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The 20th Century

Can you guess these notable people, places, and things from the 20th century?
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: December 12, 2019
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First submittedMarch 29, 2014
Times taken72,762
Average score70.0%
Rating4.38
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Year
Description
Answer
1999
Atmospheric levels of this greenhouse gas reach 365ppm,
an increase of over 25% since 1900
Carbon Dioxide
1945–1991
The U.S. and Soviet Union fight this "war"
Cold War
1979
Protestors seize power in this country and establish a theocracy
Iran
1969
This man becomes the first to walk on the moon
Neil Armstrong
1962
The U.S. and Soviet Union have a tense stand-off over missiles in this country
Cuba
1958–1961
This ruler's "Great Leap Forward" causes 30 million people to starve to death
Mao Zedong
1955
Jonas Salk announces a vaccine for this disease
Polio
1946
The ENIAC is hailed as the world's first example of this common modern device
Computer
1941
Japanese forces launch a surprise attack on this naval base
Pearl Harbor
1936
This British king abdicates
Edward VIII
1933
This political figure says "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"
Franklin D. Roosevelt
1930
This leader marches to the sea to get salt and defy British rule
Mohandas Gandhi
1927
This pilot becomes the first to make a non-stop solo flight from New York to Paris
Charles Lindbergh
1908–1927
This car model, nicknamed the "Tin Lizzie", sells over 16.5 million units
Model T
1922
This "ism" rises to prominence as Benito Mussolini becomes leader of Italy
Fascism
1918–1920
This pandemic kills over 3% of the world's population
Spanish Flu
1916
Margaret Sanger opens the first U.S. clinic to provide information
about this practice
Birth Control
1915
This empire systematically kills an estimated 1.5 million Armenians
Ottoman Empire
1914
This archduke is assassinated, sparking WWI
Franz Ferdinand
1912
This famous ocean liner hits an iceberg and sinks
RMS Titanic
+9
Level 74
Mar 31, 2014
I didn't know it was Spanish flu. I almost answered that, then I thought I was getting it confused with Spanish fly. 19/20. sigh.
+1
Level 48
Jun 1, 2014
LOL
+1
Level 78
Feb 19, 2015
+3
+8
Level 57
Apr 9, 2014
You should accept contraception for birth control.
+7
Level 45
Apr 9, 2014
I also guessed contraception. The term birth control is not used often where I live in the UK.
+4
Level 86
Apr 9, 2014
I could only think of contraception, had to check on wikipedia to find "birth control" but I knew what the question was about anyway ;).
+4
Level ∞
Apr 10, 2014
Contraception will work now. Thanks!
+1
Level 41
Feb 13, 2017
I put in safe sex which is the same thing so that should work too
+5
Level 79
May 23, 2017
I think you may be doing it wrong
+3
Level 33
Jun 1, 2017
Abortion might work in this scenario... Maybe?
+8
Level 82
Jul 27, 2017
Safe sex is about preventing pregnancy *and*, importantly, disease. Contraception and birth control are both only about preventing pregnancy.
+1
Level 88
Jul 10, 2018
I think ruftytufty called it.
+3
Level 61
Jul 10, 2020
I tried abortion, eugenics, contraceptives...nothing.
+2
Level 79
Jul 11, 2020
Me too. I tried abortion and contraceptives too. Could abortion and contraceptives be accepted?
+2
Level 75
Jun 5, 2021
Abortion isn't correct, and contraceptives isn't a practice. QED.
+1
Level 85
Apr 9, 2014
100% with 2:23 left, love history this was pretty easy!
+1
Level 61
Apr 13, 2014
only 34% got lindburgh??
+1
Level 79
Jul 11, 2020
Lindbergh*
+1
Level 69
Apr 13, 2014
I think Franz Ferdinand also had a last name, so imho von Habsburg-Lothringen (or just (von) Habsburg) should be accepted
+2
Level 60
Jul 1, 2020
But his last name wasn't Hapsburg, though. His full name was Franz Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Maria of Austria. In german, it's "von Österreich-Este" and the short "official" name is Franz Ferdinand d'Este. If anything, he was Este, not Hapsburg. House Este of coutse was part of house Hapsburg, but he was never written as that.
+3
Level 41
Sep 11, 2014
Taking in account everything that has been said here about US having an undeniably prominent role in the history of the 20th century, I am still convinced it is inappropriate to characterise the Cold war as a conflict between the USA and the USSR. While they were the chief agents, the Cold war took place between the Western World and the socialist block, mostly in the East (barring exceptions like Cuba and Nicaragua). Reducing this to a conflict between two countries is like saying that WWII was fought between Germany and Britain, for example.
+1
Level 82
Oct 14, 2022
Or like saying WW2 was fought between the Axis and the Allies...
+1
Level 45
Oct 14, 2022
If you are talking about the Comintern which dissolved in 1943. Then you are correct.
+1
Level 14
Dec 6, 2014
15000 person!!!!
+1
Level 67
Feb 19, 2015
20/20 with 3:42 remaining. If I can get them all, so can you!
+1
Level 66
Feb 19, 2015
How about family planning for birth control
+2
Level ∞
Aug 31, 2016
Okay
+1
Level 77
Oct 18, 2015
What's with type-ins for the Ford? Ford T, T Ford, Model T Ford, Ford Model T, Ford T Model .. I think I tried every conceivable combination of those three and FINALLY one caught. Please add some?
+1
Level 41
Apr 22, 2016
Is it me or was this the worst century ever?
+5
Level ∞
Aug 31, 2016
Many people would agree with you, but I don't, and probably most historians wouldn't either. 20th century warfare may seem particularly brutal, but it was positively benign compared to the crises of earlier eras. Think about the countries that were worst affected by the World Wars such as Russia, Poland, Germany, and Japan. Now compare their populations and standards of living in 1900 vs 2000. Despite their awful ordeals, all the affected countries emerged much stronger than they started. The 20th century was, in fact, the best century of all-time (excepting the 21st, of course).
+4
Level ∞
Jul 2, 2020
According to one researcher, the worst year to be alive was 536 A.D.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/11/why-536-was-worst-year-be-alive

