A Timeline of the 20th Century|
Trace the 20th Century - which started on Jan. 1, 1901, and ended
on Dec. 31, 2000 - through the chronological events listed below.
1901 - Teddy Roosevelt became president after William McKinley's assassination.
1903 - Wright Brothers made their successful airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C.
1903 - Henry Ford organized the Ford Motor Company.
1906 - Earthquake and fire killed 500 in San Francisco.
1909 - North Pole reached by American explorers.
1911 - Norway's Roald Amundsen led first expedition to reach South Pole.
British crew arrived a month later, but didn't survive trip back.
1914 - Assassination of Austria-Hungary Archduke led to World War I. Over 60
million troops engaged, 35 million casualties, and 10 million killed.
1914 - Panama Canal opened, providing a water route from Atlantic to Pacific.
1916 - Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity. He won a
Nobel Prize in 1921.
1917 - Bolsheviks (Communists) seized power in Russia.
1917 - The United States entered WWI on the side of England and France.
America sent five million soldiers and suffered 320,000 casualties.
1919 - Prohibition - started by 18th Amendment - confirmed by Volstead Act.
1920 - Census showed that a majority of Americans lived in cities.
1920 - The 19th Amendment granted women suffrage.
1920 - First transcontinental air-mail route between San Francisco and
New York City.
1925 - Wyoming elected the first woman governor.
1927 - Little Falls' Charles Lindberg made first solo flight across the Atlantic.
1927 - The Jazz Singer became first successful talking motion picture.
1929 - Stock market collapsed, leading to the Great Depression.
1930 - All Quiet on the Western Front named Best Motion Picture at the third
Academy Awards ceremony.
1930s - Drought and financial crisis caused 33 percent unemployment rates and
the Gross National Product dropped by 50 percent.
1931 - Robert Frost won the second of three Pulitzer Prizes in poetry.
1931 - Gangster Al Capone sentenced to 11years in prison for tax evasion.
1933 - Prohibition repealed by the 21st Amendment.
1939 - Nazi Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, starting European hostilities
in what became World War II.
1939 - Gone with the Wind won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture.
1940 - John Steinbeck won a Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath.
1941 - German forces invade the Soviet Union. Soviet casualties in the war
reached 20 million, while German losses were 10 million.
1941 - The U.S. entered WWII after Japan's surprise attack at Pearl Harbor.
America sent 16 million troops and suffered one million casualties.
1945 - At the conclusion of WWII, the United States dropped atomic bombs
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 70,000 people in each Japanese city.
1946 - Winston Churchill refers to Communist Eastern Europe as behind an
"Iron Curtain," as 40-year Cold War starts.
1947 - The Diary of Anne Frank published posthumously. One of the six
million victims of the Holocaust, she died in a concentration camp.
1947 - India, led by Mohandas Gandhi, gained independence from Britain.
1948 - Tennessee Williams won his first Pulitzer for A Streetcar Named Desire.
1949 - Communists, under Mau Zedong, took control of China.
1950-53 - The United States fought in the Korean War, contributing 5.7 million
soldiers and suffering 157,000 casualties.
1950s - Television invaded American homes.
1953 - Ernest Hemingway won a Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea.
1953 - Edmund Hillary, of New Zealand, and Tenzing Norkay, of Nepal,
reach summit of Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain.
1954 - U.S. Supreme Court ruled against school segregation.
1954 - Dr. Jonas Salk started inoculating children against polio.
1957 - U.S.S.R. began space exploration with the launching of Sputnik.
1959 - Fidel Castro took power in Cuba.
1961 - Thirty mile Berlin Wall built to divide East and West Berlin.
1961 - Alan Shepherd Jr. became first American in space.
1962 - John Glenn became first American to orbit the earth.
1963 - Two hundred thousand people attended civil rights rally in Washington,
D.C., where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered "I Have a Dream" speech.
1963 - President John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
1964 - Congress passed various civil rights laws.
1965-73 - America engaged in the Vietnam War, using almost nine million troops
and suffering 211,000 casualties.
1967 - Israeli and Arab forces clashed in Six Day War.
1968 - Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and presidential candidate
Robert Kennedy assassinated two months apart.
1969 - Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon
saying, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
1970 - Four Kent State students killed during anti-war demonstration.
1974 - President Richard Nixon resigned as a result of the Watergate.
1978 - Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II.
1978 - Agreement made by Egypt's Anwar Sadat and Israel's Menachem Begin.
1979 - Nuclear accident occurred at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.
1979 - Mother Theresa won the Noble Peace Prize for her work in India.
1980 - The United States boycotted the Summer Olympics Games in Moscow
to protest Soviet's invasion of Afghanistan.
1981 - Iran militants free 52 American hostages that had been held for
14 months in the captured U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
1981 - President Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O'Connor,
the first woman justice, to the Supreme Court.
1982 - Space shuttle Columbia made a five-day inaugural space flight.
1982 - Solidarity movement outlawed by Polish parliament.
1983 - Terrorist bombing killed 237 U.S. Marines in Beirut, Lebanon.
1984 - Gas leak in Bhopal, India, killed 2,000 and injured 200,000.
1985 - "We Are the World" - a song to benefit relief efforts for starvation
in Africa - won three Grammy awards.
1986 - Space shuttle Challenger exploded 75 seconds after launch, killing seven.
1986 - Nuclear accident occurred at Soviet plant station in Chernobyl.
1989 - Berlin Wall taken down after collapse of Communism.
1990 - Apartheid ended in South Africa. Nelson Mandela released from prison
after 27 years, and elected president in 1994.
1990 - Iraqi forces, under Saddam Hussein, invaded neighboring Kuwait.
1990 - East and West Germany reunited after 45 years of separation.
1991 - Three Baltic republics declared their independence from the Soviet
Union, which eventually dissolved into 15 separate states.
1994 - North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect, liberalizing
trade between Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
1995 - Bomb destroyed federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168.
1997 - Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule after 156 years as a British colony.
1997 - Financial crisis hit Asia, prompting billion dollar IMF bailouts.
1998 - All-Ireland vote approved peace plan leading to home rule a year later.
1998 - President Clinton impeached, but acquitted, in Monica Lewinsky scandal.
(Information for this list compiled from the 1987 Information Please Almanac,
the 1998 World Book Encyclopedia, the 2000 World Almanac, the 2001 World Almanac, and Philip's Millennium Encyclopedia & World Atlas.)
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