Top 10 Memorable Days of the 20th Century


Eleven years into the new millennium and it’s still interesting (and fun) to look back and remember the history of the previous hundred years.  Our current circumstances, both good and bad, find a foundation that was laid in the 20th century.  From tragedy to triumph, the 20th century offers up a wealth of timeless memories that helped shape the future.  Here are ten of the most memorable days from the 20th century.

10.  December 7, 1941 (Attack on Pearl Harbor)

In the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 7 is a “date that will live in infamy.”  70 years later, these words are as true as they were when they were first uttered.  The world of 1941 was engulfed, or on the verge of being engulfed, in war.  The armies of Adolf Hitler had conquered the vast majority of Europe, and the armed forces of Imperial Japan had done much of the same in Asia and the Pacific.  America, attempting mightily to maintain its neutrality, felt safe in the knowledge that two oceans separated it from the Axis powers.

Japan had other notions, however.  At about 8:00 am on Sunday

morning, planes from Japanese carriers struck the naval base at Pearl Harbor – home of the American Pacific fleet.  The attack lasted less than two hours, during which the Japanese sank eight American battle ships, damaged to various degrees at least 13 other sips, and destroyed a number of planes.  The impact of the attack was swift and immediate.  America was in shock and angry, and all thoughts of being neutral vanished from the national consciousness.  America declared war on Japan the next day (December 8) and the rest, as they say, is history.

9.  November 22, 1963 (Assassination of JFK)

The Kennedy family has been referred to as “America’s Royal Family”, because of the special affinity that these iconic figures have in the hearts of many Americans.  No Kennedy has been more beloved than John F. Kennedy.  A former naval officer during World War II, US congressman, and US Senator, JFK was elected to the office of President of the United States in 1960.  His leadership would be instrumental in America’s initial involvement in Vietnam, the handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and aiding the Civil Rights Movement.

His time in office would tragically end during a campaign trip to Dallas, Texas.  As he and his wife were being carried to a luncheon in an open convertible, three shots were fired.  Two of the shots hit the President (one in the neck and another in the head).  JFK was pronounced dead a few hours later.  The country was in shock at such a brazen attack on the leader of the free world.  Scenes of the assassination were captured in video.  The assassin was believed to be Lee Harvey Oswald, who was arrested and subsequently murdered while in custody, before any trial was held.  Conspiracy theories still abound concerning this assassination.

8.  April 4, 1968 (Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Image result for Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Civil Rights Movement in the United States defined an entire generation of Americans.  In the struggle for equality, the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stands above the rest.  Indeed, Dr. King’s tireless efforts on behalf of the people of color are legendary and are a tribute to the ability of selfless sacrifice for a noble cause.  While not everyone agreed with Dr. King and his non-violent approach, he nevertheless succeeded in bringing the plight of injustice and inequality to the forefront of the national consciousness.

At the height of his work, Dr. King’s life came to a tragic end at the hands of an assassin. While standing on a hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee, it is believed that James Earl Ray took aim at Dr. King with a high powered, scoped rifle, and ended his life.  Ray was eventually convicted of the assassination and sentenced to 99 years in prison.  The immediate impact of the death of Dr. King, however, was tragically played out, as angry Americans took to the streets, rioting in over 100 cities around the country.  Today, America honors the great service and life of Dr. King with a national holiday.

7.  July 20, 1969 (Moon Landing)

Image result for Moon Landing

When the Eagle landed on the moon, an entire nation rejoiced.  The idea of space travel has captured the imagination of every child (and quite a few adults) since the first person looked up and gazed at the stars.  For the generation of Americans that were coming to age in the 1950s, the possibility of space exploration became very real with the arrival of Sputnik (the first orbital satellite, launched by the Soviet Union in 1957).

Indeed, from this point, a national race to space was being carried out between the United States and the Soviet Union.  In 1960, President Kennedy boldly announced that America would land on the moon within a decade.  He wasn’t wrong.  As millions of Americans (and really folks from around the world, as well) watched their televisions, astronaut Neil Armstrong exited the lunar module that had landed on the surface of the moon a few hours prior.  America had made it to the moon first and, during a time of social upheaval and uncertainty, the injection of the national pride was a welcome relief.  Armstrong’s famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” continue to ring true, as the world looks towards the heavens for continued exploration.