+3
Level ∞
Jul 2, 2020
The 1300s were also terrible. Take a look at this graph of the population of England and ask yourself when the worst time to be alive was.
+1
Level 69
Oct 27, 2021
Just a question, what do you mean by the "worst" time to be alive? Because it is possible to live a life worse than death.
+2
Level 71
Apr 24, 2022
It also depends what part of the 20th century you're talking about. Living during World War 1 or 2 would be terrible, but the '80s and '90s were on the balance pretty good. 100 years is a long time, and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to make blanket statements about the entire century. That being said, I agree with Quizmaster that, as a whole, there were more positives to the century than negatives.
+1
Level 48
Nov 24, 2016
Is anybody else tired of hearing about Franz Ferdinand?
+3
Level 71
Dec 12, 2016
Nobody ever mentions that his lovely wife Sophie was also assassinated on that day.
+1
Level 71
Dec 12, 2016
Colossus was the world's first electronic digital programmable computer. It used a large number of valves (vacuum tubes). It had paper-tape input and was capable of being configured to perform a variety of boolean logical operations on its data, but it was not Turing-complete. Nine Mk II Colossi were built (The Mk I was converted to a Mk II making ten machines in total). Colossus Mark I contained 1500 thermionic valves (tubes), but Mark II with 2400 valves, was both 5 times faster and simpler to operate than Mark 1, greatly speeding the decoding process. ENIAC was the first USA Computer and although later than Colossus was faster and more flexible.
+3
Level 80
Feb 12, 2017
Zuse's Z3 came 5 years earlier than ENIAC. It "was the world's first programmable computer; the functional program-controlled Turing-complete Z3 became operational in May 1941", says Wikipedia.
+1
Level 81
Jul 27, 2017
You're right, the Colossus was the first computer of this type. It was, however, kept secret. So the question is correct, ENIAC was "hailed" as the first, even though it wasn't actually the first.
+2
Level 75
Jun 5, 2021
When I think of the first computer I think of Charles Babbage - made a programmable computing machine in the 1800s.
+3
Level 17
Dec 12, 2016
I kept thinking that Armenians was Americans, but eventually realized it was Armenians
+2
Level 59
Oct 14, 2022
Now *that* is American-centric! :-)
+2
Level 68
Feb 12, 2017
Does it seem crazy to anyone else that there were only 4 decades between the first transatlantic flight and Neil Armstrong walking on the moon? That's a lot of change in 40 years!
+3
Level 50
Feb 16, 2017
Absolutely. Just think, in 1902 no man had ever flown period. 67 years later we are on the moon. The 20th century was an amazing 100 years!
+1
Level 84
Oct 2, 2019
Well, the first human flight was in 1783 in a hot air balloon. But yeah, the rate of progress in recent history is mind blowing.
+3
Level 55
Jul 13, 2020
The quiz is correct as it says the first solo flight, but Lindbergh wasn't the first transatlantic flight. Alcock and Brown were the first, ten years earlier. It would be nice for this to be recognised in at least one quiz on this site.
+2
Level 78
Mar 3, 2021
Agreed. The arrogance levels are off the scale. I don't mean necessarily just the choice of questions in the first instance but the vehemence of defence (OK defense) when questioned or challenged about it.
+1
Level 66
Feb 13, 2017
There's a very funny 'Drunk History' episode on Edward VIII.
+1
Level 63
Feb 25, 2017
20/20 with 3:32 remaining.
+3
Level 37
Jul 27, 2017
Though I've lived in the USA for much of my adult life, I have also traveled extensively through Northern Europe and the Caribbean.

So, while I am comfortable with other cultures, I tend to gravitate

toward these, which are made by Americans. A suggestion? Those of you who are offended by the heavy emphasis on Americanism in these quizzes should absolutely boycott them and CREATE YOUR OWN!

