In the history of mankind, it is difficult to pin point events that changed the course of the history. Generally many series of events lead to momentous circumstances. This article aims to point out some of these events (both military and non-military) that changed the way we see history today.
10. Columbus’ Discovery
Set sail in 1492, Christopher Columbus had discovered a then unknown land. The land which later went on to be and still is the land that indirectly rules the world. Back in the days when there was a debate on the earth being round or flat, Columbus dared to do which nobody before him did. India was then considered to be a land of treasures. Gold and spices were the essential trade commodities that were brought from India. The customary route was to enter India via the Cape of Good Hope (today a part of Cape Town, South Africa) and through the Arabian Sea. However political issues barred sailors from travelling in this path. In a historic turn of events Christopher Columbus decided to sail in the opposite direction and believed that he would reach India as the world is spherical. He never reached India. But he discovered a land that was later named as America.
9. Louis Pasteur and Vaccination
Louis Pasteur, born on December 27th, 1822 in France was a chemist and biologist. He is considered to be the pioneer and one of the important figures of medical biology. Prior to his discoveries, rabies and anthrax were deadly diseases. He is also considered to be one of the three main founders of microbiology, together with Robert Koch and Ferdinand Cohn. He is best known for developing methods that helped in treating wine and milk in order to make them free from disease causing agents.
8. Wright Brothers
Oliver and Wilbur Wright may well have made the single most important invention in the field of transport. At the time when no one in the world believed that man could fly, the Wright brothers took it upon themselves to build a vehicle that could fly. After a lot of hardships they finally managed to build a prototype that was able to do the trick, and there it was, the first airplane. Today when all of the business world and we, the common people seamlessly travel in their comfortable flights, it is very easy to forget the contribution of the Wright brothers. They, with their deeds have made an indelible mark in the history of mankind.
7. Mao Zedong: Hero or Villain
Mao Zedong, the communist revolutionary of China and one of the founder fathers of the People’s Republic of China, is both loved and hated in the country he helped build. After the nationalist in the country brought down the kingship, the communists and the nationalists were locked in a battle to take over China. After Sun Yet-Sen, the then leader of China and the nationalist party, died several events led to the victory of the communist party and Chairman Mao, as he was called, declared the formation of the People’s Republic of China from Beijing. After that followed several blunders like social reforms which broke the backbone of China’s economy and dragged the country into famine. This was quickly followed by dreadful cultural reforms which included killings of scientists, artists and others who were termed as counter-revolutionaries by Mao. These events were looked down upon by the world. They also went onto destroy temples, churches and other places of worship and eventually these events led to the declining popularity of Mao.
6. Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution refers to the series of revolutions that occurred in mainland Russia in the years of 1917 and 1918. These revolutions ultimately led to the downfall of the Tsarist rule over Russia. It was followed by the establishment of the Bolshevik (Communist) government in Russia. It was the emergence of Marxist and Communist ideas and some claimed that this revolution will be successful if it occurred on a world scale however no other movement succeeded in keeping power in its hands. Later Stalin proposed that socialism was possible in one country.
5. World War I
World War I or the First World War was known as the Great War before 1939. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilized in one of the largest wars in history.
The war was fought between the allied powers (or what was called as Triple Entente) and the Central Powers (or Triple Alliance). It caused mass destruction and was an important event in world history because this war was one of its kind till then, before a larger war was fought (see next point). The Central Forces were defeated and utterly humiliated and the political tension that arose finally led to the World War II.
4. World War II
One of the most defining military moments of the world is the Second World War or World War II. Due to its enormity, amount of destruction and the involvement of all the major countries in the world, it is considered to be the most atrocious and deadly wars of all times. With the axis powers on one side and the allied powers on the other, this war engulfed the whole earth. Adolf Hitler and his Nazi army with other leaders of Fascism like Benito Mussolini went on to wreck havoc among certain communities. Hitler was particularly cruel towards Jews and had vowed to obliterate them from the face of the earth. Most of his ambitions are documented in his book: Mein Kampf. Other major events during the war were the Pearl Harbor incident, the US involvement and the Soviet Army advances; however none were bigger than the infamous atom bombs named Little Boy that was dropped over Hiroshima and Fat Man over Nagasaki in 1945. These events though helped in ending the war left an indelible mark in the history of humanity. Not only the bombs eradicated many human beings, but also it caused a lot of problems even years after their detonation. It is only a miracle that after such events Japan has been able to get up on its feet and make progress like it has.
3. September 11
In September 11, 2001, two passenger flights crashed into the world trade centers in New York. Another one crashed into the Pentagon, the heart of America’s military operations. It was reported that another airplane was heading toward the White House, Washington but crash landed midway. Many were killed. The events shocked the world. This was the most shocking and ugly terrorist attack the world had ever seen. It was the time when George W. Bush had started his work as the president. This event brought out an altogether different picture of global terrorism. These events led to subsequent declaration of war on Iraq and Afghanistan by the United States of America. And a vicious cycle started which till date hasn’t ended.
2. President Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the current president of the United States of America and has taken charge after George W. Bush. He was born on August 4, 1961 and is the 44th President of the United States of America. He is a graduate of the elite Columbia University and the Harvard Law School. During his days at the Harvard Law School, he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. He is the first black person to become the president of the United States of America. Several policies of Barack Obama have been revolutionary in one sense or the other. Perhaps the most famous one is the health care bill introduced by him which is popularly known as Obama-care. He also ordered the military operation “Operation Neptune Spear” that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden (see next point). He is also the winner of the Nobel peace prize in the year 2009. He was re-elected for the office of the president in 2013.
1. End of Osama
After the operation “Neptune Star” (see previous point) carried out by the United States military and ordered by president of the United States Barack Obama, Osama Bin Laden, the figurative head of Al-Qaeda (the deadliest terrorist of the terrorist organizations) was killed. This incident marked a new chapter in the war against terror, which is perhaps the most important issue of 21st century. The military operation was carried out with deep secrecy in the Pakistani region of Abbottabad. During the aftermath, journalists took photos that revealed the previously undisclosed stealth technology used by the US military which again led to a series of debates.