6.  January 28, 1986 (Challenger Disaster)

The crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-51-L pose for their official portrait on November 15, 1985. In the back row from left to right: Ellison S. Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, and Judy Resnik. In the front row from left to right: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, and Ron McNair.

The crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-51-L pose for their official portrait on November 15, 1985. In the back row from left to right: Ellison S. Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, and Judy Resnik. In the front row from left to right: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, and Ron McNair.

With success, there is also failure, and this is certainly the case with the American space program. While the program has had a number of fatal disasters, none was more graphically tragic than the fate that befell the space shuttle Challenger.  When the Challenger launched on the fateful day of January 28, there was not much fanfare or coverage of the event.  Space shuttle launches had become commonplace in the minds of both Americans and newscasters alike.  Nevertheless, the cameras were rolling and captured, 73 seconds into Challenger’s takeoff, the space shuttle exploding.  All seven crewpersons were killed, including a “civilian” (school teacher Christa McAuliffe) that had been trained to ride along.

With space travel becoming a commonplace occurrence, many couldn’t understand how such tragedy could take place.  Investigations and finger-pointing ensued, and the space shuttle program was shut down for two years.

5.  October 29, 1929 (Stock Market Crash)

Image result for stock market crash 1929

With today’s economy being what it is, many may feel that it’s as bad as it ever has been.  And while conditions today are certainly worrisome to many, it pales in comparison to the years of the Depression the nation faced in the late 1920s and 30s.  Those years were set in motion as a result of the stock market crash in 1929.

During the period between 1927 and 1929, wealthy Americans began investing heavily in the stock market, and realizing very lucrative returns.  This set off a flurry of activity, as many believed that anyone could get rich by investing in the stock market.  Soon, stocks were becoming highly inflated beyond the actual worth of the companies they represented.  Further, many investors began to invest on “margin”, which meant they were borrowing the money to pay for stocks, in the hope that they would be able to sell those stocks at a high enough price to repay the loan.

The speculation bubble burst in October of 1929, and the sell-off began.  On October 29, the value of stocks fell an estimated $10 to $15 billion.  The value that the market had accumulated in the previous two years was wiped out, and total losses were over $30 billion.  It would take over a decade, and a World War, for the nation to recover.

4.  November 9, 1989 (Tearing Down Of The Berlin Wall)

The Berlin Wall had stood as a chilling reminder to the world of the brewing “cold war” that was being carried out, primarily between the United States and the Soviet Union.  Nuclear devastation was a constant reality as the world’s two superpowers faced off with one another.  The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 as a means to prevent citizens of East Germany escaping to the west.  This continuing exodus was draining East Germany (a puppet regime of the Soviet Union) of human resources, as well as being an embarrassment to Communist-oriented governments.

As the economic weight of maintain vast armed forces began to have a dire effect on the Soviet Union, political instability among Communist nations made the wall irrelevant.  The Cold War was over, and so was the “life” of its most visible symbol.  It began with average citizens of East Germany starting to pull down whole sections of the wall (without interference from government forces – which was on the verge of political collapse anyway).  What started as a demonstration of sorts, morphed into an all-out effort to take the wall down.  The next year, Germany was reunified as a single nation.

3.  April 18, 1906 (San Francisco Earthquake)

The “Big One” has been the subject of more than a few big-budget disaster movies.  While Hollywood has taken full advantage of the movie-going public’s taste for the dramatic, scientists and other concerned officials have long been concerned when the next disaster will strike.  The question is not “if”, but rather “when” the next Big One will occur.

In this light, the devastating earthquake that struck San Francisco over 100 years ago still keeps the residents along the major fault lines on the American West Coast wary.  For its part, the San Francisco quake seems like a scene taken right out a modern disaster movie.  Registering an incredible 7.9 on the Richter scale, it is among the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded.  Well over 3000 people lost their lives, and several thousands more were injured.

The property damage was vast (an estimated 28,000 buildings were destroyed).  Not only did the quake itself destroy buildings and other structures, but the resulting fires caused widespread carnage.  To make matters worse, large tidal waves formed by the quake struck the city, causing further devastation.  The San Francisco quake remains one of the deadliest disasters in American history.

2.  August 6, 1945 (Hiroshima)

The dawn of the Atomic Age began with the deaths of 60,000+ residents of the city of Hiroshima, Japan.  America (and its allies), having already defeated Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, now faced the very daunting task of bringing final defeat to Imperial Japan.  The task would not be an easy one, as the Japanese had proved formidable in defending their home islands.  It was estimated that well over 1 million American service men would lose their lives in an invasion of Japan.

