Talk:Contemporary history

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Article[edit]

The article was split off from modern history. Modern history is a big topic and the coverage of 'Contemporary history' is better here for a variety of issues. J. D. Redding

"1945 to present"[edit]

This has long been the standard definition of "contemporary history". The problem is that this has long been the standard definition of "contemporary history". Until 1990 or so, this made excellent sense, but that's more than 20 years ago now. Anyone with any clear memory of the events of 1945 is today aged above 75. So yes, 1945 remains "in living memory", but such living memory is not very widespread any more, and mostly confined to octogenarians. If "after 1945" made sense in 1990, today the definition should logically be closer to "after 1965". --dab (𒁳) 12:57, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Also, "immediately relevant to the present" isn't a good definition. Of course both World War I and World War II are still "immediately relevant to the present", but so is the Battle of Vienna, the Fall of Constantinople, the Battle of Tours, the Constantinian shift and indeed the Siege of Jerusalem (70). Not to mention the invention of writing and the wheel in the Chalcolithic, etc. --dab (𒁳) 13:04, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

"immediately relevant to the present" = "without any intervening time closely connected to the present". Changed to be clearer. --J. D. Redding 13:21, 10 July 2011 (UTC) (ps., the "but so" are not ... )

I agree 1945 to present is perfect. living memory should not have to be the sole defining thing of contempory times. this 1945 to present has also been called the post war period becasue none of the G8 countries have fought one another since and has been a relatively peaceful time to live in im not saying it has been absolute peace with out war but difinatly relatively peaceful enough that post war period is aptly named. right now post war period and contemporary history has co-extensive in area of time. as for the nameing of modern time periods heres how i would go 1500 to 1700 early .1700 to 1900 middle and 1900 to present late modern and this includes contemporay times as a subset of the late modern period . contemporary times may change in the futre as time gos on and eventually we would live to see a age called post cold war period and that would be the new contemporary times lasting from 1992 to decades into the 21st century 76.244.155.36 (talk) 18:52, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

Africa[edit]

The article needs a section on Africa, particularly decolonization. That is a very important aspect of contemporary history and yet it's only mentioned in the lead.--Cattus talk 06:51, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

i Diffinatly agree on this the independence of african nation states is important in notabile events and trends of the contemporary times. one thing to note is starting in 1990 nations began to be spun off of other independent african nations. this nearly co-insides with the end of the cold war. in 1990 nambia got independence from south africa 1993 eritrea from ethiopia and finally 2011 south sudan from sudan. 76.244.155.36 (talk) 19:01, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

Post Modern[edit]

Can someone tell me why the word "Post Modern" is on top of the decades. I was trying to find out from some time now what the word has to do with contemporary history. Picaxe01 04:37, 31 March (UTC)

==Start of the 21st Century It doesn't make any sense the 21st century started in 2001 but the 2000s decade started in 2000 technically if the 21st century started in 2001 doesn't the decade also start in 2001???

Cold War[edit]

The cold war didn't end in 1989 it ended in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.224.151.101 (talk) 19:25, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Spanish article, help[edit]

I tried to add this Edad Contemporánea ariticle to the "available languages" tab, because this is the spanish version of this article, however I can't manage to add it, can someone else do it? thanks 190.60.93.218 (talk) 17:08, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

"Not to be confused with Late modern period."[edit]

Can we manage a clearer hatnote than that? What's the distinction? A reader arriving here should be told which article they should start reading, before they start reading it. --McGeddon (talk) 18:52, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

Tense[edit]

"Are" and "is" should be either replaced with past tense or qualified with "as of" or similar verbiage. Forward-looking discussions should be qualified with "as of" or similar.

