Tuesday, July 31, 2007




World History & Geography 2
World History from 1500 to the present




“Workers of the world unite!”

“Thank God I have done my duty.”

“Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred”

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.”

“I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant.”

“The people are the ultimate guardians of their own liberty.”

“They are too poor to stay alive.”

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”

“Do they think that men who have been able to enjoy he blessings of liberty will calmly see it snatched away?”

“a human instinct for aggression and selfdestruction.”

“The war to end all wars.”

“Liberte’, Egalite’, Fraternite!’”

“I mean to miss no chance to get my share of this magnificent African cake.”

The Student’s Friend
World History & Geography 2
Essentials of world history from 1500 to the present


What is history?
History is the story of human experience.
Why study history?
• History shows us how the world works and how humans behave.
• History helps us make judgments about current and future events.
• History affects our lives every day.
• History is a fascinating story of human treachery and achievement.

What is geography?
Geography is the study of interaction between humans and the environment.
Why study geography?
• Geography is a major factor affecting human development.
• Humans are a major factor affecting our natural environment.
• Geography affects our lives every day.
• Geography helps us better understand the peoples of the world.

Unit 7 - 1500s & 1600s: The Early Modern World Page 25
Unit 8 - 1700s: Enlightenment and Revolution Page 29
Unit 9 - 1800s: Industrialism and Imperialism Page 33
Unit 10 - 1900 - 1950: World at War Page 37
Unit 11 - 1950 - present: Cold War and the Space Age Page 41
Unit 12 - Current issues: A Changing World Order Page 45
Page 25 Student’s Friend World History & Geography 2
Unit 7 - The 1500s and 1600s: the Early Modern World
LOCATIONS: Russia, England, Germany, Portugal, Netherlands, Latin America, West Indies, China

93. The Modern World
The great European voyages of discovery ushered in a new age of history, the modern age that continues to the present day. This was the first truly global age when ships from Europe sailed the world’s oceans bringing together the Old World and the New. The consequences were enormous: populations in the Americas were destroyed and replaced by newcomers from distant lands, international trade swelled,
and people the world over started growing new plants and eating new foods.
Why did these ships come from Western Europe and not from some other advanced civilization? The Muslim world was dealing with internal concerns following the disruptions of the Mongol conquests. China was also looking inward after halting the ocean voyages of Zheng He. Kings in Western Europe, on the other hand, encouraged exploration to find new trading opportunities to increase their wealth and to help them compete against rival kings. When the Muslim Ottomans took control in the Middle East and disturbed overland trade routes, both Spain and Portugal sent explorers to look for new ocean routes to the spice-growing lands of Asia. While Spain stumbled across America instead, Portugal succeeded in
opening a southern trade route to Asia by sailing around Africa into the Indian Ocean. With their long reach into the oceans, European nations went from being a quarrelsome collection of medieval states to the world’s most dynamic civilization, still quarrelsome but armed with advanced ships and weapons. From this point forward, Western civilization and world history were bound together.

94. Conquest of the Americas
When Christopher Columbus and his three small ships arrived in the West Indies on an October day in 1492, they set in motion a chain of events that would profoundly change life in the Americas and elsewhere in the world. The great Aztec and Inca civilizations would soon perish, conquered by Spanish
conquistadors, adventurers seeking gold and glory. The Native Americans had no weapons to match Spanish swords and cavalry. Between 80 and 95 percent of the Americans would die and be replaced by immigrants from Europe seeking new opportunities and by immigrants from Africa who arrived in chains.
Gold and silver taken from the Americas would make Spanish kings rich and powerful.

95. the Columbian Exchange
Because Eurasia and America developed in isolation from one another for many thousands of years, each had its own distinct plants and animals. After Columbus connected the two landmasses, an exchange took place that is called, logically enough, the Columbian Exchange. American corn and potatos had a big
impact on Chinese and European diets, leading to large population increases in both places. Eurasians also learned to grow tomatoes, chocolate, peanuts, coffee, and tobacco from America. The most important food America acquired from Europe was wheat, used for making bread, pasta, and the like. Soon oats, barley, grapes, rice, and sugarcane were being grown in America. Domesticated
animals from Europe changed America in a big way. The plains Indians of North America, for example, built a lifestyle around horses, the Navajos around sheep, and cows came to outnumber people. The import from Europe with the greatest impact, however, was disease. Most diseases come from human contact with animals, and Europeans had long been living closely with their horses, pigs, cows, and
sheep -- animals that did not exist in America. Over centuries, Europeans developed some immunity to diseases like smallpox, measles, and influenza. Americans had no such immunity. When these diseases arrived in America, native populations were largely wiped out, emptying the land for Europeans.

96. joint stock companies
The voyages of discovery shifted the focus of European trade from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic coast. Venice declined as a major trade center, while port cities prospered in Portugal and Spain followed by England, France, and the Netherlands (the Dutch). To increase their income from taxes on
foreign trade, European monarchs encouraged the formation of joint-stock companies. Stock (or shares) was sold to many investors who shared the expense and risk of expensive ocean trading voyages. If a ship went down, no single investor lost everything, but if a voyage was successful, all stockholders shared in the
profits. The modern stock market operates in a similar way today.
Best known of these companies were the British East India Company that traded mostly with India, and the Dutch East India Company that operated in Southeast and East Asia. Both acted as extensions of their governments and even had their own armies. Joint stock companies promoted the rise of an economic system called capitalism. Capital is wealth such as ships, factories, or money. Under capitalism, people are free to own capital and make their own decisions about how to use it. Since joint
stock companies were chartered by governments, they were a form of state-sponsored capitalism.

97. New Spain
While many traditional land and sea trade patterns continued unchanged during the early modern period, the Atlantic powers of Europe came to dominate trade on the oceans. Portugal’s trading empire included Brazil in South America and trading stations in Africa and Asia. The huge Spanish trading empire
stretched from Europe to Asia to the Americas. Spain’s holdings in America were called New Spain; they extended from what is now the southern U.S. to the tip of South America. Today, lands south of the U.S. are called Latin America. The core of New Spain’s economy was silver mining. The flood of silver from America caused inflation in Spain (when more money is needed to buy the same amount of goods).
Unlike English settlers in North America who maintained a distance from the “Indians,” the Spanish wanted to bring the Indians of New Spain into the Catholic faith. The Spanish intermarried with Indians and later with African-Americans, creating a distinctive new civilization in Latin America. In this mixed
society, Spaniards born in Europe were at the top of the social order followed by Spaniards born in America (creoles). Next were people of mixed Spanish and Indian heritage (mestizos) and mixed Spanish and black heritage (mulattos). At the bottom of society were Indians and blacks.

98. African slave trade
When it works properly, a capitalist economic system benefits society by producing the best possible products at the lowest possible prices due to competition among producers. But with companies focused on making the best possible profits, the capitalist system can sometimes malfunction or even cause harm.
The African slave trade was one such hurtful capitalist enterprise.
After the discovery of America, European countries began sending people to the New World to establish colonies to produce goods for trade. Although slavery had died out in most of Europe during the middle ages, Europeans began importing slaves from Africa to work on plantations and mines in the New World. Slavery had long existed in many parts of the world; most African slaves had been enemies
captured in battle. But, as the slave trade grew, Africans began kidnapping other Africans in large numbers and selling them to European slave traders.
Due to ocean currents and prevailing “trade winds,” European sailors learned they could make the fastest crossing to America by first sailing south to Africa. On the last leg of this Triangular Trade Route, the Gulf Stream ocean current sped ships from America back to Europe. Leaving West Africa for America on the “Middle Passage” of this three-part journey, ship cargo holds were crammed full of
Africa’s chief export, human beings. Conditions on the slave ships were appalling. Many slaves died of disease from eating rotten food and breathing foul air. Some desperate slaves took their own lives. When these African people were sold at slave markets in the New World, the profits were used to purchase plantation products such as sugar, coffee, tobacco, and cotton, which were shipped back to Europe. It was
a splendid system of trade for everyone except the Africans whose lives were ruined.

99. Qing Dynasty (CHING)
During the early modern period, the Ming dynasty continued to maintain China’s isolation that began when China ended the ocean voyages of Zheng He. Only two Chinese ports were open to European ships. Nonetheless, much of the Spanish silver mined in the New World ended up in China where it paid for Chinese silks, tea, and fine porcelain. The Ming dynasty began requiring Chinese to pay their taxes in
silver. When harsh weather reduced harvests, peasants didn’t have enough food or enough silver. It is said starving peasants ate goose droppings and tree bark. Disease and death swept through China. The Ming government was weak following years of internal conflicts, and it was unable to contend with large peasant uprisings. As soldiers from a peasant army climbed the walls of the Forbidden City, the
last Ming emperor hung himself in 1644. Like others before it, the Ming Dynasty grew, flowered, declined, and was replaced. The new rulers were Manchu nomads from northeast of the Great Wall (Manchuria). They entered China, defeated the peasant army, and established the Qing dynasty that endured for two-and-a-half centuries until the early 1900s. The Qing dynasty would be China’s last.

100. The Tokugawa Shogunate
From the 1100s to the 1500s, Japan suffered a long period of internal wars. Japan was divided into many kingdoms; warlords lived in fortresses, and they employed mounted samurai warriors. It was a feudal system very similar to Europe’s. Endless warfare and pillaging made life miserable for Japanese peasants.
Then in the mid-1500s, something happened to change all this: Portuguese traders showed up in Japan selling firearms. With the help of guns, a series of three warlords succeeded in conquering and unifying Japan. The last of these warlords, Tokugawa, became Japan’s shogun, or military ruler, in 1603.
Concerned about the intentions and the influence of Europeans, the Tokugawa Shogunate adopted a policy of near total isolation much as China had done. Japan expelled Christian missionaries, burned Western books, and allowed only the Chinese and Dutch to trade with Japan at just one port. Through this single window on the West, Japan monitored developments in Europe.

101. Peter the Great
Russia emerged as a great power during the early modern period. In 1480, under the leadership of Ivan III, duke of Moscow, Russia finally threw off the Mongol domination that had long crippled Russia’s development. Ivan trippled the size of Russian territory and rebuilt Moscow’s fortress, the Kremlin, with its famed onion-shaped domes. Ivan declared himself the first Russian tsar, or Caesar. He is now known as Ivan the Great. Russia continued to grow in size as later tsars encouraged peasants to move into new territoritories. With the help of firearms, Russian settlers spread across the steppes of central Asia finally putting an end to the military superiority of mounted nomadic warriors. Russian territory
eventually reached the Pacific Ocean, making Russia the largest country in the world.
In 1682, a new and energetic tsar took control in Russia. He was Peter I, known as Peter the Great. Peter stood nearly seven feet tall and was unusual in another respect: he took eighteen months off to travel as a commoner in Europe where he worked as a carpenter and learned about the West. Peter tried
to bring Russia into the modern world by adopting elements of Western culture and technology. He required the Russian nobility to wear Western clothes, for example, and he reorganized his military and civil service along European lines. In a war with Sweden, Peter acquired land on the Baltic Sea giving Russia an ocean outlet to the west and direct access to Europe. Here he built a new European-style capital at St. Petersburg. Peter died at the age of 53 after jumping into icy water to save drowning sailors.

102. Gutenberg
Big things were happening in Europe during the early modern period: the Renaissance was moving from Italy to northern Europe, the Christian world was falling apart (see next topic), important scientific discoveries were being made, and a German jeweler’s invention changed how we communicate.
As a goldsmith, Johann Gutenberg was skilled at working with small pieces of metal. He combined this skill with an olive press design to produce a new invention: a printing press that used metal movable type. After his press printed multiple copies of one page, the pieces of type were reused to print more
pages. Before this, it took a person from six months to two years to copy one book by hand. Gutenberg’s press made printing much faster, so books became less expensive and more widely available. People now had a reason to learn how to read and write. As a result, the printing press greatly expanded
literacy, and it spread news of new discoveries and the ideas of the Renaissance to wider audiences.

103. Protestant Reformation
Without Gutenberg’s press, we might not remember the name Martin Luther. But through the power of the press, Luther’s ideas spread until they split apart the Catholic Church. The influence of the church
had already started to decline during the late middle ages following the horror of the Black Death and conflicts within the church. Then along came the Renaissance to revive the classical Greek idea of humanism, a concern with human life on Earth that further reduced the influence of the church.
The biggest blow, however, came in 1517 when Luther, a Catholic monk and college professor, nailed his “95 Theses” (or arguments) to the door of a Catholic church in Germany. Luther was upset about the sale of “indulgences,” which allowed Catholics to pay money to be forgiven of sins. The money was used
to build the new, Renaissance-style St. Peter’s Basillica in Rome, the home church of the Catholic faith. Luther also believed that every person could have a direct relationship with God, so there was little need for priests or rituals. The printing press helped make such a relationship easier by supplying Bibles
in local languages, not just in Latin. People could now read the Bible for themselves. Luther’s attempt to reform the Catholic church is called the Reformation. His protest led to the establishment of Protestant
churches, a new branch of Christianity. The Protestant Reformation not only fractured the church, it opened minds to new ways of thinking. If it was possible to question the sacred teachings of mother church, it might also be possible to question other long-held beliefs about science, politics, and society.

