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The violence of the twentieth century had been widely explained as a result of class conflict, extreme ideologies, and great power rivalry. However, Niall Ferguson claims that these explanations for the violence are wrong, and says that it was racism that was at the root of all the problems. Ferguson states that race was the dominant idea of the twentieth century, race was what determined which side you were on in this new 100 Years’ War, and that empires not nation states were the dominant powers. The influence of racism was especially clear during the twentieth century leading up to, and during World War II. After studying the time between 1900-1945, some can agree that Niall Ferguson’s explanation that racism drove the modern world into a period of total war. The Progressive Era lasted from 1890-1920. Progressives were made up mostly of the urban middle class-citizens who worked to bring changes and order to American society. Progressives worked on many different causes, political reform, social labor, saving natural resources, and women’s suffrage. The whole movement was an attempt to move forward as a country, and to become a new and improved society. During the progressive era, a massive amount of people began moving to the cities, but these cities had never had such a large population and as a result the cities were ill-equipped to accommodate such a large amount of people. In addition to this, many individuals were working under deplorable conditions for excruciatingly long hours at such a low pay. These factories not only damaged the health of their workers, but they were also known to spread diseases among the workers as well as to the customers who bought their goods. Progressives sought to improve the working conditions in the factories, and to make the factory owners treat the workers like human beings instead of money making animals. Early progressives rejected social darwinism, which was the idea that nature was selecting the talented, smart, hardworking citizens, and the ones that were not all those things, the weak links, would die off. In other words, progressives were people who believed that the problems society faced (poverty, violence, greed, racism, class warfare) could best be addressed by providing good education, a safe environment, and an efficient workplace. Scientific management was a theory of management intended to maximize labor productivity and economic efficiency. Also known as taylorism, it  involved the rational analysis of workflows. It attempted to adjust the time and motion of workers’ activities so as to maximize their efficiency. This theory was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management. The Progressive Era came to an end with the 18th Amendment being passed prohibiting the sale and manufacture of liquor, and the 19th Amendment being  passed giving women the right to vote. After all the reform happened, America moved on to the 1920s, also known as the “roaring twenties” and as “the new era,” it was similar to the Progressive Era in that America continued its economic growth and prosperity, but different in many ways. In 1917, two revolutions swept through Russia that ended years of imperial rule and lead to the formation of the Soviet Union. Civil War broke out in Russia in late 1917 after the Bolshevik Revolution. The warring factions included the Red and White Armies. The Red Army fought for the Lenin’s Bolshevik government. The White Army represented a large group of loosely allied forces, including monarchists, capitalists and supporters of democratic socialism.Russia was one of the most impoverished countries in Europe with an enormous amount of peasants and a growing population of poor industrial workers in the early 1900s. Most of the world viewed Russia as a backward society, as the Russian Empire still used serfdom well into the nineteenth century. While the majority of Western Europe had abandoned the practice by the end of the Middle Ages. In 1861, the Russian Empire finally abolished serfdom. The freedom of the serfs would influence the events leading up to the Russian Revolution by giving the peasants more freedom to organize. The Russian Revolution ended years of imperialistic rule and lead to the formation of the Soviet Union. Along with the end of the Russian Revolution, World War I, officially ended a few years later in France on June 28, 1919.  The “roaring twenties” was an age of dramatic social and political change for the United States. More Americans lived in cities, which lead to a cultural burst in music. The citizens living in the cities spent most of their time dancing and drinking, but due to prohibition, their drinking had to be done in speakeasies, which were illicit establishments that sold alcoholic beverages. The most significant example of racism during this time period was the fact that there was a revival of the Klu Klux Klan. The KKK Is a secret society of white southerners in the United States that called for 100% Americanism. The new were clan that began in the 1920s attacked not just African-Americans, as before, but also all non-protestants were targeted. Business leaders promoted welfare capitalism, bootleggers sold alcohol, flappers defied the gender norms, there was a revival of the KKK, and so much more that happened. But the biggest thing that happened during the roaring twenties was the stock market crash in 1929. Black Tuesday, as it is called, was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, land was the most significant indicator of the Great Depression. During the 1920s, social and cultural tensions clashed. The nation became increasingly divided over major issues related to religion, science, immigration, morality, and the changing economy. Often does divide increase the tensions between those living in urban areas and those living in rural areas. Bust as the United States suffered through its worst economic state yet, the worst war was yet to come. World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945, it involves the vast majority of the worlds countries eventually forming to opposing military alliances. It was the most widespread world war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over three countries. The world was in a state of total war, the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. It was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 million to 85 million fatalities. It included massacres, the deliberate genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, starvation, disease and the first use of nuclear weapons in history. The Holocaust was how Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, systematically murdered some 6 million European Jews. Nazis targeted European Jews for extermination as a part of a larger event that included the persecution and murder of other groups. It was a form of ethnic cleansing as some may put it. Jews were subjected to anti-Semitism and the movement embraced a type of racism that viewed Jews as a race whose members were locked in mortal combat with the Aryan race for world domination. Ideas of anti-semitism, fascism, nationalism, and totalitarianism spread throughout Germany. The war ended with the use of nuclear weapons, two thirds of the Jewish population dead, and Hitler’s death by suicide.  As Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto said, “I feel all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” The twentieth century’s sleeping giant had been awoken and filled with a terrible resolve. Niall Ferguson’s was right. Racism was what caused the ongoing violence and mass destruction of the twentieth century. Race was the dominant idea of the twentieth century. Race was what determined what side you were on in the 100 Years’ War. The influence of racism was especially clear during the twentieth century leading up to, and during World War II. It is clear during the Progressive Era, it is clear during the roaring twenties and the Great Depression. It is especially shown during World War II. Racism is still very much alive today. But as Nelson Mandela once said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” 

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