+1
Level 49
Jan 24, 2018
Ford Model T should be accepted, i didnt think to try without the ford
+5
Level 76
Jul 10, 2020
This site sure loves its Western bias, huh?
+1
Level 67
Jul 10, 2020
It's an American site, run by an American, with a primarily American user base. So yeah.
+2
Level 66
Jan 25, 2023
Actually people from the USA account for less than 50% on here. Besides, wouldn't it be nice to learn about all the other interesting countries of the world?
+4
Level 89
Jul 10, 2020
This guy sure loves complaining, huh?
+2
Level 78
Mar 3, 2021
And this guy sure loves pointing out other people's "errors", often erroneously, which always makes me laugh.
+2
Level 89
Oct 14, 2022
This guy's got his Jacks confused. I'm pretty sure you're talking about JackintheBox, not me.
+1
Level 72
Jul 10, 2020
Wow. Not much has happened in the last 30 years of the century...
+1
Level 63
Jul 11, 2020
Just want to point out, there is a huge overlap in dates, to the point that I wasn't sure if it can be ruled out entirely, but surely the "Race to Space" war between the USSR and the USA could also be a potential answer for the 2nd question?
+1
Level 67
Jul 11, 2020
I don't think so. Those dates clearly track the Cold War: the end of WWII in 1945 through the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The US didn't take a serious interest in going to space until Eisenhower's tenure in the 50s, which was also when the Soviets launched Sputnik. After Apollo 11 in 1969, the race was pretty much over, to the point that the US and USSR actually cooperated on the Apollo-Soyuz mission, in which an astronaut and cosmonaut shook hands in space (awesome!). That was in 1975 or so. Not exactly sure of the year, but definitely mid-70s. So the Space Race is probably like 1955-1975, if not even less time than that.
+1
Level 82
Oct 14, 2022
It's called the "Space Race," not the "Race to Space War"...

and, yes, as jmellor points out the Space Race was over long before 1991. It ended either in 1957 or 1969 depending on whom you ask.

+1
Level 43
Oct 16, 2020
Please accept CO2 for carbon dioxide.
+1
Level ∞
Oct 16, 2020
We do
+2
Level 75
Jan 8, 2022
you should accept 'contraceptives' for birth control
+1
Level 45
Jun 16, 2022
I typed Zedong and it did not work. Maybe a mistake?
+1
Level 67
Oct 14, 2022
That is his first name. It would be like accepting "John" for John F. Kennedy.
+1
Level 72
Apr 13, 2023
I mean, sure, but which other "Zedong" would an English-speaking user of this website be referring to? John being disallowed makes sense because there's a million Johns with historical significance to the average resident of an English speaking country. I can only count one Zedong.
+2
Level 72
Oct 14, 2022
Jetpunk getting political now. Abortion is a legit answer and should be accepted. This quiz will take answers that are misspelled to the ends of the earth, however, can't mention abortion.
+1
Level 67
Oct 14, 2022
I actually don't think Sanger herself promoted abortion. She promoted contraception. Planned Parenthood's abortion work is a logical outgrowth of what Sanger taught, but "birth control" is the best answer, irrespective of politics.
+2
Level 82
Oct 14, 2022
Your ignorance doesn't render correct answers political. Why don't you actually read about the woman... somewhere without the political bias you are misidentifying in others.
+2
Level 72
Oct 14, 2022
Nothing to do with ignorance. Abortion is a method of birth control. There are plenty other instances on JetPunk where if you get the in the same ballpark the "real" answer is revealed.
+1
Level 61
Oct 14, 2022
Um, sounds like ignorance to me. I quickly put the answer as "abortion" too. But I realized a moment later why it was the wrong response. Not sure why you're arguing a point that cannot be supported.
+1
Level 82
Oct 15, 2022
Again, I'd encourage you to actually do some reading about the woman and the work that she did. Abortion had little to do with most of it, especially in 1916.
+1
Level 37
Oct 16, 2022
I like how it accepts CO2 for Carbon Dioxde
+1
Level 66
Jan 25, 2023
What relevance does the Franklin Roosevelt question have for the 20th Century?
+1
Level 65
Apr 23, 2023
He's one of the most important US presidents of the century (he led the country through WW2) and that's one of his most famous quotes.
+2
Level 72
Apr 13, 2023
I think US-centric does make sense for this quiz, but I do find it interesting that the justification of "American Century" is being used when this quiz mentions very little about US hegemony. While there is the vague mention of the Cold War as a whole and the Cuban Missile Crisis (which are both rightly framed as power struggles), there's nothing directly referring to the US's many neo-imperial pursuits.

Meanwhile, China, Japan, and the Ottomans all get explicit statement of a horrendous act they've committed (for China and the Ottomans, the most horrendous)— which I do think are important to know and do make good quiz questions, but it does sort of feel like a double standard? I don't know if it was intentional, but this distribution seems to implicitly portray the US in an needlessly patriotic light, by denouncing our enemies for their crimes while being completely silent on our own (and while praising our innovations).

+1
Level 76
Jun 19, 2023
Indeed, it often seems like the material is coming straight from the State Department's script.