'20s Facts To Understand What Happened In The Decade

Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Feb 29, 2024 By Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Originally Published on Dec 22, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sudeshna Nag
'20s fun facts are about major events, lifestyle, and  scientific discoveries that happened in this decade.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.0 Min

The '20s have been nicknamed the Roaring Twenties, the Golden Twenties, and the Jazz Age.

In France, they were known as Annés Folles which translates to the crazy years. As the various names might suggest the '20s were an interesting and chaotic decade.

The Roaring Twenties was known by this name because this period was filled with prosperity and economic boom after the end of the First World War. The popular culture of this period was cheerful, euphoric, and free from inhibitions.

The '20s received the name of the Jazz Age because jazz music and dance style gained massive popularity in the United States during this time period.

The economic boom in America combined with the advancements in technologies led to more leisure activities and entertainment.

Many events such as the 19th Amendment, the rise of Fascism in Europe, the stock market crash, and the start of the Great Depression took place in the Roaring Twenties. Inventions of Penicillin and Insulin greatly improved the quality of life. The motion pictures and jazz music made the era what it was.

To read more such articles, check out '20s fashion facts and '20s sports facts.

Fun Facts About The '20s

American aviator, Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly a non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic ocean in May 1927. The flight was from New York to Paris, covering a distance of 3603.95 mi (5800 km). The journey took him 33 and a half hours. His airplane was a purpose-built, single-engine airplane called, 'The Spirit of St. Louis'.

Sir Alexander Fleming, a Scottish physician, and microbiologist discovered Penicillin in 1928.

Insulin was discovered in 1921 by Charles H Best, JJR Macleod, and Sir Frederick G Banting at the University of Toronto. It was a massively important discovery that helps people with diabetes live a healthy life.

Several efforts towards space exploration were made in the '20s. In 1924, The Society for the Exploration of Interplanetary Travel was founded in Moscow. Also, in 1926 US launched the first fuel-powered rocket. In 1927, the Society for Space Travel was founded in Germany. Many scientists from other countries joined and collaborated together in this society.

The Ford Model T was sold until 1927 and it pretty much defined the decade. It was an affordable car and middle-class Americans began traveling far distances. This led to the creation of roadways that were connected throughout the country. To accommodate all the new cars on the road roadways were developed rapidly in the '20s. This development helped in bridging the gap between rural and urban America.

Babe Ruth, a baseball player for the team of New York Yankees, became the most successful athlete of the Roaring Twenties.

In 1922, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo above 14,000 ft (4267.2 m).

Famous brands like Welch’s Grape Jelly, Kool-Aid, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Baby Ruth candy bars, Wheaties, Wonder Bread, Hostess Cakes all came into the scene during the Roaring Twenties.

Historical Facts About The '20s

The effect of World War I was experienced during the Roaring Twenties. Although people were disheartened by the war and the destruction that it caused, the ending with the victory of the Allies provided them with hope. People wanted to leave the carnage of war behind and celebrate. The financial improvements of the middle class of America provided them with fun activities to do.

The Prohibition era was the ban on the production, manufacturing, and selling of alcoholic beverages in the United States of America. The 18th Amendment of the American Constitution established Prohibition on Jan 16, 1919. This continued from 1919 - 1933.

Prohibition was caused because of various reasons like the popular Temperance Movement led by the Prohibition party, Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and later by the Anti Saloon League. Other reasons included stopping crime, corruption, and social problems like poverty, domestic violence, and the betterment of health and hygiene.

The Prohibition era led to the rise of bootlegging, smuggling, speakeasies, corruption, gang violence, and organized crime in America in the '20s. Because of its failures as a policy, Prohibition ended on December 5, 1933, with the acceptance of the 21st Amendment which declared the 18th Amendment of the US Constitution null and void. This was the first time in American history that an amendment was passed to repeal another.

The '20s was also the decade of women's rights. The 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920, and women were given the right to vote in America. This was considered a huge success for the women's suffrage movement, which demanded equal rights for women to vote.

Following World War I, politics and the economy were not stable in many countries. This became one of the reasons why fascism was able to rise in Europe. The Fascist Party was founded by Benito Mussolini in Italy in 1919. Unemployed war veterans supported this party and in 1921, the Fascist Party was invited to form a coalition government.

The ideology of fascism was the supremacy of one national or ethnic group.

From 1919 - 1921 the Irish fought their war of independence to free Ireland; it was fought between the Irish Republican Army and the British forces.

