Monday, August 25, 2014

The Age of Global Civilization - World History

THE DATE at which the European age gave way to the age of global civilization is a matter of debate. Some historians have picked out 1917 as a year of destiny. Others have seen 1947, the year of Indian independence, and 1949, the year of the Chinese revolution, as the decisive turning points. Certainly, America’s declaration of War in 1917 turned a European conflict into a World War while the Bolshevik revolution in Russia split the world into two conflicting ideological camps. Similarly, the independence of India and the revolution in China symbolized the resurgence of Asia and the gathering revolt against the West.

Today it is obvious that we live in a post-European age. By making the world one, the European powers stirred up forces which spelled their own eclipse. The World War between 1914 and 1945 whittled away the resources of the European powers, and only the healing of the wounds, in acts such as the formation of the European Economic Community in 1957, restored their fortunes. Europe’s exhaustions after 1945 benefit-ted the Soviet Union and the USA, the two superpowers on the eastern and western flanks, whose rivalry produced an age of bipolarity. But bipolarity, too, proved to be a temporary phenomenon. The recovery of Europe, the emancipation of Asia and Africa, the rise of Japan and finally the collapse of the Soviet empire brought a new constellation into being, and with it the threat of confrontation between rich and poor nations and of the exhaustion of global resources through overpopulation. The world is now dominated by a Single major power – the USA whose massive economic and military strength is challenged by a new wave of anti-Western violence not unlike the reaction that eventually undermined the age of European empire. 

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