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15 October, 2019
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3. History of Civilization (3.22-3.24)

3.22    United States of America, USA

3.22.1    Declaration of independence

The Overseas Empires established colonies all over America. Thirteen British colonies in North America rebelled against British rule due to the unfair tax policy and because they were denied representation in the British Parliament. The thirteen colonies declared themselves independent from the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained their justifications for doing so in the so called “Declaration of Independence”, released the 4th of July 1776. The Declaration was put together by the “Founding fathers”: John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut. It was however Thomas Jefferson who did the most of the writing. The declaration was signed by 56 delegates representing: Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and reached London and the British rulers August the 10th, which enhanced the conflict with the thirteen colonies to the War of Independence.

The war ended with the British Empire recognition of the declaration on September 3rd 1783. The Constitution of the United States, beginning “We the people…” was adopted in 1787 which become effective in 1789. The U.S. has also taken part in several major foreign wars, including “World War I” and “World War II” followed by the “Cold War” and along with the Soviet Union, was considered one of the world's two "superpowers". After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States became the leading economic and military power. There are so many things to tell about the US, that I better don’t as it probably will flood this dossier. One can summarize everything by saying: “US has formed itself to become the leading influence in the world today and have got there by pulling the correct strings at the correct time, along with support from many allies.”

 The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument


America is commonly known as: “the land of the free”. I would however distinguish constitutional freedom and mental freedom, which the latter I would define as a growing problem in America by using the old and rather scary words: “Thinking is great, but thinking right is greater”. I sometimes wonder if America, on a global scale, is trying to, without understanding it, shoulder the papal role of the Middle Ages.

3.23    Canada and Australia

Both Canada and Australia has managed to keep themselves outside most major modern conflicts. They have however always been helping the allied side in conflicts, but no enemy has made moved against their territories. Isolated from conflicts they are the perfect hosts for peacekeeping ideologies and missions. They both are very active in the Commonwealth society and have United Kingdoms Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Along with Britain and USA both Canada and Australia is known to be active members in the worlds largest signal intelligence network named “Echelon”, which existence and aims has been discussed in media countless times the last decade.

Canada

Several Viking expeditions to the regions of Newfoundland occurred around year 1000 without any longer lasting settlements. Some say that it was old Viking myths about the existence of new worlds that led to the Europeans overseas expeditions. The British explorer John Cabot reached the Islands that he named Newfoundland in 1497. It was however the French settlements in 1604 which were the first to become permanent. European wars were also reflected in these regions beside growing immigration. During the American Revolution when the Thirteen Colonies formed themselves against the British Empire, many Loyalists fled north and settled in the northern colonies. These colonies were merged into a single colony, the Province of Canada in 1840. Today’s federation of Canada, second largest country in the world, was constituted in 1867, with the so called British North America Act.

Australia

The Dutch navigator, Willem Jansz, was the first European who sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula in 1606. Dutch sailors claimed the western and northern coastlines, which they called New Holland, but did not create any settlements. The British sailor, James Cook, sailed along and mapped the east cost in 1770, which he named New South Wales. The British Crown Colony of New South Wales started with the establishment of a penal settlement at Port Jackson by Captain Arthur Phillip on 26 January 1788, which today is Australia’s National day. Britain continued to colonize Australia and claimed the whole western part in 1829. More and more colonies became “free” and the transportation of convicts to Australia was phased out between 1840 and 1868. In 1901, the Commonwealth of Australia was born as a dominion of the British Empire. And in 1927 the Capital of the federation became Canberra. Britain’s defeat in Asia against the Japanese Empire, in 1942, caused Australia to turn to United States as a new ally and protector. The ANZUS treaty signed in 1951 binds Australia, New Zealand and USA into a military alliance.

3.24    The Great War (World War I)

There was a tense atmosphere in Europe after years of political and internal instability. The growing democratic, ethnic and socialistic movements were seen as threats among dynasties like the Hohenzollerns, the Habsburgs, the Ottomans and the Romanov’s. Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia after the assassination in Sarajevo, July 1914 and literally “hell broke lose”. The British blamed Wilhelm II of Germany for the war and called it “the Kaisers War”. The Great War became a conflict between Allied Forces (Great Britain, France, Russia, Serbia, and USA) and Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria), which evolved into a devastating inferno of horror. The new modern types of weapons, chemicals and bombs killed over 9 million soldiers on the battlefield.

The, at the time, weak Ottoman Empire, also called “the sick man of Europe”, suffered a revolution in 1908 and a group called “The Young Turks” seized power and joined the Central Powers when it seemed that Germany would win the war. Bulgaria also joined and hoped to gain land from Serbia once the Allies were defeated. In April the 2nd 1917 US President Wilson asked the Congress to declare war on the Kaiser of Germany whom together with the Emperor of Austria-Hungary Wilson pointed out as a growing threat against world democracy.

One by one the central powers left the war, starting with Russia who suffered from internal problems. Then Bulgaria left followed by the Ottomans who lost all territory except what modern Turkey consist in today (Treaty signed 1923). Parallel to the war, the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed due to internal ethnic problems, which initiated the independence movements of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Romania. The imperial government surrendered to the Allies as both Hungary and Austria left the no-more-existing empire.

Germany was left alone to fight the Allies, without the support from its own people. Strikes and civil disorder made Germany incapable to continue fighting. Parallel to the declining war months of negotiations took place and November 11th 1918 Germany and the Allies agreed to end the four year world war. World War I became the decisive break of the “old world order”, marking the final chapter in history of absolutist monarchies in Europe.

 

 


 
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