At the turn of the 19th / 20th centuries Victorian ‘fussiness’ was gradually abandoned for clean design (echoed by new art forms, different ways of writing, modern furniture and buildings, and a new ‘scientific’ outlook). From the 1920s, the broadcast media began to have tremendous impact on opinion-forming and education.
The twentieth century in Europe began with economic depression, the rise of dictatorships, the Russian revolution and communism which proceeded two world wars.
The post-war world saw the end of empires and decolonisation change the political world map. The dominance of America as a world power and the cold war against Russia shape the politics from the middle of the century before the dissolving of the Soviet Union in 1989.
New transport systems such as motorcars and motorways and new technologies like photography, computers to home appliances and hospital treatments revolutionised everyday life and the first flight to the moon and the space race began. The nuclear age begins and takes warfare to a new threatening scale, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nakusari as evidence of the destruction and the nuclear fall out at Chernobyl warned of the dangers. Information technology, television, photography and towards the end of the century the internet revolutionise communication. The invention of the plane means travel becomes frequent and easy easier, cheaper and more common and Thomas Cook popularizes the package holiday.
Great social change occurs throughout the post-war world with the sexual revolution, the growth of feminism and women receiving the right to vote in many countries. The Civil rights movements in America and the movement against the apartheid in South Africa headed by Martin Luther King raise world awareness against racial segregation.
The century saw the world looking west to American culture especially to New York and Los Angeles. Pop art develops and Jazz and rock and roll quickly became the dominant forms of pop music. Other major arts movements include modern and postmodern art, expressionism, Dadism, cubism, de stijl, abstract expressionism and surrealism. The beginning of a popular awareness about global warming and green issues began towards the end of the century.