Intelligence In The 20th Century

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Perhaps coincidentally, the last decade in a century seems to be a time when significant events occur that have a lasting effect into the next century. For example, the French Revolution in the 1790s led to the rise of one of the greatest military minds ever in Napoleon Bonaparte. In the 1990s, the Soviet Union's fall shifted global power into the hands of the United States, and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and the subsequent Gulf War, created a slew of problems that have had lasting effects until even today. While the last decades of centuries have certainly been action-packed, we would be remiss to ignore the influences that led to these outcomes. Similarly to the past examples, the 1890s were not lacking in activity. However, one cannot…show more content…
Ultimately, these factors prompted countries to develop what we would consider the beginning of modern intelligence apparatuses that were focused on producing intelligence not only against their foreign enemies, but in many cases, their own people as well. While people often point to the expansion of science and technology from the 20th century to the 21st in disbelief, many overlook the scientific expansion of the mid-19th century that, in many ways, laid the foundation for modern intelligence organizations. As Wesley Wark, a Canadian professor, author and intelligence studies expert, notes in an article published on the CIA website, "the industrial revolution began the intelligence revolution". He went on to say, "the consequences included the rise of powerful, expansive, and…show more content…
As mentioned before, early intelligence institutions were often ad hoc and were designed for specific crises and national needs or were a result of political structures. For example, the Russian Ohkrana was a typical tsarist autocracy government secret police force that was created to keep an eye on internal dissidents while conducting operations against opponents in exile. From political structures to technological advancements or even old social and political attitudes, these factors all helped intelligence apparatuses take leaps forward in modernizing into the forerunners of the most prestigious agencies in the world with a focus on the process and product of intelligence. As has been shown, the last decade of the past three centuries have proven to be filled with influential outcomes that last through the next century. Do you think the 2090s will continue this streak
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