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To what extent was the first decade of the 20th century the age of hope people thought it would be?

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To what extent was the first decade of the 20th century the age of hope people thought it would be? The extent, to which the first decade of the 20th century, was the age of hope people thought it would be is contingent on the perspective taken on the changes and developments that were taking place at the time. Though it was to a great extent the age of hope people thought it would be, such an extent is limited due to fact that the changes that were taking place also led to a climate of anxiety which culminated in World War one. At such a point in time, new world order was being established and the notions of "old orders" questioned. Subsequently political instability flourished and shifts in the balance of powers occurred. Advancements in technology were prevalent, ensuring an improvement on the quality of life for all. Complemented by the leaps in technology and industrialisation, economic growth was consistently on the rise, giving people high hopes of a better future, however simultaneously creating rivalries amongst nations. Hence the first decade of the 20th century was a time of great change. However it was the results of such changes which served to be catalysts for the new found tensions and rivalries amongst differing nations. ...read more.


it proved significant as France and Britain had been enemies since the beginning of time, and the unification of both proved that Germany was a major threat to the balance of power in Europe. Further in 1907 Russia and Britain signed an Entente, and now the Entente Cordiale had grown into a triple Entente between France, Russia and Great Britain. Such diplomatic alliances evoked sentiments of fear and anxiety amongst people, as they felt the security and stability of their countries were being threatened. As such one can interpret that the first decade of the 20th century was not the age of hope people thought it would be. At the turning point of the 20th century, notions of the "old order" were consistently challenged, such as the social structure. At the time, the fundamental division which existed within most societies was that of class, that is the rich capitalist class and the working proletariat class. However near the end of the 19th century the working class started to question whether they were receiving fair treatment. By the start of the 20th century, the working class had become increasingly well-organised and was effectively agitating for an improvement on their lot, exerting direct pressure on their governments. ...read more.


The extent to which the first decade of the 20th century was the age of hope that people thought it would be, heavily hinges on the view and consequences that one focuses attention on. For example, though economic prosperity brought great hope for an increased quality of life or people, it also served to create rivalries and tensions amongst nations. It is through the consequences of the changes that were taking place that the decade proved to be one of the most significant in history. As historian J.Joll contends, "...the main features of the 20th century development can all be observed in 1900." In such a time frame, the world changed substantially in all aspects of life, that is, politically, economically and socially. However, the events of history prove that it was the results of such changes, which served as catalysts for the newfound tensions and rivalries which led to the outbreak of World War One. Hence, it is through such context that one comes to see that the extent to which the first decade of the 20th century was the age of hope people thought it would be was limited. Jasandeep Bhatti 1 Study Guide: "Europe; The World's Overlord" 2 Chapter 11; The countdown to war: 1900-1914 3 Study Guide: "Europe; The World's Overlord" 4 Study Guide: "Europe; The World's Overlord" 5 http://www.americanscientist.org/template/BookReviewTypeDetail/assetid/54755;jsessionid=baa9... ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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