Months or years often go by between updates of some parts of the text, so text written in the current or future tense easily becomes outdated. People reading it later may either not realize that it's outdated, or may not be ale to determine when it was current. Scott McNay (talk) 15:14, 4 October 2015 (UTC)

Tagging[edit]

I'm afraid I had written a proper breakdown of the reasons behind my tagging, but my internet connection failed and it got lost. In any case, I don't think it's terribly necessary anyway. Basically, the coverage of African, Asian and European history (basically anything non-American) is dire. The word "China" is mentioned once (and in the context of Taiwan), contrasting with the acronym "US" which is mentioned 113 times. There're also some big problems with recentism in the coverage of the Great Recession and the War on Terror. The section on the future fails WP:CRYSTALBALL and should be deleted. —Brigade Piron (talk) 10:44, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

While I agree that the article lacks a global scope and suffers from recentism, WP:CRYSTALBALL is more often than not misunderstood and abused. It has more to do with who is making a prediction or speculation, not that we can not cover any predicted event.
Per the policy itself: "Wikipedia is not a collection of unverifiable speculation. Wikipedia does not predict the future. All articles about anticipated events must be verifiable, and the subject matter must be of sufficiently wide interest that it would merit an article if the event had already occurred. It is appropriate to report discussion and arguments about the prospects for success of future proposals and projects or whether some development will occur, if discussion is properly referenced. It is not appropriate for editors to insert their own opinions or analyses. Predictions, speculation, forecasts and theories stated by reliable, expert sources or recognized entities in a field may be included, though editors should be aware of creating undue bias to any specific point-of-view."
In other words, our own opinions of the future and future events are irrelevant to Wikipedia, but sourced arguments about them are still good material to use. We have articles like 2020s and later decades articles which consist entirely of predicted events and items from speculative fiction. Before deleting anything, I'd suggest to check which source or sources support it. If no source does, then it should be removed or replaced. Dimadick (talk) 17:38, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
Dimadick, I do agree to a point. Perhaps the wider question is why material on the future - which, by definition, has not happened and is thus not "history" - fits into an article whose scope is Contemporary history? —Brigade Piron (talk) 09:03, 20 April 2016 (UTC)

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Style Edit[edit]

Dear Editors of Contemporary History,

I think this page deserves a style editing pass, which I have boldly begun with two edits to the introduction. Is anyone, especially a editor dedicated to contemporary historical writing, interested working with me to continue this style editing? I suggest that the pass focus on resolving the following problems:

  • Local cohesion: Paragraphs are not merely demands of format but organizations of thought into manageable portions. The key word being organized, the paragraphs of the article must flow from beginning to end or at least separate into recognizable subjects.
  • Sentence subjects: History is the story of the past and therefore best written with its characters, or at least its events, as the subjects of its sentences. Writing that a period witnessed this or that may make a good phrase once or twice, but we must keep the focus on what happened rather than what saw it.
  • Concision: The tighter the prose, the better the reading and the easier the later editing. No-one likes a wordy article.

Friendly and eager regards, Duxwing (talk) 06:46, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

Be careful not to use a preference for "consision" as an excuse to stubify the article. No problem, however, with just pointing the reader to more detailed articles on particular topics. We can't cover everything. Dimadick (talk) 06:55, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

Of course. By "concision" I mean to rewrite sentences with fewer words but the same meaning; e.g., replacing 'as a result of' with 'because'.

Suspect sentences[edit]

I was checking the Lead for copy-editing, and some of the sentences there seem of suspect historicity. :

