Published on August 12, 2008
The 20 th century … in photos Music : Conquest Of Paradise by Vangelis Click to continue
Famous Photos 1900-1919
The Exposition Universelle of 1900 The Exposition Universelle of 1900 was a world’s fair held in Paris, France, to celebrate the achievements of the past century and to accelerate development into the next. Exposition Universelle was attended by 50 million people yet I still failed to turn a profit, costing the French government 2.000.000 Francs. The fair included more than 76.000 exhibitors and covered 1,12 square kilometres of Paris. The Exposition Universelle was where talking films were first unveiled, where the escalator debuted and Campbell’s Soup was awarded the gold medal (an image that still appears on its label).
NBTEL telephone company - 1900 NBTEL telephone company in 1900. At the switchboard sat a long row of operators dressed in white shirtwaists, with balloon sleeves, and long black skirts. Each operator wore a black satin prone at the rear, rather than the front: this was to protect the skirt from becoming shiny on the leather seat of the chair. How much have communication technology changed since!
First Flight on December 17, 1903 First Flight on December 17 th , 1903 was the day humanity spread its wings and soured into the skies. The flight lasted only 12 seconds in the air. However, it was a major breakthrough. Orville and Wilbur Wright, two bicycle mechanics from Ohio, are the pioneers of aviations, and although this first flight occurred so late in history, the ulterior development was exponential.
Josephine Baker - 1906 Josephine Baker, famous singer and dancer was born June 3 rd , 1906 and she died on April 12 th , 1975. She lived at a time of severe oppression of the blacks. At age of 13 she ran away and went on a tour. She later went to Paris, France where she was embraced despite her color and her dancing style made her the talk of Europe. During World War II she helped the French Resistance. She adopted 12 kids that were of many different races. Then she came back to the USA. The Stork Club refused to serve her because she was black. She spoke to the crowd with Martin Luther King at the Lincoln Memorial during the 1963 March on Washington.
Titanic Maiden Voyage - 1912 On April 10 th 1912, the Titanic, largest ship afloat, left Southampton, England on her maiden voyage to New York City. The White Star Line had spare no expense in assuring her luxury. A legend even before she sailed, her passengers were a mixture of the world’s wealthiest basking in the elegance of first class accommodation and immigrants packed into steerage. Four days into her journey, at 11:40 P.M. on the night of April 14 th , she struck an iceberg. Her fireman compared the sound of the impact to “the tearing of calico, nothing more”. However, the collision was fatal and the icy water soon poured through the ship. It became obvious that many would not find safety in a lifeboat. Each passenger was issued a life jacket but life expectancy would be short when exposed to water four degrees below freezing. As the forward portion of the ship sank deeper, passengers scrambled to the stern. John Thayler witnessed the sinking from a lifeboat. “We could see groups of the almost fifteen hundred people still aboard, clinging in clusters or bunches, like swarming bees; only to fall in masses, pairs or singly, as the great after part of the ship, two hundred and fifty feet of it, rose into the sky, till it reached a sixty-five or seventy degree angle”. The great ship slowly slid beneath the waters two hours and forty minutes after the collision.
Assassination of Archduke of Austria-Este - 1914 On June28th 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, Heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg were shot to death in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, by Gavrilo Princip, a member of Young Bosnia, a group aiming at the unification of the South Slavs. The event sparked off the outbreak of World War I. Bosnia and Herzegovina were provinces just south of Austria. The Turks had governed them until 1878, but lost them in their disastrous war with Russia. So the Treaty of Berlin granted Austria the power to administer these two provinces. As a result of this annexation Bosnia’s three main groups, Croats, ethnic Serbs and Muslims now populated the Austro-Hungarian Empire, giving even more variety to the mix of nationalities. But the Serbs weren’t quite happy with this. They shared a desire with their Serb brothers across the river in Serbia. They wanted their province to be joined with Serbia.
The Panama Canal - 1914 The Panama Canal opened on August 15 th 1914. Although opening-day festivities were overshadowed by the beginning of war in Europe earlier that month, an international exposition in San Francisco the next year celebrated the canal’s completion. Today, after more than eight decades of efficient operation the Panama Canal remains a symbol of human creativity, persistence and achievement. Canal locks are like water-filled stairs that move ships across sloping terrain. After a ship enters a lock, the gates are closed, isolating the chamber and its contents from the water around it. The chamber is either filled or emptied, thus raising or lowering the water level as necessary. Transit across Panama’s mountains was made possible by damming part of the Charges River to create Gatun Lake and then building six 1.000-foot-long (305m), 80-foot-deep (24m) concrete lock chambers to reach it. The lake fed water to the locks by means of gravity; electricity powered the gates.
