James Kaplan Timeline

  • Wilhelm II Becomes Emperor of Germany

    Following the deaths of his grandfather and father, Wilhelm I and Frederick III respectively, Wilhelm II became the new emperor of the German Empire. Seeking to prove his strength, he participated in what is known as "gunboat policy," and engaged in aggressive tactics, both domestic and foreign. From bolstering the navy, to expanding the African colonies, to even dismissing the administration that preceded his rule. These hostile moves would contribute to tension between the European nations.
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    Russian Revolution of 1905

    After the suffering humiliating defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, the Tsarist regime's image became more tarnished. Numerous uprisings took place arguing for more political participation and a liberal democracy. The result of one peaceful protest was Bloody Sunday, where demonstrators were fired upon by imperial guard. In response the regime established the State Duma, which did allow for political participation. This did not matter however, as Tsar Nicholas II still held onto power over Russia.
  • The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

    An associate of both the Young Bosnia Movement and the Black Hand group, Bosnian nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinates the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Initially a conflict that took place between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, it would soon involve the alliances the two nations had made. This event was seen as the culmination of the tension that had been building up within Europe for the past nearly 30 years, and the spark that would start the First World War.
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    Declarations of War

    Starting with Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia and ending with the Triple Entente of Russia, Britain, and France declaring war on the Ottoman Empire. The United States declared its absolute neutrality, as it did not want to get involved in the war. Within the span of 4 months, all of Europe was in engaged in all-out war.
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    The Armenian Genocide

    The Young Turks, a Turkish political reformation movement, pushed the Ottoman Empire to start a mass exodus of Armenian peoples from the empire. This led to the deaths of over 1 million Armenians on their trek to the Syrian Desert, and the surviving women and children were forced to convert to Islam. This would later be seen as a predecessor to later attempts of genocide to come in the 20th century.
  • The October Revolution

    After the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the establishment of the Provisional Government, Russia still suffered the same problems such as mass hunger and involvement in World War I. Even with more political participation the government was primarily controlled by Russian aristocrats. With the assistance of the German government, revolutionary Vladimir Lenin was sent back to Russia from exile. From there he would lead an overthrow of the Provisional Government with him as the new leader.
  • Woodrow Wilson issues his Fourteen Points

    US President Woodrow Wilson issued his Fourteen Points, which were a statement of principles that justified US intervention in World War I. Some of the topics mentioned were freedom of seas, free trade, and most importantly self-determination for all peoples. The proclamation of self-determination, that people that have a shared history and culture should be able to unite and govern themselves inspired budding nations all around the world that would come later in the 20th century.
  • Treaty of Versailles

    Exactly 5 years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the peace treaty between Germany and the Allied forces, the Treaty of Versailles, was signed. Negotiations were completely dominated by Britain, France, Italy, and the US, with Germany having little to no choice but to sign it. This resulted in significant losses for Germany, such as land, army capacity, and exorbitantly high reparations to pay. With world peace came the price of sowing seeds of German resentment.
  • Mussolini Becomes Prime Minister of Italy

    After cracking down on socialist movements and demonstrations in Italy and immense support from Italian nationalists, King Victor Emmanuel III appointed member of the National Fascist Party and leader of the Black Shirts Benito Mussolini as Prime Minister of Italy. After this he led a revolution that left Italy as a single-party state. With implementation of his fascist regime, and support from the Black Shirts and the Catholic Church, he aimed to build a new Roman Empire.
  • Stock Market Crash of 1929

    Due to banks giving out credit and loans that people knew they could never pay back, banks engaging in property speculation, and sock values becoming increasingly inflated, the NYSE completely collapsed. This heralded the Great Depression, which had immeasurable effects around the world. The United States had raised tariffs to promote domestic production, but resulted in nations losing a major market for imports. Soon after numerous other nations would suffer economic issues.
  • Hitler Becomes Führer of Germany

    Following the death of President Paul von Hindenburg, he was succeeded by Chancellor Adolf Hitler. Hitler then combined the offices of president and chancellor, becoming the Führer. He then purges the government of those who are not part of the Nazi party. Now officially ruling over Germany, he then set out on his goal of eliminating those in society who were not German, fueled by his anti-Semitism.
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    The Great Purge

    After the deficient success of the First Five-Year Plan and the assassination of Soviet politician Sergei Kirov, Stalin wished to further increase his stranglehold on power in the USSR. He demonstrated this by fervently pursuing even more arrests, executions, and exiling potential political opponents, both real and perceived. An estimated one million people were killed under Stalin's orders. With Stalin becoming increasingly withdrawn and paranoid, he had fully embodied a totalitarian regime.
  • Signing of the Pact of Steel

    An alliance was signed between the fascist nations of Spain, Italy, and Germany, referred to as the Pact of Steel. All these nations were united behind the idea of fascism. Both Italy and Germany shared a goal of restoring their countries former glory by expanding into an empire. This proved to be worrisome for democratic nations such as Britain and France, as fascist ideas might spread more in Europe, and now Nazi Germany had allies to assist in future conflicts.
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    Nazi Germany invades Poland

