Chapter Twenty Four
The World Explodes
The 20th century was the most violent and bloody century in the history of man and although a greater proportion of the world’s population died in the Great Flood, we are unaware of any point in human history where such a large portion of humanity was engaged in killing such a large portion of humanity. We are going to look at the military and political, the spiritual, and the technological and scientific side of events.
Approaching the fulfillment of the “times of the gentiles” (Luke 21:24), the postmillennialist and amillennialist interpretation of the end of history felt vindicated that mankind was like the Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus character played by Herbert Lom in the 1975 movie, The Return of the Pink Panther, who said, “Every day and in every way I’m getting better and better”. In the movie the character was engaging in a bit of wishful thinking after being released from a sanitarium but then being thrown right back into a fix with the person whose strange behavior sent him there, Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau. Again, Darwin’s theory of evolution applied to the society seemed vindicated in that mankind was evolving to a higher state and technology and science would lead him into a bright, new world where war would be obsolete and national boundaries would disappear.
Historian, Carroll Quigley, on page 42 of his epic Tragedy and Hope, A History of the World in Our Time makes this statement; “Western Civilization is the richest and most powerful social organization ever made by man”. Truer words were never spoken. And as a manmade edifice it is doomed to collapse as they all have done in the past and in the 21st century is showing signs of that imminent fall. Europe has become almost wholly secular with some of the most evangelical of its remaining churches being pastored by African ministers come to return the gift of Christianity taken to them by the great missionaries of the past. However, the society in general is being over run by poor Muslim immigrants and some social commentators see European society as becoming Islamic by the end of the 21st century if there is such a thing. America, too, is becoming secular with a cultural civil war of sorts taking place between people who profess faith in some definition of God and the Secular Humanists who still cling to the end of the 19th century’s faith in mankind’s ability to save himself. Poor Roman Catholic immigrants from Mexico are flooding into the country. The Supreme Court and many branches of government and the military are dominated by prominent Roman Catholics. Some of the most visible players in the political and media world are Roman Catholics or so-called Protestants who are the big fans of the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. The political religions of Islam and Roman Catholicism and the philosophy/religion of Secular Humanism are the dominant religious expressions of the governments of the world today with money being the pivot point around which and by which they all operate. 2 Corinthians 4:4 is underscored by the world system.
The Harper’s Encyclopedia of Military History calls the first 25 years of the 20th century as “World War I and The Era of Total War”. It refers to the transitions as
amazing and the contrasts to previous eras as sharp. The use of the gasoline internal combustion engine added to the great increase in destructive power of weaponry has allowed the world to explode into over a hundred wars in a hundred year period with nearly 200 million dead being the result. The major players in this era politically and militarily were France’s Georges Clemenceau aka the “Tiger” for his fierce patriotism and ability to rally his entire nation. France also had two very good generals; Joffre and Foch. America had General Pershing while Britain had Haig and Allenby, Germany had Hindenburg and Lundendorff, Russia had Nicholas and Brusilov, Turkey had Kemal, Japan had Oyama and Togo, and Poland Pilsudski. In Russia, after the revolution, Leon Trotsky’s military and administrative ability helped to forge a Soviet Red Army from ignorant peasants and mutinous Czarist soldiers. But, without doubt, the professionalism of the German Army was the highest in the world. Military historians tell us that one of the biggest changes in warfare was the ability of a nation to support the men at the front for long periods of time thereby making political and economic considerations almost more important than the man at the front. The demands on a nation in regard to taxation were great, in order to support huge armies.
Huge siege guns and huge ships, battleships called Dreadnoughts, made killing all the more possible and war all the more devastating. Airplanes and tanks saw combat and although there were disarmament conferences such as the First Hague Peace Conference in 1899, the Second Hague Peace Conference in 1907, and efforts to place “civilized” rules on warfare at the London Naval Conference in 1908-1909, none of these efforts did anything to stop war. And so, between 1900 and 1903 Japan, which, amazingly, was a medieval country just 50 years before, was ready to fight a limited modern war to check growing Russian power in Manchuria and Korea. On February 8, 1904 Japanese torpedo boats launched a surprise attack, without previous declaration of war, on the Russian naval fleet anchored in the harbor of Port Arthur, at the tip of China’s Liaodong Peninsula (sound familiar?). The ensuing war was capped by the Battle of Tsushima, another disastrous loss for Russia. The Treaty of Portsmouth, in the USA’s New Hampshire, officially ended the war with President Theodore Roosevelt overseeing the negotiations.