104. Counter-reformation
At about this time, the Catholic Church was adopting reforms of its own. A new Catholic religious order, the Jesuits, promoted education and sent missionaries to Asia and America. Schools opened to educate women in Renaissance learning, and the sale of indulgences was stopped. This Counterreformation,
or Catholic Reformation, had another important task: fighting the ideas of Protestantism. The Counter-Reformation identified books to be burned, and it stepped up the work of the Inquisition, a system of church courts that placed heretics and sinners on trial. Torture and imprisonment were used to extract confessions from Protestants and disobedient Catholics. The Inquisition was especially strong in Spain where Christian forces had only recently succeeded in pushing
the Muslim Moors back to North Africa. For centuries under Muslim rule, Spain had been a multi-cultural society where Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived side-by-side. After Christians reconquered Spain in 1492 (the “Reconquista”), Jews and Muslims were expelled from Spain.

105. Elizabeth I
England became a Protestant country in 1534 when King Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church so he could divorce his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn. He was hoping for a male heir, but instead they had a daughter. After Henry had Anne beheaded for adultery, he married four more times, and his daughter grew up to become one of history’s most brilliant rulers, Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabeth
was intelligent and confident. By tolerating religious differences, she maintained peace in her kingdom. She ruled for nearly a half century during the Renaissance in England, the “Elizabethan Period,” when William Shakespeare wrote his plays, and the English language underwent rapid development. Greek
and Latin words entered the English vocabulary, and Shakespeare alone invented hundreds of new words. It was during Elizabeth’s reign that England defeated the “invincible” Spanish Armada of 130 warships sent by Spain to attack and invade England. Although Spain was the world’s most powerful empire, England and France were also building navies to compete on the oceans. Spain’s Catholic king
wanted to conquer the meddlesome English and return England to the Catholic faith. As the Armada waited off the French coast for its invasion army to arrive, the British sent burning fire ships against the Spanish vessels forcing them to scatter. With their battle formation broken, the Spanish ships were
unable to fend off the smaller, faster, and more maneuverable British warships. The defeat of the Armada in 1588 was a blow to Spain’s pride and confidence, and it made England ruler of the waves.

106. the Wars of Religion
Conflicts between Protestants and Catholics in Europe escalated until the two sides went to war in the 1500s and fought for more than a hundred years. With both sides convinced God was on their side, the fighting was especially bloody. Religion wasn’t the only issue involved; some rulers used the religious wars as an opportunity to seek advantage against rival powers. The last of the religious wars was the
Thirty Years’ War, which involved nearly every country in Europe. By the time it was over, one-third of Germany was dead, and Europe lay devastated. The killing of Christians by Christians resulted in the worst disaster since the Black Death, but this disaster was man-made. At the end of the war, the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) decreed that the ruler of each kingdom could choose the religion for his own land. Southern Europe (France, Italy, Spain) chose to remain with the
Roman Catholic Church, while northern Europe (such as Germany, England, and Scandinavia) generally chose to be Protestant, a pattern that remains with us today. As another consequence of the Thirty Years’ War, France replaced Spain as the strongest country in Europe.

107. divine right monarchs
European kings grew extremely powerful during the early modern period for several reasons: kingdoms had grown wealthy from trade to Asia and the Americas; international trade required big merchant fleets and strong navies; and after a century of religious warfare, Europeans looked to strong monarchs to maintain stability. Monarchs claimed to rule with a “divine right” that came directly from
God. The grandest of the divine right monarchs was Louis XIV (LOO-ee the 14th) who called himself the “Sun King.” He ruled France for 72-years when France was at the height of its power (1643-1715). Twelve miles outside of Paris, Louis built a palace fit for a god-king. His huge palace at Versailles (vur-SIGH) was surrounded by endless gardens and 1,500 fountains. Versailles was built in an artistic style
called Baroque (buh-ROKE), which replaced the classical-style art of the Renaissance. Baroque art was complex and dazzling; it was filled with ornamentation and gold. It was art meant to impress all who saw it with the power and wealth of the king or the church. Other rulers tried to copy the splendor of
Versailles, but none ever equalled it. Louis shrewdly used his court at Versailles to control the French nobility. As many as 5,000 French nobles living at Versailles had little to do except seek the king’s favor and compete for honors like holding the candle while the Sun King prepared for bed.

108. Scientific Revolution
The Renaissance, the Reformation, the discovery of new lands -- all these events opened European
minds to new ways of thinking, and this included the first real science. Galileo of Italy used a telescope
to observe the heavens and prove the Earth was not the center of the universe. (The Catholic Church
locked him up.) Isaac Newton of England discovered the principle of gravity while sitting under an apple
tree; he concluded that all objects in the universe obey the same laws of motion.
A Dutch shopkeeper and amateur scientist, Anton von Leeuwenhoek (LAY-vun-hook), built an
early microscope and was struck with “wonder at a thousand living creatures in one drop of water.” This
new world of tiny organisms challenged the accepted theory of spontaneous generation, a theory that
proposed small creatures such as insects spring to life from rocks or air. Leeuwenhoek suspected eggs.
These and other discoveries amounted to an explosion of scientific knowledge in the 1600s that
came to be called the Scientific Revolution. Printed books spread this new scientific knowledge along with
the groundbreaking idea that the workings of the universe could be explained by natural causes.

Unit 8 - The 1700s: Age of Enlightenment and Revolution

LOCATIONS: Moscow, Egypt, Belgium, Great Britain, Austria, Brazil, Haiti, Mexico,
Crimean Peninsula, India, Ottoman Empire

109. the Enlightenment
The big lesson of the Scientific Revolution was that “natural laws” governed the operation of the
universe, not God, superstition, witchcraft, or mysterious forces like spontaneous generation.
Furthermore, these natural laws could be discovered by using reason. Writers and thinkers began to take
these lessons from science (the physical world) and apply them to society (the world of people).
During this new “Age of Reason,” philosophers like John Locke in England and Voltaire in France
claimed the power to rule came from the people, not from a divine right. They asked if nations should be
ruled by monarchs who came to power through an accident of birth. They wrote of “self-evident truths”
that required more democratic forms of government and “natural laws” that made all people equal. Jean
Jacques Rousseau of France said the ruler had a social contract with the people. If a ruler didn’t do
what was best for the people, he violated the contract, and the people had a right to overthrow him.
Rousseau said freedom was a natural right. He wrote: “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”
Old ideas like serfdom and absolute monarchy were considered leftovers from the outdated Ancien
Regime (old regime, old system). Many educated people rejected traditional religion, becoming Deists
who believed in God and morality but did not accept church authority, church rituals, or beliefs that
disagreed with science. These ideas about reason, freedom, and equality are called the Enlightenment.

110. Adam Smith
Enlightenment thinking wasn’t limited to politics; it extended to other areas of society such as
economics and women’s rights. 1n 1776, Scottish philosopher Adam Smith published an influential book
called The Wealth of Nations; it is considered the first full explanation of the capitalist economic system.
Smith said rulers should stop trying to control their nations’ economies. Economies would work best, he
said, if they were allowed to control themselves through the “invisible hand” of competition in a free
market. Smith’s belief came to be known as laissez faire (LES-ay-fair), French for “leave it alone.”
English writer Mary Wollstonecraft believed Enlightenment ideas about equality should apply to
women as well as men. Her book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, proposed that educational
systems be reformed to give girls the same education as boys. Her controversial ideas had little immediate
effect, but they became a foundation for the women’s movement that would arise in the next century.

111. American Revolution
Enlightenment ideas found fertile ground in the British colonies of America where influential leaders
such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington were Enlightenment thinkers and
Deists. Americans felt Britain had violated the social contract by passing unfair laws, so Americans were
justified in throwing off British rule. The American Revolution in 1776 made a big impression on many
people in Europe who saw it as a turning point in history; Americans had enforced the social contract,
ended rule by the king, and established the first national democracy since ancient times.
The Declaration of Independence, written largely by Jefferson, began with a restatement of the
Enlightenment ideas of philosopher John Locke: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” By demonstrating that Enlightenment ideas could
be used to govern a nation, the young democracy in America became the model for a better world.

112. The Third Estate
Although France was a birthplace of Enlightenment thinking, France was still living under the Ancien
Regime. Society was made up of three classes called estates. The First Estate was the nobility, and the
Second Estate was the clergy (church officials). The nobles and the clergy made up only two percent of
the population, but they owned one-third of the land, and they paid few taxes. Everyone else belonged to
the Third Estate, the commoner class in France. They paid the taxes that financed France’s government.
The commoners of the large Third Estate included rural peasants, the urban poor, artisans, and the
middle class. The middle class, or bourgeoisie (burzh-wah-zee), was made up of successful and educated
people like large landowners, merchants, doctors, lawyers, scholars, and government officials. They had
wealth and economic power and paid taxes, but they had little say in government. In America, it was the
middle class that led the revolution against England; in France the middle class was growing restless too.
In 1789, King Louis XVI (the Sun King’s great, great, great grandson) called representatives from
France’s three estates to the palace at Versailles for a meeting of the Estates General, an old institution
from medieval times that had met only once in the past three centuries. The king needed cash.

113. French Revolution
France was deeply in debt from supporting the American Revolution against France’s old enemy, the
British. King Louis XVI convened the Estates General to discuss raising taxes. Representatives from the
Third Estate, mostly bourgeoise, knew they would be out-voted by the other two estates and be stuck
paying the new taxes. Frustrated, the Third Estate declared it was the nation’s new parliament, the
“National Assembly.” When locked out of their meeting room, the Assembly met on a tennis court and
swore an oath not to go home until France had a modern constitution. The king called out the army.
In 1789, France was ripe for revolution. Not only were the bourgeoisie angry about having little say
in government, the peasants and urban poor were hungry after two years of bad harvests. As the king’s
troops marched toward Versailles, the enraged people of Paris stormed and captured the Bastille, a prison
that represented the Ancien Regime. (Bastille Day, July 14, is France’s independence day.)
The French Revolution was underway. The Paris mob executed the mayor and paraded his head
through the streets on a pole. Throughout the countryside, peasants attacked the nobility and burned
feudal documents. The National Assembly abolished feudalism in France, and in the streets the common
people shouted, “Liberte’, Egalite’, Fraternite’!” (Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood). Hungry women
marched to Versailles and forced the king to return to Paris where they could keep an eye on him.

114. Reign of Terror
Many of France’s nobles fled to other countries where they encouraged foreign kings to stop the
revolution before it could spread. France was soon at war with Prussia and Austria, later joined by Britain,
Spain, and the Netherlands. France drafted all able-bodied men into the military and raised an army of
nearly one million men. With foreign armies invading French territory, economic problems in Paris, and
fears about enemies within France, a group of radicals took control of the revolution.
The radicals took extreme measures against their enemies, real or imagined. After the king and
queen were caught attempting to flee from France, they were marched to the guillotine and beheaded.
Members of the nobility and the clergy were beheaded. The radicals even beheaded other revolutionaries.
Some 40,000 people died during France’s bloody “Reign of Terror,” nearly half at the guillotine.

115. NapoleonWhen the French army managed to eliminate the immediate threat of foreign invasion, new leaders
took control in France and ended the Reign of Terror. Still, the government was unable to end foreign
wars or improve the economy, and the army was frequently called in to maintain order. In 1799, a
brilliant young general named Napoleon Bonaparte siezed control of France.
Napoleon was a popular leader. After military victories in Italy, he proclaimed himself emperor and
began his conquest of Europe. Napoleon’s army was unique: French soldiers believed in their cause of
spreading the Revolution, and the army chose its officers based on ability, not on noble birth. Leading a
capable, dedicated, and battle-hardened army, Napoleon easily defeated all forces sent against him.
In the lands he conquered Napoleon eliminated feudalism and serfdom, improved education, and
promoted the arts and sciences. He established a uniform legal system, the Napoleonic Code, that
guaranteed freedom of religion and granted equal rights to all men. The Code, however, reduced gains
made by women during the revolution. Women would have to wait another century for their equality.

116. Neoclassical art and Classical music
In Europe, divine right, absolute monarchy, and the Ancien Regime were swept away by the
Enlightenment, revolution, and Napoleon. A simpler artistic style was needed to replace the rich and
fancy Baroque style of the god-kings. Again the Western world turned to classical Greece and Rome for
artistic inspiration; the new style was termed “Neoclassical,” meaning “new classical.”
Emperor Napoleon considered himself the new Caesar of the new Rome. He had himself crowned in
the style of Roman emperors. He built classical-style monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris,
and he spread Neoclassicism to the countries he conquered. Meanwhile, the young republic in the United
States chose Neoclassical architecture for its new capital in Washington D.C. Other changes were also
happening in the art world: successful members of the middle class now bought art, not just kings and
churches. And artists were learning their skills at “academies,” not through the support of rich patrons.
While the art and architecture of the period are called Neoclassical, the music is simply called
Classical because ancient classical music had not survived to claim that name. Classical music replaced the
Baroque style popular at the court of France’s Louis XIV and other European kings. Classical music
originated with opera, which was meant to imitate ancient Greek theater. This was Europe’s greatest age
of music; it was centered in Vienna, Austria where music was the focus of upper class social life. During a
remarkable 50-year period (1775-1825), Classical music giants Haydn, (HIGH-dun) Beethoven, and
Mozart worked side-by-side in the same city. “Papa” Haydn gave encouragement to Mozart and lessons
to Beethoven. Musicians flocked to Vienna where they found training, jobs, money, honor, and fame.