As a result, it was decided to use a nuclear device in order to force Japan into total surrender.  The first device (a second bomb was dropped in the city of Nagasaki) was dropped from an American Army Air Force bomber (the Enola Gay).  Most of the city was destroyed, and many of those not killed outright would either succumb to injuries later or become homeless.  To this day, thousands gather at the site where the bomb exploded for an annual interfaith memorial service.  The destruction of Hiroshima stands as a vivid reminder of the terrible cost of the use of nuclear weapons.

1.  January 1, 2000 (The New Millennium)

Headlines on Jan. 1, 2000

The first day of the 21st century wasn’t ushered in with quite the panic that many had imagined. Conspiracy theorist, cult leaders, and even to a certain degree, the general public; all were predicting…something to happen when the clock struck 12:01 am.  There was widespread concern, for example, of the so-called Y2K bug that was supposed to incapacitate computers that were running Microsoft-operating systems.  Others were predicting an expecting apocalyptic disasters, the end of the world, the return of Jesus Christ, and other phenomenon.

None of these things panned out, and the New Year came and went without any significant change to life on Earth.  The cable music channel MTV2, however, did play Prince’s music video “1999” non-stop for 24 hours.  That was pretty amazing!  Still, everyone remembers where they were when they welcomed a new century, and that’s pretty cool, too!

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  1. Tim leuchtensteijn on

    How about D-day? Why the millenium that’s just an arbitrairy calender. It had nothing to do with the progress of the human spiecies.

  2. Presidentman44 on

    While the list is U.S. biased, how could the moon landing not be #1? 1/1/00? Really?

  3. what about the independence of india?
    it was the end of british empire- largest empire in world.
    freedom of the crown jewel pretty much destroyed the empire

  4. Dear Master,
    I was not dissappointed like some of the readers here exhibited and I want to make a /my list (just to make myself happy and i will post it in my ref). I will not submit it here because to tell you all frankly if I read all the negative comments I might be scarred for life!..

    P.s. i really do think the title needs revision…maybe change it into TOP ten Americas memorable days of the 20th century,(sorry i cant resist)

  5. Archie Leach on

    Guess the world revolves around America huh?

    How about June 28, 1914? The assassination the resulted in the destruction of the European order that had been in existence since the end of the Napoleonic wars.

    How about June 22, 1941? The day of hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union/Russia? Due to hitler’s invasion, tens of millions of Soviets/Russians would die but hitler and his subhuman empire would be destroyed by the people/nation that he invaded on June 22, 1941.

    • Peter Boucher on

      @ Archie, not to veer off the topic of this list but I find it very coincidental that your name is Archie Leach. The Legendary film star / actor Cary Grant was his stage name where his real birth name is Archibald Leach. You have probably heard it from hundreds of different people. If it frustrates you I humbly apologize, but I just had to let you know. Have a good day.

  6. Jeffrey C. Apparius on


    Your listing #7 has an error. The error is that the picture shown is of another Apollo landing and not Apollo 11. The picture is of (I believe) Apollo 16.

    Old Geezer,
    Bremerton, WA

  7. Lee Standberry on

    The level of response to this list is surprising. In all honesty, i thought the subject of this particular list was fairly benign. I’ve done other list where I’ve intentionally attempted to spark this type of conversation and haven’t generated this level of discussion. That said, i would agree with the idea that the title could be more descriptive in terms of this list being “American” oriented. However, keep in mind that the subject matter is hinged on the term “memorable” and not “important”. In other words, specific days that people (albeit Americans) “remember” moreso than others. A list of the most ‘important’ days of the 20th century would be a bit different. Nevertheless, the points of contention are subjective to the views of every individual. I certainly can understand those who disagree – what caught me by surprise is the harshness and nastiness of some of the responses. Apparenlty, only the opinions of those particular individuals have merit or value. And these are the ones that say they are embarrassed by MY list. Really?

  8. Antti Kantola on

    I liked the list. Thanks….Keep on listing.

    If I say “most boring day of my life” my sister would say, hey I got married that day…

  9. TopTenz Master, probably, just changing the title and adding the name of the USA would cut down 50% of people who criticize it. But if you insist on sticking to the title, please consider the sparks that started the two World Wars, the emergence of rock n’ roll, the many iconic, momentous meetings of Pope John Paul II, the Gandhi assassination, Chernobyl and others. They were much more memorable to the world in general.