Between 1911-1912 Italy fought a war with Turkey which ended when the threat of a war in the Balkan Mountains north of Greece appeared with Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece forming the Balkan League to try to end Turkish supremacy there and establish their own national identity. At the Treaty of London in 1913 Turkey lost all of its European pos-sessions. The Second Balkan War, fought in 1913, saw Bulgaria arrogantly turn on its former friends, Greece and Serbia. Romania joined in against Bulgaria and the Turks also attacked. The Treaty of Bucharest saw Bulgaria lose all of its gains in the First Balkan War.
In 1901, Eugenio Pacelli, a young priest in charge of pupils at the Cenacle Convent in Rome, was invited to become a part of the Pope’s Secretariat of State. He will one day
become Pope Pius XII, one of the most influential players in world politics, first in the rise of Hitler and the Second World War and then in the Cold War between the West,
particularly the United States, and the Soviet Union. He, at the age of 25, would personally carry the letter of condolence to King Edward VII of England on the occasion of the death of Queen Victoria. In 1904 he earned his doctorate, doing his thesis on an amazing subject; the nature of concordats or special treaties made between the Vatican and nation-states. Leo XIII died at the age of 93 in 1903 and Pope Pius X ruled until 1914, setting the tone by defending the Roman Catholic Church from any attempts to compromise with the modern world. Priests and Church authorities were reported for holding wrong beliefs such as Christian Democracy or any questioning of the Pope’s absolute authority in religious matters, and removed from their positions. He is best known for the work that became the Code of Canon Law of 1917. The code confirmed the absolute authority of the Pope. Pacelli was placed in charge of church-state affairs in France where anticlericalism over the Jesuit influence in foreign affairs and the catastrophe of the Franco-Prussian War was rampant.
In addition, the Church was on the wrong side of the popular Dreyfus affair, insisting that the Jew was the criminal and should be punished on Devil’s Island, even beaten daily. When Dreyfus was exonerated the Church came under attack by socialists. A law was passed in 1901 forbidding priests to teach, forcing the Jesuits to close their schools. After the French government cut off diplomatic relations with the Vatican a law was passed officially separating church from state in France. At 11:30am on the morning of June 14, 1914, just four days before Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated at Sarajevo, the Vatican and the government of Serbia signed a concordat negotiated by Pacelli. This granted the right of the Vatican to impose Canon Law on the Catholic subjects of this Orthodox country. The Vatican looked upon this as a step forward in the reunion of the Latin Roman Catholic Church and the Easter Orthodox Church healing the schism that had taken place in 1054. Politically, this was viewed as a step toward the establishment of Serbia’s long dream of Greater Serbia, uniting Slavic peoples and Croatia as the Catholic Church was the only real stumbling block to that next to the power of the Roman Catholic Empire of Austria-Hungary. The government of Austria was not pleased at the prospect of a powerful Serbia unrestricted by the opposition of the Vatican.
On June 28, a pro-Serbian agitator shot down the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife and the Serbian concordat became an issue of anti-Serbian rhetoric in Austria. Vatican meddling in international politics was one of the causes of the First World War.
The assassination toppled the power balance between Europe’s two armed camps – the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy versus the Triple Entente of France, Russia, and Great Britain. Austria-Hungary was eager to expand into the Balkans and expected German support. Serbia apologized for the assassination by a Serbian national and claimed absolutely no involvement in the plot. Austria-Hungary would not
back off and declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914. Russia mobilized against Austria, Germany declared war on Russia but began invading west through Luxembourg and
Belgium, and then declared war on France while Great Britain declared war on Germany because of the invasion of Belgium while America remained confused as to whom to support. The book, The Nations at War, A Current History by Willis John Abbot, a nice little propaganda piece written in 1917 to justify our entry into the conflict states that the war just happened and thousands of tourists were stranded when borders were closed. The world was at peace and then overnight was at war. This oversimplification helped to vilify the Germany of Kaiser Wilhelm, a cousin of both the King of England and the Czar of Russia.