117. Horatio Nelson
England was the only major European power not conquered by Napoleon, due largely to the British
naval victory at Trafalgar. In 1805, a combined French and Spanish fleet of 33 warships was intercepted
by a British fleet of 27 ships under the command of Admiral Horatio Nelson, a most uncommon sailor.
Wounded in a naval battle ten years earlier, Nelson lost the use of his right eye. In a sea battle three years
after that, he lost his right arm. The following year, Nelson defeated a French fleet at “The Battle of the
Nile,” forcing Napoleon to withdraw from Egypt. Three years after that, he was in a battle against a
Dutch fleet when the British commander gave the signal to withdraw. Nelson put the telescope to his
blind eye and said he could see no such signal. Nelson went on to destroy the Dutch fleet.
The Battle of Trafalgar would be Nelson’s greatest victory and his last. Before the battle, he told
his sailors "England expects that every man will do his duty.” Nelson’s force engaged the larger enemy
fleet at Cape Trafalgar off the southwest coast of Spain. When the smoke cleared, 20 French and Spanish
ships had been destroyed or captured without the loss of a single British vessel. Nelson, however, was shot
by a French sniper and died aboard his flagship H.M.S. Victory. Before he died, Nelson was certain of
victory, and he declared, “Thank God I have done my duty.” Trafalgar wrecked Napoleon’s plans to
invade England, and Britain continued to rule the waves for another hundred years. Today a statue of
Admiral Nelson stands atop a tall column in London’s main square, Trafalgar Square.

118. Haiti
One of France’s richest colonies was Haiti in the West Indies. Its wealth was based on a brutal slave
economy. Slaves in the Americas often resisted their masters by running away or fighting back. In Haiti,
slaves succeeded in taking over a country. When the turmoil of the French Revolution spilled over to
Haiti, slaves used the opportunity to revolt. Under the leadership of Toussaint L’Overture, slaves took
control in Haiti, defeated an invasion force sent by Britain, and freed all slaves on the island.
When L’Overture heard that France planned to reinstate slavery, he wrote, “Do they think that men
who have been able to enjoy the blessing of liberty will calmly see it snatched away?” In 1802, Napoleon
sent a large army to Haiti to restore French control and slavery. L’Overture was captured and died in a
French prison. Soon, however, the French were defeated by a combination of yellow fever and Haitian
revolutionaries. Haiti became the second nation in the Americas, after the United States, to gain
independence. Haiti’s slave revolt worried slave owners, but it was a symbol of hope to blacks.

119. Napoleon’s invasion of Russia

Napoleon’s downfall began with his biggest military mistake, an attempt to invade and conquer the
vast empire of Russia. The Russians had no hope of defeating on the battlefield Napoleon’s huge and
powerful Grand Army of more than 600,000 soldiers, the largest army ever assembled in Europe. So,
the Russians burned everything in Napoleon’s path to deny his army food and shelter. After a bloody but
indecisive battle at Borodino, Napoleon captured the Russian capital of Moscow, but it was nearly empty.
Knowing that his army could not survive the coming winter in Russia, Napoleon had to retreat. As the
Grand Army made its way back to France, temperatures dropped to 30 degrees below zero during the bitter
cold Russian winter of 1812. Between the cold, starvation, Russian attacks, and desertion, only 30,000 of
Napoleon’s original soldiers returned to France. It was one of the worst disasters in military history.
Disgraced by the ruin of his Grand Army, then defeated in battles by an alliance of European nations,
Napoleon was captured and forced into exile on the small island of Elba off the coast of Italy. It wasn’t
long before Napoleon escaped and returned to France where he raised another army. Napoleon met his
final defeat at the hands of a British-led allied army near the town of Waterloo, Belgium in 1815. Again
Napoleon was exiled, this time to St. Helena, a remote British island in the South Atlantic, where he died
of stomach cancer, or possibly arsenic poisoning, in 1821.

120. Simon Bolivar
Inspired by revolutions in America and France, people in Latin America wanted independence too.
A creole named Simon Bolivar led the way. Bolivar was born in 1783 to a wealthy family in Venezula.
After studying Enlightenment ideas at home and in Europe, Bolivar returned to Venezuela and raised an
army to fight for independence from Spain. With Spain preoccupied by the Napoleonic Wars, Bolivar
achieved victory in his native Venezuela, then went on to defeat the Spanish in what is now Columbia,
Ecuador, and Bolivia. His final victory in Peru ended Spanish rule in South America. Bolivar failed,
however, in his dream of bringing South America together in a union. Although he died a discouraged
man, Bolivar is remembered as “The Liberator,” and the country of Bolivia is named in his honor.
At the same time Bolivar was fighting for South American independence, Mexico and countries in
Central America were also fighting for their independence from Spain. Meanwhile, Brazil declared its
independence from Portugal. In a period of just twenty years, the three-hundred-year European
domination of Latin America came to an end.

121. British Parliament
In contrast to revolutions in America and France that lasted only a few years, revolution against the
monarchy in England was a long, slow process that took centuries. It began in 1215 when the “Great
Council” of English nobles forced King John to sign the Magna Carta, a document that established the
principal that the king was not above the law. The Magna Carta was an early step toward the kind of
constitutional government later established the United States, France, and other democracies.
Over time, the Great Council evolved into a law-making body called Parliament. When an English
king was acting badly in the mid-1600s, Parliament raised an army that defeated and executed the king.
In the late 1600s, Parliament removed another king from power and replaced him with a king and queen
who agreed to follow a “Bill of Rights” strongly influenced by the Enlightenment views of John Locke.
Although the British monarch continued to serve as head of state, Parliament was the true power in Great
Britian since the 1700s. England was not yet a democracy, however, because the nobility controlled
Parliament, and few people had the right to vote.

122. Catherine the Great
Several weak emperors ruled Russia after the death of Peter the Great. One was Peter III. Peter,
however, married a lively German princess named Catherine who was anything but weak. In fact, it’s
commonly believed she approved Peter’s murder in 1762. Although Catherine’s son was next in line for
the throne, she pushed him aside and ruled Russia as empress. In some respects, Catherine continued the
Westernization program begun by Peter the Great. She imported farming and manufacturing techniques
from the West along with European art. Enlightenment philosophers were her friends.
But trouble was brewing in the empire. Hardship caused by war with the Ottomans joined with plague
to make life especially hard for Russian peasants. They rose up in the greatest revolt yet seen in Russia.
After putting down the rebellion, Catherine abandoned her Enlightment philosophies and ruled with an
iron fist. She took rights away from the serfs and increased the power of their noble landlords. By the
time she had finished, serfs were little more than slaves, and hardly a free peasant remained in Russia.
When not entertaining her many young lovers, Catherine found time to create one of the world’s
finest art museums at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and to expand the Russian Empire west into Poland.
After her armies defeated the weakening Ottoman Empire, Russia took control of the Crimean
peninsula on the Black Sea. Russia now had access to the Mediterranean Sea and a warm water port that
could stay open year round. Under Catherine’s forceful rule, Russia grew strong and was capable of
threatening other great powers. For these reasons she earned the title “Catherine the Great.”

123. Mogul Empire (MOH-gul - also spelled Mughal)
When Mongol control over India weakened in the 1300s, India broke into many states. Two
centuries later, Muslim invaders armed with firearms conquered northern India and established the Mogul
Empire, the last of India’s golden ages. The Mogul ruler Akbar practiced religious tolerance towards
India’s Hindu majority; he even married a Hindu princess. Trade and agriculture flourished; India exported
millions of yards of inexpensive cotton cloth that clothed much of Europe.
A much-admired art style emerged from the blending of Hindu and Islamic artistic traditions. Mogul
architecture reached its zenith with the Taj Mahal, a tomb built by a Mogul ruler to honor his beloved
wife who died in childbrith. It is considered by many to be the most beautiful building in the world.
In the early 1700s, a Mogul ruler extended his empire over most of southern Asia, but the constant
warfare so weakend the empire that India once again fragmented into regional states. The breakdown of
Mogul authority gave Britain an opportunity to extend its commercial interests in India. In the mid-
1700s, forces from the British East India Company defeated armies of the French and Dutch trading
companies. Britain then fought Indian armies to take control of the Bengal region in northeastern India.
The ancient and legendary land of India was fast becoming a colony of the British Empire.

124. Gunpowder Empires

After the Chinese invented gunpowder, firearms began to play a major role in world history. As we
have seen, the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan, the early tsars of Russia, the Moguls in India, and other
nations created empires through effective use of gunpowder weapons.
The Portuguese were probably first to place canons on ocean-going ships. Europeans had acquired
much of their sailing technology from the East including the compass, astrolabe, rudder, and lateen sails
for sailing into the wind. The Europeans then added their own improvements including better canons and
faster ships that were built strong enough to fire cannons without being torn apart. With shipboard
canons, Europeans pushed into the waters of Asia and Africa and came to dominate the world’s oceans.
Kings in Europe always had to be ready to adopt the latest in weapons technology to survive the
endless conflicts among Europe’s competing powers. In the next century, the 1800s, Europe’s advanced
weaponry would extend Western European dominance from the oceans to the land.

Unit 9 - The 1800s: Industrial Revolution and Imperialism

LOCATIONS: Japan, Cuba, Philippines, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Puerto Rico

125. Industrial Revolution
Midway through the modern era, humans figured out how to make machines move by burning fuels.
The first of these machines was the steam engine that burned coal to heat water that made steam that
pushed a piston that turned a wheel. Goods that that had always been made by hand in homes and shops
were replaced by goods made at lower cost by machines in factories. Humans had never gone faster than
horses could carry them, but now steam-powered trains and ships moved people and goods faster and
cheaper than ever before. This technological revolution began in England’s textile (cloth) mills in the late
1700s. The British were blessed with large coal deposits and a talent for adapting old industries to new
sources of power. The Industrial Revolution spread to other Western nations during the 1800s. These
new technologies would soon change how people lived and who ruled the world.
The Industrial Revolution affected society in both positive and negative ways. Factories could
produce goods more cheaply than hand labor, so people could buy more goods and enjoy a higher
standard of living. But, factories put many craftspeople out of work. Factories required large numbers
of workers, which caused huge migrations of people from the countryside to the city where they worked
long hours for low wages while living in crowded and unsanitary conditions. Even small children worked as
many as 16 hours a day becoming so tired they fell into machinery and were crippled or killed.

126. socialism
In 50 years, the English manufacturing city of Liverpool grew from 82,000 to 376,000 people.
Cities could not cope with the huge influx of workers coming to work in the factories of the Industrial
Revolution. A dozen people might be crowded together in one small room in a run-down apartment
building called a tenement. Due to a lack of sewage facilities, filth was everywhere, and infectious disease
killed one child in four before the age of five. The Industrial Revolution was making a few people very
wealthy, but countless others were poor and living under terrible conditions.
Not surprisingly, many working-class people were attracted to the ideas of socialism, an economic
philosophy that called for a more even distribution of wealth. Socialism proclaimed, “From each
according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Under socialism, important businesses would be
owned by the public, not by a few men getting rich. It was the opposite of Adam Smith’s capitalism.

127. Impressionism
The Industrial Revolution brought many technological marvels such as antiseptics to kill bacteria,
vaccinations to prevent disease, the telegraph, telephone, light bulb, automobile, airplane, and the camera.
The camera had a big impact on the art world in the late 1800s. Since the camera could reproduce scenes
from life more accurately than any artist could, artists needed to find a new mission. Rather than trying
to accurately reproduce reality, artists began to paint their “impressions” of what they saw. Art changed
radically as artists became freer to put their own ideas and feelings into their works.
Impressionism was the beginning of modern art. Painters like Monet and Renoir worked quickly
using short, choppy brushstrokes to form vibrant mosaics of color. In architecture, the industrial age was
symbolized by the Eiffel Tower, built in Paris in 1889 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French
Revolution. At nearly 1,000 feet tall, it was an impressive demonstration of the steel and iron
construction techniques of the Industrial Revolution and a model for steel-skeleton skyscrapers to come.

