Questions tagged [20th-century]

For questions spanning a significant proportion of the 20th century. Questions focused on the latter decades should consider using the contemporary-history tag. Individual tags exist for specific decades.

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From whom did Gandhi learn his protest technique of non-violence?

I know that Gandhi was involved in the civil rights movement in South Africa during he beginning of the 20th century, but was there a specific person, or group, that he learned how to protest through ...
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When passports/border checks became widespread?

I was reading the Wikipedia on passports, and there were numerous important dates in passport history, but I didn't find any date when passports became widely used documents for travelling. I see ...
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How much oil was spilled by the naval combatants during WW2?

The war at sea took a huge toll during WW2. Has there been an official estimate of how much oil was spilled into the oceans during the world wide conflict?
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Were there any war movies made during WW2 that were well regarded by front-line American soldiers?

I've read in a few places that American soldiers during WWII (meaning men who had actually seen combat, not rear echelon troops) preferred light comedy or romance movies to the sanitized propaganda in ...
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In what ways did the rise of a true middle class in Europe during the late 19th century become apparent?

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were very transformative for Europe with the rise of a real middle class. Typically before this the middle class was more of a bourgeoisie and not the middle ...
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Why did Guinea vote so differently in the 1958 French constitutional referendum?

In the 1958 French constitutional referendum, 79.3% of Metropolitan France and 82.3% of the territories voted in favor of the constitution. Out of the latter, votes in favor ranged from 64.40% in ...
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If Bill Clinton was impeached, why did he finish his second term?

I don't understand how he could have been impeached but did not have to leave office.
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Why did the Soviet Union's economy grow fast in the 1950's-1960's?

Communist economic systems self-implode. Today it has been recognized that Communism is bad for economic progress. There is no dispute that Communism makes countries poor based on what has happened in ...
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Why did the Germans fall behind the Americans in the development of the atomic bomb after an initial lead?

I actually know certain facts about this matter, but am seeking guidance in interpreting these facts into "theories." 1) Theory 1, Economic: The Americans spent something like $2 billion (in money of ...
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Why didn't Hitler invade Middle East for resources first before invading Soviet Union?

Why didn't Hitler invade Middle East for resources instead of Soviet Union? Or at least invade Middle East first to secure the resources needed for sustained military operation? I understand Hitler ...
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Why is Finland represented as a Soviet satellite in this 1947 cartoon?

The cartoon is a British one. I found it at http://lenta.ru/articles/2013/05/28/secretwar/ but without any specific attribution.
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What happened in 1914 that ended the golden age of microbiology?

I was reading a microbiology textbook and all it said was "The work that began with Pasteur started an explosion of discoveries in microbiology. The period from 1857 to 1914 has been appropriately ...
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War Guilt Methodology: Was Germany solely to blame for WWI? [closed]

Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles places the blame of the war solely on Germany and her allies. This is the quote: The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the ...
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Did anyone warn about the potential for stock market crashes in 1929, and if so why were their warnings ignored?

I can't seem to find information about economists, or others, warning about the overheated stock market of the 1920s in the US that would culminate in the stock market crashing on Black Thursday, ...
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Why was the Irish War of Independence in 1918 successful when other revolts failed?

In a nutshell, what events, occurrences, or mishaps took place that allowed the Irish to win the war of Independence over what could arguably be the most powerful nation of the time, when they were ...
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Did the founding members of the Black Panthers ever mention the role of Malcolm X in creating their group?

I'm trying to find out if the Black Panther Party (BPP) ever said (preferably in an interview of some kind) whether Malcolm X or the Nation of Islam's more active approach to civil rights helped to ...
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Why did the USSR stop in the Winter War against Finland in 1940?

To me, this is one of the biggest history mysteries. By the end of February 1940, the USSR breached the Mannerheim line, and the Finnish troops were exhausted and short of ammunition. I have little ...
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Who flew the T-38 “Missing Man” formation at the Challenger Memorial service at JSC, 31 January 1986?

President Ronald Reagan at Memorial Service for Challenger Crew. Photo courtesy of NASA On January 31, 1986 I attended the memorial service at Johnson Space Center for the STS-51-L Challenger crew. I ...
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Were there any pilots that declined to carry out the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Were there any pilots that refused (or politely declined) to take part in the operations of "Fat Man" and "Little Boy," knowing the destruction these would cause? Similarly, were there any scientists ...
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Why were the Prague Spring leaders treated more leniently than Nagy and his colleagues?

Following the Warsaw Pact's 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia the lead Czech reformer Alexander Dubček was dismissed and given a lowly job with the forestry commission. A decade or so earlier, the ...
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What was the contemporary German public opinion on the Herero Genocide?

The genocide took place during 1904-1907, organized by General von Trotha. Wikipedia says: Von Trotha's methods caused a public outcry which led the Imperial Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow to ask ...
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Why didn't the Arab states industrialize?

Why didn't the states of the Arabian peninsula industrialize around the time that Europe and East Asia did? Was it simply a lack of accessible natural resources? Why not import coal?
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What percentage of British and American troops were involved in direct combat with enemy in World War II

How large a proportion of British and American troops were involved in direct combat with the enemy in World War II? What was the casualty rate among those men?
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What was the situation of homosexuals in the early Soviet Union?

Between 1917 and 1930, homosexuality was decriminalised in the Soviet Union. From the Wikipedia article on LGBT history in Russia: The Russian Communist Inessa Armand publicly endorsed both ...
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To what extent did the CPC avoid fighting with the Japanese?

There's general agreement that the Japanese invasion of China benefited the CPC by interrupting the civil war, forcing the KMT to fight the Japanese instead of continuing the CPC purge, which they ...
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How many firearms were owned by civilian population between 1836 and 1912 in USA?

