Twentieth Century

Rapid advances in science altered the understanding of the universe and the natural world and led to the development of new technologies. These changes enabled unprecedented population growth, which altered how humans interacted with the environment and threatened delicate ecological balances at local, regional, and global levels. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a European-dominated global political order existed, which also included the United States, Russia, and Japan. Over the course of the century, peoples and states around the world challenged this order in ways that sought to redistribute power within the existing order and to restructure empires, while those peoples and states in power attempted to maintain the status quo.  In response to these challenges, the role of state in the domestic economy fluctuated, and new institutions of global governance emerged and continued to develop throughout the century.