Chris Harman

A people’s history of the world

Part seven
The century of hope and horror

Chapter 1. The world of capital

Chapter 2. World war and world revolution

Chapter 3. Europe in turmoil

Chapter 4. Revolt in the colonial world

Chapter 5. The ‘Golden Twenties’

Chapter 6. The great slump

Chapter 7. Strangled hope: 1934-36

Chapter 8. Midnight in the century

Chapter 9. The Cold War

Chapter 10. The new world disorder


1880s: Britain occupies Egypt. Carve up of Africa. Commercial development of telephone, phonograph, electric generation and light.
1890-1900: Japan attacks China and takes Taiwan, Spanish-American war. Invention of motor car and movies.
1899-1902: Boer War – British set up first concentration camps.

1900: Mendel’s genetic theory gains publicity, 16 years after his death.
1903: First airplane.
1904: Russia loses war with Japan.
1905: Revolution in Russia. Industrial Workers of World founded. Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity.

1910-14: ‘Great Unrest’ in Britain, Orangemen arm in Ireland.
1911: Proclamation of Chinese Republic. Mexican Revolution.
1912-14: Strikes and barricades in Russia, Dublin Lockout, ‘Bread and Roses’ strike.
1912-13: Balkan Wars.
1913: Ford mass production car plant.
1914: Outbreak of First World War, collapse of Second International.
1916: ‘Easter Rising’ in Dublin.
1917: Russian Revolutions in February and October, mutinies in French army and German navy, US enters war.
1918: Revolution in German and Austro-Hungarian empires.
1919: Foundation of Communist International, murder of Rosa Luxemburg, civil war in Germany, Bavarian and Hungarian Soviet Republics, guerrilla war in Ireland, Amritsar killings in India, 4 May movement in China, Versailles Treaty

1920: German workers defeat Kapp Putsch. Factory occupations in Italy.
1921: Britain partitions Ireland. Kronstadt revolt in Russia.
1922: Italian Fascists given power.
1923: French occupation of Ruhr, great inflation, Communists call off rising. Nazi putsch.
1925: Heisenberg’s quantum theory.
1926: Defeat of General Strike in Britain.
1927: Massacre of workers in Shanghai. Leon Trotsky exiled.
1928-29: Stalin takes all power, First Five Year Plan, ‘collectivisation’ of agriculture, mass arrests.
1929: Wall Street Crash.

1931: Revolution in Spain.
1933: Hitler takes power in Germany, famine in Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
1934: Vienna anti-fascist rising, anti-fascist protests in France, Asturias rising in Spain, strikes in US.
1936: Popular Front electoral victories in France and Spain, occupation of factories in France, military coup and revolutionary risings in Spain, formation of CIO in US, General Motors sit-in. Moscow trials.
1938: Hitler takes over Austria, Munich agreement.
1939: Victory for Spanish fascists, German invasion of Poland, Second World War begins.

1940: Fall of France, Italy enters war.
1941: Hitler attacks Russia. Japan attacks US fleet.
1942: Nazis draw up plans for Holocaust, German army defeated at Stalingrad. Famine in Bengal, ‘Quit India’ movement.
1943: Strikes in Turin, Allies land in southern Italy.
1944: Allied landings in Normandy, uprising liberates Paris, Warsaw Rising, Greek resistance attacked by British.
1945: Resistance liberates north Italian cities, US and Britain take western Germany, Russia the east. Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Britain re-establishes French rule in Vietnam. Communist-led governments in Eastern Europe.
1947: Britain leaves India. Partition leads to bloodshed. UN backs Israeli state in Palestine. First computer.
1947-49: Beginning of Cold War. Marshall Plan, Prague coup, Berlin airlift, Yugoslav split with Russia, McCarthyism in US. Chinese People’s Liberation Army enters Beijing.

1950: Korean War. Indonesian independence from Dutch.
1952-57: Mau Mau rebellion against Britain in Kenya.
1953: Overthrow of Egyptian monarchy by Nasser. Death of Stalin. US explodes H-bomb.
1954: Geneva agreement ends war in Korea and divides Vietnam. CIA overthrows Guatemalan government. Revolt against French rule in Algeria.
1955-56: Montgomery bus boycott starts civil rights movement in US.
1956: Egypt nationalises Suez Canal, attacked by Britain, France and Israel. Khrushchev denounces Stalin. Hungarian Revolution.
1957: Ghana wins independence.
1958: Nationalist revolution in Iraq. ‘Great Leap Forward’ in China. De Gaulle takes power in France.
1959: Castro’s rebels take Havana.

1960: Nigerian independence.
1961: Abortive CIA invasion of Cuba. First split between Russia and China. US ‘advisers’ in Vietnam.
1962: Cuban Missile Crisis.
1964: Independence for Algeria. US landing in Dominican Republic.
1965: Military coup in Indonesia, half a million people killed 1967: Israel occupies West Bank after ‘Six Day War’. Black uprising in Detroit. Founding of Black Panthers. Far right colonels’ coup in Greece.
1968: Tet Offensive in Vietnam, student revolts all over Europe. May events in France. ‘Prague Spring’.
1969: ‘Hot autumn’ in Italy. Cordoba rising in Argentina. ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland.

1970: Strikes bring down Gomulka in Poland. Election of Allende in Chile. US invasion of Cambodia, students shot dead at Kent State University.
1973: Coup in Chile, war in Middle East, polytechnic rising in Greece.
1974: Outbreak of world recession, second miners’ strike and fall of Heath government in Britain. Revolution in Portugal, fall of Greek colonels.
1975: ‘Historic compromise’ in Italy. Independence for Portuguese colonies. Defeat of revolutionary left in Portugal. Guerrilla struggle in Rhodesia.
1976: Opposition legalised in Spain. School student uprising in South Africa. CIA sponsors civil war in Angola.
1976-77: Turmoil in China after death of Mao, first market reforms.
1979: Iranian Revolution,’ Islamic Republic’. Sandinistas take power in Nicaragua Thatcher government in Britain. Russia invades Afghanistan.

1980: Occupation of Polish shipyards, Solidarnosc workers’ movement. Military coup in Turkey. Iraqi war against Iran with US backing. End of white rule in Zimbabwe. First personal computers using silicon chip.
1981: Cruise missiles in Europe. ‘Second Cold War’. Civil war in El Salvador, US Contra terrorism against Nicaragua. Polish military crush Solidarnosc.
1982: Falklands War.
1983: US invasion of Grenada.
1984-85: British miners’ strike.
1987: Glasnost permits first free debate for 60 years in USSR.
1988: Demonstrations in non-Russian republics of USSR. Miners’ strikes in Poland. Strike waves in Yugoslavia and South Korea. Near uprising in Algeria.
1989: Non-Communist government in Poland. Tiananmen Square protests in China, miners’ strike in Russia, political revolutions across Eastern Europe. Rise of Milosevic in Serbia. US invasion of Panama. Scientists begin to warn about danger of ‘greenhouse effect’.

1991: US-led war against Iraq. Failed coup in Russia, disbandment of USSR. Civil war in Yugoslavia and Algeria.
1992: Famine and civil war in Somalia. Civil war in Tajikistan. Slump in Russian economy.
1994: Black rule in South Africa.
1995: Strikes rock French government.
1998: Economic crisis across east Asia, collapse of Suharto in Indonesia.
1999: US-led war against Serbia.


Last updated on 26 January 2010