How many firearms in total were owned by civilian population between 1836 and 1912 in USA (cumulatively, not simultaneously)? The timeframe is what I would consider "Old West" timeframe, but starting ...
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Gazan attitudes to Egyptian rule 1948-1967

Was Egyptian rule viewed favourably by the population? Were there uprisings? Another related question: were there travel restrictions of some form (i.e. could Gazans travel freely in Egypt)? UPDT: ...
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What new technology/tactics allowed the breakthrough of the trenches in WW I western front?

Reading the answers to this question about WW1 Western Front, it appears that breaking through the trenches was a very difficult task to do. How did the Allies finally make it? Was it the invention of ...
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Why did Nepal and Bhutan not become a part of India like other princely states when colonial rule ended?

During the period around Independence, India, under Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel's program to unite the subcontinent, was getting Princely states to accede to Union of India. There were around 570 ...
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Where did the so-called “Jap Skulls” end up?

I have read that there was a disturbingly common practice of American soldiers in the Pacific theater of WWII to take the skulls of dead Japanese soldiers as trophies to take home, give to girlfriends,...
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Were any works completely lost during the Nazi book burnings?

When the Nazis rose to power, they began a campaign of burning books deemed incompatible with the Nazi ideology. During these book burnings, were there any works that were completely lost? By "...
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Is the steel pan the only acoustic musical instrument to be invented in the 20th century and used widely around the world?

I have seen claims that the steel pan (commonly called steel drum) was the only acoustic instrument developed in the 20th century. Is this true? There are related instruments (the Hang or hand pan) ...
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Amount of time an aeroplane could stay in the air during the last stages of WW1

I know for a fact that aeroplanes were used at the last stages of the first world war to capture images of the enemy trench system and supply lines. They were also used to alert the artillery how far ...
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Interaction between Ataturk and Lenin

Are there any records related to the relations between Turkey and USSR in 1920's? I know about the letter from Ataturk to Lenin (in Turkish) but nothing more.
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Why did Chicago and other cities choose an L (elevated metro) when most others chose underground subways?

From my related question, I'm trying to understand the decision-making that went into metro/subway design. Why did Chicago choose an elevated metro system instead of an underground subway? Most other ...
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In WWI, which countries used prisoners as soldiers?

What happened to prisoners incarcerated for domestic crimes (not war) before and during the outbreak of the Great War? Using a UK report, in 1914 the prison population dropped around 5000, but 11,000 ...
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What sources or documentation exists to indicate Stalin's level of popularity in Russia today?

To what extent is Stalin still loved and/or respected by Russians (and for extra points former USSR states)? While articles like these news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7802485.stm news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/...
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Why did the USA stay out of the League of Nations?

Woodrow Wilson, who was President of the USA at the time of the League's creation, was the person who pushed for the inclusion of the League in the Treaty of Versailles in the first place. Why is it ...
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Did 20th century militaries have their own fire-fighter units?

I tried googling this but fire-fighter is too similar to fire-fight (as in gun fight or shootout) so I keep getting the wrong results. I'm asking about fire-fighting as in containing and extinguishing ...
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What was (if at all) Hitler's Plan B if Molotov-Ribbentrop had not worked out?

As we know, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union amicably agreed to attack Poland and to share it between themselves. Did Hitler and his staff have a detailed or formal contingency plan in case the Nazi-...
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What happened to the S.A. (Sturmabteilung; “Stormtroopers”) after The Night of the Long Knives?

I'm reading The Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany by Warren B. Marris, Jr. (Nelson-Hall, Chicago), 1982 for an eassay. It outlines the power that the Sturmabteilung (abbreviated S.A., trans ...
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When did the last formal and recorded duel take place?

It seems that duels are no longer fought because of a combination of both changes in law and in fashions. E.g. Tom Reiss' The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte ...
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When did retailers stop wrapping purchases in paper and twine?

Listening to stories from relatives, it sounds like it was a near-universal practice (in the US, before the 1970s) to wrap retail purchases with brown paper and twine. Searching for information about ...
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What was Gandhi's post-factum view of the Partition?

Gandhi was vehemently opposed to the Partition of India and tried to avoid it. But what was his stance on it once it had happened? Did he accept it as fait accompli or did he envision some scheme for ...
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Why didn't Ronald Reagan become Republican candidate for the President of the USA in 1976?

I'd really like to know, how did it happen that Ronald Reagan lost the Republican Party presidential primaries in 1976, against Gerald Ford. It's easier for me to understand that he could fail in the ...
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What institutional precursors enabled labor unions to emerge in the United States?

What institutions and organizations existed in the United States before the structured and recognizable labor unions formed as a visible sign of organizations to come? How did these predecessor ...
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How many pens were used by MacArthur to end the final chapter of World War II and where are they now?

General Douglas MacArthur counter-signs the Japanese instrument of surrender as Supreme Allied Commander aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945. Standing behind him are Generals ...
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What was the Soviet role in Syria during the Cold-War?

It is my understanding that the Soviet Union supported governments in Syria during the cold-war primarily as a counter-balance to American influence over regional powers particularly Saudi Arabia and ...
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What is the earliest mention of an estimate of 71% water (or 70.8%) / 29% land (or 29.2%)?

According to the U.S. Geological Survey's article How much water is there on, in, and above the Earth?, About 71 percent of the Earth's surface is water-covered Wikipedia's Earth article also ...
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Before entering WW II, why was the US so against Japanese aggression in China but did nothing about Germany in Europe?

The US was very vocal against Japanese aggression in China in the 1930's and early 1940's but said nothing against German aggression in Europe. The US finally placed an embargo on sending oil and ...

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