Short twentieth century

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The term short twentieth century, originally proposed by Iván Berend (Hungarian Academy of Sciences) but defined by Eric Hobsbawm,[1] a British Marxist historian and author, refers to the period between the years 1914 and 1991. The period begins with the beginning of the First World War and ends with the fall of the Soviet Union. The chain of events represented such significant changes in world history as to redefine the era:

It started with the First World War, which caused the end of the German, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires. The Second World War was greatly influenced by the outcome of the First World War. The Cold War was a result of the Second World War and ended with the fall of the Soviet Union.

The term is analogous to the long nineteenth century, also coined by Hobsbawm, denoting the period 1789 to 1914, and to the long eighteenth century, or approximately 1688 to 1815.


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  1. ^ Hobsbawm 1995, p. 3.

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