Time has witnessed many battles, diseases, demolitions, victories, and inventions. Some of them are easily forgettable, while others have changed the world’s face. These events have made their mark on the pages of history and changed the world’s face. Here are 9 major changes in history which have shaken the world for better or for worse:
Major Changes in History
1. Gutenberg Printing Press
The invention of printing is considered one of the most major changes in history that defined inventions for the development of civilization. The printing press, unlike what many would think, had a major impact on the world. During the Renaissance, the printing press was started. It was Gutenberg that first came out with the press. Everyone was shocked to see how amazing its impact was and how well it could work. Till then, the block printing method of the Chinese was used.
The printing press method was found to be way more efficient and easier. They were able to make books much easier and faster. It cut down the costs of manufacturing as well. Because of the efficiency of the printing press, Bibles were being produced in higher quantities and at a much faster rate now. Due to this reason, Bibles are becoming more widely available all across Europe.
And also, it wasn’t only the Bible. There were even quite a few books that people wrote that contained their ideas being printed and spread throughout Europe. Books being readily available everywhere was a huge step towards spreading ideas. Due to the full availability of Bibles, the invention of the printing press helped spread the concept of Christianity even further around Europe, and eventually to other countries all over the world.
While the period of Reformation was going on, the Printing press was able to help in spreading Protestant religious ideas such as Lutheranism across Europe and the rest of the world. Since books were so readily available now, it encouraged people to read or learn how to read more. It fueled the need and want for education. This produced more and more literate people across the globe.
However, because so many people were willing to read, they wanted the books to be in a language they could understand, which is also known as inherent or the mother tongue. This fueled the need for translation. It started with Wycliffe when he translated the Bible into vernacular.
Following this, a lot of books were translated from Latin to the local language of the readers. This allowed people to draw conclusions about the Bible and other books instead of the church leading them along, much to their dislike. If not anything, the printing press fueled the spread of the Renaissance idea. Books became the carriers of ideas throughout renaissance Europe.
2. Cold War
The Cold War is easily one of the major changes in history and the most important of the twentieth century. The Cold War shaped American foreign policies and political ideology. It also impacted the domestic economy and the presidency. The personal lives of Americans were also affected by creating a climate of expected conformity and normalcy. The Cold War was the longest war of the twentieth century.
With the collapse of the Iron curtain in Eastern Europe, the unification of Germany, the fragmentation and subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union have all but eliminated the Cold War. International cooperation during the first Gulf War proved that before the Soviet Union ended, the rhetoric of the past no longer had any place in American foreign or domestic policy.
3. Russian Revolution
The Russian Revolution was one of the most remarkable changes in history. European countries saw Communist uprisings that were solid but scattered, brought about by the publication of Marx’s ‘Communist manifesto.’ But it was nothing more than that until Lenin stepped in. In 1917, in October, Lenin led the Bolshevik revolution.
This revolution brought about a new type of government that was radical and absolute and had global implications. Lenin was an ardent Marxist. He was swift to implement a new version of a ‘dictatorship of the Proletariat.’ It was one of the major changes in history that divided the world.
Some saw it as a form of totalitarianism, and some saw it as a way to end the inequities brought about by Capitalism. The Soviet Union, on the one hand, brought about economic growth, but on the other hand, it added to political repression. In this way, it completely transformed the life of the Russian people. The Cold War was looming over the shoulders of the Russian people. The Soviet Union further quicked and ultimately led to the inevitable Cold War through its ideologies.
4. World War 2
The Second World War lasted for over six years, becoming one of the very few wars to have affected most parts of the world. The horrors of the war still linger on in the modern world. From demolished buildings to tattooed numbers on the walls of POWs – the picture is still quite unforgettable. This war brought one of the major changes in history, consisting of no specific enemies nor any particular cause.
The reasons behind the war were many, so were the nations fighting in it. Starting from European, African to Asian, the war involved most of the world. The essence of the war did not discriminate when it came to affecting people. It could be seen tearing through every religion, race, caste, and at every economic level.
Millions of men, women, and children were killed, and many lost their livelihood. Many lost their families and their houses and couldn’t find shelter anymore. That is why people tried to flee their homelands to escape the bombings and devastations.
The respective victors captured countries after countries and the natives were tortured and killed. After looking at so many destructions of life and property, everyone felt the importance and need for peace, and hence United Nations was born out of that need. Other than that, some of the major changes that the Second World War brought was that it marked the beginning of the Cold War and also it gave the Jews a country to call their own.
The Second World War changed the whole face of the world and was one of the major changes in history. It could no longer go back to the time before death and devastation. Millions suffered from hunger and malnutrition. People in relatively wealthier parts of the world were also seen to be suffering from periods of hunger. Due to the second world war, many nations’ economic and political systems were changed for good.
