Postwar Uncertainty

Setting the Stage- During this time people began finding new discoveries in scientific developments, communication and transportation. As the society became more social women started demanding more rights and young people started having new values.

A New Revolution in Science- Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud brought ideas back from Copernicus and Galileo.

Impact of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity- Albert Einstein was german born and had new enlightened ideas. Albert Einstein offered new ideas on space, time, energy, and matter. One example is, Einstein theorized that while the speed of light is constant, other things that seem constant, such as space and time, are not. which brought along the theory of relativity.

Influence of Freudian Psychology- The ideas of Austrian physician Sigmund Freud were as revolutionary as Einstein’s. Fraud treated patients with psychological problems. He called the irrational part of the mind the unconscious. In the unconscious, a number of drives existed, especially pleasure-seeking drives, of which the conscious mind was unaware. He believed the human mind was irrational.

Literature in the 1920s

World War I caused philosophers and writers to question ideas about reason and progress. Philosophers and poets described as a barren a wasteland.

Writers Reflect Society’s Concerns- The Czech-born author Franz Kafka wrote eerie novels. For example, Trial (1925) and The Castle (1926).

Thinkers React to Uncertainties- In their search for meaning in an uncertain world, some thinkers turned to the philosophy known as existentialism. Existentialism is where there is no universal meaning to life. Leader was philosopher Jean Paul Sartre of France. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote that Western ideas such as reason, democracy, and progress had stifled people’s creativity and actions.

Revolution in the Arts

Although many of the new directions in painting and music began in the pre-war period they evolved after the war.

Artists Rebel Against Tradition- Artists didn't like the realistic styles of painting. They liked imagination and world inner emotions for their paintings.Surrealism is an art movement that sought to link the world of dreams with real life, was inspired by Freud’s ideas. Most of these paintings are dreamlike and depict objects in unrealistic ways.

Composers Try New Styles- A new popular musical style called jazz emerged in the United States. It was developed by musicians mainly African Americans.

Society Challenges Convention

New ideas and ways of life led to a new kind of individual freedom during the 1920s. Young people were willing to break away from the past and experiment with modern values.

Women’s Roles Change- The war had allowed women to take on new roles. Getting the right to vote and getting to do more jobs they weren't before the war.

Technological Advances Improve Life- During WW1 new advancements were made in technology and medical treatments. Also better communication and transportation after the war.

The Automobile Alters Society- Automobiles benefited from a host of wartime innovations and improvements like electric starters and faster engines.

Airplanes Transform Travel- As the world kept becoming more technological it kept making bigger and better inventions. In 1927, an American pilot named Charles Lindbergh captured world attention with a 33-hour solo flight from New York to Paris.

Radio and Movies Dominate Popular Entertainment- Guglielmo Marconi conducted his first successful experiments with his radio in 1895. In 1920, the world’s first commercial radio station—KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—began broadcasting. Almost overnight, radio mania swept the United States. Every major city had stations broadcasting news, plays, and even live sporting events. Soon almost everyone owned one. The advances in transportation and communication that followed the war had brought the world in closer touch.

A Worldwide Depression

Setting the Stage- 1920's European nations were helping rebuild war-torn economies. Americans were confident about helping because of the stock market and even greater economic prosperity. But the American economy had serious weaknesses that were soon to bring about the most severe economic downturn the world had yet known.

Postwar Europe

The Great War left every major European country nearly bankrupt. Europe’s domination in world affairs declined after the war.

Unstable New Democracies- Many citizens of the new democracies had little experience with representative government. Some countries had a dozen or more political groups. In these countries, it was almost impossible for one party to win enough support to govern effectively. When no single party won a majority, a coalition government, or temporary alliance of several parties, was needed to form a parliamentary majority. Because the parties disagreed on so many policies,coalitions seldom lasted very long.

The Weimar Republic

Germany’s new democratic government was set up in 1919. Known as the Weimar Republic, it was named after the city where the national assembly met. Blamed him for the countries loss in War.

Inflation Causes Crisis in Germany- Germans faced severe inflation during the 1920's causing them to print money, then it lost most of its value. Ex. A loaf of bread was a wheelbarrow full of money back then.

Attempts at Economic Stability- Germany recovered from the 1923 inflation thanks largely to the work of an international committee. The committee was headed by Charles Dawes, an American banker. The Dawes Plan provided for a $200 million loan from American banks to stabilize German currency and strengthen its economy.

Efforts at a Lasting Peace- Germany's prime minister and France's foreign minister signed a treaty promising that France and Germany would never again make war against each other. Germany also agreed to respect the existing borders of France and Belgium. It then was admitted to the League of Nations.

Financial Collapse

American economic prosperity largely sustained the world economy.

If the U.S. economy weakened the whole world’s economic system might collapse. In 1929, it collapsed.

A Flawed U.S. Economy- Several weaknesses in the U.S. economy caused serious problems. These included uneven distribution of wealth, overproduction by business and agriculture, and the fact that many Americans were buying less.