128. conservative versus liberal
Following the Napoleonic Wars, Europe was ready for a period of calm. Leaders representing the
“Great Powers” of Europe met in Vienna to hammer out an agreement meant to undo changes brought
about by the French Revolution and to maintain a lasting peace by restoring a balance of power among
European nations. Delegates to the Congress of Vienna were members of the aristocracy (upper class),
who wanted a return to the old order in which monarchs and the upper class controlled a stable society.
People who resist change and try to preserve traditional ways are called conservatives. Society’s “haves”
tend to be conservative because they wish to preserve the system that worked for them.
Although conservatives were in control in 1815, many common people still believed in Enlightenment
ideas. People who support new methods for improving society are called liberals. Because society’s
“have-nots” desire change, they tend to be liberal. Liberals are said to be on the political “left,” while
conservatives are on the political “right.” (In the United States the Republican Party is considered more
conservative than, and to the right of, the more liberal Democratic Party.) Although the Congress of
Vienna succeeded in preventing an outbreak of general warfare in Europe for a century, liberal revolts
erupted repeatedly as people continued to seek the Enlightenment goals of freedom and equality.

129. nationalism
Nationalism is a deep devotion to one’s country that places it above all others. It begins with the
desire of people who share a common culture to have their own nation free from outside control. In the
early 1800s, much of Europe was still divided into small kingdoms often ruled by foreigners. Inspired by
nationalism and Enlightenment ideas of freedom, people hungered to belong to their own nations.
In the mid-1800s, most of Italy was ruled by the Austrian and Spanish royal families. There was only
one Italian-born monarch, King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia. Unification of Italy began here. The
king had a clever prime minister named Cavour who helped to unite northern Italy. A popular
revolutionary general, Giuseppe Garibaldi, raised an army of a thousand volunteers who brought southern
Italy into the Italian union. In 1861, Italy became a nation, and Victor Emmanuel was proclaimed king.
In 1850, Germany was made up of 39 small countries. One of the largest and most powerful was the
eastern kingdom of Prussia. Prussia’s brilliant prime minister, Otto von Bismark, believed Germany’s
unification would not be achieved through democratic means, “but by blood and iron.” Using a step-bystep
approach, Bismark started and won three separate wars against Denmark, Austria, and France, each
war bringing him closer to his goal. By 1870, Germany was unified, and Prussia’s king was crowned as
kaiser (emperor) over all of Germany. (A prime minister serves as the head of a country’s goverment.
In today’s world, prime ministers have powers smiliar to American presidents.)

130. social Darwinism
In the early 1800s, nationalism was associated with positive ideas like freedom from foreign control.
The last half of the century, however, saw the emergence of a darker side of nationalism that glorified war
and military conquest. This extreme form of nationalism was supported by racism, a belief that one’s
own race or culture is superior to others. Racism, in turn, was supported by social Darwinism.
Charles Darwin was an English scientist who had a huge impact on Western society when he
developed a theory of evolution based on the idea of “natural selection.” His theory proposed that an
animal species may change over time as the best-adapted members survive and the less successful members
die out. Social Darwinists used Darwin’s theory to justify the racist belief that the world’s more
technologically advanced white races were fittest and intended by nature to dominate “lesser” races.
The idea of “survival of the fittest” was also adopted by rich industrialists who believed their wealth
proved they were superior examples of the human species. Therefore, it was perfectly acceptable for
them to enjoy their vast riches while keeping their inferior workers living in poverty.

131. imperialism

Before the 1800s, Western nations did business in Africa and Asia within existing trade and political
networks. After the Industrial Revolution, Western powers used their superior weapons and powerful iron
warships to take over much of the world. In 1800, Western nations controlled 35 percent of the world’s
land surface; by 1914, they controlled 84 percent. When a nation dominates or controls another land
physically, economically, or politically, it is called imperialism. Western imperialism of the 1800s placed
millions of black and brown people under the control of white people.
Imperialism was encouraged by nationalism; European nations tried to increase their power and pride
by adding new colonies. Imperialism was also supported by racist attitudes like social Darwinism.
Europeans claimed to be doing “backward” people a favor by conquering their lands and bringing them
Western advancements. But the most important force behind imperialism was money. The Industrial
Revolution changed Europe from a consumer of manufactured goods to a producer, and Europe’s factories
needed places to sell their products. One Englishman said, “There are 40 million naked people [in
Africa], and the cotton spinners of Manchester are waiting to clothe them.” Colonies provided Europe’s
factories with new markets for manufactured goods, and cheap raw materials to feed Europe’s machines.

132. India
From their base in Bengal, the British steadily gained control of India’s warring regional states until
Britain was master of India. India had the biggest population of any British colony, and it supplied troops
to enforce British rule elsewhere in the empire. Soldiers at this time had to bite off the ends of rifle
cartridges to load their rifles. When beef fat was used to seal cartridges, Indian troops rebelled because
cows are sacred to Hindus. The rebellion quickly spread to other areas of Indian society. After crushing
the uprising, the British government took direct control of India from the British East India Company.
India was the “jewel in the crown” of Britain’s colonial empire that also included Canada, Australia,
and big chunks of Africa. This was the Victorian Age of Queen Victoria when Britain was at the height
of its power. It was said, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” Britain brought advancements to
India including a postal service, telegraph, good roads, and a railroad network. But British control also
harmed India. The spinning of cotton in Indian homes had long been a source of income for peasants
until they were put out of work by inexpensive cotton cloth imported from England’s textile mills.

133. Australia

Australia is the only country that is also a continent. Like the Americas, Australia was settled twice:
the first time by hunter-gatherers called Aborigines who arrived by boat from Southeast Asia, the second
time by Europeans some 50,000 years later. The Dutch spotted Australia first, but found it a barren land
and lost interest. British explorer James Cook found more promising land in southern Australia and
claimed the continent for Britain. The British first used Australia as a prison colony; Australia’s first
European settlers were convicts. After gold was found in the mid-1800s, European immigration boomed.
The Aborigines experienced the usual pattern of decline after contact with Western diseases and weapons.
Southeast of Australia lie the islands of New Zealand, which joined the British Empire in 1840.
European immigrants subdued native tribes of hunter-gatherers called the Maori. (MOW-ree) The British
took control of Canada from the French in 1763. Many French-speaking Canadians remain, primarily
in the province of Quebec. Canada is the second-largest country in size after Russia, but most of its
people live within 100 miles of its border with the United States. Despite their far-flung locations, the
former British colonies of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are considered part of the Western world.

134. the Opium War
At the beginning of the 1800s, China produced one-quarter of the world’s goods, and it was the
wealthiest country on earth. But there was a problem. The British liked their tea, and Britain was sending
huge amounts of silver to China in payment for tea and other goods. The Chinese, however, had little
interest in British goods. The resulting trade imbalance was draining silver from Britain. What to do?
Britian decided to deal drugs. Britain found that Bengal was ideal for growing opium, a highly
addictive narcotic. Britain grew opium in India, shipped it to China, and received silver in payment.
Although opium use was illegal in China, large segments of the Chinese population became addicted,
especially the poor. Alarmed that opium was ruining China’s society and economy, the Qing emperor
pleaded with the British to stop. When they didn’t, the emperor ordered the opium trade shut down.
After a Qing official seized and destroyed opium from British warehouses, Britain declared war. Britain’s
superior ships and weapons, and its bombardment of Chinese ports, won Britain an easy victory.
Britain forced China to pay the costs of the war and to open new ports to Western ships. China’s
defeat was humiliating; not only were foreign “barbarians” dictating terms to China and occupying
Chinese territory, the war showed how far behind China’s technology had fallen. The Qing Empire
continued to weaken through the 1800s. It was shaken by major uprisings, and defeated in a war with
Japan in 1894. A final uprising in 1911 ended the Qing dynasty, and with it over 2,000 years of rule by
Chinese dynasties dating back to the First Emperor in 221 BC. The last emperor was an 8-year-old boy.

135. Meiji Restoration (MAY-gee)
In the early 1800s, the Tokagawa shogunate was still trying to preserve Japan’s cultural traditions
through measures such as banning firearms and maintaining isolation from foreigners. But there was a
problem. The Americans, like the British, believed in free trade even when a country didn’t want to
trade. In 1853, a squadron of American warships showed up in Japan and threatened bombardment unless
Japan opened trade with the United States. At gunpoint, the shogunate agreed. In the political unrest
that followed, members of the samurai class armed themselves with surplus weapons from the American
Civil War and overthrew the shogunate. Japan’s feudal system with its shogun and regional warlords was
replaced by a modern centralized government that granted equal rights to Japanese citizens.
Although the Japanese emperor had long been mainly a ceremonial figure, the samurai restored power
to a new emperor named Meiji. Devotion to the emperor became central to Japanese nationalism. Meiji
government officials were sent to the West to learn about constitutional governments and new
technologies. With help from Western advisers, Japan joined the Industrial Revolution, building railroads,
factories, and a modern navy. For the first time ever, Japan was stronger than its big neighbor China.

136. Crimean War
In 1856 Britain and France went to war with Russia to stop Russia from gobbling up more territory in
the weak Ottoman Empire. Although the war was fought on Russia’s doorstep in the Crimea, the more
distant Western powers won with better railways, weapons, and navies. The war was a rude awakening for
the Russians. The tsar responded by freeing the serfs and giving them land and some education. He hoped
these reforms would increase farm and factory production and generate income to help modernize Russia.
At the time of the Crimean War, more soldiers died from infection and disease than from bullets.
Britain sent Florence Nightingale to the Crimea to improve conditions in military hospitals where she
managed to reduce death rates from 45 to 5 percent. In the process, she invented modern nursing. This
war also saw reporters use the telegraph for the first time to send home news reports from the front. And
this was the setting for Tennyson’s famed poem about a soldier’s duty, The Charge of the Light Brigade:
“...Their’s not to reason why, Their’s but to do and die: Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.”

137. Scramble for Africa

By the 1870s, the African slave trade was over, and Africans continued to rule Africa. Europeans
controlled only a few port areas. The Ashanti kingdom, for example, was a prosperous trade center on
the coast of West Africa, and the powerful Zulu king in southern Africa had an army of 40,000 warriors.
But Africa was too tempting for the Europeans to resist. The king of Belgium told a friend, “I mean to
miss no chance to get my share of this magnificent African cake.” European powers met at a conference
in Berlin in 1884 and divided the continent among themselves. The Africans were not invited to attend.
Then the imperialist powers set about the task of defeating African rulers. The Ashanti, Zulus, and
others fought back, but in the end spears were no match for guns. In one battle a British force armed with
repeating rifles, artillery, and machine guns lost only 48 soldiers while killing more than 10,000 African
warriors. Still, conquering the Africans wasn’t always easy, and sometimes it took years. In Ethiopia, the
Italian army faced African soldiers carrying modern weapons, and Ethiopia kept its independence.
Seven European powers carved Africa into countries with boundaries that often bore little
relationship to the cultural groups living there. Europeans took resources from Africa including rubber,
gold, and diamonds and crops including cotton and peanuts. Some colonial governments were harsher
than others, but everywhere European whites controlled African blacks. European domination stopped
the natural development of Africa in its tracks, nearly destroying African culture in the process.

138. Mexico

After achieving independence from Spain in 1821, Mexico was briefly a monarchy and then a
republic. Mexico’s new constitution guaranteed basic rights to Mexican citizens, but it did little to end
inequality in Mexican society. A small group of white, upper class elites exercised political and
economic control over millions of poor peasants and Indians. In 1846, the United States went to war
with Mexico and took about half of Mexico’s territory, a large region extending from Texas to California
and north to Wyoming. In the last quarter of the century, Mexico’s economy grew as the nation began
to industrialize, but little of the new wealth reached Mexico’s rural and urban poor.
Much of Latin America followed a pattern similar to Mexico’s. After liberal revolts brought
independence from Spanish rule, a white creole upper class maintained control of society. Conservative
strongmen came to power to protect upper-class privilege. Liberals might propose reforms, and the poor
might revolt, but little would change. In the late 1800s new wealth came to Latin America from increased
trade and industrialization, but it was the elites who benefited. Most people continued to work the land as
poor peasants. Latin America was a land of very few “haves” and many “have nots.”

139. Spanish-American War
The United States followed the European pattern of industrialism and imperialism. The U.S.
expanded its territory to the Pacific by conquering Native American nations and Mexican armies. Then
in 1898, the U.S. acquired its first overseas possessions from Spain. At this time, Cuba and Puerto Rico
were the last Spanish colonies left in the Americas, and the U.S. was sympathetic to Cuban rebels fighting
for independence. When the U.S. showed its concern by sending the battleship Maine to visit Cuba, it
exploded in Havana harbor killing 266 American sailors. The U.S. mistakenly blamed Spain for the
explosion. With newspaper headlines screaming, “Remember the Maine!” the U.S. declared war on Spain.
In a war lasting only four months, the modern American navy easily destroyed two older Spanish
fleets. Theodore Roosevelt and his band of “Rough Riders” became heroes after newspapers reported
their daring cavalry charge at San Juan Hill in Cuba. With its victory in this “splendid little war,” the U.S.
acquired Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines from Spain, and Spain lost its standing as a great power.
In the same year, the U.S. took control of Hawaii. America was now a power in the Pacific. Five years
later, Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States, and he declared the U.S. would take control
of any Latin American country that didn’t run its government the way the U.S. thought it should. This
attitude toward Latin America created resentment against the U.S. that persists to this day.

