Jewish World Review July 25, 2013/ 17 Menachem-Av, 5773
Back to our 20th-century future
By Victor Davis Hanson
We may be in the era of
More people probably died from the wars of the 20th century than from the battles of the prior 2,500 years combined. The bloodiest century saw the rise of fascism, Nazism, communism and jihadism.
Capitalism almost collapsed during the Great Depression. What followed was a Big Government antidote not unlike our own experience after the panic of 2008.
The end of most colonialism and imperialism was also a 20th-century development. So was the rise of modernist and postmodernist culture, along with civil rights, feminism and nationalism.
No wonder that despite the promise of the 21st century, we keep trying to make sense of the last 13 years by looking back through the lenses of the last action-packed 100.
Take the present chaos abroad. The rise and new assertiveness of China is eerily like that of
The rising sun of
Does the same depressing lesson now apply to China? Can
The situation in
Talking loudly while carrying a small stick became infamous last century, after the British capitulation to Hitler at
It is eerie how most responsible nations loudly condemn
The 20th century's "German problem" was supposed to be a distant memory. But a reformed and democratic
Like 1938 Britain, most of the
In the 1930s, fascism was purported to be more efficient than American democracy. Then Nazism was said to create more idealistic and disciplined citizens.
After World War II, the new communist man was announced as the wave of the future.
Then came the superior 20th-century model of postwar "
Next was the all-powerful
The ruthlessly efficient Chinese juggernaut followed and seemed destined to outpace 20th-century America -- which was suffering everything from stagflation to a shortage of oil.
But once more, 21st-century America is confounding its critics by reinventing itself as it did last century.
The U.S. may soon become the world's largest gas and oil producer. Food exports are booming as never before. American brands from iPhones and
To find answers for this chaotic young century, just look back at the past one.
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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.
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