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The world wars and between, an era of its own?

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    Posted: 03 Aug 2014 at 20:02
The Great War, or World War 1 started  100 years ago in the beginning of August as most of us know. Many has seen this as the real start of the "mdern Europe" of the 20.th century.
But should we really see the 20.th century as one "era" or better see the world wars and the years between as an entirely different era, separated from both the years before and after?
Though there were a lot of tension after, in the period labelled "Cold War" of Europe, USSR and US, there was a comparatively low level of actual bloodshed in Europe at least. Perhaps even those years between 1914 and 1945 could in some ways be compared with earlier times as well?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2014 at 04:25
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

The Great War, or World War 1 started  100 years ago in the beginning of August as most of us know. Many has seen this as the real start of the "modern Europe" of the 20.th century.
But should we really see the 20.th century as one "era" or better see the world wars and the years between as an entirely different era, separated from both the years before and after?
Though there were a lot of tension after, in the period labelled "Cold War" of Europe, USSR and US, there was a comparatively low level of actual bloodshed in Europe at least. Perhaps even those years between 1914 and 1945 could in some ways be compared with earlier times as well?
 
  1. I don't really know how to answer this. I think the definition of when Modern Europe came into being would depend on what terms of reference one uses. Are we talking culturally? Are we talking Militarily?
  2. We can't use any particular decade as the starting point, they all go to make up what we would call Modern Europe. After WW1 there were many changes both politically and culturally, which impacted upon the population of Europe;
  3. I would attribute the apparent stability or peacefulness of Europe during the Cold War to the emerging threat of Nuclear War between the superpowers. No one was really game to start anything in case it escalated.

Each decade of the 20th Century featured different stressors on various countries, the emergence of organised crime in the US and its impact on society; the Great Depressions impact globally; new political relationships being forged; rebuilding on the part of most European countries, and so on.

I don't think that the years between WWI and WWII can be compared with any other period, after all, WWI was The War to End all Wars and is still referred to as The Great War. It was the first time in history that so many countries had joined a conflict. Similarly, WWII engulfed half of the earths surface. Europe suffered millions of dead. The Atomic Bomb was unleashed upon Japan.
 
The world would never be the same again.
 
One could of course suggest that the end of WWII was the start of modern Europe, as following the devastation of WWII, Europe became revitalised, and with the revitalisation came new hope, new opportunities and new ways of life for millions of people.
 
 


Edited by toyomotor - 04 Aug 2014 at 04:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2014 at 10:07
I think much of what the 20.th century is known for, not least the part of it under and between the world wars, more and more turn out to have been in some way erratic developments, something that at the time appeared as very promising for the better, but turn out entirely different in hinsight.
That is not the same as to say that nothing possitive happened. The "era of error" may be a bit onesided a label though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2014 at 10:45
I've said for a long time that the Twentieth Century was a conflict of ideology, primarily between democracy, fascism, and communism, beginning with the outbreak of war in 1914 and bar a few ceasefires, ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, signifying a victory (as such) for democracy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2014 at 03:52
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

I've said for a long time that the Twentieth Century was a conflict of ideology, primarily between democracy, fascism, and communism, beginning with the outbreak of war in 1914 and bar a few ceasefires, ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, signifying a victory (as such) for democracy.
 
It seems as though the world has been at war for the entire 20th Century, and now overflowing into the 21st.
 
Somewhere in the world there is war between nations and as in the Middle East, there seems to be no end.
 
Has there ever been a period in history to rival our recent past?
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2014 at 06:23
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

I've said for a long time that the Twentieth Century was a conflict of ideology, primarily between democracy, fascism, and communism, beginning with the outbreak of war in 1914 and bar a few ceasefires, ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, signifying a victory (as such) for democracy.
 
It seems as though the world has been at war for the entire 20th Century, and now overflowing into the 21st.
 
Somewhere in the world there is war between nations and as in the Middle East, there seems to be no end.
 
