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Jennifer Rosenberg
Guide since 1997

About.com 20th Century History

Famous Criminals

Portrayed in the 1930s as modern-day Robin Hoods, Bonnie and Clyde did sometimes steal from the rich and give to the poor. At other times they killed people for no reason. Learn what happened to this strange, criminal duo.

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The First to Climb Mount Everest

Picture of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay after their climb of Mt. Everest.

To most people, climbing the Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, seemed an impossible task. The first to successfully accomplish this amazing climb were New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Tenzing Norgay in 1953. Learn more about their incredible story.

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20th Century History Spotlight10

Typhoid Mary

Typhoid Mary had no idea that she was infected with the disease yet her work as a cook infected many. Find out all about Typhoid Mary and why authorities had a difficult time capturing Mary.

The Plane That Crashed Into the Empire State Building

At 9:49 a.m. on Saturday, July 28, 1945, a B-25 bomber crashed into the Empire State Building. Find out why the bomber crashed and what happened to the Empire State Building.

Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens didn't start out athletic; he actually was a sickly child. But by the age of 22, Jesse Owens, the grandson of slaves, had won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Learn more about Jesse Owens.

The Downfall of Communism

Beginning with the creation of the Soviet Union, communism began to gain footing in many countries around the world, vying for control of the world against capitalism. However, in the second part of the 20th century, communism began to weaken. Find out what happened to bring down communism as a world power.


Communism is a political ideology that believes the struggles between classes can be solved by eliminating private property. The concept of communism, founded by Karl Marx in 1848, first became a reality when Lenin used it in Russia. Find out more about this history of communism.

Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr. was known as Mr. Entertainment because he could do just about anything -- sing, dance, act, play multiple instruments, do impressions, tell jokes, and more. But his life was filled with uncertainty and controversy. Find out more about Sammy Davis Jr.

Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov, best known for his science-fiction novels, wrote a total of 471 books on a huge number of subjects. Find out more about Asimov and how he was so prolific.

Virginia Woolf

British author Virginia Woolf wrote ten novels and a number of essays despite struggling with mental illness nearly her whole life. Sadly, however, her illness ultimately killed her. Learn more about this talented, troubled woman.

Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker was truly a remarkable woman. She started out life as a child of slaves, was orphaned at age 7, married at age 14, a mother by age 17, and then a widow by age 20. She then spent 18 years as a laundress before starting her own hair-care business that grew exponentially, ultimately making her the first female, self-made millionaire.

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer from Georgia, then governor, and then the 39th president of the United States. Unfortunately, my most counts, he failed as a president. However, since then, Carter has worked diligently on humanitarian efforts around the world. Learn more about President Jimmy Carter in this short biography.

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