Tsar Nicholas II of Russia - 1918 Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (1868-1918) and his wife Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna with their 5 children, Olga (1895-1918) Tatiana (1897-1918) Maria (1899-1918) Anastasia (1901-1918) and Aleksei (18904-1918). This photo was taken just moments before the whole family faced their fate. At 2:30 am on July 17 th , 1918 a firing squad executed Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, their five children, their doctor and their personal assistants and royal secretaries. Parts of their bodies and some of their jewelry were delivered to the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Moscow as the proof of death.
Famous Photos 1920-1939
Prohibition in the United States (1920-1933) From January 1920 Prohibition became Law - also known as “Dry Law”. Selling, manufacturing or transporting (including importing and exporting) alcohol for beverage purposes was prohibited by the Eighteenth Amendment. Though drinking and possession of alcohol were not prohibited by the Constitution, they were restricted by the Volstead Act. During the 1920’s and the beginning of the Depression, rum running was aid to be Detroit’s second largest industry next to automobiles, bringing in an estimated 215 million dollars in 1929. Violent crime soared as organized crime virtually took over parts of the city, buying off policemen and collecting protection fees from citizens. Gangs, most notably the infamous Purple Gang, fought in turf wars over control of shipments and territory, all vying to supply the estimated 5.000-25.000 illegal drinking establishments scattered throughout the city.
The first silent movie - 1921 The Kid – 1921 was a huge success and was the second-highest grossing film in 1921, behind The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The Kid is about a Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) that finds an abandoned baby in an alley and takes care of him. As the baby gets older, they are perfect together and they form little schemes to scam people. The Kid is notable as being the first feature length comedy film to effectively combine comedy and drama, as one of the opening titles says : “ A picture with a smile, and perhaps a tear…”. The most famous and enduring sequence in the film is the Tramp’s desperate rooftop pursuit of the welfare agents who have taken the child, and their emotional reunion. Audiences of the time were deeply affected by the film and the relationship of the Kid with the much-loved Tramp character.
The Tomb of Tutankhamun - 1922 Sunday, November 26 th 1922. Howard Carter, discovers the Tomb of Tutankamun. King Tut was an insignificant ruler who died young and was soon forgotten by his people. His lack of renown likely helped protect his tomb from grave robbers, which was finally opened in 1922 by Howard Carter in the most important archeological event of the 20 th Century. Carter won worldwide acclaim for his discovery, but there are those who say it cost him his life. The fate of many of those on Carter’s team led people to speculate that when the archeologist opened Tut’s tomb, he unleashed an ancient curse.
The Jazz singer - 1927 The Jazz Singer – 1927 – provides a glimpse of the film’s pioneering achievements in filmography. Its experimental use of dialogue and synchronized score. It begins with the first and most legendary words spoken by Jackie Rabinowiltz (Al Jolson). “ Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!” and ends with the finale of “Toot Toot Tootsie” and “My Mammy” were the movie’s most popular songs.
The Great Depression 1930-1939 During this time the prices of stock fell 40%. 9.000 banks went out of business. 9 million savings accounts were wiped out. 86.000 businesses failed. Wages decreased by 60% which left 15 million jobless people. This photo by photographer Dorothea Lange has become one of the world’s most famous images. At the height of the Great Depression Lange photographed the woman and her two small children. It came to epitomize the poverty and suffering of those displaced. The photo was issued as a US stamp and a copy was sold for 250.000$, on exhibition at the Lowry in Salford : photographers of the Depression
Lynching - 1930 A mob of 10.000 whites took sledgehammers to the county jailhouse doors to get at these two young blacks accused of raping a white girl. The girls’s uncle saved the life of a third by proclaiming the man’s innocence. Although this was Marion, Indiana most of the 5.000 lynching documented between Reconstruction and the late 1960’s were perpetrated in the South. – Hangings, beatings and mutilations were called the sentence of “Judge Lynch”-.
Berlin Olympics - 1936 James Cleveland Owens (Born September 12 th 1913 Oakville, Alabama-Died March 31 st 1980 Phoenix, Arizona). American track-and-field athlete, who set a world record in the long jump that stood for 25 years. Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. His four victories were a blow to Adolf Hitler’s intention to use the Olympics to demonstrate Aryan superiority.
Explosion of the Hindenburg airship - 1937 The famous picture of the airship Hindenburg as it exploded and crashed spectacularly while docking at Lakehurst, NJ on May 6 th 1937 and 35 people died.
Famous Photos 1940-1959
Pearl Harbor : December 7 th , 1941 The surprise was complete. The planes came in two waves; the first hit its target at 7:53 am the second at 8:55. By 9:55 it was all over. By 1:00 pm carriers launched planes 274 heading for Japan. Behind them they left 2.403 dead, 188 destroyed planes and a crippled Pacific Fleet that included 8 destroyed battleships. In one stroke the Japanese action silenced the debate that had divided Americans on the Nazi war in Europe. “ Yesterday, December 7, 1941 a date which will live in Infamy. The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…” was Roosevelt’s address to the Congress.
