Period 6: Accelerating Global Change and Realignments
1900 to the Present
Key Concept 6.1 Science and the Environment
Rapid advances in science altered the understanding of the universe and the natural world and led to the development of new technologies. These changes enabled unprecedented population growth, which altered how humans interacted with the environment and threatened delicate ecological balances at local, regional, and global levels.
Key Concept 6.2 Global Conflicts and Their Consequences
At the beginning of the twentieth century, a European-dominated global political order existed, which also included the United States, Russia, and Japan. Over the course of the century, peoples and states around the world challenged this order in ways that sought to redistribute power within the existing order and to restructure empires, while those peoples and states in power attempted to maintain the status quo. Other peoples and states sought to overturn the political order itself. These challenges to, and the attempts to maintain, the political order manifested themselves in an unprecedented level of conflict with high human casualties. In the context of these conflicts, many regimes in both older and newer states struggled with maintaining political stability and were challenged by internal and external factors, including ethnic and religious conflicts, secessionist movements, territorial partitions, economic dependency, and the legacies of colonialism.
Key Concept 6.3 New Conceptualizations of Global Economy, Society, and Culture
The twentieth century witnessed a great deal of warfare and the collapse of the global economy in the 1930s. In response to these challenges, the role of state in the domestic economy fluctuated, and new institutions of global governance emerged and continued to develop throughout the century. Scientific breakthroughs, new technologies, increasing levels of integration, changing relationships between humans and the environment, and the frequency of political conflict all contributed to global developments in which people crafted new understandings of society, culture, and historical interpretations. These new understandings often manifested themselves in, and were reinforced by, new forms of cultural production. Institutions of global governance both shaped and adapted to these social conditions.