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The Modern Age

World War I (1914-18)

In June 1914 the murder of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Serbia, brought about the beginning of the war. The first countries involved in the war were Austria and Germany against Serbia. France, Russia and Britain sided with Serbia against Austria and Germany. During the war, Britain was marked by a wave of patriotism and hatred against the Germans. Even king George V changed his German name to Windsor. In 1915 Italy joined France and Britain. Russia retired after the Russian Revolution (1917-20). The United States entered the war to support Britain in 1918. The war ended that same year.

The vote for women

During World War I women replaced men in factories and contributed to the war effort. The struggle for the right to vote was led by the “Suffragettes” or Women’s Suffrage Movement, whose most important leader was Emmeline Pankhurst.

However, they often had to face the police and many of them were imprisoned.

Technological development

The years which followed the war were marked by a very quick technological development.
The telephone and electricity spread very quickly, while the motion picture and the radio brought about a new mass culture.
The most important technological advance was the automobile, which, thanks to the assembly-line invented by Henry Ford, was produced lower prized so that it was affordable for most Americans.

Edward VIII and George VI

When George VI died, his son, Edward VIII became king of Britain.
However, he renounced the throne after a few months to marry an American woman and went into exile as the Duke of Windsor.
His brother, George VI came to the throne. He ruled Britain during the difficult years of World War II

World War II

In the first phase of the war Germany occupied most Europe obtaining a lot of victories. Britain had to endure the German attacks with no external help. In 1940 the Battle of Britain was won by the British. During these difficult times, the Prime Minister of Britain, Winston Churchill, was a leading figure. The world soon involved more countries from all over the world: Britain was supported by its colonies; the Soviet Union, in 1941 entered the war after being attacked by the Germans; the United States entered the war after a Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor. The USA and Britain landed in Sicily, which caused the fall of Mussolini’s Fascist dictatorship. On June 6th, 1944 they occupied Normandy and invaded Germany. In May 1945 Germany surrendered. In August 1945 the USA dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which marked the end of the conflict.

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