The American President Woodrow Wilson had promised to keep the US out of the European War and this seemed in keeping with the Monroe Doctrine of a hundred years before, allowing the European cousin-kings to exhaust themselves but as America had recently become a global power with global possessions by way of the Spanish American War and Wilson having already sent troops to Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, and Panama it was not likely that he would refrain from sending American boys and men to Europe. William Jennings Bryan, his Secretary of State and a born-again Christian, resigned his position in disgust over Wilson’s handling of the war. When the Lusitania, a passenger liner, was to sail from New York, the German Embassy passed out leaflets warning people that the ship was liable to be sunk and many agreed that the ship was carrying munitions for the war effort in England. This was used as one excuse later for America declaring war.
One of the interesting characters of World War One was John Wilson Ruckman, nephew of Civil War veterans John and Wilson Ruckman. He married May Hamilton, daughter of Civil War hero, Colonel John Hamilton. President Wilson made him a Brigadier General in 1916 and then a Major General in 1917. He is credited with helpful inventions that served the American war effort by Who’s Who in Military History according to wikipedia.com.
Another interesting character of World War One was Baron Manfred von Richthofen,
known as the Red Baron, having 80 “kills” to his credit before he was shot down in 1918. By contrast, America’s greatest ace, Eddy Rickenbacker future owner of Eastern Airlines, had 26 confirmed kills.
The World War One Sourcebook by Philip Haythornethwaite says that it is difficult to figure out how many actual casualties there were in this war. Conscription (the draft) distributed deaths over a large cross-section of society as opposed to previous wars in which combat deaths affected a higher percentage of professional soldiers. Also, civilian deaths were much higher than military deaths. A million civilians or more died in Turkey as a result of the massacre by Turkey of Armenian Turks while only 325,000 are recorded as dying in Turkish military action. Serbia lost around 45,000 troops in action but 80,000 from disease and 650,000 civilians. Germany is thought to have lost 1.8 million dead as
did Russia with France losing about1.3 million and Britain losing about the same. America lost 50,000.
Warfare was brutal with trench warfare accounting not only for a high proportion of combat deaths but also deaths from disease. Notable battles of the war were the bloodbaths of the Somme and Verdun. World War One was not called that before World War Two occurred but was called The Great War, the War to End All Wars, the War to make the World Safe for Democracy, etc. etc
In 1916, things looked bleak for Britain, as German artillery was taking a heavy toll on Britain’s soldiers. A brilliant Jew, Chaim Weizmann, invented a formula to rapidly produce TNT which helped the British in their struggle. Prime Minister David Lloyd George asked Weizmann what he wanted. He requested a national homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine. On November 2, 1917, the Balfour Declaration was drawn up by Arthur J. Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary. In 1917, British General Allenby, who was a Christian, entered Jerusalem and took control of Palestine from Turkey. The control of the holy land went from a mostly Muslim nation to a mostly Christian nation in one day. Turkey had sought an alliance with Britain in 1911 but had been rejected. If Turkey and Britain had been allied the birth of the nation of Israel would have been delayed even further.
In 1918 a terrible worldwide flu (Spanish Influenza aka La Grippe) epidemic killed more people than combat with its death toll being the greatest for a single epidemic since the Black Plague of the Middle Ages. It was a global disaster that killed between 20 million and 40 million people worldwide with deaths from the war itself being stated by differing authorities as between 20 million and 40 million also but with the great majority of those not coming from combat, flu actually lowering the average lifespan by 10 years in America, and killing more people in a single year than in five years of the medieval plague. Of the American military dead, half succumbed to the flu, not to combat. In all modern wars up to World War Two, more people die from disease and infection than die outright in actual combat.
