Photography: 98for98 The century in photographs: today 1905

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Our series of photographs which capture the spirit of the century continues with a picture taken in 1905, a year when the likelihood of world peace seemed further away than ever, and countries had begun to mobilise for war. In March, a 30 per cent increase in spending on the Royal Navy was announced. By September, British troops were on manoeuvres.

Earlier in the year, mutinous Russian sailors seized the battleship Potemkin in the Black Sea, throwing officers overboard and raising the red flag, a feat almost surpassed in December when Russian soldiers mutinied and hundreds died. In July, an island off Siberia's coast surrendered to the Japanese after a 3,270-strong garrison ran out of bandages and medicines.

This was also a time when people's awareness of health was heightened, as exercises like aerobics became a national sport, and in Italy the first vegetarian organisation was founded.

This was the year that Albert Einstein put one final argument against belief in an ultimate reality through the theory of relativity that there is no such thing as absolute time or absolute motion.

The importance of the mind was also recognised, and when Aspirin made its debut it was heralded as a cure for headaches due to anxiety or overwork. The play of the year was George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman, about a man who advances the idea of creative evolution. General Booth, the leader of the Salvation Army, popularised as "God's general", finished off the year with a 2000-mile crusade around Britain to promote religion.

In the light of the horrific loss of life in the First World War, the quote of 1905 takes a more sinister twist on the notion of power to the people. "In a country economically backward, the proletariat can take power earlier than where capitalism is more advanced," said Leon Trotsky. The proletariat was about to go to war.

Jennifer Rodger

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