Has there ever been a period in history to rival our recent past?
 
 
How far back in time?
If we include a century in the "recent past" we have two world wars, but is that not to stretch it a bit?
Very few people, proportionally, from1914 has survived until today. The vast majority of us (world population) is more or less from after those great wars (though many still have some memories fusually from childhood from the time of the later). So if the "recent part" only include that period after, i think it is hard to find any period with comparatively less bloodshed, proportionally, though I may be wriong. At least for larhge regions, like most of western Europe, North America and some others. For the last 25 years more. I got an impression You meant the opposite? As: "the later decades has been exceptionally violent". Am I wrong?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2014 at 07:45
fantasus:
No, you're correct. I am suggesting that perhaps the past 100 years have been, aguably, the most war prone years, having regard to the seemingly ongoing conflicts all over the world.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2014 at 08:46
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

fantasus:
No, you're correct. I am suggesting that perhaps the past 100 years have been, aguably, the most war prone years, having regard to the seemingly ongoing conflicts all over the world.
That suggestion may be wrong, but I understand very well how it may appear to be so.
Reasons:
1:We simply tend to forget the past, and not least the bad things. If we look closer, we will find lots of wars all over history, most of the almost if not entirely forgotten (of course the really forgotten ones we don´t even know about, unless from indirect evidence or from archaeological excavations etcetera).
2: Meddia coverage has exploded. So has the invention of different types of media, and thespeed of news arriving.  That mdoes not mean violence has increased, only our knowledge of it.
3:The media show violence more vivdly. What would be the impression upon the public 200 years ago when they read n"ews" about battles that were fought some time before? Compare to the impression given by direct television of killed and wounded a splitsecond ago.
4: With time, reporting has become less heroising, more "free".
From readding history I think we cn see often the past were as violent if not more thn today.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2014 at 11:19
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

I've said for a long time that the Twentieth Century was a conflict of ideology, primarily between democracy, fascism, and communism, beginning with the outbreak of war in 1914 and bar a few ceasefires, ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, signifying a victory (as such) for democracy.
 
It seems as though the world has been at war for the entire 20th Century, and now overflowing into the 21st.

The issues are different now. We have, essentially, an ideological struggle between democracy/fascism/communism being overtaken by a struggle of less defined ideals, encompassing paranoia, freedom, and religion, which has grown in scale since the reduction of armed forces resulting from the end of the Cold War and the ideological competition. The current global struggle is however far more fractious and less focused, less based on personality and more about localised objective (or excuse, if you prefer) with an unfortunate rising tendency to see self worth in armed resistance against established orders.
 
Quote Somewhere in the world there is war between nations and as in the Middle East, there seems to be no end.
 
Has there ever been a period in history to rival our recent past?
 


No, the advent of the 'little war' and it's relationship to colonial politics has resulted in conflict pretty much all the time somewhere or other. The success of arms manufacture, especially by Riussia and America, has ensured the cheap supply of arms to all sorts of customers. It's also true that the huge increases in population of our current era have magnified the tendency for conflict.  That tendency will in fact get worse as the population increases further.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2014 at 11:57
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

I've said for a long time that the Twentieth Century was a conflict of ideology, primarily between democracy, fascism, and communism, beginning with the outbreak of war in 1914 and bar a few ceasefires, ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, signifying a victory (as such) for democracy.
 
It seems as though the world has been at war for the entire 20th Century, and now overflowing into the 21st.

The issues are different now. We have, essentially, an ideological struggle between democracy/fascism/communism being overtaken by a struggle of less defined ideals, encompassing paranoia, freedom, and religion, which has grown in scale since the reduction of armed forces resulting from the end of the Cold War and the ideological competition. The current global struggle is however far more fractious and less focused, less based on personality and more about localised objective (or excuse, if you prefer) with an unfortunate rising tendency to see self worth in armed resistance against established orders.
 
