Closing the Century.
A retrospective analysis of the 1990s is a synopsis of the century. The twentieth century was dominated by wars that began and ended in the Balkans. It was a century during which people struggled to reform politics, yet never made much change; many doors of opportunity were opened to formerly disenfranchised groups, only to inspire more people (including women, gays, and the disabled) to demand civil rights. It was a century driven by a technological revolution that began on the assembly line, threatened a nuclear holocaust, and ended in cyberspace. Conservation was championed at the beginning of the century and environmentalism at its end.
A Decade of Change.
The issues of war, political reform, scandal, civil rights, technology, and environmentalism that structured the century also framed debate during the 1990s. The decade began with the breakup of the Soviet Union, the demise of communism, and the end of the Cold War. These events, which seemed to some to foreshadow international peace by eliminating political ideology as a basis for enmity, simply removed the lid from old ethnic and religious quarrels. Without the heavy hands of the two superpowers, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.), to confine them, many ethnic groups struggled for independence, often fighting against...
(The entire section is 2436 words.)
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