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Recent Centuries, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 687

Essay

On the eve of civilizational collapse and apocalypse, it is an appropriate time to reflect on the crucial figures that have brought us to this stage, that is, figures from the immediate past of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, so to understand the political and historical events, as well as the individual decisions that have brought the world to its state of imminent end. As with all historiography, the approach to this subject matter will stress objectivity and a lack of bias, to understand the cause and effect relations that have yielded this apocalyptic situation as it currently stands.

In the third decade of the twentieth century, a man emerged in Germany as the leader of a political party whose ideological foundation consisted in a form of radicalized racism. According to the latter, the genetic superiority of a particular human subspecies – in this case the Aryan – was deemed equivalent to the right to rule over the world. Yet the aggressive foreign policy of this polity, led by Der Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, threw the world into its Second World War within the space of twenty years. Hence, a crucial even in this history is the beginning of the Second World War. As Hitler’s ideology endeavored to push east into the Soviet Union so as to, on the one hand, create a greater living space for the German people, following with the racist ideology of Nazi Germany, and, on the other hand, destroy the ideologically opposed communism of the Soviet Union, Europe and the rest of the world was in consequence plunged into a conflict of unprecedented historical brutality.

This conflict, however, would be crucial to informing the subsequent shape of the world order. Namely, Hitler’s forces, the vast majority of which were concentrated on the Eastern Front in a war against the Soviet Union, were defeated, such that two of the forces that opposed Hitler emerged as world superpowers: the aforementioned Soviet Union and the United States. Here, the crucial second personage in the history of these centuries emerges: Stalin. Stalin, as the leader of the Soviet Union, was first of all significant in rapidly modernizing the Soviet Union through a series of five years plans, a policy approach that ultimately made the Soviet Union technologically capable to handle the attack of Nazi Germany. However, Stalin also played a crucial role after the war, insofar as he intended to keep the Eastern European territories acquired in the war under the Soviet Union’s ideological influence, rejecting pressures of the Western allies, who also intended to maintain their geopolitical influence in Western Europe. Therefore, the world was split into two confrontational poles, defined by two ideologies: the capitalism of America and the communism of the Soviet Union, which creates the crucial event of the Cold War.

At the same time, the event of the development of the atomic bomb radicalized the stakes of the Cold War. This development was made possible by the genius of physics, Albert Einstein. With Einstein’s revolutionary approach to physics, the atomic bomb defined the geopolitical position of both Cold War Superpowers, confronting the world with its own imminent destruction at the sight of any crisis.

In this sense, the end of the Cold War is a crucial event with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Here, the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is crucial. He decided to liberalize the Soviet Union with policies such as perestroika and glasnost, thus moving the USSR closer to a Western model. This, however, led to the end of the Cold War and a new world geopolitical order emerged.

In the context of this new order, of which the United States were dominant, the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 are of a crucial importance, since they interrupted the post-Cold War period of peace. In this regard, a historical figure such as George W. Bush decided to use this opportunity to pursue aggressive foreign policy, leading the U.S. into various wars in the Middle East in the name of the “war on terror.” Yet this violent approach to terrorism merely accelerated extremism, thus further dividing the world along ideological lines.

Word Count: 687

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