History of the Modern West
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If the history of the modern West began with the Industrial Revolution, it was also a product of the Enlightenment that had preceded it. Both facilitated the rise of industrialized democracies. But the West also pioneered new dimensions of technology, politics, philosophy, art, and religion in modern international culture. In fact, it was the first major civilization to abolish slavery and the first to give women the right to vote. The technology of the modern West evolved from steam power and electricity to landing a man on the moon 1969. Moreover, the creativity of Renaissance inventors like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, Classical musicians like Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, artists like van Gogh and Picasso, and literary giants like Shakespeare paved the way for the development in recent times of movies and television and the personal computer and the Internet. In addition, spectator sports in Europe such as soccer, cricket, golf, tennis, and rugby preceded baseball, football, and basketball in the United States.
North and South America, South Africa, and Australia and New Zealand were at first colonies of European empires that later became new Western nations, while Africa and Asia were preyed upon and dismembered by Western powers. While democracies arose in Britain’s colonies, South America created new autocracies in the 19th century. Absolute monarchy disappeared from Europe, only to be replaced by fascism and communism in the 20th century. World War II defeated fascism in Europe and caused the collapse of Europe’s empires. Then, the United States and Soviet Union emerged as rival global powers in the Cold War, which ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. With that, the nations of the modern West moved to embrace economic and political co-operation in the European Union.
The Great War
World War II