The Stock Market Crashes- In 1929, New York City’s Wall Street was the financial capital of the world. Stock prices started to increase and prices became to high for the people so they started selling their stocks hoping prices would go down. Everyone wanted to sell stocks, and no one wanted to buy. Prices plunged to a new low and a record 16 million stocks were sold. Then the market collapsed.

The Great Depression

After the fall of the Stock Market the unemployment rates began to rise as industrial production, prices, and wages declined. A long business slump, which would come to be called the Great Depression.

A Global Depression- The American market for European goods dropped sharply as the U.S. Congress placed high tariffs on imported goods so that American dollars would stay in the United States and pay for American goods. World trade dropped by 65 percent as this plan failed. Unemployment rates soared.

Effects Throughout the World- In 1931, Austria’s largest bank failed. In Asia, farmers and urban workers suffered as the value of exports fell by half between 1929 and 1931. European and U.S. demand for Latin American products as sugar, beef, and copper dropped, prices collapsed.

The World Confronts the Crisis

The Depression left democracies with a serious challenge to their economic and political systems. Each country met a crisis in its own way.

Britain Takes Steps to Improve Its Economy- British voters wanted a National Government. It passed high protective tariffs, increased taxes, and regulated the currency. It also lowered interest rates to help industrial growth.

France Responds to Economic Crisis-Many political leaders were frightened by the growth of antidemocratic forces both in France and in other parts of Europe. So in 1936, moderates, socialists, and communists formed a coalition. But still unemployment rates were still high.

Socialist Governments Find Solutions- In Sweden, the government sponsored massive public works projects that kept people employed and producing. All the Scandinavian countries raised pensions for the elderly and increased unemployment insurance, subsidies for housing, and other welfare benefits. To pay for these benefits, the governments taxed all citizens. Democracy still remained.

Recovery in the United States- In 1932, in the first presidential election after the depression had begun, U.S. voters elected Franklin D. Roosevelt. Large public works projects helped to provide jobs for the unemployed. New government agencies gave financial help to businesses and farms. Large amounts of public money were spent on welfare and relief programs. Roosevelt and his advisers believed that government spending would create jobs and start a recovery and so it did.

Fascism Rises in Europe

Setting the stage- They turned to an extreme system of government called fascism. Fascists promised to revive the economy, punish those responsible for hard times, and restore order and national pride.

Fascism’s Rise in Italy

Fascism was a new, militant political movement that emphasized loyalty to the state and obedience to its leader. Unlike communism, fascism had no clearly defined theory or program. In ways fascism was similar to communism. Both systems were ruled by dictators who allowed only their own political party.

Mussolini Takes Control- Fascism’s rise in Italy was fueled by bitter disappointment over the failure to win large territorial gains at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. They wanted a new leader to take control. Benito Mussolini played on the fear of a workers’ revolt, he began to win support from the middle classes, the aristocracy, and industrial leaders.

Il Duce’s Leadership- He abolished democracy and outlawed all political parties except the Fascists. Secret police jailed his opponent's. Government censors forced radio stations and publications to broadcast or publish only Fascist doctrines.

Hitler Rises to Power in Germany

When Mussolini became dictator of Italy in the mid-1920s, Adolf Hitler was a little-known political leader whose early life had been marked by disappointment. When World War I broke out, Hitler found a new beginning. He was twice awarded the Iron Cross, a medal for bravery.

Hitler Becomes Chancellor

The Nazis had become the largest political party by 1932. Conservative leaders mistakenly believed they could control Hitler and use him for their purposes. They were wrong.

The Führer Is Supreme-e Hitler wanted more than just economic and political

power—he wanted control over every aspect of German life. To shape public opinion and to win praise for his leadership, Hitler turned the press, radio, literature, painting, and film into propaganda tools. Hitler believed that continuous struggle brought victory to the strong. He twisted the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche to support his use of brute force.

Hitler Makes War on the Jews- Although Jews were less than one percent of the population, the Nazis used them as scapegoats for all Germany’s troubles since the war. This led to a wave of anti-Semitism across Germany. Beginning in 1933, the Nazis passed laws depriving Jews of most of their rights. Violence against Jews mounted.

Other Countries Fall to Dictators

While Fascists took power in Italy and Germany, the nations formed in eastern Europe after World War I also were falling to dictators. By the mid-1930s, the powerful nations of the world were split into two antagonistic camps democratic and totalitarian. And to gain their ends, the Fascist dictatorships had indicated a willingness to use military aggression.

Aggressors Invade Nations

Setting the Stage- The major democracies Britain, France, and the United States were distracted by economic problems at home and longed to remain at peace. With the world moving toward war, many nations pinned their hopes for peace on the League of Nations.

Japan Seeks an Empire

Japanese government became more democratic. In 1922, Japan signed an international treaty agreeing to respect China’s borders. In 1928, it signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact renouncing war. Japan’s parliamentary system had several weaknesses though.

Militarists Take Control of Japan- As long as Japan remained prosperous, the civilian government kept power. But when the Great Depression struck in 1929, many Japanese blamed the government. Military leaders gained support and soon won control of the country. They wanted to take to restore traditional control of the government to the military.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.