20th century artists
What happened in the 20th century ?
# The assembly line and mass production of motor vehicles and other goods allowed manufacturers to produce more and cheaper products. This allowed the automobile to become the most important means of transportation.
# Mass media technologies such as film, radio, and television allow the communication of political messages and entertainment with unprecedented impact.
# Mass availability of the telephone and later, the computer, especially through the Internet, provides people with new opportunities for near-instantaneous communication.
# Advances in fundamental physics through the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics led to the development of nuclear weapons, the nuclear reactor, and the laser. Fusion power was studied extensively but remained an experimental technology at the end of the century.
# Inventions such as the washing machine and air conditioning led to an increase in both the quantity and quality of leisure time for the middle class in Western societies.
# Rising nationalism and increasing national awareness were among the causes of World War I, the first of two wars to involve all the major world powers including Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United States and the British Commonwealth. World War I led to the creation of many new countries, especially in Eastern Europe.
# The economic and political aftermath of World War I led to the rise of Fascism and Nazism in Europe, and shortly to World War II. This war also involved Asia and the Pacific, in the form of Japanese aggression against China and the United States. While the First World War mainly cost lives among soldiers, civilians suffered greatly in the Second -- from the bombing of cities on both sides, and in the unprecedented German genocide of the Jews and others, known as the Holocaust.
# The "fall of Communism" in the late 1980s freed Eastern and Central Europe from Soviet supremacy. It also led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia into successor states, many rife with ethnic nationalism.
# The end of colonialism led to the independence of many African and Asian countries. During the Cold War, many of these aligned with the USA, the USSR, or China for defense.
# After gaining political rights in the United States and much of Europe in the first part of the century, women became more independent throughout the century.
# Advances in medicine, such as the invention of antibiotics, decreased the number of people dying from diseases. Contraceptive drugs and organ transplantation were developed. The discovery of DNA molecules and the advent of molecular biology allowed for cloning and genetic engineering.
# The widespread use of petroleum in industry -- both as a chemical precursor to plastics and as a fuel for the automobile and airplane -- led to the vital geopolitical importance of petroleum resources. The Middle East, home to many of the world's oil deposits, became a center of geopolitical and military tension throughout the latter half of the century.