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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Atomic bomb was biggest turning point in modern history, according to new research

The biggest single turning point in modern history was the dropping of the atomic bomb at the end of the Second World War, according to new research.
The A-bomb blast killed between 90,000 to 166,000 people in Hiroshima
The use of nuclear weapons to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan was more pivotal than a series of other milestones, including the events that sparked the First World War and the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, a survey of more than 1,000 UK adults has found.

While historians might long debate which events since 1900 have had the greatest impact, respondents to the survey identified the 9/11 attacks in America as more significant that Hitler's rise to power in the 1930s.

The research, commissioned by adult learning website Love to Learn, uncovers how the 50-plus generation perceives key events spanning from the beginning of World War 1 to the destruction of the Wold Trade Centre in 2001.

It found that one in four (27 per cent) of adults listed the end of the Second World War/dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 as the most significant. The bombings by the US represent the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.

Some 16 per cent of respondents rating the terrorist attacks in the US as the most monumental.
Opinions varied according to age with younger respondents in their early 50s putting more significance on more recent events such as 9/11. Adults in their 70s were more likely to cite the start of the Second World War and Hitler's rise to power in the early 30s.

Dr Sean Lang, a senior lecturer in history at Anglia Ruskin University, says: "It would be difficult to argue with any of the events on the list; it’s more a question of what’s left out. Some might find it odd, for example, to include the end of Communism rather than the beginning – the Russian Revolution.

"The largest group singled out the atom bomb as the most important turning point. This was certainly how it appeared at the time for much of the century that followed; with hindsight, however, historians can question this and ask whether it actually made the difference it was thought to make. It did not stop conventional wars; it only stopped further nuclear ones."

When it came to learning about key turning points in history, respondents were keen to understand more about the fall of Communism in the 1980s and more distant events, such as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo (modern day Bosnia and formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian empire) in 1914 which led to the First World War.

Adults felt relatively more confident about their knowledge of the Second World War. Hitler's rise to power and the events that followed are a popular period in school history lessons and feature heavily in exam syllabuses.

The research marks the release of a new online course exploring turning points in modern history. The six-part course looks at the causes and effects of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that went on to trigger the First World War, along with five other historical events.

Biggest turning points since 1900

End of Second World War/dropping of atomic bomb on Hiroshima/Nagasaki - 27%

9/11 - 16%

Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe/Gorbachev’s ‘revolution’ - 15%

Hitler’s rise to power in early 1930s - 12%

Germany’s invasion of Poland/declaration of Second World War - 11%

Archduke’s assassination leading to the First World War - 9%

2 comments:

  1. So the a-bomb was a big deal? Imagine that

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  2. No mention of the of the microprocessor, internet , jet engine, cell phones , satellite coms/GPS , Antibiotics, Cars , Domestic electricity , You know the things that have changed the way we live , For some reason this poll is all about politics and politicians stupid wars . The atomic bomb killing a pile of japs hasnt affected my life nearly as much as the march of technology , 9/11 has just made travelling a pain in the ass and reduced my freedoms , How about global warming - now thats pissing everyone off , If its real its a bummer if its a scam its going to rip you off for all kinds of taxes and reduce you freedoms too.

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