postwar uncertainty section 1

A new revolution in science: the ideas of albert Einstein and sigmund freud had an enormous impact on the 20th century. These thinkers were part of a scientific revolution as important as that brought about centuries earlier by copernicus and Galileo.
Impact of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity: German-born physicist Albert Einstein offered startling new ideas on space, time, energy, and matter. Scientists had found that light travels at exactly the same speed no matter what direction it moves in relation to earth. In 1905, Einstein theorized that while the speed of light is constant, other things that seem constant, such as space and time, are not. Space and time can change when measured relative to an object moving near the speed of light—about 186,000 miles per second
Influence of Freudian Psychology: The ideas of Austrian physician Sigmund Freud were as revolutionary as Einstein’s. Freud treated patients with psychological problems. From his experiences, he constructed a theory about the human mind. He believed that much of human behavior is irrational, or beyond reason. 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. Freud’s ideas weakened faith in reason.
Literature in the 1920s: The brutality of World War I caused philosophers and writers to question accepted ideas about reason and progress. Disillusioned by the war, many people also feared the future and expressed doubts about traditional religious beliefs. Some writers and thinkers expressed their anxieties by creating disturbing visions of the present and the future. In 1922, T. S. Eliot, an American poet living in England, wrote that Western society had lost its spiritual values.
Writers Reflect Society’s Concerns: The horror of war made a deep impression on many writers. The Czech-born author Franz Kafka wrote eerie novels such as The Trial (1925) and The Castle (1926). His books feature people caught in threatening situations they can neither understand nor escape. The books struck a chord among readers in the uneasy postwar years.
Thinkers React to Uncertainties: In their search for meaning in an uncertain world, some thinkers turned to the philosophy known as existentialism. A major leader of this movement was the philosopher Jean Paul Sartre (SAHR•truh) of France. Existentialists believed that there is no universal meaning to life. Each person creates his or her own meaning in life through choices made and actions taken
Revolution in the Arts Although many of the new directions in painting and music began in the prewar period, they evolved after the war.
Artists Rebel Against Tradition Artists rebelled against earlier realistic styles of painting. They wanted to depict the inner world of emotion and imagination rather than show realistic representations of objects. Expressionist painters like Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky used bold colors and distorted or exaggerated forms. Inspired by traditional African art, Georges Braque of France and Pablo Picasso of Spain founded Cubism in 1907. Cubism transformed natural shapes into geometric forms. Objects were broken down into different parts with sharp angles and edges. Often several views were depicted at the same time
Composers Try New Styles In both classical and popular music, composers moved away from traditional styles. In his ballet masterpiece, The Rite of Spring, the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky used irregular rhythms and dissonances, or harsh combinations of sound. The Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg rejected traditional harmonies and musical scales. A new popular musical style called jazz emerged in the United States. It was developed by musicians, mainly African Americans, in New Orleans, Memphis, and Chicago. It swept the United States and Europe.
Society Challenges Convention World War I had disrupted traditional social patterns. New ideas and ways of life led to a new kind of individual freedom during the 1920s. Young people especially were willing to break with the past and experiment with modern values.
Women’s Roles Change The independent spirit of the times showed clearly in the changes women were making in their lives. The war had allowed women to take on new roles. Their work in the war effort was decisive in helping them win the right to vote. After the war, women’s suffrage became law in many countries, including the United States, Britain, Germany, Sweden, and Austria. Women abandoned restrictive clothing and hairstyles. They wore shorter, looser garments and had their hair “bobbed,” or cut short. They also wore makeup, drove cars, and drank and smoked in public
Technological Advances Improve Life: During World War I, scientists developed new drugs and medical treatments that helped millions of people in the postwar years. The war’s technological advances were put to use to improve transportation and communication after the war.
The Automobile Alters Society: The automobile benefited from a host of wartime innovations and improvements—electric starters, air-filled tires, and more powerful engines. Cars were now sleek and brightly polished, complete with headlights and chrome-plated bumpers. In prewar Britain, autos were owned exclusively by the rich. British factories produced 34,000 autos in 1913. After the war, prices dropped, and the middle class could afford cars. By 1937, the British were producing 511,000 autos a year
Airplanes Transform Travel International air travel became an objective after the war. In 1919, two British pilots made the first successful flight across the Atlantic, from Newfoundland to Ireland. In 1927, an American pilot named Charles Lindbergh captured world attention with a 33-hour solo flight from New York to Paris. Most of the world’s major passenger airlines were established during the 1920s. At first only the rich were able to afford air travel. Still, everyone enjoyed the exploits of the aviation pioneers, including those of Amelia Earhart. She was an American who, in 1932, became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic
Radio and Movies Dominate Popular Entertainment Guglielmo Marconi conducted his first successful experiments with radio in 1895. However, the real push for radio development came during World War I. 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 most families owned a radio. Motion pictures were also a major industry in the 1920s. Many countries, from Cuba to Japan, produced movies. In Europe, film was a serious art form. However, in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, where 90 percent of all films were made, movies were entertainment

