For the purpose of this exercise and a bit of fun, I got a blank sheet of paper to write out my top 10 iconic moments or eras of the last 100 years. I just wrote down events from memory without referencing the internet that had made a mark on my mind. My first list had 18 so to make a top 10 I left out some and amalgamated others. The ones I left out were Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee, JFK/Bobby Kennedy Assassinations, Live Aid, Tiananmen Square Protest in 1989, the Chilean Miners in 2010. I amalgamated 4 other events to make two for my top 10.
I will give my top 10 with a brief description of each time and why I feel it is iconic.
In Rough Chronological Order:-
(1) World War 1 (1914-1918)
The carnage, death toll and horror of this war was going to be so great but it would be necessary because it was the "War To End All Wars", unfortunately it wasn't.
"In Flanders Fields" by Major John McCrae, May 1915.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
(2) The Rise, The Fall And The Horror Of The German Nazi Party (1919 - 1945)
6,000,000 people slaughtered in extermination camps. Need I say more?
The Gates of Hell (Auschwitz) - Arbeit Macht frei (Work Sets You Free)
For the pedantics, references about the formation date, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_Party
(3) Hiroshima (06/08/1945)
I discussed the pros and cons of the bombing in a previous question on a previous account but this is just a reference to the day that the potential for nuclear warfare became a reality.
(4) Civil Rights in the 1950s/1960s and Barrack Obama (2008)
My first amalgamation of the top ten. There was a highly visual civil rights campaign in the 1950s and 1960s in the US while things are still not perfect, it is a lot better today. How many who campaigned then would think that there would be an African American President within half a century. There was the first Catholic in 1960 now the first African American in 2008. The barriers are falling, anybody can be president in the future - a Woman, an Hispanic, an American Asian, a Native American, a Gay, a Non Christian/Non Faith or a transgender (that is all I can think of at the moment). If the world's most powerful political position is open to all then the doors are being unlocked.
(5) The Space Race in the 1960s
For thousands of years humankind has contemplated the sun and the clouds, gazed at the stars at night. We had read about spaceships in books, seen aliens in science fiction movies and TV programmes now on the 04/12/1961 Yuri Gagarin, a Russian cosmonaut became the first man to go into space.
On 07/20/1969 Neil Armstrong, an American astronaut became the first man to walk on the moon. We were beginning to have the chance to explore outside our little world.
(6) Changing Times in Ireland
This is my second and final amalgamation of my top ten. Up to the 1950s, the Republic of Ireland was in the iron clad grip of catholic conservatism ruled just as much by the bishops as by the politicians. Contraception was illegal, divorce was illegal, matters of life/death in hospitals were decided at a catholic ethos level first before checking with medical expertise. Families of 10 or more children were very common.
During the 1960s and 1970s, social advances happened that meant Irish children could get a full second level education and a third level education if they wanted to through state aid. You could become a doctor or a lawyer if you got the marks in state exams not because of what your father worked at or where you lived. This has led to increased secularisation in Irish society plus with the child abuse scandals ( not the abuse itself even though that was dreadful but the systematic cover up by the church) which has led to a big church and state separation.
During this time the deep conservatism has changed , when I was growing up homosexuality was a bit odd now nearly every family has a gay. We have legalised same sex marriage. Individualism and creativity is applauded if you are that way inclined, there is no expectations of strict societal conformity beyond peer pressure but that is another discussion. Politics has moved away from "Who did your grandfather fight for in the civil war? - (Both sides of the Civil War had a centrist leaning)" to a more natural right/left split.
No discussion of Ireland in the second half of the 20th century would be complete without a mention of "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland (1969 - 1994) in which 3,000 people were killed and the Good Friday Agreement. Irish people of my age had been used to "Talks About Talks", "Separate Bilineal Meetings About Face To Face Meetings" but the Good Friday Agreement was signed and at the time, I am sure we gave it six months but it still holds 22 years later.
(7) The USSR (1917 -1991)
From the October Revolution of 1917 throughout the 20th century, the communist USSR had grown into one of the two world superpowers along with the USA involved in the post World War 2 "Cold War" but during the early to mid 1980s. Things began to fall apart with pro democracy drives in its East European allies and eventually in their own country, It officially ceased to exist in 1991.
While there are many symbolic moments in the collapse of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, I think the one that stands out is the breaking down of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, when the guards were removed from the wall and members of the public broke open holes in the structure.
(8) Nelson Mandela
Between 1948 and 1994 the system of Apartheid was in South Africa (For younger Gaggers I will provide an explanatory link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apartheid ). During the 1970s and the 1980s there was political/sporting/artistic sanctions against South Africa. During the latter years there was a lot of relaxation of the laws prior to its end in 1994. Nelson Mandela the head of the ANC was in prison for 27 years, he was released in 1990.
The first free elections were held in 1994 and he was elected President. My second image is the Rugby World Cup Final in 1995 which Nelson Mandela attended in the South African strip to promote unity which is iconic because if one sport represented White Apartheid South Africa, it was rugby. The film "Invictus" is all about this
No explanation needed. Everyone over a certain age remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing as they first heard and how they watched the events unfold. The world was in very slow motion for about two days.
(10) Nice 07/14/2016
This bit is about the rise of ISIS and terrorism. I have to put in that not every Muslim is a terrorist.
There have been an awful lot of horrible things done in ISIS's name and their perverted beliefs. It feels bad to pick one out but the occasion that really got to me was the Nice attack, I don't know just the thought it was a fireworks display and there was young families there.
I had a good time putting this list together, if you enjoyed reading it, you should try it yourself. The last two on the list have me feeling a bit glum so I am going uplifting for my last image.
Thanks for reading.
This take has been part of the #BATTLEROYALE contest.