  • "In the Middle East, the period after 1945 was dominated by conflict involving the new state of Israel and the rise of petroleum politics" We have articles stating that competition over who controls the Middle Eastern oil fields already had an effect on the Middle-Eastern theatre of World War I and the Mediterranean and Middle East theatre of World War II. Securing control over the Iranian oil fields was one of the main reasons for the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran (1941).
  • "growth of Islamism after the 1980s." The article on Islamism connects its development to the political ideas and activities of Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), Abul A'la Maududi (1903-1979), and Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966). The Islamist organization Muslim Brotherhood has been active since 1928. The Iranian Revolution (1978-1979) created the first modern Islamist state. The Soviet–Afghan War (1979-1989) served as a rallying call for Islamists from all over the world. And apparently, "The "veterans of the guerrilla campaign" returning home to Algeria, Egypt, and other countries "with their experience, ideology, and weapons," were often eager to continue armed jihad."
  • "The first supranational organisations of government, such as the United Nations and European Union, emerged during the period after 1945" The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization, but not a supranational union. Also it is mostly a successor to an earlier intergovernmental organization, the defunct League of Nations (1920-1946), which had formed in the aftermath of World War I.
  • "the European colonial empires in Africa and Asia collapsed, gone by 1975". The Portuguese Empire continued to have control over Macau until 1999, and was nominally in control of East Timor until 2002 (despite the area having been occupied by Indonesia for decades). The French colonial empire's end is disputed, as Overseas France continues to include former colonies. They have been given political representation in the National Assembly (France) and the Senate (France). The Dutch Empire is gone, but the Netherlands retains control over Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten. The British Empire continued to control Southern Rhodesia until 1980, the New Hebrides until 1980, Belize until 1981, and Hong Kong until 1997. Remnants of the Empire are administered as the British Overseas Territories.
  • "Countercultures rose and the sexual revolution transformed social relations in western countries between the 1960s and 1980s, epitomised by the Protests of 1968." Countercultures did rise following the war (we have an article on the Counterculture of the 1960s), but the relevant article traces their predecessors to the Romanticism movement of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Bohemianism movement of the 19th century and the early 20th century, and the Beat Generation literary movement (established in 1944). They all embraced values and norms of behavior which differed substantially from those of mainstream society, and were in opposition to mainstream cultural mores. Also the Romantics were associated with the free love movement of the 18th and 19th century, which sought "sexual freedom" from what they perceived to be oppressive cultural norms. The Protests of 1968 included areas of the Eastern Bloc, with the Prague Spring and the 1968 Red Square demonstration being efforts at democratization and anti-imperialism. I am not certain whether they count as "western countries".
  • "The culture of the United States, especially consumerism, spread widely." That would probably be Americanization. It is seen as connected to the global influence of American media (particularly the Cinema of the United States) since the 1920s, the leading American role in the Efficiency Movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, and a perception by various circles that Americanization is "synonymous with progress and innovation".
  • "Science began transforming after 1945: spaceflight" While much progress in spaceflight took place following World War II, the War itself is credited with starting the Space Age. The V-2 rocket of 1944, "became the first artificial object to cross the boundary of space". See also our list article on Spaceflight before 1951. It is usually one of the technological innovations credited to Nazi Germany.
  • "Meanwhile the first computers were created, followed by the Internet, beginning the Information Age." Define first computers. We have a Timeline of computing hardware 2400 BC–1949 tracing various developments. EDVAC was under construction from 1944 to 1946, the Z4 (computer) was mostly complete by 1944, Harvard Mark I was completed in 1944, the Colossus computer started operation in 1943 (though it kept being modified for a couple of years), the Heath Robinson (codebreaking machine) was completed in 1943, the Atanasoff–Berry computer was completed in 1942, the Z3 (computer) was completed in 1941, the Z2 (computer) was completed in 1939, and the Z1 (computer) was completed in 1938.
    • (Sidenote): The early computers of the 1930s and 1940s, their military uses in World II, and the humble foundations for modern technology are one of my favorite historical subjects. I have often worked on relative articles and categories. I am far from an expert, but I a pay attention to technological developments of the interwar period and World War II.

Any idea of how to improve the Lead? Dimadick (talk) 09:51, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand your comments. The nature of any historical event is that it has connections with events, both before and after, and these may cross arbitrary periodization boundaries - that is not controversial. Most of the concerns you highlight (on counterculture and Islamism for example) seem rather pedantic - they are all certainly best known for this period, even if their roots can be traced back to earlier periods. For a subject like decolonisation, perspective is important - the continued existence of colonial rule in Macau (let alone Curacao...) does not alter the fact that the period of "decolonisation" (in Africa and South Asia) is considered to span c.1947-1975.—Brigade Piron (talk) 10:33, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
I would add that the most obvious way to improve the article would be to bring in some WP:RS that both attest to the events themselves but also their importance to the period of "contemporary history" in particular.—Brigade Piron (talk) 10:35, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

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