    Continuing his idea of lebensraum to build a German Empire, Hitler invaded Poland, violating the Munich Agreement he had signed with Britain and France. Though hesitant to reprimand Hitler before, Britain and France could no longer stand this, as they and their allies all declared war on Germany. This event had marked the beginning of World War II.
  • The Attack on Pearl Harbor

    Tension between the United States and Japan had finally come to a head. On December 7, 1941 Japan engaged in numerous attacks across the Pacific, including one on the United States Navy base stationed in Hawaii. This was intended to devastate the United States by destroying their navy and having them resupply Japan with oil as they had before. This turned out being negative, as a day later the United States declared war on Japan, and the United States had officially joined World War II.
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    The Dropping of Atomic Bombs on Japan

    Nearing the end of the war in the Pacific theater, the United States had to make a hard decision. It was between a land invasion of Japan that could cost thousands of lives, or use new bombs that have been developed but whose effects were unknown. Ultimately, they decided to choose the latter, and both weapons were dropped in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This completely devastated Japan and astonished the world. This has been the only time that nuclear weapons were used in warfare.
  • Indonesia Gains Independence

    Immediately following the surrender of Japan in World War II, the leader of the Indonesian Nationalist Party, Sukarno, declared independence for Indonesia. While the Netherlands attempted to reassert their control, eventually they gave into pressure by the United Nations and recognized Indonesia as independent. Sukarno established an authoritarian system of government, which would soon result in the deaths of 500 thousand to 1 million people who opposed him. This regime would last until 1998.
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    The Cold War

    After the conclusion of World War II, two superpowers had emerged: the United States and the Soviet Union. These two nations and their directly opposing beliefs would cause a passive conflict that lasted throughout the second half of the 20th century. Though never directly engaging in war, the two would combat each other via proxy wars by supporting nations that promoted their respective ideals. The USSR desired to spread communism globally, while the US attempted to prevent it by containment.
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    The Green Revolution

    In order to keep up with the exponentially increasing rate of population growth, advances in agriculture needed to be made. With the onset of scientist Norman Borlaug's research on high-yield varieties of wheat in Mexico, other countries followed suit in their agricultural and technological advancements. Some nations of note were India, China, and Brazil. The most important result of the Green Revolution was that it allowed for targeted nations to go from food importers, to food exporters.
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    The Algerian War of Independence

    While European settlers and Sephardi Jews had full citizenship in Algeria, the Muslims that lived there did not. This evolved into the forming of the National Liberation Front (FLN), which waged urban guerilla warfare against the French forces in an attempt to gain independence for Algeria. French President Charles de Gaulle considered the possibility of independence, but was attacked from both sides. Eventually France granted Algeria independence, with the FLN heading the new government.
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    The July 26th Movements

    The rule of Fulgencio Batista was a brutal military dictatorship, with heavy suppression of political opponents and close economic ties to the United States. This rule ended when successful revolutionary, Fidel Castro, with the aid of other revolutionaries such as Che Guevara overthrew Batista's regime. Fidel then promptly reorganized the country modeled after the USSR. This would pose a major threat to the United States as now a communist nation was right at their doorstep.
  • Nasser Becomes President of Egypt

    After overthrowing the King of Egypt in 1952 with the assistance of Mohamed Naguib, and subsequently having a falling-out with Naguib, Gamal Abdel Nasser was elected President of Egypt in 1956. He was the main proponent for pan-Arabism, that desired all Arab people to unite and consolidate sovereignty over the Middle East. Nasser would be a popular and controversial figure, as he was a strong proponent against the state of Israel, who would come into conflict with Egypt in the years to come.
  • Congo Gains Independence

    After World War II, many independence movements began in the Congo. These were mostly peaceful, allowing for Belgium to still retain control over the country. That was until a radical independence movement was started in 1958 by Patrice Lumumba. The impact of Lumumba resulted in numerous violent protests against the Belgian government. Finally, on June 30, 1960, Belgium relinquished control and granted the Congo its independence. Slowly but surely, Africa was becoming more independent.
  • The Publication of Silent Spring

    Rachel Carson, a marine biologist working for the US Bureau of Fisheries, had become concerned with environmental issues in the US. Specifically, when the USDA in 1957 utilized DDT in a fire ant eradication program. This led her to write "Silent Spring," which sought to display the environmental risks these practices posed, as well as their effects on the health of both humans and ecosystems. The book was massively influential and led to the creation of many agencies, including the EPA.
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    The Cuban Missile Crisis

    After requesting for assistance to deter future invasions by the United States, the Soviet Union fulfilled Fidel Castro's request by placing nuclear missiles in Cuba. This was absolutely catastrophic to the United States as now it was within range for a nuclear attack. This resulted in a tense 13-day period in which discussions were held between US President Kennedy and USSR Premier Khrushchev in order to deescalate the situation. This was the closest the Cold War came to complete nuclear war.
  • Kenya Gains Independence