  10. Wow, this is such a bad list. Its embarrassing to read. Why do so many Americas not know any history other than their own? How did this ever pass final publish?

    • Okay, we get it, we get it. But seriously, is American history taught in other countries? We are certainly taught world history here in the USA, believe it or not, and world geography. But rarely do we focus on the the history of other countries unless it was something that affected the world. I’m speaking of grades 1-12 and not college courses. So, do you learn extensively about the United States?

      • I would say that yes, American history (at least some of it) is taught in other countries, at least here in Europe. But you really are history to us, you Americans. We don’t care about you any more, since you insist on warmongering all over the world, not taking care of your own economy, and even harrassing non-American citizens because of your laws (Julian Assange, Kim Dotcom). I would have to say that America is no longer “the Land of the Free”, it is the “Land of Oppression”.

        • I think these are your opinions and not the over-riding opinions of the world. In any case, It seems in great favor these days to hate on America, yet I wouldn’t live anywhere else, except maybe Italy. 😉

          For everyone who says my site is to American (even though I’m American, I live in America, most TopTenz writers are American) let me caution you. You should avoid this site on July 4th. You will really not like the list that day. Seriously, just skip it and start reading again on July 5th. I’m mean it. I requested a super, crazy, awesome, great, pro-USA list that day. Why? I love my country and what we represent. I’m not ashamed to be an American and while we have our problems, like every other place in the world, I am thankful I was born and raised in the USA. And I don’t have any problem with other people feeling the same about their country of origin. The world is big enough for us all.

  11. You make a good point, TTM. You can’t force people to write the kind of lists others want to read. But you write many of the lists and you can set an example. Also, you can provide preference in publishing more Earth-centric lists. If someone knows a list is more likely to be published if it’s not over-Americanized, that might tempt a potential author to write a more balanced list. And, since you said you pay for lists, you could offer a small hororarium, a dollar or two, to those who write multi-cultural lists.

    It is a really big world out there and I would love to know more about it. I’m hoping to see more non-American lists soon.

  12. Number 1 does belong in this list but as the FIRST DAY OF THE LAST YEAR OF THE 20TH CENTURY. The 20th century ended on December 31st, 2000.

    2001 is the first year of the 21st century.

    I don’t understand why 12 years after the beginning of this century, people still make this DUMB MISTAKE!!!

    • DC Comics, many years ago celebrated Batman’s 500th appearance in Detective Comics. Batman first appeared in Issue 27. So DC proudly announced that Issue 527 would be a special double-sized issue to celebrate this milestone event. The only problem is that Batman’s 500th appearance was in Issue 526. Count it up, you’ll see that’s correct. DC can’t do simple math.

      • Dude, WTF??? What does it have to do with what I wrote??

        The 21st century begun on January 1st, 2001. End of story.

  13. Peter Boucher on

    October 25, 1986. Game 6 of the 1986 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and The New York Mets. Bottom of the 10th and Bill Buckner says…….”Oops, I was supposed to pick that ball up and tag first base”. The rest is history. But as far as Non-American. In the Himalayas on May 29, 1953, New Zealand native Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa Guide Tenzing Norgay are the first to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.. A little less than one year later a man from Great Britain on May 6, 1954 becomes the first human to run a mile in under 4 minutes. Sir Roger Bannister with a time of 3:59.4

    • Fah. Buckner made his error in Game 6. If that was the series-clincher, then the man deserved some shiite. But it wasn’t – the Sox still had a chance to win Game 7.

      • Peter Boucher on

        @JohnT15 : If you think about it, there is a double standard for the 1975 World Series when Carlton Fisk of the Red Sox hit his walk off home run in the 12th inning of game 6. The next day that they played, they also could have won it in the 7th game……..Oh Well.

  14. One more to add and I am afraid it goes along with the american theme. I will never forget where I was when the towers fell.

  15. The millennium began on Jan. 1, 2001. There was no year zero, so the first millennium began in Year 1.

  16. Bad list, sorry.

    MLK over Archduke Ferdinand?
    Pearl Harbor over the invasion of Poland (9-1-39)?
    SF earthquake over Titanic (If you’re going to include disasters, why not the one with the 2 billion dollar movie made about it?)
    Challenger over krystalnacht*? REALLY?

