Thursday 16 August 2018

Mary Kenny: The year that shaped the world

From abstract art to political populism, 1917 ushered in the modern age

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

It was the year that ushered in the word "surrealism" - coined by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire. It was the year when Benito Mussolini, recovering from a war-wound, developed a special theory of populism: "a country needs, at its head, a man who knows the people as a friend, but directs and guides them".

It was the year when a revolutionary young student began to publish his thoughts, sweeping aside the shadow of "tradition", be it king, religion or hierarchy: he was called Mao Tse-Tung.

Czar Nicolas II of All the Russias abdicated and was taken prisoner by the Bolsheviks. As he and his family were exiled to Siberia, they were accompanied by a staff of 44 people, including a doctor, tutors, cooks, valets, a hairdresser. When eventually executed, their closest servants choose to die alongside the Romanovs.

Please sign in or register with for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss