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Top 10 Worst Things About The 20th Century

Published on 15 February, 2013 at 12:00 pm By

While some of the break-through inventions and discoveries had taken place in the 20th century; there were also undesirable effects of the changes, decisions and actions of that era. So here is a look at some of the not so popular things of the 20th century.

10. Pollution:

Pollution grew at an alarming rate well into the 20th century with much sewage from industries still being discharged in open water outside cities. The growing number of cars and vehicles too attributed to the rise of a problem that would eventually become a serious concern for the entire human fraternity. Though it was only towards the second half of the 20th century that pollution and its effects were taken up as serious concerns.


9. AK 47:


A selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the USSR by Mikhail Kalashnikov, the AK 47 was designed between 1944 and 1945. It was first introduced in active service in 1947. In the present day AK and its variants are among the most commonly smuggled arms not only sold to governments but also used by rebels, criminals, and civilians alike. Perhaps the gun crazy culture and its side effects today are a result if this very invention of the 20th century.

AK 47

8. TNT:

Though it was first prepared by German chemist Julius Wilbrand in the year 1863; it wasn’t until the 1900s that it’s widespread use begun. Used by the German armed forces as a filling for artillery shells in 1902, it went on to find its way to the ammunitions wing of every country in the following years. But the worst part is it also fell into the hands of the terrorists to be used in their ghastly acts. Hence, another thing that gained in popularity but for the wrong reasons in the 20th century.


7. Great Depression:

It was perhaps the worst worldwide economic depression that engulfed every almost country in the world. Beginning in and around the 1930s it went on until the late 1930s or middle 1940s. Every city around the world was hit, affecting everyone from the very poor to the very rich. With the Black Tuesday the economic volatility if the world was exposed and the depression lingered for over a decade making it perhaps one of the worst periods in that century.

Great Depression

6. The World Wars:

The worst wars in the history of human civilization took place during the very infancy of the 20th century. One of the greatest nightmares causing havoc with machine guns, cannon, disease, poison gas, and starvation showed the world the horrors of war. If that wasn’t enough, the use of weapons of mass destruction certainly raised the bars with concentration camps adding to the terror. Definitely these wars were episodes that were better avoided!

The World Wars

5. Nuclear proliferation:

It is perhaps one of the most dangerous advancements that could have taken place in the 20th century. They say in order to avoid war we need to be prepared for one and hence the hankering after nuclear arms began in the 1900s after the catastrophic Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Though most countries wouldn’t willingly use the nuclear arms at their disposal, there is always the risk of it falling into the wrong hands. Hence, undoubtedly this is one of the worst things to have happened in the previous century.

Nuclear proliferation

4. Taliban:

The emergence and formation of the Taliban is perhaps one of the worst things that could have happened in the 20th Century. Beginning as an Islamic fundamentalist political movement, it was and still is fundamentally an insurgent outfit. Though they were overthrown during the American-led invasion of Afghanistan; they still run a rogue organization focusing on inhumane activities like massacres, human trafficking, oppression of women and terrorism.


3. Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki :


The only use of nuclear weapons in history; the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was perhaps one of the most controversial, devastating yet epoch making moments of the 20th century. Resulting in the deaths of 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki, this was perhaps one of the most distasteful and unethical events to have occurred quite early in the beginning of the 20th Century.

Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

2. Osama Bin Laden:

He was the founder of al Qaeda, the jihadist organization that later went on to launch the September 11 attacks on the United States. Born in Saudi Arabia, he joined the mujahedeen forces in Pakistan against the Soviets in Afghanistan and later went on to form the world’s most notorious terrorist organization al Qaeda. His emergence and growth began in the 20th century and he went on to become the most wanted terrorist in the world. So he was undoubtedly one of the worst outcomes of that century.


1. Terrorism:


A new plague hit the world in the 20th century and it was the poisonous disease of pollution. Though the earliest records of terrorists date back to the 1st century AD; the serpent raised its head in an alarming manner in the 20th century.  Scientific developments such as automatic weapons and compact, electrically detonated explosives gave terrorists a new lease of life as they ventured with renewed vigor to unleash their reign of terror. The bombing of Air India Flight 182 flying from Canada, Beirut barracks bombings, Lockerbie disaster or the Oklahoma City bombings were events that marked the big debut of terrorist activities into the modern world.



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