    And the #1 was lame, lame, lame. It was the lamest of lame items from the address of 1 Lame ave, Lametopia City in the State of Lameness, of the United States of Lameness, on Planet Lame.

    BTW, I’m an American.

    *Spelling, sorry.

    • Sorry for responding to my own post, but a lot of this “controversy” could be avoided if the list were renamed “Top 10 Memorable Days of the 20th Century (American perspective).”

      Then it would be fun if there were other lists from other national perspectives: British, French, Brazilian, Mexican, Egyptian, Indian… whoever wants to do one.

      • I don’t mean to belabor this, but no writer has ever asked to write about those topics. And I don’t request many topics on this site (probably less than 50 lists), the over 900 are chosen by the writers themselves. So if no one wants to write lists for other countries I can’t force them. I ask the people who complain all the time, but none of them wants to write a list the expands outside the USA either. So what I am I to do. I only publish what is written, and since no one wants to write those lists, I assume it is only a small amount of people that want to write those lists. Someone please prove me wrong and write a list that focuses on the outside of the USA. Even when we do an occasional list like that, we never get credit, such as

        • Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply criticism of the site – I really enjoy it and my comments above were directed at the other commenters. So, let me clarify:

          Regardless of where you’re from, your perspective of “important days of the 20th century” will differ based upon one’s country. A person from China will consider December 10th, 1949 to be important while ignoring November 9th, 1989, a date that most Germans would consider crucial.

          Therefore, rather than complain, perhaps some non-Americans would like to take an hour or three to come up with *their* list of Top 10 days of the 20th century. It would be a fascinating exercise and a true addition to this site from its reader-contributors.

        • December 6th, 1917. That’s the date when Finland gained its independence from Russia, and became a nation. You Americans wouldn’t know about that, because you’ve always thought that Finland was a satellite country of the Soviet Union, which it never was. No, actually, that’s not what you thought. You never even knew that Finland even exists. Well, let me tell you: Teemu Selänne, Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen, Saku Koivu, Mikko Koivu, do you know any Finns now?

        • Peter Boucher on

          @ Parus Major : Yes I know of a hero that lived in Finland. The Great Musical Composer Jean Sibelius (1862-1956)

  17. Yeah, agree with everyone else here, this is the most americanized list ever. First man in space is far more memorable than the San Francisco earthquake, as is Diana’s death, coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, death of Gandhi, end of Apartheid. Seriously, as tragic as the Challenger crash was, claiming it’s bigger than apartheid and Gandhi is incredibly insulting. I’d be embarrassed to be the author

      • I don’t care about lists being American. But you keep just asking people what you can do, apart from get them to write a list. How about changing the name of the list to something that isn’t wrong? Fact of the matter is these are not the most memorable events.

        On a similar note, what are your criteria for publishing lists? Will you publish anything submitted or give feedback/reject some?

        • Yes, I reject many lists and many writers. Some are sent back for revisions, some are just killed outright when they can’t be fixed. But some writers get more leeway as they write more lists. But I personally approve or reject any idea submitted. Sometimes I choose wrong, sometimes I miss the boat completely. But with over 950 lists on this site I think most of the time I pick winners.

          And you also have to consider that most lists on this site are subjective. I doubt 100 people could agree on the top 10 most memorable days of the 20th century. This list is doomed to always be wrong, except to the writer who wrote it and he probably changed his mind on some after he wrote it. 😉

          The real purpose of the lists on this site, and this site in general, is to entertain and get people talking and thinking about the topics listed. I love the fact that people listed other events – it means they thought about what events were important to them or their families or country and so on… and that can’t be a bad thing.

          We did good today here, people. And maybe, just maybe, I helped launch a writing career for someone. 😉

  18. Won’t anyone who complains about too many America-centric lists take the initiative and write a list that meets your standards?

    There are so many of you who are able to name people, places, and events that would make wonderful lists, yet never write any. Why is that? I know it may be daunting to write a list that is well written and acceptable, but with some research and tips about writing from the internet, I’m sure many of you could write great lists that have nothing to do with America. TopTenz readers come here to learn; let us know about what you know and are intersted in.

      • See, I had no idea that you paid for lists. Now I really don’t understand why the people who complain don’t try to submit lists of their own, especially when they clearly know enough to write one.