140. Westernization
In the 1800s, nations of the non-Western world had to figure out how to deal with a harsh reality:
the Western powers were industrialized, wealthy, powerful, and aggressive. Isolation wasn’t effective as
the Chinese and Japanese discovered. Fighting back didn’t work either as Native Americans and Zulus
learned. Many believed the only way to deal with the West was to become more like the West, in other
words, to modernize and industrialize. We saw this occur in Russia, Japan, Latin America, and elsewhere.
Education was one route to Westernization. Bright young people from the colonies studied at
European schools and often adopted Western ideas and values. But when non-Western nations tried to
industrialize, they faced huge obstacles. Because the Western countries were first to industrialize, they
already knew how to produce quality goods efficiently; they already had large urban work forces, and they
already controlled world markets. It was difficult for late industrializers to break into the system.

Unit 10 - 1900-1950: World at War

LOCATIONS: The Balkans, Hungary, Poland, Southeast Asia, Hawaii, Normandy, Scandinavia

141. the 20th Century
Probably the biggest change of the 20th century was change itself. In the year 1900, there were no
airplanes, televisions, or computers. There were only 50 nations in the world, and only a handful of them
were democracies. A century later, humans were exploring space and surfing the Internet. The world had
180 nations, and most claimed to be democracies. It’s been said more change occurred during the 20th
century than in the previous 19 centuries combined.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe was at the height of its power, controlling most of the
land surface of the earth. The French had built the Suez Canal in Egypt linking Europe to Asia, and
Europe’s powerful navies patrolled the oceans. Europeans believed in social Darwinism and the superiority
of the “white race.” They considered their society to be the greatest achievement of civilization and a
model for all other peoples to follow. A major chapter in the story of the 20th century is how Europe
destroyed its own dominance of the modern world. This gloomy tale begins with World War I.

142. World War I

At the dawn of the 20th century, Europe’s competing nations were as quarrelsome as ever.
Nationalism and imperialism increased tensions and conflict among the Great Powers of Europe as they
competed for military power and colonial possessions. European countries strengthened their armies and
navies and formed alliances so they would have friends in case of war. These entangling alliances
meant that a quarrel between any two nations could drag more countries into the conflict.
The spark that ignited World War I came from the Balkans, a region of many cultures and ethnic
groups north of Greece that included the nation of Serbia. In August 1914, a young Serbian nationalist,
hoping to trigger an uprising of Serbs living in Austria, assassinated Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the heir
to the throne of Austria-Hungary. Blaming Serbia for the attack, Austria declared war on Serbia.
Serbia’s friend, Russia, declared war on Austria, and the system of entangling alliances kicked in
trapping Europe in an unstoppable chain of events. Six weeks after the assassination, much of Europe was
at war. The alliance led by Russia, France, and Britain, was known as the Allies; the alliance of Austria-
Hungary, Germany and the Turkish Ottoman Empire was called the Central Powers. With enemies on
both sides, the Central Powers had to fight a war on two fronts. The fighting in Belgium and France was
the Western Front; the war in Russia was the Eastern Front. Patriotic young men from both sides eagerly
enlisted for the fight. They expected it to be all over by Christmas.

143. trench warfare
War had always been a battle of men. The Industrial Revolution turned war into a battle of
machines. Five new technologies changed the nature of warfare: the airplane, the tank, the submarine,
poison gas, and the machine gun. Of these, the machine gun was the most devastating. At the beginning
of the war, generals familiar with an earlier style of combat hurled heroic cavalry and infantry charges
against the enemy, but horses and human flesh offered little resistance to machine gun bullets.
As the first winter of the war approached, soldiers on the Western Front began digging hundreds of
miles of muddy, rat-infested trenches where they tried to hide from machine guns and exploding artillery
shells. Between the trenches lay a “no man’s land” of barbed wire shattered trees, shell craters, and
rotting corpses. When ordered to attack, soldiers climbed out of their trenches, ran across no man’s land
toward the enemy trenches, and were mowed down like fields of wheat by machine gun, rifle, and artillery
fire. In just one engagement, the Battle of the Somme in northern France, 1,100,000 soldiers died.
Young men were being killed by the hundreds of thousands, and neither side was gaining ground.

144. the Lusitania
President Woodrow Wilson tried to keep the United States out of the war, but it became
increasingly difficult. In 1915, a German submarine sank the British passenger liner, Lusitania, which was
carrying weapons, as well as passengers, from the United States to England. Of the 1200 people killed in
the attack, 128 were Americans, mostly women and children. The sinking turned American public
opinion against Germany. Economic interests also pushed America toward war. American banks had
made large loans to the Allies, and if the Allies lost the war, these loans would never be repaid. When it
looked like the Allies might be defeated, Wilson took the United States to war.
The U.S. declared war in 1917 “to make the world safe for democracy” in the words of President
Wilson. With a million fresh American troops arriving in France, the Allies soon defeated the Central
Powers. When the fighting stopped at 11:00 o’clock on the 11th day of the 11th month, soldiers from
both sides came out of their trenches and cheered. Nov. 11 is now observed as Veteran’s Day in the U.S.

145. Treaty of Versailles

The Great War, as it was called, changed the political landscape of Europe. Gone were the
Austro-Hungarian Empire and the long-decaying Turkish Ottoman Empire. Their lands were broken up
into smaller nations. Russia lost its tsar, and Germany’s Kaiser was replaced by a new German republic.
The war nearly wiped-out an entire generation of young men in Europe. Almost 30 million people were
killed or wounded during the Great War, and over a million civilians died as a result of the fighting.
The peace treaty ending the war between the Allies and Germany was signed at the palace of
Versailles in June of 1919. Against the wishes of President Wilson, the treaty punished Germany for the
war by taking away its overseas possessions and strictly limiting Germany’s army and navy. Worse for
the Germans, they were forced to make large payments, or reparations, to the Allies for war damages.
The treaty also established the League of Nations, an assembly of sixty countries that agreed to
work together for world peace. The League was the idea of President Wilson who hoped the Great War
would be “the war to end all wars.” The United States Senate, however, refused to approve the treaty
because many in America wanted no more foreign entanglements, an attitude called isolationism.

146. crisis of meaning
The huge numbers of both military and civilian casualties made World War I the first total war.
When it was over, people had difficulty making sense of the war. What was the point when the results
were weak economies, unemployment, and the destruction of a generation? Historian Pamela Radcliff
calls this a “crisis of meaning.” How could Europeans continue to consider themselves the smartest, most
advanced culture in the world when Europe had nearly committed suicide? Colonial peoples wondered
what gave Europeans the right to control others if they couldn’t control themselves.
People began to see a link between technology and destruction; some questioned if modern
technology was such a good thing after all. This crisis of meaning was reflected in Dada and surrealist art
movements that attacked basic Western values that went back to the Enlightenment, ideas like progress
and the value of human reason. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychology, probed the unconscious mind
and found a “human instinct [for] aggression and self-destruction.” Freud questioned which side of human
nature would win out in the end: the beast-like, emotional, irrational side or the side of reason.

147. communism
Socialism was invented by German philosopher Karl Marx in the 1800s as a reaction to the
working-class poverty of the Industrial Revolution. His slogan was, “Workers of the world unite!” Marx
predicted that workers in the industrialized nations would one day rise up and overthrow capitalism.
In the early 1900s, Russia was not yet an industrial nation; most of its people were poor peasants
working the land. Nonetheless, a group of Russian socialists led by Vladimir Lenin thought Russia was
ready for a socialist revolution. Their chance came with World War I. The war didn’t go well for Russia.
The army was poorly led, poorly fed, and poorly equipped, and eventually it fell apart. When soldiers
were ordered to shoot women textile workers rioting for food, the soldiers opened fire on their own
officers instead. As rioting spread in Russia, Nicholas II was forced to step down as tsar in 1917.
Into this power vacuum stepped Lenin’s well-organized political party, the Bolsheviks. Promising
peace for soldiers, land for peasants, and better conditions for workers, the Bolsheviks took control of
Russia in October 1917 and removed Russia from the war. “Communism” has come to mean the blend of
Marx’s socialist philosophy of the 1800s with Lenin’s ideas about peasant revolution from the 1900s.
Struggling to hold the Bolshevik (or Russian) Revolution together, Lenin executed thousands of
Russians suspected of opposing communism. Among those killed were the tsar and his family. The
communists banned other political parties, took over banks and industries, and set up a secret police. The
Russian Empire was renamed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the Soviet Union for short.

148. social reform laws
Workers in the industrial nations did not rise up in revolution as Marx predicted; they found other
ways to improve their circumstances. Finding strength in numbers, workers formed labor unions and
called strikes that shut down factories until owners agreed to better pay and working conditions. When all
men got the right to vote (universal male suffrage) by the early 1900s, politicians had to listen to
ordinary people. Governments responded by passing social reform laws to improve the lives of workers.
Germany adopted laws that insured workers against accidents and sickness, limited working hours, and
provided old-age benefits. British Parliament stopped the employment of children under age nine, and
required them to attend free elementary schools. Britain was first to adopt a workweek of 5-1/2 days,
giving workers more leisure time to attend theaters, play sports, and ride their newly invented bicycles.
Since the mid-1800s, women in Britain and America had been agitating for equal rights with men. In
1872, for example, suffragists led by Susan B. Anthony were arrested for illegally voting in a U.S.
presidential election. By 1939 women in the U.S. and 31 other countries had won the right to vote.

149. the Great Depression
The situation for workers worsened again in the 1930s due to a worldwide economic downturn called
the Great Depression. Several factors led to the Depression including damage done to European
economies by World War I and the U.S. stock market crash of 1929. Businesses closed, farms stopped
producing, and banks failed. People lost their jobs and their life savings, and they went hungry.
The Great Depression worsened the post-war crisis of meaning. Millions of men had died in the
trenches of a senseless war, and now it made no sense that millions of strong, healthy men couldn’t find
jobs to feed their families. The old capitalist system didn’t seem to be working anymore; some thought it
was about to collapse. Many people, Americans included, looked for a newer approach that would give
workers a better break. Some looked to the Soviet Union where communism promised a more equal
society. Others looked to Italy and Germany where strong, nationalistic leaders promised a better future.

150. fascism
In Italy, a powerful political leader emerged who pledged to end Italy’s economic problems and
restore Italy to greatness. He was Benito Mussolini, leader of the fascists, a warlike political movement
that emphasized patriotism, nationalism, and obedience to the state. After taking power, Mussolini
modernized Italian agriculture and improved the economy. To strengthen his control over the country,
he made himself dictator, took over the news media, and established a secret police.
Germany too was looking for a strong leader to end its economic problems. Half of the country’s
labor force was out of work, and inflation got so bad at one point that it took bushels of money to buy a
loaf of bread. An inspiring public speaker named Adolf Hitler rose to the leadership of a fascist political
party called the Nazis. Hitler told Germans they must reclaim lost territories and build a new empire in
Europe. His nationalist ideas took hold in a Germany that felt humiliated by the Treaty of Versailles.
With crowds wildly cheering Hitler in huge parades and rallies, the Nazi party grew in popularity until it
won enough votes in national elections to make Hitler the new German leader.
Hitler quickly moved to revive the Germany economy. In just five years, unemployment fell from
six million to almost nothing, and the German standard of living rose. Encouraged by anti-communist
businessmen, the German parliament voted to turn over absolute power to Hitler. Thus, Hitler used
Germany’s democracy to end Germany’s democracy. Hitler used his absolute power to ban all political
parties except the Nazis and to set up a secret police. His enemies were killed, tortured, or imprisoned.

151. mass culture
Before the industrial era, people generally experienced their culture alone or in small groups. They
might read a book or play music with friends. This changed when the Industrial Revolution began to
manufacture culture as well as goods. By the late 1800s, mass-produced newspapers were a major cultural
force as thousands of people read the same stories at the same time. Mass culture swelled in the early 20th
century as the public flocked to buy movie tickets, radios, and music recordings. Sports teams joined
leagues that competed nationally. Such shared experiences helped to create mass national cultures.
Some critics were concerned that people were becoming spectators rather than participants by
purchasing cultural experiences instead of making their own. Other critics warned that mass culture could
be used to control the public by appealing to emotion rather than reason. This fear was realized in Nazi
Germany where the state took control of radio stations and the film industry, and the government learned
to skillfully use propaganda to manipulate the public through emotional appeals to nationalism and
racism. In Nazi Germany individual thought was overwhelmed by mass public opinion. (Propaganda is a
systematic effort, usually by government, to spread ideas or beliefs.)

