Author Topic: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?  (Read 6728 times)

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Offline nena

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What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« on: October 16, 2011, 01:19:42 PM »
Yes, what was the best decade in the twentieth century? (At any field --- in culture, science, peace, in any segment of life). I was born in early 90's, so I have not many arguments to judge.

I'd like to hear everyone's opinions. I personally love 70's somehow. But each decade has special nice/bad moments. So what do you think?
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Offline Olga Bernice

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2011, 03:13:12 PM »
Well, to me, the '80's was the best for music. Who knows the '82 song The Eye of the Tiger??? :)
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Offline historyfan

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2011, 08:54:15 PM »
Honestly, I think they all have their good and their bad. There isn't one I wouldn't travel back to, if given the chance. I'd rather the 80s stay buried. But, here they come crawling out of their hole to resurrect themselves in my kids' clothing and remade music!  : ) 

For innovation and invention, and speed of change in the way the average person lived, I'd have to hand the trophy to the entire first half of the century, up to and including the 50s.

Peace? Hah! So far as I can tell, the twentieth century is one of the bloodiest, if not THE bloodiest. And we continue it through the first decade of the 21st.

Changes in the lot of women were gradual, but I think we owe the rights we have and the way we're now allowed to live, in the free world, largely to the 60s. (Now, whether that's a blessing is debatable!  ; )  )


Offline Archduchess Zelia

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2011, 09:08:44 PM »
Hard one.
I'm gonna have to say the 40's or the 50's though. Being extraordinarily fascinated by classic Hollywood, a lot of my favourite movies are from those two decades.
I secretly believe I was born in the wrong decade ;)
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Offline Yelena Aleksandrovna

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2011, 02:24:45 PM »
I can't choose only one decade, 20th century is one of my favorite ones  (the other is the 19th century), as many of you (right) said before, all the century had many especial and good things (other were not much good like the wars)
But my favorite years of the 20th century are the Edwardian era and the 1920's
Both as result of the fashion, the customs and some "charm" that personally  I can't find on time after.

Hard one.
I secretly believe I was born in the wrong decade ;)

I've thought the same for the last four years!!!  :D

Offline TimM

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2013, 04:11:10 PM »
I would have to say the 1980's, maybe because that was the decade of my youth.   Plus, most of the music I still like was made in the 80's.
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Offline edubs31

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2013, 05:02:12 PM »
How about we judge each decade by category...

Music - 60s and 70s (sorry 80s fans, you pale in comparison with your superficial crap to the ground breaking compositions of your predecessors)
Movies - 70s and 90s (tough call but check the IMDB top 250 list and you'll see a disproportionate number of placements from these two decades)
Television - 90s and 2000s (my opinion only but the dramas and miniseries of the past 20 have been fabulous compared to decade's past.
Prosperous - 90s, 50s and 20s
Groundbreaking - 00s, 40s and 60s
Fashion - 20s, 60s and 70s
Sports - 80s
Tech Innovations - 00s, 40s, 90s
Peaceful - 20s and 90s
Exciting - 60s and 20s

OVERALL -
1) 60s,
2) 20s,
3) 90s
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Offline edubs31

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2013, 05:15:35 PM »
Tough call though. The 1940s, for example, were destructive and tragic, but also great for heroism. After all they don't call it "The Greatest Generation" for nothing!

I guess there ought to be a sub category dedicated to "substance". If so the 40s would probably rank #1 with the 80s and 90s (from a US perspective at least) ranking at the bottom.
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Offline Galactic_Misfit

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2013, 08:36:52 PM »
I would have to say the 1980's, maybe because that was the decade of my youth.   Plus, most of the music I still like was made in the 80's.

I was born in '85 and as a result, was a kid and teen in the 90's, but I have always loved both decades. I still wear lots of bright clothes and listen to the same music I was brought up with on my family's cross-country road trips every summer. But, both of my parents would have to say it would be the 70's that they both enjoyed the most, partly because they were both teens when 70's came (my dad was 16 and my mom was 14 in 1970) and they really enjoyed their teens during that decade. I would stick with the 80's and 90's, though.

Offline edubs31

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2013, 10:17:15 PM »
I think people are naturally possessive of the era's that they grew up in...generally their "formative" years in their teens and twenties. But life experiences come into play as well. If for instance you land a good steady job, get married and have children during your 30s then suddenly that decade would probably be more fondly remembered then the previous or following decades.

