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Thread: The 20th Century

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    The 20th Century

    So what do you think was THE most important event of the 20th Century? The lunar landing? The assasinantion of archduke Ferdinand? The death of disco? The invention of duct tape?
    Obviously how one qualifies 'importance' is the essence of the thing.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I was going to say that it was the Great Depression, but if you look at the spending habits of today’s society, it is obvious that it had no influence.

    I would have to say “The Great War” (aka WWI). Before that, we as a nation and even as a world had a very different outlook on life, and the technological inventions, societal changes, and global viewpoint had significantly changed after that point… and it can be argued that the end of WWI led into WWII, and possibly the cold war and the rise of communism.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Cyburbian Plus
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    That STAN and STAN were born and "working"
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    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor certainly did a lot to change the world order. Got the US into the war, both in Asia and Europe, led to the defeat of Hitler, the dropping of an atomic bomb, the dispute over Berlin and the Cold War, the Marshall Plan, NATO, Warsaw Pact... seems to me that this one event set off a very important chain of events.

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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I would echo the bombing of Pearl Harbor or maybe the final Allied victory over the Axis powers in 1945. The end of WW2 ushered in the most prosperous age in world history (at least for the US).
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    While it's true that WWII was a significant political event, I bet history will view it in a couple centuries as being just another war, perhaps one of a series increasing in scale as technology advanced.
    I'm thinking something more along the lines of the advent of 'genetic engineering' (aguably a 20th century innovation) will have far more impact on humanity's future than the 20th century's big wars.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    I'd have to say FLIGHT was the biggest event. Think about how it has evolved from the Wright Brothers, to WWI use, communiciations, WWII use, rockets, space travel.

    The digital revolution (computers) is a big deal as well.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    I'm thinking something more along the lines of the advent of 'genetic engineering' (aguably a 20th century innovation) will have far more impact on humanity's future than the 20th century's big wars.
    In that case...
    Wright Brothers Flight and the creation of plastic.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    For me, the most important event of the 20th Century was my birth.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    ...have far more impact on humanity's future than the 20th century's big wars.
    If you define the "greatest" event in terms of impact on the future, then yes, you're probably on target with genetic engineering.

    Since these types of excerises are very hard to use to determine the impact in the future, I will posit that defining a "greatest" thing is easier to do in the context of its particular impact on the actual century as defined as between 1901 and 2000.

    I still hold that WW2 is the "greatest" event (and most defining) for the 20th century. I was the most destructive and productive 12 years of the 20th century and greatly impacted the largest number of people around the world for at least 3-4 decades after its conclusion.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Everything changed once the USA dropped atomic bombs on Japan. That is the most significant event of the Twentieth Century, in my opinion.

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ah.....

    Medical Advances have to be the most significant 20th Century event, antibiotics, surgery and at the same time the Worlds greatest failure in terms of providing medical care to those outside of the developed world
    Skilled Adoxographer

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    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Imagining people a thousand years from now looking back I would think the development of nuclear energy/weaponry and medical advances. Hopefully the nuclear weaponry thing won't add up to much and we can concentrate more on the medicine.

  14. #14
    Television.

    No, really.

    Nothing has done more to destroy the sense of community than the boob tube.
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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    World War II (defeating two pretty nasty nations), the landing on the moon (or the carefully orchestrated simulation ), and voting becoming universal to all citizens of the U.S.A.
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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    From the standpoint of the planning profession, I would say the City of Euclid (OH) US supreme court ruling. How different would this forvm be today had it gone the other way?

    As for World events of the 20th Century? I think that the World would be most different had Frans Ferdinand's driver not taken that wrong turn.

    FDR firing Henry Wallace and replacing him with Harry Truman as his VP in the 1944 campaign was a major 'dodged bullet', too, IMHO.

    The Drug (and other vices) War and the 16th Amendment (legalized the income tax) were also 20th Century things that have had a profound impact on the USA and the rest of the world.

    (note: electricity, internal-combustion engines, radio and many other electronic voice communication technologies were all 19th Century innovations)

    Mike

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    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    Maybe the invention of the integrated circuit . . . the microchip?
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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    Television.