        Oy vey…

  19. I would just like to say that I wholeheartedly respect the writer and the time and effort it took, but I just don’t agree with the list personally. Its well written and backed up, but I just feel it is lacking some international moments that are very important too.

  20. I do have to agree with the commenters that the list is very American as are many list here (I am guessing most the authors are American as well, and that might have something to do with it), but I also have noticed that no one seems to have the stones to make a list that isn’t so Americanized, they tend to just b#%ch about it in the comments. I myself am too lazy to write a list about anything so I come here to read what others have wrote, and I thank them for the work they put into their writing. To those who complain about the content of a list I say step up to the plate or sit your a#@ back on the bench.

    • We have authors from all over, but most are USA based, so it does make sense the lists are also sometimes limited to their sphere of reference. You are also correct, no one has written a follow up list to correct the list they complained about. This may happen one day but as of June 19, 2012 no one has done so. A few have said they would…

  21. I agree that the list is bias toward American interests.

    I do wish to point out an error in the list. #7 – July 20, 1969 depicts the first moon landing, Apollo 11.. However, the photo used is actually from a later flight. They didn’t start using the Lunar Rover until Apollo 15.

  22. Rename this dribble “USA’s Most Memorable Days” for some site integrity.

    *Pearl Harbor? Doubtful. Rather the German invasion of 6 countries in a matter of weeks.
    *JFK? Fair enough, but only due to the constant US media attention.
    *Dr. King, Jr. While well known, ask a non-US citizen whether he’s alive or dead and they would have no clue.
    *Moon Landing? The first successful manned space flight by the Soviets is the more memorable day. Dang ol’ Commies.
    *Challenger? Seriously? Seven Americans die in a rocket ship and that makes it more memorable than the thousands who perished on the Titanic?
    *The Great Stock Market Crash. Wow, something that affected the world. The writer must have been drunk when he thought of that one.
    *Berlin Wall. Is it because Reagen wanted it torn down? While significant, I would think Hitler’s demise had more impact.
    *1906 Earthquake. Meh, the 1908 Italian tsunami with a official death toll of over 75,000 lives would have been remembered by more.
    *Hiroshima? Thanks for the memories cowboys.
    *January 1 2000? It’s called Top 10 Memorable Days of the 20th Century. Missed it by a century, try 31 December 1999.

    God Bless America

    • Peter Boucher on

      @ Hamekom. I am from Concord N.H. and I knew Christa McAuliffe and my father was a teaching colleague. I also graduated from Concord High School (Class of 1980). When The Challenger exploded, the city of Concord with Christa McAuliffe (the first civilian in space) on board went very silent. Reporters were on every street corner. So 7 people perished by a terrible accident and over 1500 people perished from the sinking of Titanic………… bottom line is a death is a death.

    • I agree with you – but not on the stock market crash. You should really work on your history lessons. It is widely accepted that this crash was on one of the big factors for the rise of fascism in Europe. For example, it was the killing blow for the Republic of Weimar, which went into a dying process that took for years from this point on.

      • Maybe you misunderstood, there is no sarcasm intended on the stock market, “something that affected the world”. But thanks for the history lessons tip.

  23. Chernobyl Accident
    Franz Ferdanand getting shot (that was a pretty important day)
    Diana getting killed
    to name a few more

    • You sound like you know more than enough events and information to make a great list. Please do so, as it will be greatly appreciated.

  24. Very American orientated 🙁 There were many more days around the world that ring just as or even more true.

  25. Greenjibbers on

    Terrible list. The world does not revolve around the USA. Only 1 mention of anything not involving America.
    You should look in the mirror and feel only shame.

    • Normally I don’t bother commenting but I have to agree whole heatedly with this. This list is just one big ego stroke of the USA.

      For shame indeed.

      • I don’t consider listing 5 tragic events that affected the United States stroking the USA’s ego. Do you think we are proud of the Challenger Disaster or the Kennedy assassination? Of course not. While the list has more USA events it isn’t a power play by the USA. Feel free to submit your own list; if it is well written, we will publish. Be the first to take the challenge.

    • You should look in the mirror and write a new list you feel is more accurate. Got it in you? Be the first person in 4 years of comment complaints to do so. You can do it! And I am not being sarcastic. I would love to see a more worldly list. Anyone?

