History of the West 1894-1914
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The history of the West 1894-1914 saw a “Golden Age” characterized by peace and prosperity, the growth of its empires, and a wealth of technological and cultural innovation. It produced numerous masterpieces of literature, music, theatre, and visual art, and European civilization achieved its greatest geo-political power and influence upon the rest of the world.
The Belle Époque or La Belle Époque (French for “Beautiful Epoch”) is the term often given to a period of French and European history, usually dated to between 1871–80 and the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Occurring during the era of the Third French Republic, it was a period characterized by optimism, regional peace, economic prosperity, colonial expansion, and technological, scientific, and cultural innovations. In this era of France’s cultural and artistic climate (particularly within Paris), the arts markedly flourished, with numerous masterpieces of literature, music, theatre, and visual art gaining extensive recognition.
The Belle Époque was so named in retrospect, when it began to be considered a continental European “Golden Age” in contrast to the horrors of the Napoleonic Wars and World War I. The Belle Époque was a period in which, according to historian R. R. Palmer: “European civilization achieved its greatest power in global politics, and also exerted its maximum influence upon peoples outside Europe.”
All this was in contrast to the horror of the Napoleonic Wars that had preceded it and the Great War that would soon follow it.
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1894-1914 Index | Society: Women | Culture: Art: Expressionism • Post-Impressionism • Literature: Naturalism • Symbolism • Russian Literature | Music | Philosophy: Darwin • Freud | Science and Technology | Religion | Power
Culture: Science and Technology