    In the 1950s, the Kikuyu tribe in Kenya led many revolts against British rule. One of these was the Mau Mau Uprising, led by Jomo Kenyatta. Britain attempted to curtail this by inciting infighting between the Kikuyu tribe and other tribes that resided in Kenya, resettling British soldiers in fortified villages, and the capturing and imprisonment of Kenyatta. Soon after his release, on December 12, 1963, Britain ceded sovereignty and Kenya gained its independence, with Kenyatta as its president.
  • The Gulf of Tonkin Incident

    On August 2, 1963, the destroyer USS Maddox had exchanged fire with boats belonging to the North Vietnamese. While it was debatable whether or not the US should have had a presence in the Gulf of Tonkin, one thing was for certain: The US had been attacked by North Vietnamese forces. This was all that President Johnson needed in order to request permission to send US troops to Vietnam to combat the North Vietnamese. While never declaring war, the US was now engaged in warfare in Vietnam.
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    The Vietnam War

    Although the Vietnam War had been going on since 1955, US intervention did not begin until ground troops landed on March 8, 1965. This war displayed two new factors: increased chemical warfare, such as napalm and agent orange, and increased publicity, with photographs becoming widespread and the war being broadcast daily on television. Gradually the war turned against the US's favor, and after the election of Nixon, began withdrawing the US out of Vietnam which concluded on March 29, 1973.
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    The Cultural Revolution

    In an effort to eliminate those considered opponents of the CCP, and to cement communism in China by eliminating the remains of capitalist and traditionalist elements, Mao Zedong launched a new cultural revolutionary program. The CCP would be purged of "counter-revolutionaries," and propaganda was distributed to the masses. To ensure success, the Red Guard, a paramilitary force comprised of students, was formed. Mass arrests and murders ensued, while Mao had regained control over China.
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    The Six-Day War

    In 1964, Israel had completed a water project that was to expand irrigation. Syria insisted that Egypt destroy the project due to it encroaching on contested land. Three years later, several Arab nations commissioned troops to Egypt who was preparing for war with Israel. Israel requested assistance from Western powers, who provided minimal aid. Nonetheless, after only six days of fighting Israel proved victorious and gained even more territory. Even more so, Arab states had to recognize Israel.
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    The 1973 Oil Crisis

    In response to nations that supported Israel during the Arab-Israeli War, OPEC had placed an embargo on oil to said pro-Israel nations. This proved to be absolutely devastating for these nations, as OPEC was the major exporter of oil around the world. By 1974, the price of oil had increased by nearly 300%, resulting in effected nations to find ways to reduce consumption. A permanent effect that the crisis had was now nations were searching for new energy sources, from green to nuclear.
  • Juan Perón Becomes President of Argentina

    Making numerous promises that consisted of intense redistribution of wealth and utilizing the many natural resources of the nation, Juan Perón was elected President of Argentina. He took a stance against the Catholic Church claiming it of excessive wealth and exploitation. This was controversial however, as Latin America is a deeply religious area. Many wealthy elites were displeased by Perón's acts, and eventually persuaded the military to overthrow him in 1955, establishing a dictatorship.
  • The Chernobyl Disaster

    On April 26, 1986, a nuclear powerplant near Pripyat, Ukraine, had malfunctioned and melted down. As a result, radioactive material was released into the air and spread to Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and even as far as the United Kingdom. This caused permanent effects on the environment, and to the people who were near the site when it occurred. The disaster displayed two things: the worst-case scenario of harnessing nuclear energy, and the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union.
  • The 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre

    Since April 1989, there were nationwide protests for more transparency and democratic practices in the Chinese government, but most famously was Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Protestors and soldiers continuously fought over the area, but on June 4 the military gained complete control. Though no exact figures exist, NATO estimated around 7,000 deaths and tens of thousands wounded. The UN denounced China for its handling and placed sanctions. Despite this, China had become an economic powerhouse.
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    The Gulf War

    Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait in August 1990. After Saudi Arabia requested aid, reported treatment of Kuwaitis under Hussein, and alleged development of WMDs, the United States decided to be involved in the conflict. After leading a coalition of 35 countries Kuwait was liberated half a year later. With Hussein heralded as a hero by Muslims in the Middle East, and the US settling a permanent presence in the Gulf Area, anti-US sentiment would build in the region.
  • The September 11 Attacks

    On the morning of September 11, 2001, a series of four suicide terrorist attacks were carried out in the United States. These locations were a field in Pennsylvania, the Pentagon, and most famously the World Trade Center in New York City. It resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths and over 25,000 injuries, remaining the deadliest terrorist attack in history. This was a significant turning point for the 21st century on how the international community would respond to issues and engage with each other.