      • You know, I actually think I will give some lists a shot. I do quite like the site, but I’ve def seen lists I know I could beat. And at the very least I’d bring a European tinge to things if published

        • I would welcome each article with a kiss on each cheek! Don’t people do that in other countries? We have some English writers already and one from Italy (Hello, Timeea!), among our International writing team. Send your submission to [email protected]

  26. 7 out of 10 points mentioned by the author are about US. Of the rest 3 others are directly or indirectly associated with the US. Has the author of this list never heard of other continents and countries in the world and their significance? Really centric and bad list (rare on toptenz). Please read some history of the world and don’t live in a cocoon spun around you.

    • As always, I ask for those who criticize to write list that tackle the complaint the commenter has made. Would you or any other commenter like to write a list with non-USA focus? You would be the first to take the challenge.

      • Dear Toptenz Master…Challenge accepted for the mere fact that I have been visiting this website for years now every single day. I’m not a writer but I will make a list on a topic which I find interesting. In case I make a list and it gets featured here and if people criticize me I will take it positively.

        • Glad to hear it, Amrendra. Do your best, if we publish it, we’ll send payment too! And thanks for your loyal readership, it is very much appreciated. Some advice, stay away from religion, topics that favor the United States and making fun of small animals. Those lists always get harsh criticism. 😉 Send it to me at [email protected]

        • Dates that could be included: Assassination Of Duke Of Archduke Franz Ferdinand June 28th 1914(Launched WW1) and October Revolution led by Lenin in Russia Oct. 25 1917;

        • Other important dates: Sept. 1st 1939 Germany invaded Poland (Launched WW2); Oct. 19 1935 End of the Long March led by Mao in China and the Communists take overthrow the Gov’t

        • What about Ireland gaining it’s freedom from the British Crown in December 1921?
          The Sunningdale peach treaty in Ireland as a call for unity in 1993 which stopped all wars/deaths? Hitler’s death? D-Day? Mai Lei Massacre during the Vietnam War? The invention of PC’s? 1916 Rising? The emergence of Czech Republic and Slovakia from Czechoslovakia? Women winning their rights to vote and other such things? Antibiotic penicillian discovered? Polio vaccine? MMR vaccine? Nazi Holocaust? The Sinking of the Titanic? WWW invented? First jet plane? Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion?

          Think the list should be like this:
          First Man on the Moon
          Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion
          Sinking of Titanic
          Nazi Holocaust and/or WWII
          Mei Lei Massacre
          Invention of the World Wide Web
          Destruction of the Berlin Wall
          Ireland’s fight for freedom ends
          Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings.

          These events are well-known and well-versed all over the world and the majority of these still affect people to this day making them to be the most memorable.

    • This list is ridiculous and immature. With a title like “Top 10 Memorable Days of the 20th Century ‘one would think the author had at least some grasp of the planet we live on. It would have been more appropriately titled “Top 10 Memorable Days for the U.S. of the 20th Century” but even that would be poor as the list writer does not appear to understand what is truly memorable. There are so so many things that were much more important than many of the things on this list that I cannot believe it was published with any level of seriousness. Tiananmen Square, the release and election of Nelson Mandela, and so many others make the Challenger explosion a blip on history at best. And lastly, I am a Red, White, and Blue bleeding American but at least understand that we are one world with a wide variety of events worth commemorating. This is the type of author that embarrasses me as an American. This author should write less and stick to their Tea Party gatherings.

      • Lee Standberry on

        wow – i’m actually independent with liberal leanings. harsh comments for a fairly innocent list and one that is certainly subjective to one’s point of view. If this embarasses you to be an American – well, consider that i earned my opinions with my time fighting for this country during my stint in the marines during the 1st gulf war. with that said, i certainly appreciate your comments even though you completely disagree with mine.

    • This is a fairly common occurrence on this website. Best of luck with your list as well.

        • It’s not the first time that I’ve read a list like this on That’s all. We’ve talked about it before, I don’t really feel like getting into an argument about it again.

          I like your site (why would I keep reading if I didn’t), I’m not trying to start any fights with you, but I’m just calling it as I see it. Your lists tend to be US centric, now there’s nothing wrong with that, but at times your titles can be misleading.
          PS I have no idea who Thurston Howell is but thankfully I don’t sound like him.

    • Lee Standberry on

      most of my list will be American centric unless specified otherwise. And you are correct, there are many, many other points i could have used from around the world – each of which someone could have a contention with. I’m sure you will find this out with your own list. thanks for your comments.