The allied blockade of Germany was slowly strangling their war effort although their U-boat, or submarine warfare, was wreaking terrible havoc on allied shipping as well. An armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, two days after the Kaiser abdicated. The Peace Conference of 1919 punished Germany severely and the Treaty of Versailles was the source of much anger later for Adolf Hitler. The centerpiece was Article 231 in which Germany had to accept full responsibility for the war with harsh reparations being demanded by the victors. Germany was now in a shambles, a defeated, yet still angry nation with a long history of militarism.
The rule of the Tzars (Czars) of Russia was ended by a revolution in 1917. The disaster and military failure of Russia’s participation in World War One helped the Bolsheviks,
the Communists, seize power with Nicolai Lenin coming out on top. Russia’s society and economy, like Germany’s, were in a state of collapse. Lenin entered Russia on a train
from Germany whose political leaders felt that supporting his efforts would take Russia out of the war, which it did. For the next 70 years Russia, now the Soviet Union, or more
formally The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, would be dominated by a corrupted version of Marx’s utopian dream society, another form or totalitarianism or government with absolute authority, controlled by the Communist Party elite, who would live like royalty had before the revolution. There is a song by a famous rock group from the 1960’s that goes like, “…meet the new boss, same as the old boss..” and this is appropriate for what happened in Russia.
In 1917, the Japanese, who were allied with the US and Britain in World War I, occupied the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok. Between 1918 and 1919 the Allies invaded Northern Russia with a small force under British command to try to remove allied munitions and supplies that had been given to the Czarist government to fight the Germans. In August 1918 an American force landed at Vladivostok. These efforts were, for the most part, unsuccessful. There was sporadic fighting through the early 1920’s as the Soviet government of Russia secured its authority over its own territory and neighboring states. Lenin and the Communists were, however, to succeed against the west and all interference.
The Ottoman Empire and the Austria-Hungarian Empire disintegrated as a result of the war and internal squabbles. The European colonial empires also began to crack at the seams. Under the leadership of President Wilson of the US and other allied leaders, an attempt was made to form a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations, as a method of handling international disputes and to prevent future war. This, of course, ended in failure. One of the more interesting side notes was that Ho Chi Minh, France and America’s future enemy in Vietnam, appealed to the great powers at Versailles including President Wilson for Vietnamese independence from France but was ignored.
Technology made rapid advances in the first part of the 20th century. Everything from the Multigraph, a forerunner of the modern copier, to a working airplane piloted by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright marked the turn of the century. The airplane began to play a significant military role during World War One but did not come into its own until much later. American General Billy Mitchell began to warn about the airplane’s potential devastating success against traditional forces, particularly at sea, but was vilified and court-martialed for his efforts. He is considered to be the father of the U.S. Air Force by some. His prophetic projections regarding an air attack on Navy forces predicted the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Another military “burr under the saddle”, so to speak, was Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, whose speech, “War is a Racket”, indicted moneyed interests for making World War One possible.
Benito Mussolini came to power in the turmoil in Italy in 1922 and created the modern Fascist state. He also signed the Lateran Treaty with the Pope giving full autonomy to Vatican City as an independent state. In return, the Pope neutralized Catholic objections to the Fascist State.
Adolf Hitler, originally sent to spy on the German Worker’s Party, eventually rose to be its leader, being sent to jail for an attempted takeover of Germany’s chaotic political
scene. While in prison he wrote his landmark work, Mein Kampf, or My Struggle. The political turning point for Hitler was the Great Depression which weakened his country’s government and made his success possible.
In the US, the concerted effort made to combat the deleterious effects of alcohol on society, called the Temperance Movement, and an all out effort to ban the sale of and use of alcoholic beverages resulted in what is called Prohibition. The Volstead Act, the 18th amendment to the Constitution, banned the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages, beginning in 1920 and was not repealed until 1933. The period of the 1920’s was known as “The Roaring Twenties”, starting in North America with returning soldiers and spreading to Europe as the devastation wrought by the war began to fade. It was a time of wealth and prosperity, decadence, and many social changes that worked their way down to the common man. It was also a time of excess and waste. During this period of time evolution began to be taught in schools and although the “Scopes Monkey Trial” was a victory for the banning of its teaching it became a landmark rallying point for those who demanded that evolution be taught as scientific fact to young students.
