40 most significant events in 20th century American history By: Katy, Taylor, Allison, and Jenna
Created by katym on May 16, 2008
Last updated: 03/17/11 at 09:43 PM
On the morning of April 20, 1999, devastation arrived at Columbine High School. On this devastating day, two Columbine students arrived at their high school armed with guns. While on their shooting rampage, they killed 12 students and one teacher and managed to injure 23 others. This security breech opened the eyes of America and helped form a more secure school environment across the USA.
On April 19, 1995 the city of Oklahoma CIty was attacked. This terrorist attack led to over 150 deaths and more than 800 others injured. This is thought to have been the start of many other terriorist attacks such as 9/11. Today the US has secured the American peoples safety.
November 9, 1989 was the start of the destruction of the Berlin Wall. The wall separated West Berlin from East Berlin and survived for 28 years. The many East Berliners that wanted to escape to West Berlin on November 9th ended up overthrowing the enforcement, who were supposed to regulate the number of people allowed into west Berlin. This is now what we call “the fall of the Berlin Wall.” Today we now realize the dangers of separation.
The Internet was invented in the early 1990’s. There were many attempts to achieve the convenience of the Internet. Originally the Internet was called the World Wide Web because it connected many countries with information from others. Today all Americans from businessmen to students find the Internet to be a most helpful resource.
On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman to go into space as an astronaut on the shuttle called the Challenger. The space mission lasted 147 hours and landed on a lakebed runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California on June 24. This event proved to America that girls really could do everything that boys could.
Ronald Regan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court on July 7, 1981. In September of that year, O’Connor became the Court’s 102nd justice as well as the first female justice. Today, Sandra Day O’Connor is a role model for people of all genders and ages. During her time in the Court, she showed the nation that women were as capable as men and “blazed new trails” for women. She was very successful, and became well know as a “consummate compromiser” while in Court. After serving on the bench for 24 years, O’Connor retired in 2005.
This Amendment to the Constitution was ratified at the beginning of July in 1971. It changed the voting age to 18. This was passed as a result of the Vietnam War and the draft that occured with that war. Since people could be drafted at age 18, people felt that they should have the right to vote at that same age.
The Woodstock Festival was held on a farm in Bethel, New York. This three-day festival lasted from August 15, 1969 to August 18, 1969. There have been many attempts to recreate Woodstock, but the original Woodstock yielded the best results and is now legendary.
In Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. He was an influential speaker who fought for the rights of blacks. Many people disliked King for his constant fighting. This anger and dislike led to the killing of one of the most influential people. Today Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most popular civil rights activists. His efforts brought blacks their rights and freedoms, which they still have today.
President John F. Kennedy was shot in a Presidential Motorcade in Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald. After he died the country was shocked and heart-broken. JFK was a greatly loved president, and a large range of people were affected by his death. The U.S. now had a new president, Lyndon Johnson. He was older and not as popular as Kennedy, but he kept America strong through tough times.
When Martin Luther King Jr. sang out his "I Have A Dream" speech, he inspired millions of people all over the nation. The hardest part of the civil rights battle was yet to come, and African Americans needed somone to lead them down the peacful path to freedom. Martin Luther King inspired blacks to be brave, and come together to achieve great steps in the fight to civil rights.
Hawaii became the 50th and final state in America on August 21, 1959. This state was also brought into statehood by Dwight D. Eisenhower and was a difficult state to obtain. The United States had to convince the residents of the islands, as well as people living in America, that Hawaii should become a state. A new flag was soon designed that included all 50 stars on the flag, as opposed to the previous 49
Alaska became the 49th state in America on January 3, 1959. It was an important decision that President Eisenhower made because with this new land it allowed our country to continue to expand and grow, allowing for new opportunities.
The Montgomery Bus Boycotts of 1955 changed the lives of African Americans. The boycotts were meant to gain rights for African Americans. A few days after Rosa Parks was arrested, the boycotts were planned as a peaceful protest. The boycotts lasted for over a year, but the blacks finally earned their rights on the public bus system.
Jackie Robinson defied all laws and shocked America when he made his Major League Baseball debut on April 15, 1947. He was the first African-American player in the Major League. This was a defining moment in history because it showed that America was one step further to taking down the color barrier that existed between the races.
The United States joined the United Nations on November 24, 1945. This international organization helps facilitate international law, security, economic progress, and human rights issues. It was important for the United States to join this program since we were such a powerful country.
August 6, 1945 marked a tragic day in Hiroshima as American troops descended on the city and bombed it. Nearly 80,000 people were killed with in seconds, but thousands of others suffered the long-term affects like radiation. This bombing made the world aware of the terrible destructions caused by nuclear weapons and made the US question their president.
D-day was a well planned attack on Nazi troops on the beaches of Normandy, France. Almost 133,000 troops from Enland, Canada, and the U.S. invaded on five different beaches. The Nazis suffered such a brutal defeat that they could not regain their strength. This battle was the beggining of the end for the Nazis. It was part of our vicotry in World War II.
This four day battle was between the US and Japan. The two countries were fighting for a win. Each side wanted victory over the other. This battle started the popular stratigie of "Island Hopping." Today we have discoverd that we won part of WWII through "Island Hopping." This part of history has won the US the Midway Islands and control of the ocean near the island.
On January 1, 1942 the name “United Nations” was coined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. During this time World War II was ongoing and the United Nations was established so that the Axis powers could be defeated. Twenty-six nations pledged their governments to support this cause. This international organization is significant because of issues it resolves and it strives to have peace in the world.
