world history all but disappear from the volume, as if irrelevant. Russell-Wood, Joan Wallach Scott, Lawrence Stone, Eric Wolf --these are just some of the names of writers for whose major works the reader will search this historiographical venture in vain. The volume also fails to address most of our Western Civilization sequences: the ancient eastern Mediterranean, Hellenistic and Roman worlds, and medieval Europe are ignored: even Bernal's article is really about modern historiography.
To truly void the viability of the Western Civilization sequence requires more than a demonstration that Western Civilization courses were born out of a particular cultural and political milieu, a thesis others have already argued and to which these essays add depth. It requires a demonstration that European History can be better understood without the background we use now. Also irritating is the lack of interest in the problems that have occupied the last two or three generations of scholars studying the relationships between "The West" and "Other" civilizations.
All but Caffentzis and Mazrui ignore the institutional mechanisms through which the ideology of Western superiority and the actuality of Western dominance were transmitted, institutions which had their roots in the periods before the nineteenth century and which attracted the lion's share of attention from historians of encounters between the "West" and "Others" from the 's through the mid- 's. I have no problem accepting the proposition that ideology played a crucial role in colonialism and imperialism, but surely the work previous generations of historians have done on the role of guns and fortresses, stock companies and protection rackets, bureaucrats, businessmen, and missionaries, is critical to our understanding of how such ideology develops.
Nor do I care for the several-times-repeated insinuation that most of the work of the last forty years done on "Third World" areas and their interaction with Europe did nothing but serve neo-colonial interests, since it came largely from Area Studies Programs and therefore had some approval from Western governments. Do these writers have any idea of the price many of my older colleagues paid to be permitted to do any research on matters other than European or US culture, of their struggles to get institutions to accept non-Western cultures as meaningful subjects of inquiry?
Dismissing as tools of neo-colonial ideology the work of the very people who made it practical for younger scholars to study non-Western cultures is ungracious, to say the least. Enduring Western Civilization 's greatest weakness, from the perspective of Western Civilization teaching, is its failure to address current teaching concerns. The disjunction between the literature of institutions and the literature of intellectual history is a common problem in the literature of colonialism and imperialism, after all, not a trend begun with this book.
Its greatest strength is its collection of articles, all of which are provocative. I enjoyed the book and recommend it to any college library. Boston: Beacon Press, Bonnie S. Anderson and Judith P. Civilization and Capitalism, 15thth century. Sian Reynolds. The Dutch Seaborne Empire. New York: Knopf, ; K. Asia in the Making of Europe.
New York: St.