Sometimes the timing of your birth in a decade matters as well. My wife, for example, was born in 1972 and she recalls fondly both the 80s and 90s. For her the 80s bring back fond memories of her high school days (class of 1990), and the 90s remind her of her exciting college years (class of '94 with a year of grad school on top).

The early 60s were an outgrowth of the 50s but by the middle of the decade everything changed. The 70s were definitely an outgrowth of the 60s that also took until the middle of the decade to truly establish their own identity, but the 80s and 90s were a bit different...culturally speaking that is. 1981 seems vastly different to me than 1979, and 1991 was clearly a major shift from 1989.

Now it seems like years blur together. The decade of the 2000s...what was that? Was it even a real decade? Plenty happened politically and there were advances in technology (mostly gadgetry) as there always are from one decade to the next. But culturally it seems like we are reliving the same year over and over again since the late-90s. I think one or two years in the 60s or 70s were far more dramatic and interesting than the FIFTEEN year period roughly between 1998-2013. Anyone else agree?
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Offline Jen_94

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2013, 07:11:46 PM »
I was born in the mid 90's (1994). However, as much as I like some of today's movies, I like many old ones too, mainly musicals from the 30's (starting with Wizard of oz) right through to the 70's(ending with Grease)! I especially love the MGM musical movie classics of the 40's though!

I definitely think I was born in the wrong era though, definitely. I do, however, agree that each decade has had it's ups and downs!

Offline nena

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2013, 10:25:01 PM »
Edbus31, your analysis are extraordinary -- I completely agree with you. I agree that we are seeing the same years since late 1990's, I simply can not see the difference between late '90s and '00s except in technological development. IMO, it is all consequence of the globalization, things somehow look alike. I agree with you -- early seventies was still the part of the sixties, as well as for the early eighties, that was still part of the seventies. It obviously takes several years to form the new decade. So we can freely say that the  '80s actually began in approx. 1982 and not on January 1st 1980. IMO, analogically reasoning, the seventies began in 1972/3.


I don't know, I like sixties, those were revolutionary era, Love revolution, the Beatles, but yet I am dazzled by the seventies, I even love the way it is pronounced, that fashion, that disco music, hairstyles...:-D My mother moved to Germany in the early '70s and I am always amazed when watching her photos from that period. When I was young, I connected the '80s with the music somehow. I must not forget mention those '90s when I spent my happy childhood, though political situation here on Balkan was not brilliant at all. I love American history during the '50s as well. And of course where are the 1900s and 1910s when our Romanovs walked on the Earth. A friend of mine adores the thirties as well, he likes it's movies, its people and all that.


Let's continue the discussion...
« Last Edit: February 17, 2013, 10:30:08 PM by nena »
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Offline edubs31

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2013, 01:31:34 PM »
Thanks for the kind words Nena and naturally I agree with your description as well. Some additional thoughts below. Kind of lengthy so I apologize in advance...

Quote
I must not forget mention those '90s when I spent my happy childhood, though political situation here on Balkan was not brilliant at all.

Important to note and I need to offer a quick disclaimer. My assessments of culture are from a strictly American viewpoint. Obviously American culture has been widely influential around the world so it's important to consider even for non-Americans, but I certainly am not indifferent to the struggles and hardships that have shaped the world in a way many Americans are ignorant of. The 1980s, for example, were considered the "Lost Decade" in Latin American...a far cry from the economic surge, conservative values, and flashy empty headed pop culture rhetoric being espoused by it's neighbor to the north. Nena your example of the struggles faced during post-Communist Eastern Europe are duly noted as well. After all, the way you cut your hair, or the color of the clothing you wear, or the music you listen to tends to matter little when you're struggling to survive.

With that said...

The 50s, from a cultural standpoint, probably began with the end of the Korean War hostilities in 1953. We also had a new President arrive in office that year in Dwight Eisenhower. It was around this time the real expansion of American middle class life took place...the birth of the suburbs and Interstate Highway System. Certainly Cold War hysteria and racial tensions persisted but I think most (white at least) Americans reveled in their new found domestic bliss. The laid back nature of the decade made sense...the country was never more prosperous as it was to that point, and after fighting two wars over the course of a dozen year span most were ready to take it easy for a while. Rock and roll of course added a different texture to things once it arrived a year or two later, but did not alter the basic trajectory.