A worldwide Depression section 2

Postwar Europe: In both human suffering and economic terms, the cost of World War I was immense. The Great War left every major European country nearly bankrupt. In addition, Europe’s domination in world affairs declined after the war.
Unstable New Democracies: War’s end saw the sudden rise of new democracies. From 1914 to 1918, Europe’s last absolute rulers had been overthrown. The first of the new governments was formed in Russia in 1917. 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. Frequent changes in government made it hard for democratic countries to develop strong leadership and move toward long-term goals. The weaknesses of a coalition government became a major problem in times of crisis. Voters in several countries were then willing to sacrifice democratic government for strong, authoritarian leadership.
The Weimar Republic: Germany’s new democratic government was set up in 1919. Known as the Weimar (WY•MAHR) Republic, it was named after the city where the national assembly met. The Weimar Republic had serious weaknesses from the start. First, Germany lacked a strong democratic tradition. Furthermore, postwar Germany had several major political parties and many minor ones. Worst of all, millions of Germans blamed the Weimar government, not their wartime leaders, for the country’s defeat and postwar humiliation caused by the Versailles Treaty
Inflation Causes Crisis in Germany: Germany also faced enormous economic problems that had begun during the war. Unlike Britain and France, Germany had not greatly increased its wartime taxes. To pay the expenses of the war, the Germans had simply printed money. After Germany’s defeat, this paper money steadily lost its value. Burdened with heavy reparations payments to the Allies and with other economic problems, Germany printed even more money. As a result, the value of the mark, as Germany’s currency was called, fell sharply
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. The plan also set a more realistic schedule for Germany’s reparations payments. Put into effect in 1924, the Dawes Plan helped slow inflation.
Efforts at a Lasting Peace: As prosperity returned, Germany’s foreign minister, Gustav Stresemann, and France’s foreign minister, Aristide Briand, tried to improve relations between their countries. In 1925, the two ministers met in Locarno, Switzerland, with officials from Belgium, Italy, and Britain. They 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.
Financial Collapse: In the late 1920s, 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 did.
A Flawed U.S. Economy: Despite prosperity, 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. By 1929, American factories were turning out nearly half of the world’s industrial goods. The rising productivity led to enormous profits. However, this new wealth was not evenly distributed. The richest 5 percent of the population received 33 percent of all personal income in 1929. Yet 60 percent of all American families earned less than $2,000 a year. Thus, most families were too poor to buy the goods being produced. Unable to sell all their goods, store owners eventually cut back their orders from factories. Factories in turn reduced production and laid off workers. A downward economic spiral began. As more workers lost their jobs, families bought even fewer goods. In turn, factories made further cuts in production and laid off more workers
The Stock Market Crashes: In 1929, New York City’s Wall Street was the financial capital of the world. Banks and investment companies lined its sidewalks. At Wall Street’s New York Stock Exchange, optimism about the booming U.S. economy showed in soaring prices for stocks. To get in on the boom, many middle-income people began buying stocks on margin.
The Great Depression: People could not pay the money they owed on margin purchases. Stocks they had bought at high prices were now worthless. Within months of the crash, 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, followed. The stock market crash alone did not cause the Great Depression, but it quickened the collapse of the economy and made the Depression more difficult. By 1932, factory production had been cut in half.
A Global Depression The collapse of the American economy sent shock waves around the world. Worried American bankers demanded repayment of their overseas loans, and American investors withdrew their money from Europe. 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. This policy backfired. Conditions worsened for the United States.
Effects Throughout the World: Because of war debts and dependence on American loans and investments, Germany and Austria were particularly hard hit. In 1931, Austria’s largest bank failed. In Asia, both farmers and urban workers suffered as the value of exports fell by half between 1929 and 1931. The crash was felt heavily in Latin America as well. As European and U.S. demand for such Latin American products as sugar, beef, and copper dropped, prices collapsed.
The World Confronts the Crisis: The Depression confronted democracies with a serious challenge to their economic and political systems. Each country met the crisis in its own way.
Britain Takes Steps to Improve Its Economy: The Depression hit Britain severely. To meet the emergency, British voters elected a multiparty coalition known as the National Government. It passed high protective tariffs, increased taxes, and regulated the currency. It also lowered interest rates to encourage industrial growth. These measures brought about a slow but steady recovery.
France Responds to Economic Crisis: Unlike Britain, France had a more self sufficient economy. In 1930, it was still heavily agricultural and less dependent on foreign trade. Nevertheless, by 1935, one million French workers were unemployed. The economic crisis contributed to political instability. In 1933, five coalition governments formed and fell. 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.
Socialist Governments Find Solutions:The Socialist governments in the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway also met the challenge of economic crisis successfully. They built their recovery programs on an existing tradition of cooperative community action. 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 remained intact.
Recovery in the United States: In 1932, in the first presidential election after the Depression had begun, U.S. voters elected Franklin D. Roosevelt. His confident manner appealed to millions of Americans who felt bewildered by the Depression. On March 4, 1933, the new president sought to restore Americans’ faith in their nation

