Skip to main content


Twentieth Century History For Dummies

Seán Lang

ISBN: 978-1-119-99793-1 February 2011 458 Pages


The 20th Century brought revolutionary changes to our world and our lives: the human population of the world tripled, space travel became reality, two world wars and a host of other conflicts were fought, and huge advances in science, technology and communication resulted in the globalised world we know today.

Enormous steps were made in wiping out widespread discrimination, from the women’s suffrage movement leading to women’s right to vote in western countries, to the civil rights movement in the US challenging racial segregation. The political landscape has provided lots of excitement, with charismatic and scandalous presidents in the White House, the first female prime minister in the UK, dictators working to various manifestoes across the world, the Middle East conflict and the changing balance of political and economic “superpowers”.

Technological advances have resulted in nigh on universal adoption and dependence on automobiles, computers, mobiles and other wireless technology. The exponential rate at which technology is evolving is one of the variables that make the twentieth century so fascinating.

All this and much, much more happened in a mere one hundred years – where did we find the time to do so much?! Twentieth Century History For Dummies tells all...


Part I: The Great War Years: 1900–19.

Chapter 1: Overview of a Century.

Chapter 2: Fin de Siècle – Wrapping Up the Nineteenth Century.

Chapter 3: The Great War: 1914–18.

Part II: The Years of the Great Dictators: 1919–45.

Chapter 4: The Red Flag – Communism.

Chapter 5: Men in Black (Shirts): The Right-Wing Dictators.

Chapter 6: The Twenties: The Decade that Roared.

Chapter 7: I’m the King of the World! Europe’s Empires.

Chapter 8: Depression and Aggression.

Chapter 9: The War of the World.

Part III: The Divided World: 1945–89.

Chapter 10: You’re Cold as Ice! The Cold War.

Chapter 11: Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me: The End of Empires.

Chapter 12: Africa’s Wind of Change.

Chapter 13: Going Bananas: Latin America.

Chapter 14: Asian Tigers.

Chapter 15: Disneyland: Post-War America.

Chapter 16: Red on Red: Russia and China.

Part IV: To the Millennium.

Chapter 17: Muddle in the Middle East.

Chapter 18: Europe Rides Again.

Chapter 19: New Order: Wrapping up the Twentieth Century.

Chapter 20: And the Living Is Easy – For Some.

Part V: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 21: Ten Iconic Images.

Chapter 22: Ten Triumphs of Technology.

Chapter 23: Ten Films That Made an Impact.

Chapter 24: Ten International Bodies that Made a Difference.

Chapter 25: Ten BAD Ideas.


"This is a fascinating insight into an eventful century…" (BBC History Magazine, April 2008)