I think the 60s really got going culturally in 1963. Musically the Beatles and many of the British Invasion acts were in full gear by year's end. In the US we began to crawl out of our early-60s teen idol dominated malaise. The Beach Boys had a big year in '63 and the folk scene (Dylan, Baez, etc) was really exploding as well. Motown too was really coming to the surface as the dominant soul genre/label. Then of course you had the Kennedy assassination in November which had a huge cultural impact even as a technically politically event. It ended the era of post-war innocence and perhaps also, to a significant degree, the cultural naivety of the preceding decade as well.

The 70s meanwhile probably began in 1973 or so as you mentioned. I often think of the tumultuous events and election of 1972 as marking the end of the 'counter-culture' era. Nixon's landslide victory over McGovern was more than a victory for the Republican Party, it also symbolized the decline (and perhaps death) of anti-establishment rhetoric. I think by '73 Americans were tired of the war, tired of the upheavals and social drama of the 60s and early-70s and were in a insular partying mood. The national economy declined in the mid-70s right around the time when Americans were becoming more distrustful of their government and leaders than ever before. The same person who may have stood and fought in the 60s was now walking away from the battle in search of a pleasant diversion.

The 80s and 90s meanwhile probably got jump started a bit early in their respective decades. This is because the cultural identity that shaped each decade was a backlash to, rather than an outgrowth of, what came before it. Disco was a joke by 1981, and punk had "evolved" into the New Wave. MTV was launched in 1981 and had a huge cultural impact as well. Of course the election of Reagan and a return to conservatism that year also represented a considerable shift from our collective cultural-political ideology of the mid to late-70s.

The 90s meanwhile began from a music, and to a lesser extent a cultural standpoint, in the latter half of 1991. Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was the rallying call and following them through the door was the grunge movement and self proclaimed 'slacker generation'. Hip hop and, especially, gangsta rap also came to the forefront around this time. The 90s were more 'serious' than the 80s and our music and style reflected that. We were looking for less flash and more substance and what arena rock, post-punk and New Wave did to the disco and soft rock of the late-70s, alternative rock, heavy metal and gangsta rap did to the dance pop and hair bands of the latter 80s.

I think the alternative era was in swift decline by about 1996 and probably dead by around '97. Ever since I believe there to be something of an identity crisis. Years bleed together and other than significant moments that usually dead with elections or national tragedies there is really nothing that serves as a hallmark to the times. Other than a faster computer, smaller cell phone, and the kids who desperately adapt some retread fashion style, are there really any substantive differences from, say, 1998 to 2005? Or 2005 to 2012? I personally don't see it...
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Offline TimM

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 07:35:41 AM »
Quote
The 1980s, for example, were considered the "Lost Decade" in Latin American

No doubt because, in that time, Latin America was Cold War battlefield with the U.S. very involve behind the scenes.  They already had one Communist state on their doorstep (Cuba) and damned if they were going to allow another one.  It was not until the USSR collapsed in 1991 that things settled down.  I think the last big thing to happen there was when the U.S. invaded Panama to oust and capture Manual Noreiga in 1989 (after Noreiga stupidly declared war on the U.S. and ordered his troops to fire on U.S. soldiers that were in Panama by treaty).
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Offline edubs31

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Re: What was the best decade in the twentieth century?
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2013, 09:18:46 AM »
Correct Tim.

I don't think there is a single decade the entire world can agree on as even being 'good', much less the best in a century. Lets just look at it from an American (and perhaps Canadian) to Russian perspective.

1900s
America = Good
Russia = Difficult
1910s
America = Difficult
Russia = Awful
1920s
America = Great
Russia = Awful
1930s
America = Awful
Russia = Bad
1940s
America = Bad yet heroic
Russia = Awful yet heroic
1950s
America = Good
Russia = Decent
1960s
America = Difficult
Russia = Good
1970s
America = Difficult
Russia = Decent
1980s
America = Good
Russia = Bad
1990s
America = Great
Russia = Difficult
2000s
America = Difficult
Russia = Difficult

The one and only decade that both countries could probably agree that was all in all successful for them would be the 50s. Interestingly 1953 becomes the symbolic year for each. Stalin died that year and Russia began its slow improvement from his tyrannical reign. 1953 was also Eisenhower's first year in office as US President and marked the end of the Korean War...and subsequent suburban expansion. Both countries spent the middle and latter years of the 50s on an upswing. Otherwise there is likely little confluence and agreement.

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