152. totalitarian government
For the first time, mass culture made it possible to reach everyone with the same message and to rally
entire nations behind a cause. Hitler and Mussolini rallied the masses of Germany and Italy behind fascist
nationalism. Russia mobilized its masses to support “the worker’s revolution.” After the death of Lenin
in 1924, Joseph Stalin took control of the Soviet Union. Stalin convinced Russians it was their
patriotic duty to industrialize quickly. Stalin also confiscated peasants’ farms and combined them into
large state-run collective farms. In the process, some ten million peasants died or went to prison camps.
Although communists and fascists had different political theories, they used similar methods. Both
systems were led by strong, god-like dictators who symbolized the state. Citizens were expected to
sacrifice their individuality to the will of the state, and many people were happy to trade personal
freedom for a sense of belonging to a great cause. Both systems eliminated dissent; anyone disagreeing
with the government could expect a terrifying visit from the secret police. Because these societies took
nearly total control over peoples’ lives, they are termed “totalitarian.” Unlike liberal democracies where
the state is seen as the servant of the people, the people in totalitarian societies are seen as servants of
the state. Authoritarian states are similar, but the term implies somewhat less control by government.

153. Spanish Civil War
The years between World War I and World War II were a difficult time for democracies all over
Europe as they were challenged by socialism on the left and fascism on the right. Not only were republics
overthrown in Italy and Germany, most of the democracies of eastern and central Europe also fell during
this period. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, fascists led by Francisco Franco tried to
overthrow the elected republican government in Spain. Volunteers from many countries including the
United States went to Spain to fight on the side of the Spanish Republic.
The fascists, however, were supported by Mussolini and Hitler. Hitler used the opportunity to test
his modern German air force, the Luftwaffe, against human targets. A disturbing painting by Pablo
Picasso portrays the bombing of defenseless civilians in the Spanish town of Guernica where 1600
residents were killed by German bombers during one night of terror. This was the first time a massive air
attack had been directed against a civilian population. It would not be the last. After three years of
fighting, the fascists succeeded in defeating Spain’s republican government. Spain remained under
Franco’s fascist control until 1975 when Franco died, and democracy was reestablished in Spain.

154. the Nanking Massacre
Back in the mid-1800s, the U.S. Navy forced Japan to open its doors to foreign trade. Shortly
thereafter, America was distracted by its Civil War, and the U.S. left Japan alone for several years. This
gave the Meiji government time to figure out how to respond to the threat of Western power. Japan had
a long tradition of borrowing from other cultures, especially China, so it is not surprising that Japan chose
to borrow industrialism from the West. With an educated urban work force, Japan’s industrial revolution
proceeded rapidly. By the early 1900s, Japan had a modern industrial economy.
In 1905, Japan became the first Asian country to defeat a European nation when it overpowered
Russia in the Russo-Japanese War. Victory gave Japan economic control in parts of Korea and the
Manchuria region of China. Japan was becoming an imperialist power. The U.S. began to see Japan as a
possible rival in the Pacific and cut back important exports to Japan. Extreme nationalists came to
power in Japan saying that foreign conquest was the only way Japan could get the resources it needed.
Japan invaded Manchuria and Southeast Asia, claiming that it was liberating Asia from Western imperialism.
When Japanese armies took the Chinese capital of Nanking in 1937, they burned the city and
massacred between 100,000 and 300,000 Chinese. In what came to be called “The Rape of Nanking,”
Japanese soldiers brutally raped some 20,000 Chinese women, then killed them or left them to die.

155. Appeasement
Meanwhile in Europe, Hitler promised Germans he would destroy the Treaty of Versailles, and he
began by rebuilding the German army in violation of the treaty. Britain and France complained but did
nothing to stop him. In 1936, in violation of the treaty, Hitler sent troops into the Rhineland region on
the German-French border. It was a risky move, but Hitler calculated that nobody would stop him, and he
was right. Hitler then brought Germany and Austria together in a union also forbidden by the treaty.
England and France were following a policy of appeasement, which means they were giving in to
Hitler’s demands to avoid conflict and the possibility of another terrible war. As the world watched,
Hitler’s army grew stronger, and each success made Hitler bolder. Next, he took the German-speaking
Sudatenland region in Czechoslovakia, and six months later he conquered the whole country.
When Hitler’s armies invaded Poland in 1939, France and England finally declared war on Germany,
and World War II was underway in Europe. The alliance of France and England (later joined by Russia
and the U.S.) was called the Allies. Germany, Italy (and later Japan) were the Axis powers. Many
historians consider World War II to be a continuation of World War I because the two sides were similar
in both wars, and German resentment of the Treaty of Versailles set the stage for the rise of Hitler.

156. blitzkrieg
To overcome the stalemate of trench warfare, Hitler’s military planners developed a new battle
tactic called blitzkrieg or “lightning war.” Blitzkrieg meant attacking quickly with a strong force of
concentrated troops supported by artillery, tanks, and air power. Hitler’s powerful German military used
the blitzkrieg to quickly conquer Poland and five more European countries. It took the Germans only
seven weeks to circle around a French defensive barrier and conquer the powerful nation of France.
With France defeated, Hitler ordered massive bombing attacks against targets in England in
preparation for a planned invasion. German bombs pounded London for 57 straight nights. These were
dark days for the British; Prime Minister Winston Churchill told his people, “I have nothing to offer
but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” British pilots battled the Luftwaffe in the skies over England, aided by
radar that could spot enemy planes approaching the English coast. The Luftwaffe destroyed large areas of
British cities, but German aircraft losses became so great that Hitler had to abandon his plan to invade
England. In winning the Battle of Britain, the British dealt Hitler his first major defeat of the war.

157. World War II
The United States was still at peace. Although America was officially neutral in the war, the U.S.
supplied so much war material to the European Allies that war production helped pull America out of the
Depression. In the Pacific, only one barrier stood in the way of complete Japanese control of Asia: the
U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The United States insisted that Japan withdraw
from the territories it conquered in China and Southeast Asia, and the U.S. imposed an embargo that
stopped the shipment of key resources to Japan, a move the Japanese considered almost an act of war.
On December 7, 1941, the quiet of a Sunday morning at Pearl Harbor was shattered when carrierbased
Japanese warplanes launched a surprise attack on the U.S. fleet. In just 30 minutes, American naval
power in the Pacific was crippled. Despite the successful attack, the Japanese commander warned, “I fear
we have awakened a sleeping giant.” The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt went before Congress
and declared, “December 7th is a date which will live in infamy.” The U.S. and Britain declared war on
Japan. Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. Now the war in Europe was linked to the war in the
Pacific creating a truly global world war. America immediately switched to a war footing.
Factories began operating 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Chrysler stopped making cars and
started making tanks. As American men were called away to fight, American women went to work in war
plants making everything from socks to ships. U.S. war production soon equaled that of Japan, Italy, and
Germany combined. The Pacific Fleet recovered sufficiently from the attack at Pearl Harbor to defeat
the Japanese Navy in carrier sea battles in the Coral Sea and at Midway. These victories gave the United
States naval supremacy in the Pacific for the remainder of the war. The giant was awake.

158. the Holocaust
Hitler’s empire in Europe stretched from Scandinavia to North Africa, from the Atlantic Ocean to
Russia. People in lands conquered by the Nazis were expected to serve the German “master race.”
“Inferior” people such as Russians and Gypsies were to be enslaved or eliminated. Many teachers and
other educated people disappeared. But, the Nazis reserved their harshest treatment for the Jews.
Hitler’s plan for the Jews was called the “Final Solution,” which meant complete extermination of
the Jewish people. All over Europe Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps where they were
forced to work or were systematically executed. Hitler diverted so many resources from fighting the war
to killing Jews that his mass murder operation eventually contributed to Germany’s defeat. Of Europe’s
eight million Jews, the Nazis succeeded in killing six million, an event that came to be known as the
Holocaust. When the world learned about the full extent of Hitler’s criminal madness, the word genocide
was invented to describe the intentional and systematic destruction of an entire racial or cultural group.

159. Hitler’s invasion of Russia
Hitler was about to make his biggest mistake of the war, the same mistake made by Napoleon over a
century earlier. When Hitler couldn’t conquer England, he invaded Russia, which brought the Soviet
Union into the war on the side of the Allies. As the Russians retreated, they adopted the same scorchedearth
policy used by the tsar’s soldiers against Napoleon. The turning point in the Russian fighting, and in
World War II, came in 1943 at the Battle of Stalingrad, where the Soviets captured an entire German
army. The Soviets began to push the Germans back, and from then on Germany started losing the war.
The Russians, however, paid a terrible price, suffering an incredible 23 million dead.
From airfields in England, British and American bombers pounded Germany, wiping out entire cites
and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. In 1944, the Allies launched the massive Normandy
Invasion of France trapping the Nazis between Allied forces approaching from the west and Russian
soldiers closing in from the east. With Russian troops only a few blocks from his underground bunker in
Berlin, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in April 1945. Germany surrendered one week later.

160. Hiroshima
Fierce fighting continued in the Pacific. American troops fought and won savage battles against
determined Japanese forces trying desperately to hold strategic islands. American bombers began to strike
inside Japan, leveling Japanese cities. Japan was on the verge of collapse, but it refused to surrender.
Meanwhile, American scientists had perfected the atomic bomb. Hoping to avoid a costly invasion
of the Japanese home islands, President Harry Truman ordered the atomic bomb used against Japan.
The first bomb destroyed the city of Hiroshima where 200,000 people died. Three days later, a second
bomb produced similar results in Nagasaki. The next day, Japan asked to end the war. Controversy still
surrounds the use of atomic weapons against Japan. Critics say a demonstration of the awesome power of
the bomb might have convinced Japan to surrender without the loss of more civilian lives.
Again, the nature of warfare had changed. Genocide and massive aerial bombing raids had made
civilians, not soldiers, the primary targets of war. Of the 50 million people killed in World War II, an
estimated two-thirds were civilians. The atomic bomb meant that a future world war might kill everyone.

Unit 11 - 1950 to the present: Cold War and the Space Age

LOCATIONS: Eastern Europe, Berlin, Pakistan, Taiwan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan

161. independence movements

Although the 20th century saw human nature at its worst, humans also made great strides during the
century. Discoveries in the fields of health and medicine increased life expectancy, and the standard of
living rose for people in much of the world. And, following World War II, colonialism came to an end.
Pre-war European imperialism was based on the racist belief that the West was superior to all other
cultures, which gave Europeans the right to conquer and control other peoples. After the horrors of
Hitler and the Nazis, this kind of racist thinking was no longer acceptable, and the Western powers let
their colonies slip away. Some colonies had to fight for independence while others won their freedom
peacefully. Fifteen years after World War II, most former European colonies had gained independence.

162. Gandhi

The wave of post-war independence movements began with India, where Indians had been struggling
for independence from British rule for decades under the leadership of British-trained lawyer Mohandas
Gandhi. Gandhi preached nonviolence: he and his followers were willing to accept pain in their fight for
independence, but they were unwilling to inflict it. Adopting a tactic called civil disobedience, they
disobeyed unfair British laws, endured police beatings, and went to prison. Gandhi shamed Britain by
showing the world that Britain’s democratic government was denying democracy to Indians.
Gandhi’s independence movement gained widespread popular support following the Amritsar
massacre shortly after World War I when British troops opened fire on a peaceful gathering of unarmed
Indians. The soldiers kept firing until they ran out of ammunition. Some 400 Indian men, women, and
children died, and 1200 were wounded. Shortly after World War II, Britain granted India its independence,
and India was divided into two nations: mostly Hindu India and mostly Muslim Pakistan.
India burst the dam of colonialism, unleashing a flood of independence movements that freed many
African and Asian nations in the 1950s. Gandhi’s nonviolent approach was adopted by others including
American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. India established a democratic, capitalist system that
granted Indians personal freedoms and improved the economy. India became the world’s largest
democracy, but economic growth did not reach the nation’s poor. A huge gap remains between India’s
prosperous, educated upper classes and millions of poor, illiterate peasants who live near starvation.

163. People’s Republic of China
After the fall of Qing dynasty in 1911, China plunged into four decades of turmoil. Following World
War II, two Chinese armies fought for control of China. The winners were the Chinese communists, led
by Mao Zedong, who established the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The losers fled to the island of
Taiwan off the coast of China where they set up an anti-communist government that still exists.
Unlike India’s independence movement, which was led by European-trained elites, the communist
takeover in China was a peasant revolution. It became a model for peasant revolutions in other places
like Vietnam and Cuba. Mao’s government made some huge mistakes; an estimated 30 to 50 million
Chinese died from starvation when the communists mismanaged the process of setting up large collective
farms. But, in the end, the communists improved China’s agricultural and industrial production.
After Mao’s death in 1976, China’s leaders opened the economy to capitalist-style, free-market
competition. Since then, China’s economy has grown rapidly, but China remains a totalitarian state that
restricts the rights of its people. Nonetheless, the communist government’s promise of equality has
resulted in better nutrition, education, and medical care than in India.

