Tag Archives: Berlin Wall

Ranking the Decades

by Rick Bretz

Some citizens of the world during certain decades have to deal with more adversity than others if war breaks out or the economies move into a recession or depression.  Wars caused by leadership and diplomacy failures cause a heartache as well as a depletion in a generation’s men and women who could have the answers for curing disease and making the world a better place.  Economic depression is caused by a number of factors including the malaise of industry captains and government officials. When these people who are educated by the world’s finest institutions neglect  to act by exercising preventative measures society bears the burden.

Some decades are better than others but some are more tumultuous than others.  It occurred to me the other day that if I had to rank the decades in order according to how much chaos and achievement occurred during that time period,  this is list I would compose.   To keep the list a short one, I am ranking the decades from the time period of 1900 to 2010.   Otherwise, I would have to include the Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Chinese, British,  Russian, and Mongol empires and I am sure I am leaving a few out.

My criteria:

Tumultuous Events

Effect on subsequent decades

Significant Figures in History

Demonstrations and protests against the Vietnam War (1)

  1. 1960-1969

Reason for Rank:  There was so much going on during this decade it’s a wonder that the world didn’t have a collective stroke from the stress endured by the population.  The Cold War, The Vietnam War, Nuclear build up and testing, the Middle East tensions, The Iron Curtain, North Korea and South Korea, the election and assassination of John F. Kennedy, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, the Assassination of Martin Luther King, the assassination of Malcolm X, civil rights marches, the Freedom Riders in the south, tensions in Europe, South American coups, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Fidel Castro and the list goes on and on.   While these historical events were playing out, we managed to put a man on the moon, create some of history’s enduring works of art, literary classics and cinematic masterpieces.  Sometimes chaos can bring out the best as well as the worst in human kind.

As Orson Welles said in “The Third Man”.

In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The Cuckoo Clock. So long Holly

 USS_Arizona_(BB-39)_Panama_Canal

  1. 1910-1919

Reason for Rank:  When an event such as “The Great War” appears in a decade, you have to rank it high. Additionally, the Russian Revolution shocked the world in the decade and it was felt for several decades to come because it influenced foreign policy and caused several wars after World War II.  In addition, naval power advanced with aircraft carriers and the further development submarines.  The industrial revolution moved forward and the population of cities grew.  The Panama Canal was finished in this decade, changing the way products were shipped from one side of the continent to the other. The decisions from this decade, like the Treaty of Versailles, had a negative effect on countries two decades later.

 

  1. 1940-1949

Reason for rank:  Hitler and the Nazi regime’s rise to power brought on World War II and cruelty that equaled violence and destruction documented during the medieval age.  World War II dominated the decade followed by the rebuilding of several major cities.  The testing of the nuclear bomb and using it to force Japan’s surrender forever altered the diplomatic landscape. The cold war followed the end of the Second World War.  The end of the decade saw tension increase to the point of North Korea invading the South in June of 1950 to start the Korean War, where two countries still remain proxies for a higher stakes game diplomacy between super powers.  The formation of the United Nation, headquartered in New York.

 

  1. 2000-2010

Reason for rank: Terrorism on a global scale, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Hinting down of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. Immigration in North America and Europe. The proliferation of social media.  The used of social media and the internet for business models; Amazon, Apple, etc.  The use of smart phone for communicating.

 

  1. 1930-1939

Reason for rank: The depression, the election of FDR and the New Deal socialist policies. Hitler’s election to Germany’s ruling party, the invasion of Austria, Poland, and other Eastern European countries, the annexation of the Sudetenland and the invasion of France, beginning World War II.  Japan’s military build-up, the invasion of Manchuria, the Nanking Massacre and many other aggressions.  The Hoover Dam was completed.

 

  1. 1900-1909

Reasons for rank: This decade featured President Teddy Roosevelt taking on monopolies and creating labor laws to curb the power of large corporations.  Roosevelt, a proponent of taking care of the land and its wildlife in it, oversaw legislation for many natural parks that we enjoy today.

 

  1. 1970-1979

Reasons for rank: The decade saw the end of the Vietnam War under the Nixon administration after being escalated by the Johnson power brokers.  The Watergate conspiracy played out on America’s television screens.  Nixon resigned, President Gerald R. Ford became the first President not be elected.  Jimmy Carter was elected. The Russian invasion of Afghanistan start their long stay there.   The Shah of Iran was deposed and because of the United State support for the Shah, the Iranian hostage crisis lasted until President Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration day.

