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Sorry if this is ill-defined.

I've heard that in the nineties, there was a pervasive idea in American society that were on the cusp of a liberal utopia, in which there would be no war between nations because they would all be tangled in a massive network of global trade and that technological development would make life better and better, without end. This was apparently exemplified by Francis Fukayama's book "The End of History and the Last Man."

  1. Have there been any studies done that quantize how many and how much people believed in "the end of history?" How much did it vary by demographic? Are there similar, contemporary studies we can compare the other studies to?
  2. How much did people believe in the end of history? If you can't give a data-based answer, I'm also interested in personal anecdotes.
  3. Even if very few people did believe in the end of history, how much did the media believe in an "end of history?" This again seems to be difficult to quantize and probably heavily variable. If you can give a personal anecdote for this one it'd suffice.

Thanks!

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  • Well, there was that line "Watching the world wake up from History" in Jesus Jones' Right Here Right Now. I'm thinking the idea was likely bigger in popular culture than it was among serious historians (who I'd like to assume knew better than that). – T.E.D. Feb 12 at 0:33
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    I don't think (having lived through those years) it was really pervasive at all. Quite apart from the fact that to a lot of Americans, liberal and utopia are mutually contradictory, many people could see that a major source of international conflict ("history", that is) would come from Islam vs the West. In hindsight, that should have been obvious from the establishment of the Iranian theocracy in 1979. – jamesqf Feb 12 at 1:01
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    I have a distinct memory of any ideas of "end of history" in my own mind dying when the tanks rolled into Tiananmin Square. – Gort the Robot Feb 12 at 1:29
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    As a USA college student in the 90's, I heard this phrase once and didn't understand it. I asked myself "The end of history? What does it mean, is it an Armageddon of some sort?". The internet wasn't useful, so the phrase stuck in my head. I asked my peers what it meant, they didn't have any idea. A few years later, I came across it again with an explanation. It seemed like utter nonsense. So, not pervasive at all in my circle. – axsvl77 Feb 12 at 4:28
  • It's kind of amusing, and maybe a bit of an answer, that after reading the title and question my mind assumed it was the 1890's the poster was asking about. If this was being talked about in the 1990's, I think it was among a subset of disconnected academics. – Ask About Monica Feb 18 at 22:48
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In Europe this was not the case.

It was seen as a window of opportunity (a 'New Age'), without the constraints of the Cold War ('Old Age'), to resolve problems that had plagued Europe since the demise of the Roman Empire.

However, it soon became clear that many of these problems, that had laid dormant during the 'Old Age', were still, very much, in existence.

Nationalism (Yugoslav Wars), greed (Bank run) and Populism only a few of the self caused problems.

At present we are at the stage in Europe during the 14th centry (Black Death) afterwhich the self caused problems continued.

In short, history is only repeating itsself.

Only time will tell, if we deal with it better than the last time.

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    Main problem for the Europe was and is demographical (i.e. silent genocide and replacement of indigenous population) . Nationalism and populism are just reaction to this elephant in the room. – rs.29 Feb 18 at 22:13

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