Visual History of the World




From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists


The Contemporary World

1945 to the present

After World War II, a new world order came into being in which two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, played the leading roles. Their ideological differences led to the arms race of the Cold War and fears of a global nuclear conflict. The rest of the world was also drawn into the bipolar bloc system, and very few nations were able to remain truly non-aligned. The East-West conflict came to an end in 1990 with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the consequent downfall of the Eastern Bloc. Since that time, the world has been driven by the globalization of worldwide economic and political systems. The world has, however, remained divided: The rich nations of Europe, North America, and East Asia stand in contrast to the developing nations of the Third World.

The first moon landing made science-fiction dreams reality in the year 1969.
Space technology has made considerable progress as the search for new
possibilities of using space continues.





SINCE 1945


see also: United Nations member states -


Since 1931, Canada has been a sovereign nation within the framework of the British Commonwealth, it has become modern industrial state that, as a stable democracy, has been tightly tied into the Western alliance system and the peace missions of the United Nations. The imbalance between the cultural!}' dominate Anglophone majority and the Francophone minority has repeatedly led, particularly in the province of Quebec, to separatist aspirations. With laws and changes to the constitution, the federal government must constantly seek a cultural and linguistic balance.


Canada into the 1960s

Canada has constituted an integral part of the Western political world since 1945. As a result of the existence of two cultures in the country, domestic problems have sometimes arisen.


Since Canada fought on the side ol the Allies in World War II, the sovereign member of the Commonwealth has become politically and economically closer to the United States, aiihough it made loans and supplied grain to Great Britain during the war. Canada has entered into several economic and defense treaties with the United States, such as agreements on the joint use of nuclear energy, and in 1963, after the Nuclear Test Ban treaty, the storage of US atomic weapons on Canadian territory. Mining of raw materials has increased, 75 percent of which is done by US firms.

As a result of the immensely rapid growth resulting from industrial mobilization during the war, Canada's growth required improved infrastructure, and in 1965 the Trans-Canada Highway, which connects all of the provinces, was completed.

Through industrialization, cities experienced a rapid economic boom in the 1, 6, 7 1950s, which slowed again in the 1960s.

1 The Toronto skyline, with the CN Tower (right)

6 The skyline of Montreal

7 City of Montreal, Quebec

Conservative and Liberal governments have alternated.

After a long period of Liberal government, Progressive Conservative John Dieien-baker became prime minister in 1957 and exiled the Liberals to the opposition benches until 2 Lester Pearson took over government in 1963.

Lor most of ihe 1968-1984 period, a Franco-Canadian, 3 Pierre Trudeau, led the cabinet and promoted a bilingual culture.

2 Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Lester Bowles Pearson, June 25, 1962

3 Franco-Canadian leader
of the cabinet, Pierre Elliott
Trudoau, June 10, 1982

In 1969, English and French were both declared official languages.

Only an uneasy balance was possible with the separatist forces in the Francophone province of Quebec. In 1967, General de Gaulle had to cut short his visit when he made a speech in which he cried, "Vive le Quebec libre!"

Against the background of growing social and economic dissatisfaction among French-speaking Canadians in the 1960s, especially in 5 Quebec, strong autonomy movements formed.

4 Militant extremist organizations made attacks on politicians.

The murder of Quebec's labor minister, Pierre Laporte, in 1970 led to the declaration of a national state of emergency.

5 The old town of Quebec City

4 Militant protester vandalizes
property, Quebec, 1968



Canada since the 1960s

The Canadian government has politically championed world peace. Internally the separatist tendencies of the province of Quebec are ever-present.


Since the 1960s Canada has worked, in foreign and economic politics, toward a careful disentanglement from its lopsided partnership with the United States. With its "third-opinion politics," it has sought closer relationships with Europe and Japan, and in 1970 also with the People's Republic of China, once economic agreements had been made.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Canada took part in ihe Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe and its successor conferences as well as in the 9 summits of the leading industrial nations (G7).

As a founding member of the United Nations, Canada has consistently supported UN peace efforts with 10 military troop contingents, for example, in the Congo in 1960 and in Cyprus in 1964.

9 ul Martin (second from left) and the ministers of finance of  the leading industrial nations, Frankfurt, 1999

10 Canadian soldier of the UN peacekeeping
troops in Drvar in the western part of Bosnia, April 1998

Diplomatically, Canada has also successfully worked to solve numerous conflicts. For his mediation efforts in the Suez Crisis, Foreign Minister Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957. The separatist desires of the Quebec people remain a domestic flashpoint. In 1976, the radical separatist Parti Quebecois, under the leadership of Rene Levesque, won an absolute majority in the province but failed in its 1980 referendum to secede from Canada. The 1987 Meech Lake Accord gave Quebec special rights, but the agreement was scrapped due to protests from other provinces. The "Quebec Charter of the French Language" in 1992 ultimately defined a binding language agreement for the state offices and more autonomous rights for the provinces.

In 1995, the 12 vote for separation failed closely once again; with just 50,56 percent of the votes against secession, the unity of Canada was maintained for the time being.

12 le demonstrating for the unity of
Canada in October 1995

Prime Minister Trudeau put forward the Constitution Act in 1982 requesting full political independence from the United Kingdom. The British parliament responded with the Canada Act, which severed virtually all the remaining constitutional and legislative ties between the two countries.

Under Conservative Prime Minister 13 Brian Mulroney, who governed from 1984 to 1993, tensions with the original inhabitants of Canada, the 8 Inuit and the 11 Indians, became prominent.

After long unrest, in 1988 they were promised parts of the Mackenzie Valley in a preliminary treaty which was signed by representatives of the Canadian government. Under the Prime Minister Jean Chretien, the government attempted to achieve a compromise with the native inhabitants, who in some cases were demanding all of their former lands back.

Prime Minister 14 Paul Martin, a Liberal who has been in office since 200;, is seen as a steady hand and is expected to boost the economic situation through new liberalization policies.

13 Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, May 1989

8 Two young Inuit girls in traditional dress, 1996

11 Canadian Indian wearing traditional clothes and headdress during a display of cultural traditions, 1990

14 Paul Martin with US President
George W. Bush, 2004


see also: United Nations member states -



Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

| privacy