Was the sinking of the Titanic a bad start to the 20th century?

Dan Kappes

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I wonder if the sinking of the Titanic brought a feeling of uncertainty and depression among society during the early years of the 20th century that seemed to them that nothing would ever be quite the same again. And two years after the Titanic sank, World War I broke out, which further disrupted the peace and confidence that the Industrial Revolution had brought about to the world during the second half of the 19th century. Like Walter Lord said, "It was the end of an era." Man was never quite as overconfident in technology ever again.

Similarly, 9/11 was a horrific start to the 21st century and the new millennium, as look at how that changed the world so much. Before that, everyone was excited about the new millennium but it seems there is now more violence and sadness in the world than ever before.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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I wonder if the sinking of the Titanic brought a feeling of uncertainty and depression among society during the early years of the 20th century that seemed to them that nothing would ever be quite the same again. And two years after the Titanic sank, World War I broke out, which further disrupted the peace and confidence that the Industrial Revolution had brought about to the world during the second half of the 19th century. Like Walter Lord said, "It was the end of an era." Man was never quite as overconfident in technology ever again.

Similarly, 9/11 was a horrific start to the 21st century and the new millennium, as look at how that changed the world so much. Before that, everyone was excited about the new millennium but it seems there is now more violence and sadness in the world than ever before.
"everyone was excited about the new millennium"
No not everyone. I don't know if your old enough to remember the Y2K hysteria. People were freaking out. Stocking food, buying generators, refuseing to fly...they were convinced the apocolypse was at hand. The future a dystopian scenario. Corporations spending millions of dollars hiring old programmers who knew COBOL and FORTRAN to reprogram their computers. My company went ballistic over it but us techs were just shaking our heads trying to tell them it was way over blown. Everything had to be Y2K compliant...even equipment that had no chips. It was crazy. The only good thing about it was you could buy a generator at yard sales a year later for pennies on the dollar.
 
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Harland Duzen

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I would say that on a surface level, 1912 didn't appear to be a good year for Britain.

You had the national coal strike and suffragette window attacks happening at around the same time, then the Titanic's loss and in November, Britain learnt of Scott's race to the Arctic had ended tragically.
 
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Eric Paddon

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I have to agree that we can't fall into the trap of elevating the significance of the Titanic to levels that aren't merited. The proximity to the outbreak of WW1 I suspect makes it too easy to see in the Titanic a symoblic harbinger for the end of the Old World Order itself, but the road to WW1 itself was a path that European powers were already long-term stumbling towards for more than a decade (war could easily have broken out in 1905 over events in Morocco; the settlement only forestalled how a similar low-level flashpoint could easily cause events to go over the edge as they would in Sarajevo in 1914).
 

robert warren

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I always get a laugh at people who believe the Titanic's demise was linked to events of the near future. The seeds of WWI were being sown when the Titanic was still not a reality and would have happened had she not sank. I will say though, at least people back then could enjoy the new century for more than dozen years before seeing humanity torn apart---unlike us ,when 9/11and the dumpster fire horrors that followed happened during the first year of our new century!!
 

Eric Paddon

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Not that the first decade of the century didn't give us some other traumatic experiences. The assassination of a President. A catastrophe like the San Francisco Earthquake. There was unrest in China, war between Russia and Japan etc. One's perception on how the new century was unfolding was based entirely on whether your corner of the world felt the impact of other events or not.
 
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I would say that on a surface level, 1912 didn't appear to be a good year for Britain.

You had the national coal strike and suffragette window attacks happening at around the same time, then the Titanic's loss and in November, Britain learnt of Scott's race to the Arctic had ended tragically.
Also some historians cite 1912 as a turning point for Britain when in that year they passed the National Health Insurance Act. They claim it was the beginning of Britain moving away from classical liberalism to a more socialist welfare state. Whether thats a good thing or a bad thing you brits can debate that. But you are right. 1912 did seem to be a pivotal year for Britain. Where I live 1912 was a good year for us. We were the last territory in the lower 48 to become a state.
 

Dan Kappes

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Yeah, Arizona and New Mexico became US states in 1912.

Also, in the Family Guy episode "Stewie, Chris, & Brian's Excellent Adventure", Stewie and Brian take Chris time-traveling to improve his knowledge of history. One of the time periods Stewie decides to stop at is to view the British Parliament in 1912. (Like you said, possibly to view the passing of the Health Insurance Act.) They also unwittingly board the Titanic!
 

robert warren

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The aforementioned events by Eric are true, but as bad as these were , I think most people( myself included) are referring to having the rug totally pulled out from under you, and things are never the same again. Jack Thayer Jr talked about some these events but said they weren't enough to wake the world from it's slumber. President McKinley's assassination was bad, but the shock waves weren't as big as JFK's would be. Yes the fighting between China Russia and Japan was bad but, those events didn't bring the world to its knees the way the 1914-18 bloodbath would. I think western society as whole was living in a naïve, euphoric bubble.
 
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Yes things were different back then. And by different I mean the news cycle was so much slower. Today if theres an earth shattering crisis just wait 2 days and it will be forgotten and on to next. I know people in there 20's who don't even know what 9/11 was about. They grew up with the changes and don't know how it was before. No big deal to them. Just something they saw on the Discovery channel. Not that I fault them. They got their own challenges they have to deal with. That is ancient history to them. WW1 brought europe to her knees...totally transformed it. In America not so much. During that time period I think the spainish flu epidemic had a bigger impact on the US than the war did. But I digress ...sorry. Back to Titanic. Titanic was different because of the huge press coverage it generated. It was a dramatic story. But I believe if the Astor's, Strauss's, ect. hadn't been onboard it would have faded rather quickly and not got the attention that it did. Just my opinion.
 
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Harland Duzen

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Another 1912 related fact, but while America was probably better off in events (or lack thereof) than everyone else, there was also a grisly axe murder there during 1912 that received a lot of publicity and did shake a lot of people beliefs.
 

Dan Kappes

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"everyone was excited about the new millennium"
No not everyone. I don't know if your old enough to remember the Y2K hysteria. People were freaking out. Stocking food, buying generators, refuseing to fly...they were convinced the apocolypse was at hand. The future a dystopian scenario. Corporations spending millions of dollars hiring old programmers who knew COBOL and FORTRAN to reprogram their computers. My company went ballistic over it but us techs were just shaking our heads trying to tell them it was way over blown. Everything had to be Y2K compliant...even equipment that had no chips. It was crazy. The only good thing about it was you could buy a generator at yard sales a year later for pennies on the dollar.
Yeah, I guess you're right about the Y2K panic. Family Guy even did a funny apocalyptic episode about it called "Da Boom".