fascism rises in europe section 3

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. Nevertheless, most Fascists shared several ideas. They preached an extreme form of nationalism, or loyalty to one’s country. Fascists believed that nations must struggle—peaceful states were doomed to be conquered. They pledged loyalty to an authoritarian leader who guided and brought order to the state. In each nation, Fascists wore uniforms of a certain color, used special salutes, and held mass rallies.
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. Rising inflation and unemployment also contributed to widespread social unrest. To growing numbers of Italians, their democratic government seemed helpless to deal with the country’s problems. They wanted a leader who would take actio
Il Duce’s Leadership: Mussolini was now Il Duce , or the leader. He abolished democracy and outlawed all political parties except the Fascists. Secret police jailed his opponents. Government censors forced radio stations and publications to broadcast or publish only Fascist doctrines. Mussolini outlawed strikes. He sought to control the economy by allying the Fascists with the industrialists and large landowners. However, Mussolini never had the total control achieved by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union or Adolf Hitler in Germany
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 volunteered for the German army and was twice awarded the Iron Cross, a medal for bravery.
The Rise of the Nazis: At the end of the war, Hitler settled in Munich. In 1919, he joined a tiny right-wing political group. This group shared his belief that Germany had to overturn the Treaty of Versailles and combat communism. The group later named itself the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, called Nazi for short. Its policies formed the German brand of fascism known as Nazism. The party adopted the swastika, or hooked cross, as its symbol. The Nazis also set up a private militia called the storm troopers or Brown Shirts. Within a short time, Hitler’s success as an organizer and speaker led him to be chosen der Führer, or the leader, of the Nazi party. Inspired by Mussolini’s march on Rome, Hitler and the Nazis plotted to seize power in Munich in 1923. The attempt failed, and Hitler was arrested. He was tried for treason but was sentenced to only five years in prison. He served less than nine months. While in jail, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle). This book set forth his beliefs and his goals for Germany. Hitler asserted that the Germans, whom he incorrectly called “Aryans,” were a “master race.” He declared that non-Aryan “races,” such as Jews, Slavs, and Gypsies, were inferior.
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. In January 1933, they advised President Paul von Hindenburg to name Hitler chancellor. Thus Hitler came to power legally. Soon after, General Erich Ludendorff, a former Hitler ally, wrote to Hindenburg.
The Führer Is Supreme 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. Books that did not conform to Nazi beliefs were burned in huge bonfires. Churches were forbidden to criticize the Nazis or the government. Schoolchildren had to join the Hitler Youth (for boys) or the League of German Girls. 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: Hatred of Jews, or anti-Semitism, was a key part of Nazi ideology. 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. In Hungary in 1919, after a brief Communist regime, military forces and wealthy landowners joined to make Admiral Miklós Horthy the first European postwar dictator. In Poland, Marshal Jozef Pilsudski (pihl•SOOT•skee) seized power in 1926. In Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania, kings turned to strong-man rule. They suspended constitutions and silenced foes. In 1935, only one democracy, Czechoslovakia, remained in eastern Europe. Only in European nations with strong democratic traditions—Britain, France, and the Scandinavian countries— did democracy survive. With no democratic experience and severe economic problems, many Europeans saw dictatorship as the only way to prevent instability. 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. Although all of these dictatorships restricted civil rights, none asserted control with the brutality of the Russian Communists or the Nazis.

