2020’s going to be a big year all around. We’ve got the Olympics and a presidential election, and a lot of things celebrating anniversaries. Here’s a look at six events celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2020 and why that’s important. 

The Treaty of Versailles Goes into Effect

The year began with concerns about war with Iran, so how fitting that 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles going into effect. The Treaty, in case you missed it in history class, brought an end to World War I. The treaty was signed in 1919, but went into effect the following year. Some of the important aspects of the treaty included land taken from Germany, the forced recognition of the independence of Czechoslovakia, military restrictions, and reparations. Many historians note that some aspects of the Treaty of Versailles later led to World War II. Nonetheless, this Treaty was a big deal around the world. In 2020, we remember it 100 years later. 

The Founding of the ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 in order to defend the rights afforded to citizens by the U.S. Constitution. While many consider the group to be left-leaning, they have fought for freedom of speech as well as abortion rights, due process, civil rights, and more. The ACLU has been instrumental in some of the most well known court cases of the past century, including the Scopes Monkey Trial, Roe v Wade, Brown v Board of Education, and Tinker v Des Moines. 

The “Five Rings” Olympic Symbol is First Used

Today, as we head into the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, the Olympic rings are known world-wide. Per the committee, they representthe union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.” The symbol we know today is based on a design by Pierre De Coubertin and adopted in 1914. However, it was first used at the Olympics in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium. Today, they represent a unity that often persists throughout the Olympics and sees athletes from all over the world overcoming political and social division for a few weeks. 

Joan of Arc is Canonized

On May 16, 1920 Joan of Arc was canonized (made a saint) by the Catholic Church. Joan of Arc is best known for her heroics during the Hundreds Years War and her ultimate martyrdom. She has been a popular figure ever since. There were many attempts to canonize her through the centuries, but efforts were ultimately successful in 1920 when she was canonized by Pope Benedict XV. 

The First U.S. Presidential Election In Which Women Voted

We’re big fans of female suffrage, being females.  Everyone knows that women were finally given the right to vote nationwide in the United States with the passage of the 19th Amendment. Passed in June 1919, the amendment was ratified in August 2020. That November was a presidential election year, just like 2020. It was the first national presidential election in which all women were afforded the right to vote by the Constitution. Republican Warren Harding defeated Democrat James Cox in that election. Compared to 1916, 8 million more people voted in 1920. 

RELATED: 20 Things Happening In 2020

Agatha Christie’s First Novel is Published in the US

Beloved mystery novelist Agatha Christie and the detectives she created are household names now, but a hundred years ago she was just getting started. In 1920, Christie’s first novel was published in the United States. That book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, starred her most famous creation: Hercule Poirot. Christie’s authorial skills are well-known now, but it’s strange to think she was just getting started one century ago. The book still holds up a century later, in case you’re looking for your next read.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member