Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The War of the World

According to historian Professor Niall Ferguson, we need to rethink our understanding of the 20th century. There were not, he says, two world wars and a ‘cold’ war, but a single Hundred Years' War. It was not nationalism that powered these conflicts, but empires. The driving force was not class or socialism – race was. And finally, it was not the West that triumphed; in fact, power slowly and steadily migrated towards the new empires of the East.
In this website, Professor Ferguson explains why the last century was the most bloody in world history. An extensive chronology of the events that made this the ‘age of hatred’ shows how bloody conflict ebbed and flowed throughout the period. And there are many opportunities to take your interest further, from the multitude of links in the chronology to a comprehensive selection of resources. Chronology
The 20th century is usually defined by the reigns of certain monarchs, the administrations of specific politicians and the rules of a handful of dictators, as well as by a number of what are considered major but limited wars: World War I, World II, Korean War.
However, according to Niall Ferguson, the century can be seen as one long war, one that was particularly active from 1904, with the Russo-Japanese War, to 1953, when the Korean War literally drew a line between the great powers.
This chronology extends a bit longer than 100 years – from 1894 to 2005 – to introduce the century and provide an epilogue, and includes both the traditional milestones and the major events that make up what Professor Ferguson has called the ‘War of the World’. In addition, you can take your interest further by following the links to relevant websites throughout the chronology.


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