Short twentieth century

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The term short 20th 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 of 78 years between the years 1914 and 1991. The period begins with the start of the First World War and ends with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The chain of events represented such significant changes in world history as to redefine the era.

The First World War 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 19th century, also coined by Hobsbawm, denoting the period 1789 to 1914, and to the long 18th century, or approximately 1688 to 1815.

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  1. ^ Hobsbawm 1995, p. 3.


  • Hobsbawm, Eric (1995) [1994]. The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991. London: Abacus. ISBN 978-0-349-10671-7.