 

  1. 1920-1929

Reasons for rank:  The decade began with silent movies and ended with sound on film, the talkies.  It began with unprecedented economic growth and wealth accumulation.  The motor car or automobile was having an impact on society and how people socialize with one another.  The Hoover Dam was planned as well as other engineering projects.

berlinWall

  1. 1980-1989

Reasons for rank:  Low on the list because there wasn’t that much upheaval compared to other decades. The most significant event was the destruction of Berlin Wall and the fall of communism in the Eastern Bloc countries, opening up the Iron Curtain in front of the Soviet Union whose communist ideology would fall later on.

 

  1. 1990-1999

Reason for rank: Some may rank this decade higher due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 in addition to the Persian Gulf War after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi forces. A significant event but because we had to revisit the Iraq after the turn of the century, this isn’t high on my list.  Also, the Soviet Union was on a path to dissolution in the later 1980s, the next decade just made it official.  The election of President Bill Clinton also was significant due to his influence in subsequent decades.  The dissolving of Yugoslavian states resulted in genocide that had to be dealt with by UN Forces.  The ethnic cleansing was an event that should have been prevented and stopped by the United Nations.  This was one of the reasons the UN was formed after World War II but it failed in this mission.

 

 

 

Notable Links:

https://www.thoughtco.com/20th-century-timelines-1779957

https://www.infoplease.com/yearbyyear

The Generations

by Rick Bretz

Classifying people into generations and marking them with cultural characteristics is an entertaining exercise for sociologists and academics.  However, putting a particular generation into a certain box is only informative when analyzing the different world events that influenced the collective personality characteristics of people growing up in that era. The classification of generations begs the question: Is one generation better than another? Did one generation endure hardships?  Did another have it easier? It’s an intellectual exercise that can generate a discussion. Since Tom Brokaw’s book, “The Greatest Generation” was published, most of the reading public have stated that people who grew up to fight WWII and endure the Great Depression were part of the “Greatest Generation.”  Is there such a title-“The Greatest Generation”–One group of people who have shone brighter than any other  in history.

I prefer to think that each generation has had their own challenges and issues with their own solutions.  Can you say that one generation is better than another because they helped achieve a WWII victory while another fought in Vietnam and landed on the moon?  Another way to view the issue is: without one generation developing a particular technology the other wouldn’t have been able to achieve their significant achievements.

Members of the military are attempting to keep...
Members of the military are attempting to keep Vietnam War protesters under control. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scholars possess different views pertaining to the yearly division between generations, usually a few years separate one list from the other. Here is a list generations with significant (but not all) events occurring during their formative years compared across generations.

G.I./GREATEST

BORN:   1901-1928

SILENT

BORN:   1928-1945

BOOMERS

BORN:   1946-1964

GENERATION   X

BORN:   1965-1980

MILLENIALS

BORN:1981-2004

World   War I Stock   Market Crashes Marshall   Plan Vietnam   War Protests Chernobyl   Nuclear Accident
Spanish   Flu Great   Depression Yeager   breaks sound barrier Watergate   Hearings Soviet   Glasnost
Titanic   Sunk FDR   Elected NASA   formed Nixon   Resigns Fall   of Berlin Wall
Silent   Movie Era WWII   Begins Korean   War Vietnam   War Ends Disintegration   of Soviet Union
Roaring   20s WWII   Ends Cold   War Race   Riots Apple   and Microsoft
Ford   Model T and Assembly Line Atomic   Bomb used to defeat Japan JFK   Assassinated Civil   Unrest Hubble   Telescope
Russian   Revolution 1933-First   Concentration Camp McCarthy   hearings RFK   and MLK Assassinated 9/11
Prohibition The   Dust Bowl Cuban   Missile Crisis Armstrong,   Aldrin, Collins land on the moon War   on Terrorism
Lindbergh Flies solo   across Atlantic Japan attack on Pearl   Harbor DNA discovered Palestinian Terrorism Operation   Desert Storm
Penicillin Discovered United Nations Founded Vietnam War Roe vs Wade Internet   and Social Media

 

I

Alternate Listing for Generational Names from the Population Reference Bureau

1983-2001 – New Boomers
1965-1982 – Generation X
1946-1964 – Baby Boomers
1929-1945 – Lucky Few
1909-1928 – Good Warriors
1890-1908 – Hard Timers
1871-1889 – New Worlders

 

English: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. Th...
English: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. The photo shows a part of a public photo documentation wall at Former Check Point Charlie, Berlin. The photo documentation is permanently placed in the public. Türkçe: Berlin Duvarı, 1989 sonbaharı (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The above alternate generations list takes note of two generations that are usually overlooked, the Hard Timers and the New Worlders.  These are the generations that ushered in the industrial revolution, built railroads and began to introduce people to technology that would save their lives such as electricity and the light bulb.