The prosperity of the Roaring Twenties ended abruptly with “The Great Depression”, a worldwide economic collapse, euphemistically called a “downturn” by some historians. When stock markets collapsed in 1929, fortunes of many wealthy and the savings of many ordinary people were wiped out. Governments were thrown into chaos which allowed people like Adolf Hitler to rise to power promising prosperity and fixing the blame for the world’s problems on Jewish bankers. Fraudulent documents like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion spread anti-Semitism among stunned populations.
Two inventions and their development changed the modern world in a drastic way; automobile production and the cinema. With the mass production of the automobile by Henry Ford and his Ford Motor Co. distances became shorter and young people were more likely to be alone together rather than at home with the parents as chaperone. This increased the prospect of morally lax behavior that led to more sexually active youth and the increase in illegitimacy and sexually transmitted diseases. Of course, that was just one negative aspect of the mass produced car. Now, the tons of animal manure produced by horses and cleaned from streets each year was replaced by the air pollution created by the internal combustion engine. Motion pictures, as entertainment, began as an escape from real life. Even so, many early 20th century preachers spoke against what was being seen in the darkened movie theater, some even claiming that if the Rapture took place while you were in a movie theater you would be “left behind”. Eventually, movies not only
were escapism but began to color the way the individual viewed reality and even became used for social change and political purposes. Today, movies are a powerful tool of indoctrination, even under the guise of a simple romance or light comedy. In fact, as the 20th century deepened, the American public, in particular, became a people addicted to all
forms of popular entertainment in ways unimagined by their forebears to such an extent that entertainment has become reality rather than an escape from it.
Music, particular popular music based on African rhythms and highly sexually charged lyrics and rhythms (using slang words for sex and sexual objects as labels for forms such as jazz, gig, boogie-woogie, swing, and eventually rock n’ roll) began to take over the mind and values of the ordinary person. One of the great social changes of the 20th century has been the replacement of religious practice with “secular” entertainment, almost a type of religion, as the preferred method of reaching out of oneself or experiencing a feeling of spirituality or even self-identification. Ultimately, this expression of humanistic religion spread to all forms of religious worship.
Some of the more influential forces in religious thought in the early part of the century were great evangelists concerned about fighting the tide of liberalism in thought and behavior. Their opponents were ministers who tried to unite modernistic beliefs like evolution and humanism plus popular culture with faith to produce something appealing to people’s uncertainty over the modern world and often to push forward a drive for social change but always appealing to the lowest common denominator. Hegel’s thesis, traditional religious faith and practice in this context, meets anti-thesis, or modern, liberal attitudes toward morality and belief in the theory of animal origins of man, producing synthesis, a modern, mongrelized form of religion that would be alien to a person just a century before, a religion that has one foot in atheism and one foot in faith, without any final authority other than a person whose intellect and speaking ability appeals to its practitioners.
Great preachers of salvation and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, however, as opposed to this modern religion were Billy Sunday, J. Frank Norris, Mordecai Ham, and Bob Jones, Sr. among others.
Sunday, a former professional baseball player became in influential mover and shaker in the movement toward Prohibition although alcohol was not the only thing on which he preached. He was saved at the famous Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago and was associated with the YMCA. Eventually he was ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church.
J. Frank Norris, known as the “Texas Tornado” was a controversial fundamentalist Baptist preacher who was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas for decades combating what he saw as liberalism in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Mordecai Ham, a famous prohibitionist evangelist, preached the sermon after which Billy Graham was saved. Bob Jones, Sr. was the fiery Methodist evangelist who founded Bob Jones University. Clarence Larkin, Baptist Bible commentator and author, published his landmark Dispensational Truth and several Bible commentaries in the early part of the century. Modern end times commentators like Hal Lindsey borrow heavily from his exhaustive approach to the books of Revelation and Daniel. I am sure there were many other very important soul winning evangelists and I don’t mean to exclude anyone’s favorite old time preacher but time does not allow us to examine every one.
On the other hand, one of the most important liberal preachers, mentioned before, a supporter of evolution, modernism, and a denier of the supernatural fundamentals of the Bible was Harry Emerson Fosdick, whose famous sermon, Shall the Fundamentalists Win?, was in opposition to everything the former mentioned men believed. He supported appeasement for Hitler prior to World War II, as well.
