Contemporary history

Era of history starting from 1946 up to the current age / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Contemporary history, in English-language historiography, is a subset of modern history that describes the historical period from approximately 1945 to the present.[1] Contemporary history is either a subset of the late modern period, or it is one of the three major subsets of modern history, alongside the early modern period and the late modern period. In the social sciences, contemporary history is also continuous with, and related to, the rise of postmodernity.

Contemporary history is politically dominated by the Cold War (1947–1991) between the Western Bloc, led by the United States, and the Eastern Bloc, led by the Soviet Union. The confrontation spurred fears of a nuclear war. An all-out "hot" war was avoided, but both sides intervened in the internal politics of smaller nations in their bid for global influence and via proxy wars. The Cold War ultimately ended with the Revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The latter stages and aftermath of the Cold War enabled the democratization of much of Europe, Africa, and Latin America. In the Middle East, the period after 1945 was dominated by decolonization, the conflict involving the new state of Israel, the rise of petroleum politics, the decline of Arab nationalism, and the growth of Islamism. The first supranational organizations of government, such as the United Nations and European Union, emerged during the period after 1945, while the European colonial empires in Africa and Asia had mostly ended by 1975.

Countercultures rose and the sexual revolution transformed social relations in western countries between the 1960s and 1980s, as seen in the protests of 1968. Living standards rose sharply across the developed world because of the post-war economic boom. Japan and West Germany both emerged as exceptionally strong economies. The culture of the United States spread widely, with American television and movies spreading across the world. Some Western countries began a slow process of deindustrializing in the 1970s; globalization led to the emergence of new financial and industrial centers in Asia. The Japanese economic miracle was later followed by the Four Asian Tigers of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan; and later China after its economic reform, which then exported its consumer and technological goods around the world.

Science made new advances after 1945: spaceflight, nuclear technology, lasers, semiconductors, molecular biology, genetics, particle physics, and the Standard Model of quantum field theory. The first commercial computers were created, followed by the Internet, beginning the Information Age.