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Influential People of the 20th Century

Influential People of the 20th Century

Keeping in view the drastic transformations in the way of living, the list of the most important people of the 20th century is endless. This article takes account of those who changed the world in a major way, thus, influencing the way we associate with each other today...
Historyplex Staff
The 20th century, that lasted from 1901 to 2000, witnessed a phenomenal jump in the lifestyle of people as a result of the social, ideological, political, and most importantly, technological transformations. With the inclusion of expressions like world war, nuclear war, and beliefs in daily usage, a number of people turned out to be an influence on the lives of commoners. While the 19th century effectively laid the foundation of progression of global communication and motorization, the 20th century expanded horizons of the same in an all new manner with the help of a huge number of important people in history. Here, we will talk in brief about the influential people that the 20th century saw, people who were responsible for not only transforming the world into what it is today, but also bringing in peace and harmony among world masses.

The Time 100 list of the most influential people mentions names of a number of leaders, revolutionaries, builders, scientists, heroes, and icons. Following is a brief description of the top 10 most influential people that the 20th century saw:
  1. Albert Einstein: The most influential scientist of the decade, Einstein is known as the Father of Modern Physics. He received a Nobel Prize for his contribution to the field of Theoretical Physics in the year 1921.
  2. Mahatma Gandhi: Indians call him the Father of the Nation as he is one of the world's greatest leaders, and the father-figure of Indian Independence Movement. Known for his beliefs like total nonviolence and civil disobedience, it was because of him that India got independence in 1947.
  3. Franklin D. Roosevelt: Whether or not he was a 'good' president, he made a special place in the list of presidents of USA who were democratic and most revolutionary. This is because he won wars on two fronts, and helped America get out of the economic depression by the progressive norms and policies. He also created a Social Security system that helped senior citizens, thus, prodding the Golden Age of novelty and production in America.
  4. Winston Churchill: He was a successful leader, Prime Minister, writer who won a Nobel Prize in literature, and a sound statesmen. He was elected halfway through the Second World War, and was the biggest strength for Britishers and Allies all around the world.
  5. Adolf Hitler: Adolf Hitler was the most debated personality of the century and a great German leader. He started the biggest war the world saw, and changed the entire borders by leading Germany throughout World War II. However, he committed suicide on April 30th, 1945. Often criticized for being one of the most evil people in world history, he also instigated the Holocaust.
  6. The Wright Brothers: The Wright Brothers were responsible for one of the most significant inventions of the 20th century: the airplane. From a mere bicycle repair shop to experiments and research in the field of airplane development, their mania for airplanes led to the creation of the first heavier-than-air airplane.
  7. Mao Tse-tung: By bringing China under unified standards, Mao Tse-tung is considered as one of the most important personalities to have lived in the 20th century, and a legend of a leader in the Chinese Communist Party. He effectively led both the Chinese revolution and the Communist Party.
  8. Henry Ford: He was neither a leader, nor a politician. However, he invented a car that transformed the face of the automobile world. In 1999, from a survey conducted among Americans, Henry Ford made his place among the Gallup's List of Widely Admired People of the 20th Century. He was also the innovator of welfare capitalism.
  9. John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Another president of USA, John F. Kennedy was a phenomenal and liberal leader of the 20th century. He was often criticized for dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis, and was killed in dubious situations which are still far-fetched.
  10. Nelson Mandela: A former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela has received more than 100 awards and honors. However, the most notable achievement of Mandela was the Nobel Peace Prize he received in 1993.
Apart from the people listed above, there are many others who were equally impactful, but not as prominent. The following is a compilation of 100 influential individuals of the 20th century who molded the era with their phenomenal achievements and beliefs.

