World History 1900 Part 2

About the history of the world in 1900, the Paris Exhibition World's Fair is held, King Humbert of Italy is assassinated, and the Boxer Rebellion is suppressed in China.

TWO CENTURIES OF WORLD HISTORY: 1778-1978

1900

* Max Planck, 42, a physics professor at the University of Berlin, formulated the quantum theory. This held that radiant energy was not emitted in continuous waves, but rather in bursts of units which Planck called quanta.

* Sigmund Freud, 44, assistant professor of neuropathology at the University of Vienna, published Die Traumdeutung (The Interpretation of Dreams). For centuries, finding meaning in dreams had been a favorite pastime of the masses, particularly the uneducated. But Freud was the first man of letters to lend credence to the folklore. Most scientists of the day blamed dreams on indigestion and other physiological discomforts. To Freud, however, the nocturnal visions were windows on the subconscious mind. In the book, Freud rose above his natural instinct for privacy to interpret his own dreams and lay his psyche bare for the world to see. His dreams revealed a very human man with more than a few hang-ups himself. He resented being passed over for a full professorship, for example. And much of his character and personality had been forged in the fires of a love-hate relationship with his father. Dreams, Freud maintained, are a blend of recent experiences (manifest content) and wish fulfillment (latent content). With proper analysis, the dream can be broken down into its component parts and interpreted to reveal long-suppressed desires, fears, aspirations, etc. Another theory put forth for the first time in his work was the "Oedipus complex." As Freud put it, "[King Oedipus'] fate moves us only because it might have been our own.... It may be that we were all destined to direct our first sexual impulses toward our mothers, and our first impulses of hatred and violence toward our fathers. Our dreams convince us that we were. King Oedipus, who slew his father Laius and wedded his mother Jocasta, is nothing more or less than a wish fulfillment-the fulfillment of the wish of our childhood." The first printing of the book sold at the listless pace of 60 copies a year.

* King Humbert I, 56, of Italy, was assassinated at Monza, near Milan.

* The Boxer Rebellion was suppressed in China. (See "The High and the Mighty--Famous and Infamous Rulers in History," Chap. 7.)

July 2 A retired general of the German army named Ferdinand von Zeppelin launched the first of his rigid airships from his floating workshop on Lake Constance in southernmost Germany.

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