Looking at the modern history of China, for most westerners, there was an image of a weak and chaotic empire in the Far East, one in which glory days were long gone. In their view, the Chinese were a second-rate nation ripe for plunder, a perfect target for 19th-century imperialism. Nevertheless, China managed to avoid being colonized, despite being beaten in two conflicts, today known as the Opium Wars. That brings the question of how did Beijing manage to preserve its independence and what was the importance of the Opium Wars?
Introduction The United Nations is an international organization that was created to uphold peace and encourage good international relations and cooperation. It was supposed to bring harmony among the nations of the world and lead them to a future where there were no more wars. However, like all human creations, its structure and administration have flaws while the utility of the UN always relied upon the imperfect humans that constitute it.
Introduction Throughout history, famine and other similar disasters plagued humankind. Those were usually caused by natural forces beyond human control. Yet, the 20th century proved that nature was never able to match human errors in its destructibility and fatality. Disregarding the intentional killing and destruction of modern warfare, the most disastrous event of that century was the famine caused by the Great Leap Forward (GLF) campaign in China. It was unintentional, a perfect storm of errors and stubbornness, faulty reasoning, and reliance on ideology rather than factuality.
As a new world emerged from the ruins of World War II, a novel confrontation began to emerge. It was much less volatile, earning the nickname “Cold War”. It was an ideological and political struggle between two major world powers – the Soviet Union representing communism and the United States heralding capitalism. This simmering hostility went on to define international politics for the rest of the 20th century. Yet this simplified portrait of the struggle between eastern and western blocs is rather misleading because as it depicts two alliances as unified monoliths. This wasn’t true in neither case, but it was substantially more prominent in the communist sphere where two larges countries came to the brink of an actual armed confrontation.