5. Fall of the Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall is one of the most potent symbols of the Cold War and has brought about one of the most major changes in history. It had been serving as a barrier that stopped the Western fascists from entering East Germany.
Its main objective was to stem mass defections from East to West. Its presence was symbolic of the ‘Iron Curtain.’ That all changed on November 9, 1989. The head of the East German Communist Party declared that the citizens of GDR could cross the border and could cross the wall anytime they wanted. After the announcement, the masses started entering West Germany.
Some crossed the border freely, while some brought tools to physically break down the wall. The fall of the Berlin Wall testified to the loosening of the Soviet Union’s hold on Eastern Europe. Soon the wall was gone, and Berlin was united for the first time since 1945. That weekend, to celebrate the fall of the Berlin wall, a party was held that could easily be called one of the greatest street parties in the history of the world.
Around 2 million people from East Germany participated in that street party that was held in West Berlin. The people who used hammers and other tools to break the remaining bits of the wall came to be known as “mauerspechte” or woodpeckers. Cranes and bulldozers broke down section after section of the wall.
6. United Nations
The horror and trauma that World War 1 caused led to a universal desire for peace. A neutral international organization many felt was needed to prevent any such wars in the future. This desire formed the League of Nations, but it failed in its aim to prevent war, and World War 2 took place.
After the weaknesses of the League of Nations were visible, the need for a more influential international organization was felt. On January 1, 1942, representatives of 26 Allied countries met in Washington and signed a Declaration of the United Nations, and this brought about one of the major changes in history.
The United Nations officially came into effect on October 24, 1945. Its primary goals were to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among countries on the basis of equality and self-determination, to foster worldwide cooperation and peace by solving economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems, to promote human rights and fundamental freedom for the people of the world, to serve as a center where various nations can coordinate their activities towards the attainment of the objectives of the United Nations, and save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.
7. The Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand
Many incidents were responsible for the breakout of the First World War. But the final nail to the coffin was the assassination of an Austrian man called Archduke-Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian national. This assassination broke out of the deadly conflict that became one of the major changes in history.
The consequences of the war were myriad and horrendous. It lasted four years, costing millions and millions of innocent lives all around the world. On the other hand, it brought about profound social change.
For example, it caused an increase in recognition of the role of women in society. For the first time in history, many countries gave women the right to vote. Also, greater emphasis was placed on the role of the working class in society. These were the people who had fought and died in the First World War and now wanted peace and settlement.
8. The Fall of 1929
The 1920s saw a great boom in the economy and stock market. But in October of 1929, the horror-struck when the shares on the Wall Street stock market saw a sharp drop. This led to a period of prolonged fall in shares that were deemed as the global Great Depression. It affected the entire global economy Unemployment spread like wildfire all across the world.
In the U.S. alone, it reached as high as 25%. Output and trade both dipped all over the globe. Poverty was widespread, and a sense of desertion fuelled the growth of political extremes all across the world. Both Japan and Germany were now leaning towards far-right nationalist movements, which led to military expansionism and, eventually, the Second World War.
The Great Depression was one of the significant changes in history because it led to the election of FDR in the United States, and a significant expansion in the size of the Federal government took place. This happened because all the people wanted the government to intervene in dealing with the great depression, which they weren’t doing till now.
9. Treaty of Versailles
The horror and trauma that the First World War caused led to a universal desire for peace. A neutral international organization many felt was needed to prevent any such wars in the future. American president Woodrow Wilson promoted a high 14 points, which finally led to the creation of a new “League of Nations” to help prevent war. But the American Senate itself voted against joining the League of Notions.
On the other hand, France and Britain now wanted ‘reparations‘ from Germany and the rest of the defeated powers. French troops occupied Germany, and it stayed that way until the mid-1920s. The German army had been kept limited to a great extent. These restrictions that were forced on Germany by France were held as humiliating by several German officers of the army. These kinds of betrayal and ill-treatment that were felt by German officials would later be misused by Hitler to his advantage in the years to come.
French general Ferdinand Foch was noted saying that what they were faced with at the moment was not peace but a sort of truce that would last for twenty years. The Treaty of Versailles and other treaties similar in nature have brought about some of the most major changes in history, including reshaping the entire map of the world. Because of it, completely new countries, such as Czechoslovakia, Finland, Poland, Latvia, and Yugoslavia, were created out of ethnically mixed populations.
These are the major changes in history that have transformed the world as we know it. The world can never get back to what it was after these changes have been made. We can expect much more groundbreaking changes to happen in the future, too, which will make their mark in history.