    No, really.

    Nothing has done more to destroy the sense of community than the boob tube.
    Talk about technology promising so much potential to advance human understanding....... And we wind up with the Osbornes instead....
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Joe Iliff
    Maybe the invention of the integrated circuit . . . the microchip?
    In that light, I would say AT&T-Bell Labs' 1948 discovery of the transistor effect. It made 'chips' possible. Before then, it was electromechanical relays and vacuum tubes for switching and amplification.

    Mike

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    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Satellite communications.

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    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    I would have to say World War II in general. It made this country stronger than ever, and drew the line between the old America and the new America (1950s and beyond). Everything that happened after WWII became a lasting institution America. The TV, the suburb, rock n' roll, a robust economy, a mighty military, and so forth. It got our country back on its feet in every way. Even Vietnam wasn't successful in forever taking this all away.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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  22. #22
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Talk about technology promising so much potential to advance human understanding....... And we wind up with the Osbornes instead....
    I have recently seen studies that suggest IQ's are rising, particularly in visual-spatial type tasks. Visual-spatial thinkers tend to be "big picture"/out of the box type thinkers. I have seen one article which links this trend to things like video-games. Don't underestimate the power of a "small" change that is magnified by much repetition. The amount of TV most folks watch gives it significant impact on how people think, see the world, etc. I am well aware that unreality TV is pretty awful stuff. You think people lived cleaner lives before all their stupidity was broadcast to the world? I don't. I think they mostly got to try to forget how stupidly they acted -- sweep it under the carpet and all that.

    Next, not just computers but the Internet. I think the Internet and particularly online communities like this one have enormous potential to create a "global village". It is harder to retain our personal biases and narrow-minded assumptions when faced with the reality of interacting with folks who live dramatically differently from us and who are one of "those people" -- have a particular skin color (whether white or black or another), a particular ethnicity, a particular religion, etc. I think online communities allow "marginal" individuals to have a social life they couldn't otherwise have and learn social skills that would come at a much higher price IRL. In a well-run forum and/or with the presence of a few folks with a clue about such issues, our own foibles and personal failings are easier to ameliorate -- you learn to hit "save to drafts" and edit it the next day, you can take time to calm down after an argument, and so forth. The fact that your reply does not have to be immediate plus other factors means that you have some maneuvering room for getting around personal issues that may trip you up endlessly in face-to-face situations. After learning new skills online, you can then apply them at least partially to face-to-face situations.

    There is also so much potential to share information online. New ideas that used to take years to filter out into the public can be accessed in months or sometimes faster. And potential to bring education to remote places via online classes. And ...so much more. I think the Internet will have huge impact on the future of the planet. Unless, of course, global warming kills us all off before then. The general assumption that hurricane Katrina is some "aberration" -- some 500 year storm -- and not the beginning of a new trend disturbs me. The heat feeds the intensity of the storms. We won't know for a fact until later but I think it is reasonable to assume it could well be a new trend. (I need to stop reading BKM's posts. -- just kidding. I have a whole other source of gloom and doom e-mailing me here lately. )

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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    The U.S. military being deployed to blast Rock Music in Panama City...
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    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    I can't help but wonder about what people from other areas of the world would think is the most important event of the 20th century.

  25. #25
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    If you define the "greatest" event in terms of impact on the future, then yes, you're probably on target with genetic engineering.

    Since these types of excerises are very hard to use to determine the impact in the future, I will posit that defining a "greatest" thing is easier to do in the context of its particular impact on the actual century as defined as between 1901 and 2000.

    I still hold that WW2 is the "greatest" event (and most defining) for the 20th century. I was the most destructive and productive 12 years of the 20th century and greatly impacted the largest number of people around the world for at least 3-4 decades after its conclusion.
    Debating the whole chicken or egg angle is half the fun in these types of thinking exercises!
    How about this - the implementation/advent of totalitarian forms of government? Wouldn't have had WW2, the Cold War, or the great Leap Forward without it and it has certainly affected hundreds of millions of lives.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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