A list of people who were influential in changing the world during the 20th Century.
- Winston Churchill – Leader of Great Britain during World War Two
- Adolf Hitler – Leader of Nazi Germany 1933-45
- Nelson Mandela – First President of post-apartheid South Africa
- Joseph Stalin – Leader of Soviet Union from 1924 to 1953
- Martin Luther King – Prominent Civil rights activist in the US
- Queen Elizabeth II – British monarch from 1950s onwards.
- Mikhail Gorbachev – Leader of Soviet Union from 1985-91. Oversaw transition to democracy and collapse of Berlin Wall.
- Woodrow Wilson – US President during First World War and supporter of The League of Nations.
- Chairman Mao – Leader of Communist China and instigator of Cultural Revolution.
- Mother Teresa – Humanitarian and charity worker
- Bill Gates – Founder of Microsoft
- Nikola Tesla (1856 –1943) Serbian/American physicist – Prolific inventor and developed AC electric current.
- Tim Berners Lee – Inventor of the world wide web
- Princess Diana – Wife of Prince Charles and noted humanitarian worker.
- Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) Scottish biologist who discovered penicillin.
- Boris Yeltsin – First Russian leader of the post-Communist era.
- Margaret Thatcher First female Prime Minister of UK during 1980s
- Charles de Gaulle – Leader of Free French forces in WWII and President in 1960s.
- George Orwell – Political writer. Famous for Animal Farm and 1984.
- John M Keynes – Revolutionary economist advocating government intervention to end depressions.
- Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)The co-founder of Apple Computers, and a leading exponent of the personal computer revolution.
- Konrad Adenauer – First leader of Germany after fall of Hitler’s regime.
- Mahatma Gandhi – Leader of Indian independence movement.
- Albert Einstein – Scientist whose theory of relativity paved the way for the atomic bomb.
- Ataturk – Father of modern Turkey.
- Pablo Picasso – Influential twentieth-century artists.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt – US President during 1930s and WWII
- Pope John Paul II – High profile pope during 1980s and 1990s.
- Mohammed Ali – Boxer and figure for civil rights movement.
- Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004) – US President ’80 – ’88.
- Aung San Suu Kyi – Leader of Burmese opposition.
- John F. Kennedy – US president 1961-63 until his assassination.
- Wright Brothers – made first aeroplane flight in 1903.
- Lyndon Johnson – US president 1963-68 introduced civil rights legislation.
- Indira Gandhi – Indian female Prime Minister
- Eva Peron – First lady of Argentina
- Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 – 1969) – Allied commander, and US President
- Benazir Bhutto – Pakistan PM
- Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919) US President during ‘Progressive Era ’01-’09.
- Desmond Tutu – South African apartheid campaigner
- Kofi Annan – United Nations secretary general
- Dalai Lama – 14th Dalai Lama. The political and spiritual leader of Tibet.
- Barack Obama – US president.
- Milton Friedman (1912 – 2006) American free-market economist.
- Albert Schweitzer – humanitarian and philosopher
- Otto Hahn (1879-1968) – German chemist who discovered nuclear fission
- Malcolm X – Black power activist
- Neil Armstrong (1930 – 2012) US astronaut. First man to walk on moon.
- Lech Walesa – Leader of Solidarity movement in Poland during 1980s /90s
- Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) Fascist dictator of Italy.
- Marie Curie – Nobel prize winning scientist
- Stephen Hawking (1942 – ) English theoretical physicist, and author polarising scientific theories.
- Elvis Presley – Pop star
- John Logie Baird (1888–1946) Scottish inventor of the television.
- Rosa Parks – Civil rights campaigner, fighting against segregation in the deep south of America
- Emile Zatopek – Olympic athlete
- Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964) American conservationist and pioneering environmentalist.
- Pele – Greatest footballer of century
- Jesse Owens – Iconic 100 meter runner, who upset Hitler’s Olympic games.
- Rosalind Franklin (1920 – 1958) Discovering DNA
- John Lennon – Musician and member of the Beatles
- Henry Ford – Businessman who developed mass production.
