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Contemporary World History Chapters 1-4

By asherjo728 Nov 17, 2014 768 Words
Chapter 1 talks about the industrial revolution and the changes it brought on. It started in Great Britain in the late 1790’s and spread violently across Europe. Countries that were dominated by the agriculture switched to a new industrial society. Many factories across the globe were created and helped modernize many cities. Material goods were produced at an alarming rate and were readily available for the consumer. With the boom of factories in city areas, job opportunities were available thousands of people and even for women. “The working classes constituted almost 80 percent of the population of Europe. New inventions were also being created to aid life for people. With the creation of the engine, new technologies such as the train, cotton gin, and later the automobile revolutionized how people and goods could move across vast areas. “The processing of liquid fuels-petroleum and it’s distilled derivatives-made possible the widespread use of the internal combustion engine as a source of power in transportation. There were also quite a few social changes. The wealth that the new industry brought was shared unequally and made the standard of living for the average person quite bad. Such living conditions spread anger and frustration which started many revolts across Europe. The industrial revolution also knocked to era of renaissance into the history books.

Chapter 2 is mainly about colonial ruling of third world countries. Almost all of Africa and Asia were under some kind of colonial rule due to European imperialism. This led to a huge growth in global economy. Many people felt like it was the responsibility of civilized people to rule those that were less fortunate as bad as that sounds; also known as the “White mans burden”. On the plus side, taking control of such lands produced many natural resources to boost the production of the world’s goods. Many critics say that the western civilization was crazy for power and money and the strong push for new land proved that point. This created a dependency relationship between the colonists and the natives. The plantation system may have produced large quantities of natural resources but it destroyed the natives land and jeopardized the health of the workers. The one weakness of colonialism was the fact that it was centered on the greedy colonists. It was a mentality of “survival of the fittest” which made the rich get richer.

Chapter 3 was about the struggles that Asian countries went through during the colonization period. Japan battled reforms set in place by Europeans and adopted the Meiji constitution which lead to the removal of unfair treaties that limited economic growth. “One reason for the new policy was that the government needed operating revenues”. Japan was doing pretty good at industrializing because it them 40 years to do what Europe did in a century. China on the other hand had a decent economy based on global trade but there was a major drawback. Europeans brought opium into China and soon enough there was an addiction that spread across the whole country and turned into a war. All across Asia there was war: the opium war, the Taiping rebellion, the Sin-Japanese war, and the Russo-Japanese war. “During the 1880’s, Meiji leaders began to modernize their military forces…” The fighting spirit of Asia led them to prevail as their own people.

Chapter 4 talked about the pain industrialization brought upon nations. WW1 was a result of all the drastic changes being brought upon Europe. The idea of human progress was destroyed along with the major cities of European countries during the war. Propaganda made people believe that there was a positive outcome to the war but in reality it was all about money. The end of the war was settled at Versailles Paris where a treaty was created by what would later be known as “The League of Nations”. The treaty limited the production of German and Russian factories to prevent the start of another war. “27 nations were brought together in Paris”. Unfortunately, the creation of nation-states brought more competition between countries the cooperation. The countries that wanted to prevent war were humiliated while those ready to fight were praised due to their strong sense of nationalism. National leaders realized that creating allies is the best way to keep their country safe especially at the brink of war. For the countries that found alliances couldn’t have done it sooner. Axis powers were using the same factories that produced useful goods into factories that dealt death. Long range artillery, tanks, flame throwers, machine guns, poison gas, and bombs are just some of the typical weapons being produced in the factories.

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