The American Standard Version of the Bible was first published in 1901, based on the Revised Version of Westcott and Hort. To bring all Bible versions into line for marketing purposes the Authorized Version of the Bible, which was once also known as the Common Bible, had its name changed to King James Version so it would stand in the same ranking as any other three letter abbreviation such as ASV.
Moving back to the world political scene I want to move to spectacular events in China for a bit. In the years 1900 and 1901 China experienced the Boxer Rebellion, incited by anti-foreign elements in the government who were tired of the control that the European colonial powers had. A fanatical secret organization, which we would call terrorist, named the Righteous Harmonious Fists (Kung Fu practitioners called Boxers) attacked missionaries and Chinese converts to Christianity. The Empress Tzu Hsi professed that she could not control this movement but was secretly supporting it. The eventual result was a siege of the foreign legations at Peking and a multi-national relief army sent to rescue them with tremendous monetary penalties laid on the Chinese government. Military historians say that since the multi-national force was poorly organized and poorly led with components that would eventually go to war against each other that if the Chinese had been better organized and armed they would have defeated the foreign military venture.
China was in turmoil and there was a rise in Chinese pride and nationalism resulting in a revolution in October of 1911 in which the dying Manchu Dynasty was overthrown after nearly 300 years and the Republic of China was formed. China entered World War I on the side of the allies, sending labor battalions to the front thereby gaining an ending to all German and Austro- Hungarian concessions in China. Between 1920 and 1926 many regional war lords, independent of any central authority began to rule most of China. An organizing force called the National People’s Party or Kuomintang arose under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen. One of its military leaders was a young general named Chiang
Kai-Shek. Communist Russian military advisors were prominent among the Kuomintang as Russia attempted to exert military and political influence on its massive neighbor.
Japan participated in three military ventures; the Boxer Rebellion, the Russo-Japanese War, and World War One, thus gaining important military experience after just recently becoming a modern nation. Growing militarism in Japan created a change of attitude and a desire to outwardly expand resulting in its invasion of China in 1931 which eventually was responsible for the deaths of ten million Chinese.
In the British Isles between 1916 and 1921 there was an Anglo-Irish Civil War when armed rebellion broke out in Dublin, Ireland against British rule in an effort called the Easter Uprising. The Irish Free State was established in 1922. Warfare continued between the Catholic south and the Protestant British owned country of Northern Ireland aka Ulster. Even after that abated conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Ulster continued.
In Germany the shaky government that existed after the defeat of World War One, the Weimar Republic, endured several revolts and because of German default on war reparations French and Belgian troops invaded and occupied the Ruhr valley, the heartland of Germany’s heavy industry. Even after this dispute was settled France was fearful of German resurgence and began to build the Maginot Line, a string of fortifications between the two countries to deter future aggression.
Although a part of the Versailles Treaty ending World War One, the St. Germain Treaty, broke up the once powerful Austro-Hungarian Empire, there was a strong drive in the independent nation of Austria to unite with Germany, with which they shared a common language and culture. This was forbidden by the aforementioned treaties. Hungary, as an independent state, began to be ruled by a communist regime almost immediately.
The realization that the great European powers had feet of clay and were not invincible, a realization made evident by the chaos and destruction of World War One, prompted the fulfillment of many colonies and protectorates’ dreams of independence from their former masters. In the Arab States, after a long civil war, Ibn Saud established himself as undisputed ruler of Arabia and allied with Great Britian against Turkey during the war. Emir Faisal, with the help of Colonel T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia revolted against the Turks, as well. It took Ibn Saud until 1925 to gain control over Arabia and from 1932 it was known as Saudi Arabia.
With Palestine becoming a British administered League of Nations mandate in 1920 there was renewed Jewish immigration but not on as great a scale as Zionists had desired. It has been said that World War One prepared the land for the Jew and World War Two prepared the Jew for the land. It has also been said by various preachers that when Britain failed to facilitate the mass movement of Jewry to its homeland that God sent Goring’s Luftwaffe to punish them but that is a matter for theological speculation. If God’s goal in
history is the restoration of His nation of Israel pursuant to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to convert them and rule the earth from Jerusalem for a 1,000 years after the Church Age and The Great Tribulation or Time of Jacob’s Trouble are over before
Armageddon and the White Throne Judgment, as dispensationalists believe, then that would make sense.
