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8.10 20th-Century Cultural, Intellectual, and Artistic Developments

#lostgeneration

#physics

⏱️  2 min read

written by

Bretnea Turner

bretnea turner

June 11, 2020


Physics

Before the outbreak of war in the 20th century, people believed that science and industry met the needs of people. While there were complaints with labor laws and life in society, most would not trade new inventions, consumer items, or developments in science and medicine for their old ways.

However, the study of physics brought a new threat: nuclear weapons. The US atomic weapons that ended WWII created a new kind of threat. Albert Einstein, a famous German-born physicist, had warned the US of Germany possibly having the intelligence to produce mass explosive weapons. Another German physicist, Werner Heisenberg, was studying nuclear reactors at the time in Germany. To avoid being captured and used by the Germans, Einstein came to the US in 1940. 

The US created the Manhattan Project to research and create the first atomic weapon in world history. In 1945, two of them were used on Japanese cities, killing 226,000 upwards in minutes to force a Japanese surrender.

Lost Generation

WWI created a Lost Generation. This term is credited to Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and other writers of the era who emphasized the wandering and directionless youth who came of age during the war. Several female writers became famous during this time for their literary works as well like Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. War was what they knew, so returning to a “normal” society was somewhat difficult for them. Their extreme disillusionment contributed to the rise of authoritarian regimes. 

This term also became a general characterization for those who lived during the time period, as they had experienced more loss in WWI than any other war in history. 

In WWII, the most devastated nations involved in WWII were the Soviet Union, Poland, and Germany. For the major countries involved, the Axis powers and the Soviet Union have outrageous numbers of casualties - mostly because it was those nations who were actively murdering their own people through totalitarian measures in addition to sending thousands into war.

Women

Women were employed in textile factories for years, but never in mass numbers the way they were in WWI and WWII. With a large percentage of men fighting in the war, operating heavy machinery, and producing munitions, women filled factory positions and other specialized jobs left behind by men. Women assumed their new positions, served in the medical field as nurses, learned new workforce skills during both wars. This allowed them to continue using these skills after each war ended.

After WWI, women gained the right to vote in many European nations, as well as in the United States. If women could aid their country in war, they deserved the right to vote. Most European nations that did not grant suffrage after WWI, did so after WWII.

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