If you look at history’s 20th Century Timeline, there are many events that could be listed that have influenced generations.  These are some of the ones I think are significant. I welcome any other events that you think I have missed or could be included.

Notable Links:

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2011/05/living/infographic.boomer/index.html

http://www.prb.org/Publications/PopulationBulletins/2009/20thcenturyusgenerations.aspx

http://www.pewresearch.org/

http://history1900s.about.com/od/timelines/tp/timeline.htm

Top Eight Demonstrations, Protests, Riots, Marches, Sit-ins

by Rick Bretz

If you see a malcontent, discontent, dissident or an activist fighting for a cause on the world stage, you’ll likely see someone or some power base trying to stop it, quell it or ignore it.

Turkish protestors are news today with more clashes with the government. The demonstrations are seen as protests against the conservative President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against secular Turks. Erdogan is being accused of forcing his Islamic views on a segment of the Turkish population. Islamic conservatives and secular politicians have long battled for government control and the best way to run a country with an overwhelming Islamic population. Situated at the edge of the European land mass and the Middle Eastern Territory, the Turkish people have fought for their religious identity while trying to be part of the European Union and culture.

Demonstrations, protests, marches, and riots usually begin with peaceful sit-ins and marches but soon escalate to violence and mayhem. Some of these achieve results while others are just the beginning of a longer struggle. Depending on where you sit at the table, one person’s terrorist, radical, guerilla, and rebel is another’s freedom fighter and force for change. After all, the United States revolution began with a peaceful protest.

Here are the top eight that we noticed.

1. Hungarian Uprising of 1956-The Soviet Union tanks rolled into Budapest after the Hungarian leadership informed Moscow that they were leaving the Warsaw Pact. This act fueled Soviet leaders to send in the tanks. Thousands were killed during the crackdown and its aftermath.

2. UK Miner’s Strike and early US Union Strikes -Worker’s unions in the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere fought corporate abuse to increase wages, improve working conditions and work schedules. The passing of the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) significantly aided unions to recruit and negotiate with corporate management.

John L. LeFlore and Freedom Riders
John L. LeFlore and Freedom Riders (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. Freedom Riders-1961-The Freedom Riders climbed in the bus, drove through the South, and more importantly, had the courage to get off the bus when the welcome party was unfriendly.

4. Antiwar Protests-From Vietnam to the Iraq War, when talk fails another tool of diplomacy takes form. An instrument in a country’s diplomatic tool bag is the strength of its military– Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force. Whether it be two people or two countries fighting, someone is likely against the idea no matter how noble the cause.

Tiananmen Square Protest (tian_med)
Tiananmen Square Protest (tian_med) (Photo credit: mandiberg)

5. Tiananmen Square-1989-Who can forget the lone protestor standing in front of the tank line, moving left to right as the tank moved. Later, the brutal crackdown at the square displayed government power for all the world to see on news channels across the globe. The final chapter for this hasn’t been written yet.

6. 1968 Democratic Convention-The news networks aired the violence for the world to see. Riots in the Chicago streets served Republican nominee Richard Nixon well. The media savvy Chicago Seven knew cameras would be rolling and the networks broadcasting while the city police forced people into paddy wagons. The whole affair alarmed Middle America and put an exclamation point on the terrible year of 1968 when Senator Robert Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., were assassinated.

7. Polish Solidarity Movement-1980s-The Solidarity movement forced the communist government to the table to negotiate with the country’s labor force. Another brick was removed from the Berlin Wall.

8. Wounded Knee-1973-The American Indian Movement clashed with the Federal Government and lives were lost.  The past repeats.

Whether the many or the few, failure to compromise with the opposing view will result in the beaten down using the power of numbers and the force of the media.

Others: WWI Veteran Pension Riots, the Suffrage Marches, Russian Revolution, Watts Riots, Prague Spring, Soweto Uprising

Notable Links:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/gallery/2010/nov/14/ten-best-protests#/?picture=368602881&index=7

http://protest.net/

http://www.varsity.co.uk/lifestyle/5124

http://www.now.org/history/protests.html

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/hungarian_uprising_1956.htm

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/ford-signs-first-contract-with-autoworkers-union

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/The-Freedom-Riders.html

http://www.npr.org/2006/01/12/5149667/get-on-the-bus-the-freedom-riders-of-1961

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-chicago-seven-go-on-trial

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soweto_uprising