Quote Somewhere in the world there is war between nations and as in the Middle East, there seems to be no end.
 
Has there ever been a period in history to rival our recent past?
 


No, the advent of the 'little war' and it's relationship to colonial politics has resulted in conflict pretty much all the time somewhere or other. The success of arms manufacture, especially by Riussia and America, has ensured the cheap supply of arms to all sorts of customers. It's also true that the huge increases in population of our current era have magnified the tendency for conflict.  That tendency will in fact get worse as the population increases further.
It is not so much there has been more wars, it is that we hear more about them, not only the wars of neighbouring lands, but of the entire planet.
Try to compare the years since the end of the ww2 in 1945, that is 69 years, with another period, the "peacefull" 19.th. century, from Napoleons final defeat at Waterloo 1915 to the outbreak of WW1. August 1914, that is 99 years. Let us also, for a start, restrict our view to Europe and North America. Inside the later two regions there has been almost only one larger war, or rather series of war, namely those of the former Yugoslavia. Other conflicts were either internal, like soviet srushing of uprisings in eastern and Central Europe, or of not so big scale.
In the 99 years 1815 to 1914 we find the Crimean war, the North American Civil War, the US.Mexican War, wars of independence of South America from Spain, wars of Italian Unification, of Greek Independence, two wars about the southern part of Jutland (1848-51 and 1864), Austrian Prussian War (1866), Franco-Prussian War(1871), Spanish American War, Balkan Wars (1912-13) and some crushing of rebellions over large parts of Europe. So it is safe to say that for the mentioned regions the later 69 years were less bloody at least internally for those two regions mentioned. Then of course we could see at the rest of the world for the same period, but as we see there has been many wars there in the last half century, we should not forget there was much fighting in the colonies in the 19.th century.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2014 at 11:11
That's an interesting point, but on examination largely circumstantial. Despite mankinds predeliction toward fighting, the wars of that period were often colonial, often conquest in nature, and thus indicative of a period of struggles for dominance (or freedom, if you prefer). Once the colony is stable, the borders are guaranteed by European politics, and the need for warfare evaporates (apart from freedom movements, but they tend to be driven by personalities rather than ideologies or genuine desires for liberality, and thus are hard to predict).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2014 at 12:33
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

That's an interesting point, but on examination largely circumstantial. Despite mankinds predeliction toward fighting, the wars of that period were often colonial, often conquest in nature, and thus indicative of a period of struggles for dominance (or freedom, if you prefer). Once the colony is stable, the borders are guaranteed by European politics, and the need for warfare evaporates (apart from freedom movements, but they tend to be driven by personalities rather than ideologies or genuine desires for liberality, and thus are hard to predict).
I mentioned some european wars too, so it was not all about colonial engagements. Germanys and Italys unification and related wars happened in Europe. So did the Balkan wars, and numerous uprisings. At least the Crimean War and the war between Prussia, and other german states on the one side and France on the otjher were wars between Great Powers of that age.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Aug 2014 at 05:44
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

That's an interesting point, but on examination largely circumstantial. Despite mankinds predeliction toward fighting, the wars of that period were often colonial, often conquest in nature, and thus indicative of a period of struggles for dominance (or freedom, if you prefer). Once the colony is stable, the borders are guaranteed by European politics, and the need for warfare evaporates (apart from freedom movements, but they tend to be driven by personalities rather than ideologies or genuine desires for liberality, and thus are hard to predict).
 
I tend to agree.
 
Not only has the concept of war evolved, but also the reasons for modern conflict.
 
We're not seeing the mass invasions of countries for the sole purpose of conquest, we're not generally seeing personality driven wars. If we think about it, the wars in the Middle East are mostly religion based, or in the case of Israel and Palestine, a border squabble. And while I downgrade this conflict to a squabble, in the grand scheme of things, that's just what it is, and so is the Russia Ukraine conflict.
 
