American Civil War (02:17)
Union troops closed in on Richmond, Virginia in 1865. Confederates decided to evacuate and regroup; Captain William Herring and Adjutant Linden Kent received an order. Industrialization and mass production gave the North an advantage over the rural South.
Scorched Earth Tactic (02:57)
Herring and Kent were ordered to burn Richmond supply warehouses ahead of Union troops. The Confederates believed they would return with the city intact, but the fire spread to 1,000 buildings—destroying their political system. The South surrendered six days later.
Western Progress (01:49)
Following the Civil War, Americans focused on technology, transportation, and mass production. Industry increased by 700% in North America and Europe.
Worshiping the Sword (03:45)
Japan had been isolated from the West for 200 years under the warrior class. Learn about sword manufacturing. Samurai Iwasaki Yatero embraced the future by cutting off his top knot and becoming an entrepreneur.
Japan's Industrialization (02:38)
Iwasaki founded Mitsubishi to produce steel ships, recruiting Western experts to learn modern industry secrets. Within a century, the company would become the world's largest corporation. In Belfast, Ireland, workers built the Titanic.
In 1912, the passenger ship set sail for New York. Wireless telegraph operator Jack Phillips received a warning message about icebergs; learn about radio wave technology.
American Dream (01:52)
Steam ships powered the greatest migration in human history. Peasant farmer Theodore DeMulder was in a third class cabin like most Titanic passengers.
Phillips failed to deliver an iceberg warning to the captain; the Titanic hit an iceberg, tearing holes in the hull. Third class cabins flooded first; gates to upper decks were locked. The Californian's telegraph operator had gone to sleep.
Titanic Legacy (02:27)
The Titanic sank nearly three hours after hitting an iceberg. DeMulder was one of the few third class passengers rescued from the wreckage. The disaster forced a re-examination of faith in technology.
Vulcanized Rubber (03:24)
John Goodyear experimented with natural rubber for five years. Adding sulfur made it tough yet flexible. Its use in machine fittings and seals has become integral to modern industry.
Belgian Congo Genocide (03:28)
King Leopold enslaved and killed ten million Congolese while exploiting rubber resources. After overseers murdered Insalah's family, he sought support from missionary and activist Alice Harris.
Power of Mass Media (04:13)
In Baringo Province in Northeastern Congo, Harris used photography to reveal the Belgian genocide. Published across the world, they shocked readers and created a public outcry forcing King Leopold to quit the rubber trade and withdraw from the Congo.
Industrial Warfare (01:48)
Mass production created artillery, machine guns and tanks used during World War I. One third of deaths were from disease.
Bacterial Threat (03:54)
Bacteriologist Alexander Fleming witnessed wounded soldiers dying of infection. Carbolic acid disinfected wounds but killed white blood cells. He began a ten year search for a cure.
Discovering Penicillin (02:55)
In London in 1928, Fleming found a mold that halted bacterial growth. The antibiotic would prevent millions of deaths.
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