The 20th century has marked the conclusion of a whole millennium.
Of course, the division of the historical process into centuries is conventional, the more so that this division is not accepted by the entire population of the Earth. Historical processes pay no heed to calendars and step freely over the borderlines of centuries; great events, also without asking permission of anybody, occur in any odd decade of any odd century. One century flows over smoothly into the next. But a hundred-year borders are so simple, graphic and vivid, especially in comparison with periodizations historians have been trying to establish in endless debates and without much success, that mankind has got used to this chronological division, and it has become traditional to sum up the results of a century.
The contemporaries of every specific century invariably believed that theirs was the most significant and outstanding century in comparison with all the preceding ones. Every century was marked by some notable events ? scientific discoveries, disastrous epidemics which ruined the entire countries, rebellions which shook mighty states to their very foundations, devastating wars and fierce battles. But the century passed and concepts changed. This is quite natural. What seemed, at the time, enormous was belittled with the passage of time. Nonetheless, we the contemporaries of the century which has just ended, have every right to regard it as incomparable to any other, both in its scope of achievement and in the vast qualitative changes it brought about.
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