In Africa, the conflicts are mainly on a smaller scale and are crime based, possible under the guise of either freedom or of religion.
 
But, surely, war doesn't define an era, the outcome of a war may well do, but imho, the definition of an era is purely linear, like time.
 
 


Edited by toyomotor - 09 Aug 2014 at 05:45
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Aug 2014 at 10:59
The definition of an era is purely academic convenience. We are of course living in the Anthropocene, or 'Age of Man' (how arrogant is that!).


Edited by caldrail - 09 Aug 2014 at 10:59
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Aug 2014 at 11:50
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

The definition of an era is purely academic convenience. We are of course living in the Anthropocene, or 'Age of Man' (how arrogant is that!).
One can divide eras at will, but I think not all divisions are equally relevant or "good".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2014 at 04:20
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

The definition of an era is purely academic convenience. We are of course living in the Anthropocene, or 'Age of Man' (how arrogant is that!).
One can divide eras at will, but I think not all divisions are equally relevant or "good".
 
Use of the vague word "era" is no different to the use of year, month, day etc., except for its vagueness.
 
It's suggestive of a period of time associated with a particular event, so the 20th Century could be called the First World War era, or the Era of The Great Wars.
 
To someone not familiar with, for example local history, use of the word and associated with some local event, would have no meaning at all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2014 at 08:34
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

The definition of an era is purely academic convenience. We are of course living in the Anthropocene, or 'Age of Man' (how arrogant is that!).
One can divide eras at will, but I think not all divisions are equally relevant or "good".
 
Use of the vague word "era" is no different to the use of year, month, day etc., except for its vagueness.
 
It's suggestive of a period of time associated with a particular event, so the 20th Century could be called the First World War era, or the Era of The Great Wars.
 
To someone not familiar with, for example local history, use of the word and associated with some local event, would have no meaning at all.
I have never seen myself as living in any "era of the great war(s)", though of course there has been a lot lesser ones. But I admit I am not sure how I would deal with, say, Australian history in the las century(ies).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2014 at 11:19
Quote It's suggestive of a period of time associated with a particular event, so the 20th Century could be called the First World War era, or the Era of The Great Wars.

It can also suggest fashion, social theme, or political dominance. Thus for instance "La Belle Epoque", the Edwardian period of cultural growth and display before WW1 forced Europe into economic reversal. We also refer to more recent historical eras by reference to decades, invoking popular imagery rather than specific events.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2014 at 14:30
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

Quote It's suggestive of a period of time associated with a particular event, so the 20th Century could be called the First World War era, or the Era of The Great Wars.

It can also suggest fashion, social theme, or political dominance. Thus for instance "La Belle Epoque", the Edwardian period of cultural growth and display before WW1 forced Europe into economic reversal. We also refer to more recent historical eras by reference to decades, invoking popular imagery rather than specific events.
 
Precisely. So more than one period of time can be described by different people as an era 
by different names.
 
Using the term, one should be very specific to relate it to a region or a country, unless the event was one of world importance.
 
Like my lifetime, for example.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2014 at 16:23
Technology has changed the course of warfare much more than human evolution, IMO.

M. Putin is scheming just as much as his counterparts 100 years ago, but the difference today is nuclear weapons. One just can't be too overt these days, unless Armageddon is seen as an accepted outcome.

So we have seen considerable inhibition within the bounds of the nuclear armed states, but outside of that it has been business as usual. War is still seen as justified by a large number of people around the world.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2014 at 01:34
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

War is still seen as justified by a large number of people around the world.
 
Yes, like crazy despots, arms manufacturers and those who have illusions of grandeur.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2014 at 01:44
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

War is still seen as justified by a large number of people around the world.
 
Yes, like crazy despots, arms manufacturers and those who have illusions of grandeur.