20th Century's 100 Most Influential People
Leaders and Politicians
Sr. No.NameOccupation/Influence
1.Ayatullah R. KhomeiniLeader of Iran's Revolution
2.Bill ClintonFormer U.S. President
3.David Ben-GurionIsrael's 1st Prime Minister
4.Eleanor RooseveltFormer U.S. First Lady
5.Fidel CastroDictator of Cuba
6.Harry TrumanFormer U.S. President
7.Ho Chi MinhFirst President of North Vietnam
8.Joseph StalinSoviet Politician
9.Lech WalesaPolish Union Organizer
10.Mao ZedongLeader of Communist China
11.Margaret SangerBirth Control Crusader
12.Margaret ThatcherBritish Prime Minister
13.Martin Luther King Jr.Civil Rights Leader
14.Mikhail GorbachevSoviet Reformer
15.Pope John Paul IIReligious Leader
16.Ronald ReaganFormer U.S. President
17.Theodore RooseveltFormer U.S. President and Environmentalist
18.Tony BlairFormer U.K. Prime Minister
19.Unknown RebelPhotographer of Tiananmen Square protests
20.Vladimir Ilyich LeninFounder of Soviet Union
Scientists and Thinkers
Sr. No.NameOccupation/Influence
1.Alan TuringComputer Scientist
2.Alexander FlemingBacteriologist
3.Edwin HubbleAstronomer
4.Enrico FermiAtomic Physicist
5.James Watson and Francis CrickMolecular Biologists
6.Jean PiagetChild Psychologist
7.John Maynard KeynesEconomist
8.Onas SalkVirologist
9.Kurt GodelMathematician
10.Leo BaekelandPlastics Pioneer
11.Ludwig WittgensteinPhilosopher
12.Marie CurieScientist and Discoverer of Radium
13.Niels BohrPhysicist
14.Philo FarnsworthInventor of Electronic Television
15.Rachel CarsonEnvironmentalist
16.Robert GoddardRocket Scientist
17.Sigmund FreudPsychoanalyst
18.The Leakey FamilyAnthropologists
19.Tim Berners-LeeInternet Designer
20.William ShockleySolid-state Physicist
Artists and Entertainers
Sr. No.NameOccupation/Influence
1.Aretha FranklinSoul Musician
2.Bart SimpsonCartoon Character
3.Bob DylanFolk Musician
4.Charlie ChaplinComic Genius
5.Coco ChanelDesigner
6.Frank SinatraSinger
7.Igor StravinskyClassical Musician
8.James JoyceNovelist
9.Jim HensonPuppeteer and Creator of TV's Muppets
10.Le CorbusierArchitect
11.Louis ArmstrongJazz Musician
12.Lucille BallTV Star
13.Marlon BrandoActor
14.Martha GrahamDancer and Choreographer
15.Oprah WinfreyTV Talk-show Host
16.Pablo PicassoArtist
17.Rogers and HammersteinBroadway Showmen
18.Steven SpielbergMovie Maker
19.The BeatlesRock Musicians
20.T.S. EliotPoet
Builders and Titans
Sr. No.NameOccupation/Influence
1.A.P. GianniniArchitect of Nationwide Banking
2.Akio MoritoCo-founder of Sony
3.Bill GatesCo-founder of Microsoft
4.Charles MerillAdvocate of Small Investor
5.David SarnoffFather of Broadcasting
6.Estee LauderCosmetics Tycoon
7.Joseph BlatterPresident of Fifa
8.Juan TrippeAviation Entrepreneur
9.Leo BurnettAdvertising Genius
10.Louis B. MayerHollywood Mogul
11.Lucky LucianoCriminal Mastermind
12.Pete RozelleFootball-league Commissioner
13.Ray KrocHamburger Meister
14.Sam WaltonWal-Mart Dynamo
15.Stephen BechtelConstruction Magnate
16.Thomas Watson Jr.IBM President
17.Walt DisneyCreator of Animation and Multimedia
18.Walter ReutherLabor Reader
19.William LevittCreator of Suburbia
20.Willis CarrierMaker of Air-conditioning systems
Icons and Heroes
Sr. No.NameOccupation/Influence
1.Andrei SakharovSoviet Dissident
2.Anne FrankDiarist and Holocaust Victim
3.Bill WilsonFounder of Alcoholics Anonymous
4.Billy GrahamEvangelist
5.Bruce LeeActor and Martial-arts Star
6.Charles LindberghTransatlantic Aviator
7.Che GuevaraGuerrilla Leader
8.DianaPrincess of Wales
9.Edmund Hillary and Tenzing NorgayConquerors of Mount Everest
10.Emmeline PankhurstSuffragist
11.Harvey MilkGay-rights Leader
12.Helen KellerChampion of the Disabled
13.Jackie RobinsonBaseball Player
14.Marilyn MonroeActress
15.Mother TeresaMissionary Nun
16.Muhammad AliHeavyweight Boxing Champion
17.PeleSoccer Champion
18.Rosa ParksCivil Rights Torchbearer
19.The American G.I.Soldier for Freedom
20.The KennedysDynasty

It was amongst these wars, conflicts, and revolutions that the aforementioned individuals proved to be the effective contributors to the world. It was because of their efforts and participation that the life we are living now could be thought of. Good or bad, these people have and will always influence our lives from time to time.