Normandy - 1944 On D-Day, June 6 th , 1944, 156.000 American, British and Canadian troops landed on Normandy beaches to begin the liberation of Europe from its Nazi occupiers. It was said to be the largest build-up and movement of soldiers in the history of mankind.
Flag on Iwo Jima - 1945 Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima historic photograph taken on February 23 rd , 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It shows five US Marines and a US Navy corpsman raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi. This photograph was reprinted in thousands of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year it was published. The photo was regarded as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war and the most reproduced photograph of all times.
The first atomic bomb 1945 This picture of the “mushroom cloud” is a very accurate approximation of the enormous quantity of energy spread below. The firs atomic bomb, released on August 6 th , 1945, in Hiroshima (Japan) killed about 80.000 people. It didn’t render the Japanese to surrender. Therefore, on August 9 th another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The effects of the second bomb were even more devastating with 150.000 people were killed or injured. Extremely temperature and radiation caused more long term damage.
Photo of Marilyn Monroe - 1955 This photograph from the 1955 Seven Year Itch, starring Marilyn Monroe have since become synonymous with image of Monroe. Even Barbie Doll offered fans a facsimile. However, the photo on the left by photographer Bernard Brujo did not make the cut as director Billy Wilder was fearful of having his movie censored.
Death of a Star : James Dean - 1955 On September 30, 1955 James Dean and his mechanic were driving his Porsche Spyder from Hollywood to a sports car race in Salinas when, late in the afternoon around Cholame, a young Cal-Poly student turned left in front of them on his way home to Freshno for the weekend. The crash crumpled the Porsche and instantly killing Dean, with the mechanic (who survived) being through out of the car. Avid James Dean fans still speculate that his fatal car accident was never an accident but a self destructive reaction to the pressures imposed by fame.
… when Elvis, shocked his audience - 1957 Elvis shocked his audience in a burst of high spirits rolling around on the stage with Nipper in a highly provocative manner during a fast and furious rendition of Hound Dog at the 1957 California Concert. The LA Deputy Police Chief ordered the Vice Squad to instruct Elvis to eliminate any “sexy overtones” from his performances or risk obscenity charges. The Nipper Dog was given to Elvis Presley by RCA on the release of his hit Hound Dog. Elvis kept the dog at Graceland for many years before he gave it as a gift to Paul Lickter. A British fan bought it for 3.000 UK pounds in 1997.
Buddy Holly and his band - 1959 February 3, 1959 : The day the music died. On this day in 1959, rising American rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchi Valens and J.P.“The Big Bopper” Richardson are killed when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashes in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff from Mason City on a flight headed for Moorehead, Minnesota. Investigators blamed the crash on bad weather and pilot error. Holly and his band, the Crickets, had just scored a No.1 hit with “That’ll Be the Day”.
Famous Photos 1960-1979
“ Dream Day” - 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15,1929-April 4,1968) directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C. of 250.000 people to whom he delivered his address, “I Have a Dream” , he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure. August 28, the anniversary of Dr. King’s 1963 I Have a Dream speech, is called “Dream Day”.
John F. Kennedy assassination - 1963 Three-year-old John F. Kennedy Jr. salutes his father’s casket in Washington three days after the president was assassinated in Dallas on November 23, 1963. Widow Jacqueline Kennedy, center, and daughter Caroline Kennedy are accompanied by the late president’s brothers Sen. Edward Kennedy, left, and Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
Oswald is shot to death on live television - 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald according to US government was the assassin of President John F. Kennedy. On November 22, 1963, Oswald was arrested by policeman J.D.Tippit. Oswald claimed he was a “patsy” and denied involvement. Two days later, Oswald was shot to death by Jack Ruby on live television. Photographer Robert H. Jackson won the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for Photography for this photograph of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald, to whom Dallas detective Jim Leavelle (left) was handcuffed.
D eath of Che Guevara - 1967 October 25, 2007 – A lock of Che Guevara’s hair along with photos, documents, intelligence intercepts, and original fingerprints relating execution of the Argentine-born revolutionary on October 9, 1967 sold at auction for $100.000. The macabre collection of memorabilia purchased by a lone bidder was compiled by a Cuban exile CIA operative named Gustavo Villoldo, who helped capture Guevara. After his execution by the Bolivian military he was secretly bury him in the middle of the night. Before Guevara’s hands were cut off, Villoldo helped fingerprint his corpse, and a “death mask” was made as proof that Che ad been captured and killed. The covert operative also clipped a portion of Che’s beard as a memento fo the CIA’s triumph over Latin America’s most famous revolutionary.
Man on the Moon - 1969 Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin salutes the American flag planted on the lunar surface. The date that made history was July 20, 1969. Millions of Americans heard Neil Armstrong say : “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”.