True, but also there are many in the rank and file of various societies that see war as quite OK, given some accepted circumstances. Putin has considerable support of Russians today. The majority in Israel see their countries actions in Gaza as wholly justified. Many in the US see the second Iraq war as in a good cause, if not heroic. The list goes on.

It seems to me that the limitation of war in the first world has more to do with fear, than it is an indication of evolutionary advancement of humanity.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2014 at 07:34
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

War is still seen as justified by a large number of people around the world.
 
Yes, like crazy despots, arms manufacturers and those who have illusions of grandeur.
 
It seems to me that the limitation of war in the first world has more to do with fear, than it is an indication of evolutionary advancement of humanity.
 
 
I agree, people in the First World appear to have taken a slightly different evolutionary path over the years. They seem to have a better appreciation of the results of war, and the potential for MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction). Well, at least, most of them.
 
Why African and Islamic countries resort to violence as the first option is beyond my understanding. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2014 at 07:50
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 
It seems to me that the limitation of war in the first world has more to do with fear, than it is an indication of evolutionary advancement of humanity.
That has so far not been topic of discussion here ("evolutionary advancement of humanity").
The question of wether or not a large proportions of humans live in relative non-violent environments is a different one from the question wether or not they have "improved" in any way.
And I don´t see how what biologists label "evolutionary" forces come into the picture.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2014 at 08:00
The topic is so vague, and/or subjective, that any one of a number of answers is correct.
 
I'd like to read your objective reasoning for the OP.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Arlington Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2014 at 08:16
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:


The definition of an era is purely academic convenience. We are of course living in the Anthropocene, or 'Age of Man' (how arrogant is that!).



Your first sentence has merit.

Your second to a degree. But given the fact that only men are involved as a determining factor in establishing the criterion for naming things..it's predictable..as is the arrogance of those academics who make up the aforementioned.

The reality is we remain in the Holocene.


Thanks to Crutzen and Stoermer it has become fashionable as relates man's influence on his environment. This was their ad hoc acceptance of and promulgation of global warming versus conflicting evidence. Reference biodiversity-climate ad nauseum.

The fact remains, that as to date, it still is classified as the Holocene.. even with the 08 and 11 efforts to have the Anthropocene identified as a separate and follow on.

Edited by Arlington - 13 Aug 2014 at 08:19
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2014 at 09:50
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

The topic is so vague, and/or subjective, that any one of a number of answers is correct.
 
I'd like to read your objective reasoning for the OP.

 

I do not deny there is a great deal of subjectivity here. But is that not the case for most broad historical work? (that is not to say this is the beginning of any historical work). If not for any otyher reason so because it has to exclude a lot. There has to be made decissions about what is the topic, where it begin and where it ends. And instead of just begin and end when there is zeroes in the calencar (as, say 1.1.1900 to 1.1.2000) why not make the limits where there is at least something significant that change?  If the topics are matters like power politics, peace or war on an international scale it is relevant to find were the dramatic changes happened? For a student of the history of, say, nuclear physics, entirely different years may be more relevant. But for most people interested in history I still thinks politics, power, peace and war, appears as centtral subjects.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2014 at 20:17
It was actually a remarkable time. Europe and the Middle East were reconfigured by the Treaty of Versailles. Much of the  technology we see as integral to modern life, such as air travel, radio communication, the private auto, and others got underway during this time. Attitudes towards war shifted considerably. Capitalism essentially collapsed, and was replaced- or was soon due to be replaced-by a modified and socialized version in western countries.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2014 at 20:31
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

It was actually a remarkable time. Europe and the Middle East were reconfigured by the Treaty of Versailles. Much of the  technology we see as integral to modern life, such as air travel, radio communication, the private auto, and others got underway during this time. Attitudes towards war shifted considerably. Capitalism essentially collapsed, and was replaced- or was soon due to be replaced-by a modified and socialized version in western countries.
And science and to sdome degree art flourished. In some way a very creative period. Perhaps even more than later in some fields?
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