As discussed in class, the twentiethcentury was a century of change in Europe. These changes expanded the realm ofpossibilities, causing a cultural mind shift, developing a greater influence onthe rest of the world and society even to this day. The political, social, and diplomaticchanges that occurred caused different opinions and actions which were allperceived and used differently throughout the world.
The wave of imperialism was thefirst of the changes. Great Britain, France and Germany were the main imperialpowerhouses at the turn of the century controlling large portions of the globe.(Stromberg, p.2) Competition between the European powers for new colonial possessionsgrew, as it became a battle to acquire the last territories open for colonization.
It was their mission to have world hegemony of Europeans, and “although some Europeanliberals and socialist protested against inhumane methods of imperial rule, noteven they questioned the mission of Europe, by virtue of its highercivilization, to impose its economic and social system on the more “backward”peoples.” (Stromberg, p.3) In order to maintain these colonies and provide theservices needed for the natives, the imperial powers in Europe had to “spendmore money on the colonies than what they received in profit, favorable priceson raw materials or other benefits.” (Stromberg, p.
4) Asia, Africa, and LatinAmerica all became victims of imperialism, and although some may have resistedthe flood-tide of Western civilization, others were already interested inadopting the ideas of the West. “India’s Jawaharlal Nehru, who thought that “thevery thing India lacked, the modern West possessed to excess,” hoped to injectsome but not too much of this dynamic outlook into the somnolent body of MotherIndia. With competition always there,imperialis Another dramatic change that occurredwas the transition into Nationalism, which was everywhere in the ascendancy. “Itwas found among intellectuals, common folk, and even among the socialists.”(Stromberg, p.6) During this period, many people were discovering for the firsttime that they were national peoples and revived ancient languages and sagas.
(Stromberg, p.6) England, France, and Germany were able to bring a steadyintegration of the masses into the nation, by both action and propaganda.Nation making/Nationalism was at its peak because of the technologicaladvancements in transportation and communication network, which inspired thebreakup of regional isolation. Nationalism was also assisted by democratization,which “provided a link between government and people that helped integrate themasses into the national community.” (Stromberg, p.
7) The sovereign states ofEurope had already been shaped centuries before nationalism without consultingthe wishes of the people or determining their languages and cultures, yet withthe rise of democratic nationalism, it provoked changes in these arrangements. Strombergsays that no more than any other component other than language sufficed as akey definer of nationalism. (Stromberg, p.7) Changes to the industrial societyand urbanization also marked a majorturning point in history, which influenced in some way every aspect of dailylife in the world. During this period, Europe stopped preventing any significantrise in the standard of living, which caused the population to increase dramatically,and wealth to grow even more rapidly. There were many technologicaladvancements- railroads, steel production, automobiles, radio, electricity,petroleum and immunization. “Mass production of electricity had begun and sohad the petroleum age, signaled by the first oil well in 1860.
” (Stromberg,p.10) Urbanization was seenas “the most remarkable social phenomenon.” (Stromberg, p.16) Great Britain andGermany were the most urbanized nations at the time. Death rates from infectiousdiseases had decreased, streets and transportation facilities had improved.Improvements and dramatic growth were happening in different cities likeLondon, Paris, Berlin, Budapest, and many more. Life became was safer, cleaner, and more comfortable for many because ofthe drastic social change.
“Human nature itself seemed to change in the newenvironment of the city, the factory, the mass society.” (Stromberg 18)