The Roaring Twenties was the golden age for the American industries. Factories began mass production of automobiles, radio, and phonographs. This caused their prices to drop and because of it, the average Americans could now afford cars and radios.

The luxurious economic and social growth in the United States came to an abrupt end with the stock market or Wall Street crash of 1929 which was followed by the Great Depression in the '30s.

The '20s decade ended with the stock market crash and was followed by the Great Depression in the '30s. The Wall Street crash was the most devastating stock market crash considering its far-reaching effects.

It all started on October 24, 1929, which later came to be known as Black Thursday, when the market lost 11% of its shares, which is the biggest sell-off in American history. On October 29, 1929, or Black Tuesday, 16 million shares were traded by investors in the New York stock exchange in a single day. Millions of dollars were lost and investors sold their stocks in a panic.

The aftermath of this crash took a long time to recover from. This crash affected the whole economy of the world. With the stock market crash, the Roaring Twenties came to a standstill.

The Great Depression lasted till the late '30s for some countries while others were affected by it until Second World War. The GDP worldwide fell by an estimated 15%. Businesses were being shut down and unemployment was on the rise.

The Haiyan earthquake of 1920 was the second deadliest earthquake of the 20th century. It is estimated that 275,000 lives were lost.

Facts About Pop Culture In The '20s

Pittsburgh's KDKA was the first radio station for people in America in 1920. Three years later, radio became mass-produced and more than 500 commercial channels ran on it.

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) began radio broadcasting in the United Kingdom. It became a public broadcaster in 1926.

Jazz music was the new music of the Roaring Twenties and it became massively popular. People listened to jazz music on the radio and live in jazz clubs. Dancing in jazz clubs became a popular thing in big cities like New York and Chicago. New dances like the shimmy, the Charleston, and the black bottom were popularized.

The contribution of African American people towards jazz music cannot be ignored. Famous jazz singer Louis Armstrong made his debut with his band in 1923.

The popularity of cinemas grew in America in the roaring twenties. A number of movie palaces with sitting for thousands sprang up in cities. Visiting the cinema was a very popular activity that was enjoyed by people of all ages. This popularity of the motion picture gave rise to the first generation of movie stars. The movies of this era were mostly silent films. Charlie Chaplin became a household name.

In 1927, the first talking movie or talkie named 'The Jazz Singer ' was released in New York and it became a massive hit.

The art, music, and literature of Black people flourished in the Harlem neighborhood of New York during the Roaring Twenties. This came to be known as the Harlem Renaissance. The reason Harlem was the chosen place was that a number of Black people fleeing from racist southern America found their new home in Harlem. Some famous icons of this Renaissance were Zora Neale Hurston, Countee Cullen, and Langston Hughes.

The famous American writers, poets, and artists living in Europe during the '20s were named the Lost Generation. These included names like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gerald Murphy, Patrick Henry Bruce, and many such writers.

The Lost Generation was the young adults who grew up during the First World War. The common themes seen in their art and literature include the experiences of the First World War and also the merry, carefree, lavish lifestyle that was the popular culture of the era of the Roaring Twenties.

Art Deco style is a combination of geometric forms and fine craftsmanship. It is modern and luxurious. This style became very popular during the '20s, with buildings, architectural design, new fashion, and jewelry being designed in this new style.

'20s facts are all about the lifestyle and characteristics of the decade.

Facts About '20s lifestyle

After the return from war, many veterans as well as many men and women who had come to the city in search of jobs had no desire to work in factories and farms. They wanted to live a more comfortable and carefree life. The movies, magazines, and newspapers of this decade also glamorized this type of lifestyle.

New social activities had developed during the Roaring Twenties for middle-class people to experience this laid-back lifestyle. People enjoyed listening to radio music, taking part in dancing events, playing miniature golf, and other such activities.

The gender roles assigned to women were being redefined. Women had gained the right to vote with the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920. The flapper girl became a staple of US culture. These were women who dressed provocatively by the standards of those times, had short bobbed hair, went to Jazz clubs, smoked, and drank bootlegged beer. These women became the icons of American culture because they performed these behaviors which were generally associated with men.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for '20s facts to understand what happened in the decade then why not take a look at '20s Prohibition facts, or '20s radio facts.acts.

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Written by Rajnandini Roychoudhury

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

Rajnandini Roychoudhury picture

Rajnandini RoychoudhuryBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature. 

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