- Tsar Nicholas II (1868 – 1918) The last Russian Emperor
- General Patton – US General
- Haile Selassie – Leader of Ethiopia
- Madonna – Pop idol
- Oprah Winfrey – chat show host and influential US TV presenter.
- David Lloyd George (1863 – 1945) Prime Minister of the UK from 1916 to the end of the war.
- Billie Jean King – US tennis player and campaigner for equal rights for women
- Richard Branson – UK entrepreneur
- Anne Frank – Wrote an influential diary about hiding from Nazi persecution.
- Marilyn Monroe – Movie star
- Sri Aurobindo – Early political leader of India and later spiritual philosopher.
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – Advocate of meditation.
- Tony Blair – UK Prime Minister
- Hilary Clinton – US Foreign secretary of state.
- Coco Chanel – Fashion designer
- Virginia Woolf – Author
- Germaine Greer – Author
- Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) The last German Emperor;
- Paul McCartney – Musician
- J. Nehru – Indian Politician and first Prime Minister of Independent India
- Gavrilo Princep (1894- 1918) Bosnian Serb who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife.
- Vladimir Putin – Russian politician
- Lawrence of Arabia – British officer and supporter of the Arabs
- J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904–1967), American physicist who worked on the development of the Atomic bomb.
- Golda Meir (1898–1978) Israeli leader.
- Bernard Montgomery – British general during WWII
- Salvidor Dali – modern artist
- Harry Truman (1884 – 1972) American President from January 1945
- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929–1994 ) Wife of John F. Kennedy. Cultural and fashion icon of the 1960s.
- Audrey Hepburn (1929–1993) Actress. Voted greatest female screen legend of all time.
- Dag Hammarskjöld (1905–1961), Second Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1953-61.
- Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928) British suffragette. Pankhurst was one of the most high profile campaigners for women’s suffrage.
- Lord Baden Powell (1857 – 1941) Founder of the Scouting movement
- Alexander Bell (1847 – 1922) – Scottish inventor of the telephone.
- Muhammad Yunus (1940 – ) Bangladeshi banker and economist
- Paul Samuelson (1915 – 2009) American economist, who popularised Keynesian theory.
- Emperor Hirohito (1901 – 1989) Japanese Emperor during Second World War.
- J.K.Rowling – Author of Harry Potter series
Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “People who changed the world in the Twentieth Century”, Oxford, UK – www.biographyonline.net. Last updated 2 March 2018.
People of the Progressive Era (1890-1920) A period of increased federal intervention to tackle abuse of monopoly power and inequality. The Progressive Era also saw women gain the vote, and increased efforts to tackle corruption.
Edwardian Age (1901 to 1914). A period of growth in science, technology and also rising tensions between the major powers. Also saw the ‘heroic age’ of exploration.
People of the First World War (1914 to 1918) The principal figures involved in the First World War from Germany, Britain, US and the rest of the world. Includes David Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson, the Kaiser and George Clemenceau.
People of the Second World War (1939-45) Influential leaders, generals and civilians who caused, influenced and fought during the Second World War. Including; Hitler, Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt, Truman, Emperor Hirohito, Eisenhower, Rommel and De Gaulle.
Roaring Twenties – ‘Jazz Era’ (1920-1929) The Roaring Twenties was a period of economic expansion and social change. New styles of music, dance and dress. Including Calvin Coolidge, Louis Armstrong, Al Capone and Coco Chanel.
Inter-war era (1918 to 1939) A period of peace in between the two world wars. Characterised by economic boom and bust, and the growth of polarising ideologies. Includes; Hitler, Churchill, Gandhi, Roosevelt and Mussolini.
People who changed the world – Famous people who changed the course of history including Socrates, Newton, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Queen Victoria, Catherine the Great, Einstein and Gandhi.
Women who changed the world – Famous women who changed the world. Features female Prime Ministers, scientists, cultural figures, authors and royalty. Includes; Cleopatra, Princess Diana, Marie Curie, Queen Victoria, and Joan of Arc.