Twentieth century


October 28, 2021

The 20th century (or 20th century) began on January 1, 1901 and ended on December 31, 2000. It extends between Julian days 2,415,385.5 and 2,451,910.5.


Table of year types


The twentieth century is a time rich in historical events which profoundly marked the destiny of the planet and had no comparable precedent. World wars, role of the great States, development of the means of transport and communication, health progress, demographic evolution, conquest of the skies and space, weapons of mass destruction, genocides, all combine to make this century an exceptional period in human history, in that it will not have left any part of the planet apart from the political and social upheavals that have enamelled it. In terms of the history of societies, and not of simple chronology, historians, including Michel Balard, start the 20th century on July 28, 1914 (end of the Belle Époque and start of the First World War) and end the September 11, 2001 (Attacks of September 11, 2001). From a political point of view, the twentieth century is characterized in its first half by two world wars (First World War between 1914 and 1918; Second World War between 1939 and 1945) and, from that date, by confrontation ideological between two superpowers: the United States and the USSR, which ended with the dissolution of the USSR on December 26, 1991. This ideological and geostrategic confrontation contributes to the strong development of nuclear technologies, particularly in the military field, and to the space race which culminated in the landing on the Moon in 1969. Rivalries between great European powers have led to their weakening; moreover, decolonization in the second half of the century took place in parallel with the process of European construction. For the first time in the history of mankind, states are trying to set up global political governance intended to moderate conflicts, with the League of Nations and then the UN, which is equipping itself with military intervention capabilities. From an economic point of view, monetary and financial crises have multiplied, worsened by the rise in oil prices and the appearance of ecological risks in a context where traditional agrarian and artisanal societies are disappearing, in favor of a system world tending to standardization, based on industry and commerce, a growing consumerism, a capitalism victorious over communism. The Summits of the Earth are trying to establish global environmental governance.

Before 1914

In France, the beginning of the 20th century was marked by the outcome of the Dreyfus Affair (1894-1906), by the adoption of the law of July 1, 1901 relating to the association contract, which established the associations law of 1901 and will lead in 1904 to the abolition of religious congregations, and the law of separation of the Churches and the State of 1905, which sets up secularism in France. Second Boer War. Bosnian crisis Mexican Revolution of 1910. Russo-Japanese War. Russian Revolution of 1905. Annexation of Korea (1910) by Japan. Chinese Revolution of 1911. Sinking of the Titanic in 1912. In 1903 the Wright brothers achieved the first powered flight. Albert Einstein published his special theory of relativity in 1905, which was followed in 1915 by the general theory of relativity.

Between 1914 and 1945

The First World War (1914-1918) had a human toll of around 9 million dead and 8 million disabled. August 22, 1914 is the deadliest day in the history of France; around 27,000 French soldiers were killed on that single day in the Belgian Ardennes, four times more than in Water

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