164. the Cold War
By fighting two terrible wars in the first half of the 20th Century, the great powers of Europe ended
their own dominance of the modern world At the end of the Second World War, two new “superpowers”
emerged as the world’s strongest nations: the capitalist United States and the communist Soviet Union.
The Soviets angered and frightened the West when they took control of eight Eastern European
countries on the Soviet border with Europe. The Soviets wanted a protective barrier in case another
Western nation invaded Russia as Hitler had done in the 20th Century and Napoleon had done in the 19th.
The Soviet Union and its “satellites” came to be known as the Eastern bloc or the Soviet bloc.
The U. S. responded to the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe with the Marshall Plan, a program
that sent billions of dollars in American aid to Western Europe to rebuild economies crippled by war and
to strengthen them against communism. This was the beginning of an intense 45-year struggle between
the Western capitalist democracies and the totalitarian states of the communist Soviet bloc. It was called
the Cold War because the conflict did not turn into a hot, shooting war between the superpowers.

165. Berlin
At the end of World War II, the Allies divided defeated Germany into two countries, capitalist West
Germany and communist East Germany. Although the German capital of Berlin lay deep inside East
Germany, it too was divided. West Berlin was a small island of capitalism within communist East
Germany. In 1948, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin tried to force the Allies out of Berlin by blocking all roads
and railways into the city. President Harry Truman faced a tough decision: should he send tanks to break
through the blockade knowing this could trigger World War III, or should he abandon West Berlin?
Truman chose a third course, the Berlin Airlift. Within days, American and British cargo planes
were landing in Berlin every few minutes around the clock supplying the needs of the city of two million
people. Nearly a year went by before Stalin gave in and ended the blockade. Prompted by the Berlin
blockade and fears of Eastern bloc military power, the United States and Western European countries
formed a military alliance called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO.
The Marshall Plan helped Western Europe return to economic prosperity by the 1950s; now West
Germans could own refrigerators and even buy cars. Europeans were grateful to the U.S. for coming to
their rescue in two world wars and for helping to rebuild their war-torn countries. In much of the world,
America stood for liberty and generosity. Conditions were not as good under communism. In 1961,
communist officials erected a wall dividing East from West Berlin to prevent East Germans from leaving
for a better life in the West. The Berlin Wall became the most prominent symbol of the Cold War.

166. containment
Communists were now in control of the Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe. More people were
living under communism than capitalism. The West was genuinely afraid of communist world domination
and the defeat of capitalism and democracy. Western leaders feared that if another country fell to
communism, more might topple like a row of dominoes: the “domino theory.” The United States set out
to do everything in its power to stop the further spread of communism, a policy called containment.
The containment policy got its first big test in 1950 when communist North Korea, backed by the
Soviets, invaded South Korea, which was backed by the U.S. This was also the first big test for the United
Nations, an assembly of world nations formed at the end of World War II to promote world peace and
cooperation. With the Soviet Union absent during the vote, the United Nations approved a U.S.
resolution to send troops (mostly American) to repel the North Korean invaders. Reluctantly, China was
drawn into the war in support of North Korea. After three years of bloody combat, the Korean War
ended with North and South Korea occupying much the same territory they held when it began.

167. Vietnam War
Before World War II, Vietnam was a French colony. During the war, Vietnamese communists fought
Japanese invaders and rescued downed American flyers. After the war, the Vietnamese fought France for
independence and won despite American support for France. Although the communists were fighting for
their country’s freedom, U.S. leaders saw Vietnam as a “domino” that must not fall to communism. The
U.S. set up an anti-communist government in south Vietnam and sent thousands of American military
advisers to support it. When it looked like the American-backed government was about to fall in 1965,
President Lyndon Johnson took the U.S. to war. Three years later, a half million American troops were
in Vietnam, and U.S. warplanes were dropping more bombs on Vietnam than fell during World War II.
The two sides were in the same conflict, but they were fighting different wars. The U.S. believed it
was fighting the spread of international communism; the Vietnamese believed they were fighting for
freedom from an imperialist power just as they had fought the Japanese and French. The U.S. found itself
bogged down in a guerrilla war with no front lines and few large battles; the enemy would attack and
disappear. As the fighting dragged on for ten years, and the U.S. death toll mounted, American public
opinion turned against the war. With no end in sight, the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam in 1975. A small,
poor, rural country had defeated the most powerful nation in the world…and no more dominos fell.

168. proxy wars
Although the United States and the Soviet Union never fought each other directly, they supported
opposing sides in armed conflicts around the world. Local wars like Korea and Vietnam turned into
substitutes, or “proxies,” for the superpower death-struggle between communism and capitalism. The U.S.
backed anti-communist forces everywhere including dictatorships that overthrew democratically elected
governments. Critics of U.S. policy accused America of betraying its democratic principles, but defenders
of U.S. foreign policy argued that communism was so evil it had to be opposed by all means possible.
The Soviets had their own “Vietnam” experience in a proxy war in Afghanistan where Soviet troops
were sent to fight anti-communist Muslim guerrillas supported by the U.S. The Muslim fighters, who
included Osama bin Laden, won with help from shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles supplied by the United
States. Once again guerilla fighters from a small, poor country had defeated an invading superpower.

169. nuclear arms race
The United States was the only nation to possess atomic weapons at the end of World War II, but
the Soviets soon developed their own atomic bomb. Cold War competition turned into a race to build the
most deadly weapons of mass destruction. In 1952, the U.S. detonated the first hydrogen bomb with a
thousand times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. A year later, the Soviets had the H-Bomb.
Both countries developed long-range missiles that could fly across the Earth to rain nuclear destruction on
one another. The superpowers placed nuclear missiles on submarines that could escape detection, lie in
wait off the enemy’s coast, and wipe out large cities in minutes. The U.S. and the Soviets developed the
capacity to destroy each other many times over and to turn the Earth into a dead wasteland.
The U.S. placed missiles in Turkey on the Soviet Union’s border. The Soviets placed missiles in
Cuba, only 90 miles from Florida. During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the superpowers narrowly
avoided World War III when they agreed to remove their missiles from both Cuba and Turkey. Fear of a
nuclear holocaust hung over the earth and kept the peace. Weapons were finally too terrible to use.

170. Space Age
The United States and the Soviet Union carried their Cold War rivalry into outer space, competing in
a space race closely tied to the arms race; it was long-range missile technology that made space flight
possible. The Space Age began in October of 1957 when the Soviets launched Sputnik, the first manmade
satellite, into Earth orbit. America was caught off-guard and rushed to develop its own space
program, which, after many failures, launched satellites into orbit. Then in 1961, the Soviets sent the
first man into space. America followed with manned space missions. In 1969, the U.S. finally overtook
Russia in the space race when American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on
the moon, an event that future historians may view as one of the major turning points in history.
Something unexpected happened when humans left the Earth, and we got our first good look at our
home. It was a stunning sight! In contrast to the dead, lifeless worlds visible in the heavens, Earth was a
lovely blue sphere floating in space with white clouds swirling over pinkish continents. In all the dark,
lonely, vastness of space, we could see only one water-covered planet teeming with life. We realized how
unusual and precious our planet is. This new view of Earth might represent the most profound shift in
human perspective since the great voyages of discovery, and it came at a time when that beautiful blue
sphere was being threatened with nuclear and environmental destruction by one of its own species.

171. modern art
After modern art began with Impression in the late 1800s, it went in many directions. Most modern
art doesn’t look much like the real world, which can make it difficult for people to understand and
appreciate. The two main categories of modern art are representational and abstract. Representational
art portrays recognizable objects expressed through the artist’s personal vision. Abstract art makes no
attempt to portray the real world at all, reducing art to its fundamental elements of line, shape, and color.
Reflecting its time in history, much modern art (and literature) has expressed anxiety resulting from
two world wars, the threat of nuclear annihilation, and the loss of individuality in mass culture. Pablo
Picasso used both representational and abstract styles to convey his horror at the bombing of civilians at
Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. Picasso’s broken and disturbing images suggest a chaotic world in
which principles of morality and decency have been shattered, and civilization is reduced to rubble.
At the middle of the 20th Century, art moved toward the abstract, and art could be big and playful.
Claus Oldenburg, for example, created huge vinyl hamburgers and a 45-foot steel clothespin. Christo hung
a gigantic orange curtain between two Colorado mountains. Many scholars believe the foremost art form
of our age is motion pictures, which combine visual images with elements of literature, music, and theater.

172. collapse of the Soviet Union
In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union. He believed that progress in his
huge nation depended on making fundamental changes to the Soviet system. Communism sounded great
in theory, but it wasn’t working very well in practice because people had little incentive to work hard or
improve their products. Gorbachev called for a more open, democratic government and economic
reforms that looked a lot like capitalism. He also signed treaties with the U.S. limiting nuclear weapons,
and he surprised the world by giving up Soviet control over the satellite countries of Eastern Europe.
In a wave of rebellion, most countries of Eastern Europe threw off their communist governments in
1989, and the Berlin Wall was joyously smashed to pieces. Back in the Soviet Union, forces unleashed by
Gorbachev’s reforms were spinning out of his control: regions of the Soviet Union itself were breaking
away and setting up independent republics. In 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist, replaced by 15 new
capitalist nations, the largest of which is Russia. Life got worse for many, and several of the republics are
still struggling to develop working democracies and healthy economies. The collapse of the Soviet Union
meant the Cold War was over, and there was only one remaining superpower, the United States.

Unit 12 - Current Issues: A Changing World Order

LOCATIONS: Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Sudan, Serbia

173. new world order

At the dawn of the 21st century, the Cold War was over; democracy and capitalism had won. There
was no longer a balance of power in the world; America was alone at the top. President George Bush, Sr.
said there was a “new world order,” and it looked promising. But all too soon, Cold War fears were
replaced by new ones like terrorism and global warming.
Another new fear may be starting to haunt Western nations: the possibility of losing their dominant
position in the world that began with the age of European imperialism. Today when the West looks east,
it sees a new reality. Where the West once saw colonies, it now sees nations like Japan, China, and India
growing steadily stronger -- perhaps strong enough to one day challenge the dominance of the West.
A major fear left over from the Cold War is the spread of nuclear weapons, termed “nuclear
proliferation.” Nine countries are known to have, or believed to have, nuclear weapons. Although the
United States has not offered to give up its large nuclear arsenal, the U.S. has told other nations,
particularly North Korea and Iran, that they are not permitted to have nuclear weapons. The U.S. does
not object to nuclear weapons in the hands of its friends such as Israel, India, and Pakistan. The nine
nuclear nations are the U.S., Britain, Russia, France, China, India. Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea.

174. China

The most likely candidate for next world superpower is China. With the world’s largest population,
labor force, and consumer markets, China’s economy has boomed since China opened its markets to
capitalist-style competition in the 1980s. Meanwhile, China’s authoritarian government continues to
deny Chinese citizens basic human rights such as freedom of speech and religion. China proves that a
nation does not need to have a democratic government in order to have a successful capitalist economy.
Relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China have always been tense due
to their differing political systems, friction over the future of Taiwan, and perhaps because China still
resents that it was pushed around by Western powers during the age of imperialism. Nonetheless, the
Chinese and American economies are closely linked. China sells billions of dollars in goods to the United
States annually, while the U.S. government has been accumulating billions of dollars in debt to China.
American officials aren’t sure whether to consider China a friendly trading partner or a future threat as
China’s economy and military grow, and the U.S. and China compete for limited resources like oil.

175. globalism
The world is being drawn together as never before by international trade, communications, and mass
media, a phenomenon termed globalism. Major industries now do business in what amounts to a single
global trading market. The labor market is becoming global too as Western companies try to increase
profits by outsourcing work to lower-paid foreign workers. Many people believe globalism is a good
thing -- that the more often countries trade and communicate with one another, the less likely they are to
go to war. In Europe, for example, nations that were bitter enemies during two world wars are now
partners in the European Economic Union, which has adopted a common currency called the “Euro.”
Other observers have concerns about globalism. Will countries lose their distinct identities in a world
dominated by Americanized Western culture? Another concern is that the rich industrialized nations of
the world are controlling the global economy, consuming the world’s resources, polluting the Earth, and
leaving little behind for the poorer countries -- a global case of the “haves” versus the “have-nots.”

176. extreme poverty
Gandhi said, “Poverty is the worst form of violence.” A challenge facing the 21st Century is the
growth of extreme poverty in the world. The gap between rich and poor is widening as the rich nations
get richer and the poor nations get poorer. Economist Jeffrey Sachs reported to the United Nations that
more than eight million people die every year “because they are too poor to stay alive.” The U.N. has
established a goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2025. For several decades the world’s wealthier
nations have pledged .07 percent of their national incomes to reduce poverty, enough to reach the U.N.
goal. So far, only a handful of nations have kept their promises. The U.S. contributes .01 to .02 percent.
While helping the world’s poor may seem like a simple act of kindness, it may also be in the best
interests of the wealthier nations. James Wolfensohn, former president of the World Bank, observed that
poverty creates conflict that may lead to warfare and terrorism. He said, “There isn’t a wall around the
United States or any of the developed countries...If you have inequity on a global scale, if you have
people who are dissatisfied and unhappy, these are the breeding grounds of discontent.” According to
Wolfensohn, reducing poverty is the best way to bring peace to the world.