The French occupied Syria but were nearly pushed out by open rebellion by 1927. Eventually, they were forced to declare Syria and Lebanon independent states. The British faced open rebellion in Iraq as well. Persia saw a coup d’etat by Reza Khan in 1921. Afghanistan had signed a treaty with the Soviet Union in 1926.
Science leapt forward with the practical inventions of Thomas Edison and the theoretical assertions of Albert Einstein. American Benjamin Holt invented the tractor in 1900 and the Trans-Siberian Railway opened the same year. American John Philip Holland invented the first submarine purchased by the US Navy and Eastman Kodak’s Brownie camera was a great success.
The hamburger on toast was introduced by Louis Lassen in Connecticut. In 1901 Marconi broadcast radio waves from England to Newfoundland. Orville Wright flies 120 feet in 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In 1906 Marie Curie becomes the first woman professor at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. The first all in one electric clothes washer is invented in 1907.
America’s most devastating earthquake takes place in 1906 and in Siberia in 1908 a huge explosion of unknown origin levels trees in a twenty mile circumference. In 1908 Henry Ford introduces the only in black Model T, selling for $850.50, and it becomes a national best seller. In 1909, Robert Peary and Matthew Hansen reach the North Pole. In 1911 Roald Amundsen reaches the Antarctic Pole.
In 1909, Frenchman Louis Bleriot becomes the first man to fly across the English Channel. The first commercial flight of a dirigible is made in Germany. It is piloted by Count Von Zeppelin. In 1910 cartoonist John Randolph Bray patents a process of animation. In 1928, Walt Disney will license it to create the first Mickey Mouse cartoon, “Steamboat Willie”. The science of underwater acoustics and communications takes off after the Titanic sinks in April of 1912.
In 1919 British airmen John Alcock and Arthur Whitten are the first to fly nonstop over the Atlantic Ocean from Newfoundland to Ireland. Charles Lindbergh will do it solo in 1927 from Long Island, New York to Paris. In this early part of the century Robert Goddard does groundbreaking work in rocket propulsion. Scientists like Niels Bohr make great strides in physics, understanding atomic structure and paving the way for nuclear weapons.
The toaster and the refrigerator become popular items and television is first demonstrated in 1927. The list of scientific advancements in the first 30 years of the 20th century could fill books. Due to time and space constraints, let’s move to the arts.
Some of the great novels and works of fiction written in this era of the first quarter to first third of the 20th century were penned by Joseph Conrad who wrote Lord Jim in 1900, although my favorite work of his is Typhoon, while his Heart of Darkness was moved from Africa to the Vietnam War and made into a movie called Apocalypse Now made by Francis Ford Coppola of The Godfather saga fame. H.G. Wells, who wrote War of the Worlds in 1898 which has been made into many movies, one of the latest starring Tom Cruise, published several works in the early part of the century. Booker T. Washington published his great and I would say, ‘must read’, Up From Slavery, in 1900. L. Frank Baum published The Wizard of Oz in 1900. In 1901, British novelist Rudyard Kipling published his masterpiece, Kim. In the early part of the century, German novelist Thomas Mann published his famous Death in Venice and The Magic Mountain. Other noteworthy writers of this era were Thomas Hardy, Andre’ Gide, William Butler Yeats, Henry James, and William Somerset Maugham.
There are a great many artists and works of art that I won’t have time to go into here but I would remind you to independently research architect Frank Lloyd Wright, composer/conductor Igor Stravinsky, poet Robert Frost, Carl Sandberg, painter Marc Chagall, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, movie director D.W. Griffith, novelist Willa Cather, playwright Eugene O’Neill, comedian Harold Lloyd, director Cecil B. De Mille, composer Dimitry Shostakovich, and novelist Virginia Wolf.
Now, we are well into the 20th century and in the next class we will discuss the prelude to World War II.