Elvis meet the President - 1970 On December 21, 1970, Elvis Presley paid a visit to President Richard M. Nixon at the White Hose in Washington, D.C. The meeting was initiated by Presley, who wrote Nixon a six-page letter requesting a visit with the President and suggesting that he be made a “Federal Agent-at-Large” in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The events leading up to and after the meeting are detailed in the documentation and photographs included here, which include Presley’s handwritten letter, memoranda from Nixon staff and aides, and the thank-you note from Nixon for the gifts (including a Colt 45 pistol and family photos) that Presley brought with him to the Oval Office.
Napalm attack - 1972 Nick Ut’s 1972 image of a naked girl fleeing her napalmed picture of Kim Phuc running from a Napalm attack as a memorable picture vividly depicting the art of war. Photographer Huynh Cong Ut, known by his colleagues as Nick, was working there as a photo journalist for Associated Press at the time and took a number of photographs of the villagers trying to escape the napalm. This one, epitomizing the savagery and tragedy of the conflict, won him the coveted Pulitzer Prize and became one of the most published photos of the Vietnam war.
Elvis is dead - 1977 August 16, 1977 Elvis was found dead in his bathroom at Graceland in Memphis. This picture was taken by Elvis’ cousin who was offer a deal by National Enquirer to photograph the body of Elvis in his coffin. The payment was meager compared to the millions the Enquirer reaped for the cover story, Story behind the picture.
Famous Photos 1980-1999
Challenger - 1986 28 January 1986. The American space shuttle, Challenger, has exploded killing all seven astronauts on board. The five men and two women – including the firs teacher in space – were just over a minute into their flight from Cape Canaveral in Florida when the Challenger blew up. The astronauts’ families, at the airbase, and millions of Americans witnessed the world’s worst space disaster live on TV. The danger from falling debris prevented rescue boats reaching the scene for more than an hour.
The fall of the Berlin Wall - 1989 The fall of the Berlin Wall 1989 At that time, the Cold War was still dominant. Hardly anybody predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union until just before it happened in 1989, so most 1980 forecasts for the year 2000 retained the Cold War as the defining feature. The fall of the Berlin Wall is a very visible sign of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Nobody anticipated this dramatic change even a few years in advance.
Tiananmen Square - 1989 A hunger strike by 3,000 students in Beijing had grown to a protest of more than a million as the injustices of a nation cried for reform. For seven weeks students of the People's Republic, protested in Tiananmen Square with the government dispatched soldiers and tanks to curb the rally. As the world waited as young man simply would not move, standing with his shopping bags before a line of tanks, a hero was born. Today, this brave man is commonly reffered to as “The Tank Man”. His true identity is still unknown. It is believed he will not reveal himself for fear of the long jail term.
Freedom for Nelson Mandela - 1990 11 February 1990 Freedom for Nelson Mandela Leading anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela has been freed from prison in South Africa after 27 years. His release follows the relaxation of apartheid laws... including lifting the ban on leading black rights party the African National Congress (ANC) by South African President FW de Klerk. Mandela appeared at the gates of Victor-Verster Prison in Paarl at 1614 local time - an hour late - with his wife Winnie. Holding her hand and dressed in a light brown suit and tie he smiled at the ecstatic crowds and punched the air in a victory salute before taking a silver BMW sedan to Cape Town, 40 miles away. People danced in the streets across the country and thousands clamoured to see him at a rally in Cape Town
Leaning Tower of Pisa closed to public - 1990 The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been closed to the public for the first time in 800 years amid speculation the structure is on the verge of toppling over. Over the past 100 years the belfry at the top of the mediaeval tower has moved 9.6 inches (nearly a quarter of a metre). The tilt is currently 16ft (4.9m) off the perpendicular and increases by about one-twelfth of an inch (2mm) every year because the layer of clay and sand on which it is built is softer on the south side than on the north. So, the Italian government has set aside 100bn lire and appointed an international team of experts to come up with a detailed plan within three months to save the building from collapse .
Death of Princess Diana - 1997 Princess Diana died August 31, 1997. Her funeral September 6, 1997 saw seen by 33 million viewers around the world. That day was at once sorrowful and uplifting as Diana, Princess of Wales, was remembered as a woman of "natural nobility" whose life of compassion and style transcended sometimes abusive press coverage. Diana was laid to rest on her family's estate. Diana's flag-draped coffin and topped with three wreaths. Carrying the simple notation "Mummy" from her son Harry. Her coffin was carried from the gates of Kensington Palace through the streets of London in a solemn procession to the doors of Westminster Abbey followed by Prince Charles, the Duke of Edinburgh, Lord Spencer, William and Harry .
The End. Thank you!
Pictures of the 20th Century. Share Pin Tweet Submit Stumble Post Share By Jennifer Rosenberg. 20th Century History Expert By Jennifer Rosenberg.
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