177. Third World economic development
The world’s poorest countries are termed developing nations or the Third World. Most are in
Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and most are former colonies. Many of these countries are still struggling
to find economic models that will work for them. Three basic models have been tried.
Early capitalist economies such as those in the United States and Great Britain developed with little
government control. Governments allowed the free market forces of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” to
control economic development. In the Third World, India adopted this laissez faire capitalist model.
The Soviet Union and China did just the opposite. Communist governments completely controlled
their nations’ economies. Government owned the factories and decided what products would be produced
at what price by whom. Such command economies did not prove successful over the long term.
Japan chose a middle ground. Authoritarian Japanese governments adopted capitalism, but they
directed the economy by promoting some industries and discouraging others. After World War II, Japan
rebuilt its shattered economy by developing industries like textiles that depended on large numbers of
unskilled workers. As the skills and wages of Japanese workers grew, textile jobs moved to countries where
labor costs were lower, and Japan went into heavy manufacturing such as motorcycles and cars. Next,
Japan moved into high-tech industries like electronics and computers. Japan’s successful strategy became
the development model for other Asian countries including South Korea, Taiwan, and later China.

178. Latin America
The giant U.S. economy has long dominated the smaller economies of Latin America, a situation
termed neocolonialism. Latin America followed the classic colonial pattern of exporting food and raw
materials in exchange for manufactured goods. These arrangements benefited the white elites who control
business and government in Latin America but comprise less than two percent of the population. The
poor, many of them Indians, received little. The lack of a sizeable middle class might help to explain why
economic progress in Latin America has lagged behind that of the United States and Canada.
During the Cold War, when political movements tried to improve conditions for Latin America’s
poor, the U.S. often saw these moves as communist threats. In the early 1950s, Guatemala’s democratic
government took unused land from the giant American-owned United Fruit Company and gave the land to
peasants. In response, the U.S. arranged the overthrow of Guatemala’s government, one of several Latin
American governments overthrown by the United States. Most were replaced by “puppet” governments
that could be trusted to protect the interests of the U.S. and the elites.
The U.S. acquired a reputation for supporting wealthy elites and right-wing military dictatorships
while opposing better living conditions for the poor. Recently, anti-American leaders have come to
power in several Latin American countries promising to use their nations’ resources to help the poor.
President Hugo Chavez of oil-rich Venezuela has said “the U.S. government sees itself as the owner of the
world.” Bolivia’s first Indian president, Evo Morales, has called himself “America’s worst nightmare.”

179. Africa
Africa is the world’s poorest continent. Unstable governments have slowed Africa’s economic
progress because businesses are reluctant to invest money where conditions are insecure.
During the Scramble for Africa in the late 1800s, the great powers of Europe carved Africa into
artificial new countries that included people of various ethnic groups. When these countries gained
independence in the mid-1900s, they had not existed long enough for national feeling to overcome ethnic
divisions. These newly independent countries had little or no experience in self-government, yet they had
to deal with hard problems like ethnic conflict, poverty, and corruption. Most governments failed.
Ethnic violence remains one of Africa’s worst problems. Ethnic conflict led to genocide in Rwanda
in the mid-1970s and to genocide in the Darfur region of western Sudan today. Ethnic violence can
disrupt farming and food distribution causing famine, and it can prevent shipment of food to the people
who are starving. If these problems weren’t enough, Africa is plagued by the world’s worst epidemic of
AIDS, which also hurts African economies due to high medical costs and the loss of productive workers.

180. ethnic cleansing
Ethnic violence is nothing new. Ethnic hatred led to the Crusades and the European Wars of
Religion; it triggered World War I, and it fueled World War II. In 1999, the world identified a new type
of ethnic violence when Serbia was accused of ethnic cleansing in the Serbian province of Kosovo.
Christian Serbs were brutally forcing Muslims out of Serbia, killing many Muslims in the process.
At the urging of American President Bill Clinton, NATO approved U.S. air strikes against Serbian
forces that stopped the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Did the U.S. have the right to interfere in the
internal affairs of Serbia? Does the world have a moral responsibility to stop atrocities like genocide and
ethnic cleansing? Who decides when war will be waged to enforce morality? Should it be international
organizations like the United Nations or NATO or individual countries like the U.S. or China?

181. the Arab-Israeli conflict
Following World War I, Britain controlled much of the Middle East, and it encouraged Jews to
immigrate to their ancient homeland in Palestine, an Arab region at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
Sea. After World War II, Britain left the region, and Jews took more than half of Palestine to form
their new nation of Israel. Neighboring Arab countries did not recognize Israel’s right to exist, and they
tried to destroy the new Jewish state in a series of wars that stretched from the 1940s to the 1970s. Israel
won the wars and took over all of Palestine. Israel continues to face violence from groups who want
Palestinians to regain their homelands, or who want a separate Palestinian nation free of Israeli control.
Anger is also directed at the U.S. for playing a key role in establishing the nation of Israel and for
strongly supporting Israel ever since. America is faced with a difficult balancing act in the Middle East: it
supports democratic and Jewish Israel while trying to stay friendly with authoritarian Arab governments
that dislike Israel but have the oil America wants. Meanwhile, poverty, lack of jobs, and a history of
Western imperialism contribute to additional resentment against rich Western nations. Angry young men
have been willing to kill and be killed in terrorist attacks aimed at Israel and the West.

182. Iran
In 1951, a democratic government in Iran voted to take control of its oil industry from the British.
In response, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (spy agency) secretly organized the overthrow of Iran’s
leader and replaced him with a monarch, the shah. This was the first of several times the United States
used the CIA to harm or overthrow foreign governments without the knowledge of the American people.
For 25 years, the shah supplied the U.S. with Iranian oil and a base of operations in the Middle East.
The shah’s harsh dictatorship angered many Iranians, and his efforts to Westernize Iran were seen as
threats to Muslim culture. Popular uprisings ended in a revolution that overthrew the shah in 1979. The
shah was replaced by a radical Muslim government that despised the U.S. for its long-time support of the
shah. When the shah arrived in the U.S. for medical treatment, Iranians feared the U.S. might try to
return the shah to power again. Demanding that the shah be turned over to Iran, a group of young Iranian
revolutionaries stormed the U.S. embassy in Iran and took 52 Americans hostage for over a year.
The leader of neighboring Iraq, Saddam Hussein, took advantage of the hostage crisis to attack Iran.
The U.S. supported Iraq’s invasion of Iran, but when Hussein invaded Kuwait a decade later, the U.S.
crushed Iraq in the Persian Gulf War. America still has a terrible relationship with Iran. For example,
the U.S. says Iran is trying to make nuclear weapons, but the Iranians say they only want nuclear energy.

183. terrorism
The Islamic revolution against the shah in Iran marked the emergence a new political force, Islamic
fundamentalism. Fundamentalists tend to believe the world would be a better place if more people
adopted basic religious values, and fundamentalists believe religion should influence government policies.
Christian fundamentalism has similar views; it grew in the United States during the same period.
While most fundamentalists oppose violence, terrorists have used Islamic fundamentalism to justify
violent acts including the 9-11 terrorist attacks that killed about 3,000 people at the World Trade
Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001. Following the
9-11 attacks, President George W. Bush declared a “war on terrorism,” and he launched an invasion of
Afghanistan, which was home to al Qaeda, the terrorist organization believed responsible for the 9/11
attacks. The U.S. continues to search for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Although the U.S. war on
terrorism is aimed largely at Muslim extremists, terrorism may take other forms. In 1995, American
anti-government terrorists killed 168 people with a truck bomb at the federal building in Oklahoma City.
The term terrorism usually refers to attacks against civilians that are not directed by a government.

184. Iraq
In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq and overthrew the government of President Saddam Hussein.
The Bush administration was following a new policy of preemptive war, which means the U.S. may
attack a country that has done nothing to threaten or harm America if the U.S. feels the country might
want to harm America in the future. Bush said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that threatened the
U.S., and he indicated that Hussein was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. When it was learned that
that neither was true, the Bush administration said the war was still necessary to bring democracy to Iraq.
Critics of the war said the U.S. was primarily interested in control of Middle Eastern oil supplies.
The United Nations, NATO, and most countries did not support the U.S. invasion. It hurt American
relations with important allies, turned worldwide Muslim opinion against the U.S., and strengthened Iran.
The war is costing more in lives and money than expected, and it has triggered deadly ethnic violence
between Sunnis and Shi’as. As happened in Vietnam, Latin America, and Iran, U.S. intervention in Iraq
had unforeseen negative consequences. Some historians argue that U.S. leaders have not been sufficiently
aware that invading foreign countries and overthrowing foreign rulers may hurt America in the long run.

185. biotechnology

Biotechnology is a term for technologies that can change how plant or animal life functions.
Recent advancements in science are taking biotechnology into new and unfamiliar territory that holds
great promise for improving human life but also poses difficult questions about the future of human life.
Genetic engineering is the field of biotechnology that deals with genes, the building blocks in the
cells that determine what we are: whether we are tall or short, have brown eyes or blue, or are likely to get
Alzheimer’s. Doctors have begun to treat disease by using drugs to modify or repair human genes, and
soon it may be possible to develop gene-based treatments for nearly every disease, allowing people to live
longer and healthier lives. But the same technology may make it possible to modify genes such as those
for skin color, muscle mass, and intelligence. Will people be tempted to alter their children to make them
smarter and more attractive? Is it morally acceptable for humans to modify human life in this way? If
such technologies are developed, will it be possible to prevent people from using them?

186. capitalism
Although capitalism looked like it failed during the Great Depression, it survived, and most countries
today have capitalist economic systems. To prevent another depression, Western governments tightened
regulation of businesses, banks, and the stock market after World War II. Governments also embraced the
economic theories of John Maynard Keynes, who offered an updated version of capitalism.
Unlike Adam Smith, Keynes said government should interfere in the economy. Keynes believed
government could stabilize the economy by raising or lowering taxes or government spending. He said, for
example, that depressions could be avoided by increasing government spending, which would create more
jobs, which would increase demand for goods, which would stimulate industrial production. Keynes also
believed that governments should ease the harshest aspects of capitalism by providing citizens with a
“safety net” of programs to meet basic needs -- programs like welfare, Social Security and Medicare.
In today’s global capitalist economy, money flows to countries where wages are lower, which has the
effect of gradually leveling incomes across nations. Workers in China and India are making more money
than in the past, while American workers on average are earning less. Meanwhile, within the U.S., the
income gap is growing wider between America’s wealthiest citizens and its lower and middle classes.

187. democracy
Although most countries claim to be democracies, true democracy is not easy to achieve or maintain.
Evidence from Japan and South Korea suggests that authoritarian governments may become more
democratic over time. Democracy appears to work best in societies with traditions of open expression,
which might help to explain why democracy is struggling in the republics of the former Soviet Union.
Democracy faces serious challenges even in the world’s oldest democracy. Perhaps the greatest
threat facing American democracy today is the huge sums of money needed to win election campaigns.
This creates a situation in which large campaign contributors can influence the votes of elected officials.
Biologists say selfishness is built into our genes, and politicians are no different from the rest of us;
they seek money and power and try to hide their questionable behavior. Democracy can succeed only
when government is being watched by a free and active press and by citizens with a realistic understanding
of the world. Thomas Jefferson said, “The people are the ultimate guardians of their own liberty.” He
believed the study of history could give Americans the knowledge they need to think for themselves and
maintain their democracy. In America’s democracy, citizens can have a huge impact. It wasn’t the U.S.
government that started the civil rights movement or stopped the Vietnam War. It was the people.

188. the environment
Our last issue is the biggest. If humans destroy the earth’s environment, nothing else matters. Our
environment is a complex system of interactions between the atmosphere, weather, chemical compounds,
and human activity. Humans appear to be upsetting this balance through overpopulation and pollution.
Scientists agree that human activity is contributing to global warming, which is melting glaciers and
polar ice, raising ocean levels, and causing a great die-off of the earth’s species.
The U.S. is the world’s largest polluter and the only major industrial nation that has declined to
approve the Kyoto agreement to limit the production of greenhouse gasses. These are pollutants such
as carbon dioxide from cars and power plants that collect in the atmosphere and trap the sun’s heat like a
greenhouse. American leaders are concerned that limiting greenhouse gasses would be bad for business, but
others say the U.S. could develop a valuable new industry in technologies to reverse global warming.
Although humans may be selfish by nature, biologists have found evidence that humans can overrule
their selfish genes if they wish to. What will future historians write about the United States? Will they
see America as just another selfish superpower? Or will they say that Americans were able to overcame
short-term selfishness in order to protect the long-term well being of our nation and our planet? Over
two centuries ago, the United States showed the way to a better world. Could America do it again?

v.3.1.3 - rev. 1/1/07
from: www.studentsfriend.com

Copyright ©2007 Michael G. Maxwell

The Student’s Friend: World History & Geography 2 may be freely reproduced and distributed by teachers and
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