Pearl Harbor was not only a significant event in American history, it also had a large impact on world history. This well planned attack left the American naval fleet crippled and therefore the U.S was no longer a threat to Japan. This attack abruptly pulled America into World War II.
World War II began in 1935 with Hitler beginning military buildup, which was a violation of Treaty of Versailles. Throughout the war, Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin were powerful dictators. Many lives were lost in this war on all sides. The Allied powers, The Soviet Union and America were victorious and therefore became the world’s leading superpowers.
The holocaust was an attempt to exterminate the entire Jewish race from the Earth. This event taught people the cruelty that humans are capable of. It Taught how leaders can manipulate people to do whatever they want. It showed how it is hard for the suppressed people to fight back when their rights are taken away gradually, leading up to their murder. Overall the Holocaust showed the world that we need to prevent leaders from gaining too much power, and not allow ourselves to be manipulated.
On May 20, 1932, a brave woman decided to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, solo. This brave woman was Amelia Earhart. On the morning of the 20th of May, Amelia embarked upon her mission of flying solo as a woman across an ocean. Today the gender barrier for flying is non-existent. Amelia’s heroic event will live on in American’s hearts.
During the depression, not only was the majority of the population unemployed, but the economy suffered greatly too. Herbert Hoover's plans to bring the country out of the depression were not on the right track. When FDR was elected, he immediately put the new deal into place. Some people didn't agree with his but FDR was the president that had the remedy to the depression.
On May 1, 1931, the Empire State Building was finished. At its time of completion the colossal building was 102 stories tall (1,250 feet), making it the world’s largest skyscraper. This structure was built to help get the country our of the Depression-era because the workers received excellent wages by working on it, and it was supposed to be quickly rented out to big businesses as office space. The building gave New York City a deep sense of pride, which was needed during the Depression.
The Stalk Market Crash in 1929 caused thousands of Americans to go broke. Many had all of their money invested in the marked. There was no warning of the crash, so no one had time to sell their shares. The few who did get the chance to sell their shares ran out of luck when they reached the bank. Many banks were broke from the crash too. We learned from our mistakes in the Stalk Market Crash, and today the market is set up to prevent any catastrophe like this from happening again.
The Great Depression was an economic slump that began in the United States and eventually spread world-wide. One event that added to the economic problems was the stock market crash. Many americans were out of work and many businesses failed. By 1932 unemployment had risen to between 12 and 15 million workers. By 1933 11,000 of the 25,000 banks in the U.S. had failed. The depression was a growing hole that the U.S. didn't get out of for about ten years.
The first Academy Awards were held on May 16, 1921 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The award ceremony lasted less than 15 minutes and there were less than 250 attendees. Today the Academy Awards captivate the attention of all American citizens. Honoring actors, directors and producers, this event has become a cherished occasion in American pop culture.
Although the idea for the Panama Canal dates as far back as the 16th century, it wasn’t until the early 1900’s that its construction actually began. The canal opened on August 15, 1914 by the passing of the S.S Ancon. Today, the Panama Canal is an important resource for boats carrying trading supplies. Without the Panama Canal, boats would have to travel thousands of miles around continents to get to their destination. Although many people lost their lives in the construction of this canal, it has now become a very significant part of world history.
When World War I first started, America wanted to remain neutral. However, on April 2, 1917 Wilson declares war, because he felt as though America had to join in order to, “make the world safe for democracy”. Less then a year after America joined the war, it was over and the Allied powers had victory. This war gave America a newfound position of power.
On February 3, 1913, the 16th Amendment of the Constitution was ratified. This Amendment allowed Congress to charge an income tax without regard to the States of Census. This changed America because it allowed the government to put a tax on the money that the hard working citizens were earning.
On April 14, 1912 the largest passenger steam ship, of the time, sunk. The Titanic was carrying about 1,500 people who all died. This tragic accident happened in the Atlantic Ocean after hitting an iceberg. These days the movie The Titanic is one of the most infamous movies of all times. Not only did the sinking bring in new media stories but also helped Americans learn to build safe ships to transport people.
The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was a civil rights organization for ethnic minorities found in the United States. Founded in 1909, the goal of the NAACP was to bring different minorities together to become equal. Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B Dubois, and Rosa Parks have all been involved in events supported by the organization. Despite the violence, intimidation, and resistance meet, the NAACP stayed strong and changed history for all people in America.
Henry Ford introduced the Model T and helped to boost the undustrial revolutions. The Model T made transportation fast and easy. Soon it would be normal for every American to own a personal car.
The Pure Food and Drug Act was passed June 30, 1906. This act not only regulated the contents of the food but also made it federal law to correctly label all food products. Today meat is properly packaged and labeled for safe consumption of Americans.
The western film The Great Train Robbery was the first silent movie in America. The movie, directed by Edwin S. Porter, was released on December 1, 1903 in Hollywood California. This movie led to the thousands of movies we know today. Movies create a majority of what American’s lives consist of; entertainment. Media movies are one of the most popular forms of entertainment and will remain that way for years to come.
When the Wright Brothers invented the first airplane, this changed transportation forever. This invention lead to larger, faster planes. Traveling across the country soon became easy for the average American. Planes would be used in the army and to travel world wide.
The first Olympics that women could play in were held during the year 1900. Only 19 women competed and they were only allowed to play tennis, golf, and croquet. Margaret I. Abbott was the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal. This was a defining moment in American history because it was a step closer to equal rights for men and women.
The Industrial Revolution was a period of time in the early 1900's where the country had a boost in technology. It drasticaly changed life in America. Transportation made it easier for people to comute to jobs. Steam power was used to power new machinary. factories allowed mass production and provided more jobs. New appliances were used in homes to make every day life easier.