How Much of the 20th Century Do You Know?

Are you prepared to put your history knowledge to the test? Test your knowledge of 20th historical events by taking this quiz.

John Paul II became the first non-Italian pope in over 400 years. What country was he born in?





Pope John Paul II was the second longest-serving pope in history. His canonization was held in 2014 after he resigned in 2005.

What was the book written by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald which was published in 1925?

The Sound and the Fury

The Stranger

The Great Gatsby


What company became an important part of the American Air Force as it helped created the B-17 and B-29 bombers?


General Motors

General Electric


To prevent potential attacks, the company disguised its manufacturing plants with farmland. The company was essential to the US Air Force in WWII and has since created commercial aircraft and aerospace products.

The Soviet Union launched the satellite Sputnik into space in 1957. Fearing that they will lose the Space race, the US government formed what agency in 1958?

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

National Security Agency (NSA)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The U.S. and Soviet Union were both competing for global influence and power. Not only were they competing in the space/technological race, but they also produced various nuclear weaponry at that time.

The Japanese bombed the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in 1941 causing the start of World War II. In President Roosevelt’s address to the nation, he states that this was the date that will live in infamy. What was this date?

June 13th

July 7th

December 7th

November 7th

December 7th
The US had been helping allied powers since the war outbreak in 1931 but it was the bombings of Pearl Harbor that brought the US into the war.





Radio was used during WWI. After WWI, radio became popular and accessible to American consumers.

What is the name of the struggle between the Irish and Italian gangs in Chicago that resulted in the deaths of seven by Al Capone, and the South Side Italian Gang?

Visconde Massacre

Saturday Massacre

Ludlow Massacre

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
Because of Prohibition, and the illegal sale and distribution of alcohol, gang violence was high at that time. Al Capone was a well-known gangster in charge of the distribution of alcohol and drugs in Chicago.

Who is the president that signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964? This law banned discrimination based on religion, sex, rage, or national origin.

Lyndon Jhonson

John F. Kennedy

Woodrow Wilson

Harry Truman

Lyndon Jhonson
He worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights activists on developing the Civil Rights Act. He used his presidency to expand the rights of people of color, women, and others during the 1960s.

What was the name given to the top US nuclear research and development project which resulted in the creation of nuclear weapons?

The Brooklyn Project

The Manhattan Project

The Chicago Project

The Oppenheimer Project

The Manhattan Project
The project was led by Robert Oppenheimer and was supported by the British and Canadian governments. The first two bombs under that project were used on Japan.

What is the name of the practice of making false accusations, spreading fear of communism, and intensifying public censorship? It was named after a senator from Wisconsin.





Joseph McCarthy claimed that he had a list of communists in the government that occurred during the Korean War. Because of the fear of communism, the senator gained popularity amongst the people in Washington.

Actor Marlon Brando won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1973. What is the name of the movie that is based on a novel written by Mario Puzo?



The Godfather


The Godfather
The Godfather is the highest-grossing film in 1972. It won the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year.The Godfather

What is the name of this waterway that connects the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean and is essential to maritime trade? President Theodore Roosevelt took over the waterway’s development in 1904 and was officially finished in 1914.

Erie Canal



Panama Canal

Panama Canal
The Panama Canal was controlled by the US from 1914 to 1979. The canal is mostly used for maritime trade between the U.S. and East Asian Nations. The control of the area was officially passed to the Republic of Panama in 1999.

This soulful music was originally recorded by musician Big Mamma Thornton and was released in 1956 by Elvis Presley. What is this best-selling song that helped him earn the title of “King of Rock and Roll”?

Hound Dog

Great Balls of Fire

Peggy Sue

Johnny B. Goode

Hound Dog
The live performance of Elvis’ “Hound Dog” in 1956 was not approved by most Americans because many argue that Elvis was an oversexed, and talentless musician.

What government declared martial law in Tiananmen Square against the freedom of speech, press, and democracy?

Government of Japan

Government of China

Government of India

Government of Singapore

Government of China
It is estimated that several hundred to thousands of protesters were killed and as many as 10,000 were arrested. The protest was directed against the Chinese Communist rulers.

What shuttle orbiter exploded on take-off on January 28, 1986, which caused the death of seven astronauts and a school teacher?





The accident was caused by the failure of two rubber o-rings which resulted in low temperatures during take-off.

At what school did the protest against the Vietnam War occur where four college students were killed and nine were wounded by the Ohio National Guard in 1970?

Ohio State University

Kent State University

Miami University of Ohio

Cleveland State University

Kent State University
The US invaded Cambodia in 1970, despite Nixon campaigning to bring the war to an end. The protest occurred on several college campuses including Kent’s State campus. On May 4 while trying to disperse the protestors, 28 out of 70+ guards shot their weapons which killed and injured many students.

What is the name of this Belfast-made ship that sank between April 14 and 15, 1912?





The Titanic was a British passenger ship that sank in the Atlantic after colliding with an iceberg while traveling to New York City.

What is the name of the two locations in Japan where America dropped atomic bombs that killed thousands of people instantly and left many with radiation poisoning? This act by the US government led to the end of World War II.

Kyoto and Tokyo

Hiroshima and Tokyo

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Nagasaki and Tokyo

Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The US dropped the first bomb on August 6, 1945, on Hiroshima. The blast killed 80,000 people immediately. The second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki 3 days later, killing 40,000. Japan surrendered shortly after.

This synthetic polymer was used to create tires, ropes, carpets, clothing and so much more. It was created by DuPont in the 1930s and was showcased at the World Fair in New York in 1939. What is the name of this synthetic polymer?





After its invention in the 1930s, nylon was used as a replacement for silk parachutes during World War II.

Which US president gave the orders to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945?

Douglas MacArthur

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Harry Truman

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Harry Truman
Truman did not know about the bombs until he became president. His decision to use them is one of the most controversial decisions in modern military history.

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