Aggressors Invade Nations section 4

Japan Seeks an Empire: During the 1020s, the 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, however. Its constitution put strict limits on the powers of the prime minister and the cabinet. Most importantly, civilian leaders had little control over the armed forces. Military leaders reported only to the emperor.
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. Unlike the Fascists in Europe, the militarists did not try to establish a new system of government. They wanted to restore traditional control of the government to the military. Instead of a forceful leader like Mussolini or Hitler, the militarists made the emperor the symbol of state power. Keeping Emperor Hirohito as head of state won popular support for the army leaders who ruled in his name. Like Hitler and Mussolini, Japan’s militarists were extreme nationalists.
Japan Invades Manchuria: Japanese businesses had invested heavily in China’s northeast province, Manchuria. It was an area rich in iron and coal. In 1931, the Japanese army seized Manchuria, despite objections from the Japanese parliament. The army then set up a puppet government. Japanese engineers and technicians began arriving in large numbers to build mines and factories.
Japan Invades China: Four years later, a border incident touched off a full-scale war between Japan and China. Japanese forces swept into northern China. Despite having a million soldiers, China’s army led by Jiang Jieshi was no match for the better equipped and trained Japanese. Beijing and other northern cities as well as the capital, Nanjing, fell to the Japanese in 1937. Japanese troops killed tens of thousands of captured soldiers and civilians in Nanjing. Forced to retreat westward, Jiang Jieshi set up a new capital at Chongqing. At the same time, Chinese guerrillas led by China’s Communist leader, Mao Zedong, continued to fight the Japanese in the conquered area.
European Aggressors on the March: The League’s failure to stop the Japanese encouraged European Fascists to plan aggression of their own. The Italian leader Mussolini dreamed of building a colonial empire in Africa like those of Britain and France.
Mussolini Attacks Ethiopia: Ethiopia was one of Africa’s three independent nations. The Ethiopians had successfully resisted an Italian attempt at conquest during the 1890s. To avenge that defeat, Mussolini ordered a massive invasion of Ethiopia in October 1935. The spears and swords of the Ethiopians were no match for Italian airplanes, tanks, guns, and poison gas. The Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie, urgently appealed to the League for help. Although the League condemned the attack, its members did nothing. Britain continued to let Italian troops and supplies pass through the British-controlled Suez Canal on their way to Ethiopia. By giving in to Mussolini in Africa, Britain and France hoped to keep peace in Europe.
Hitler Defies Versailles Treaty: Hitler had long pledged to undo the Versailles Treaty. Among its provisions, the treaty limited the size of Germany’s army. In March 1935, the Führer announced that Germany would not obey these restrictions. The League issued only a mild condemnation. The League’s failure to stop Germany from rearming convinced Hitler to take even greater risks. The treaty had forbidden German troops to enter a 30-mile-wide zone on either side of the Rhine River. Known as the Rhineland, the zone formed a buffer between Germany and France. It was also an important industrial area.
Civil War Erupts in Spain: Hitler and Mussolini again tested the will of the democracies of Europe in the Spanish Civil War. Spain had been a monarchy until 1931, when a republic was declared. The government, run by liberals and Socialists, held office amid many crises. In July 1936, army leaders, favoring a Fascist-style government, joined General Francisco Franco in a revolt. Thus began a civil war that dragged on for three years. Hitler and Mussolini sent troops, tanks, and airplanes to help Franco’s forces, which were called the Nationalists. The armed forces of the Republicans, as supporters of Spain’s elected government were known, received little help from abroad. The Western democracies remained neutral.
Democratic Nations Try to Preserve Peace: Instead of taking a stand against Fascist aggression in the 1930s, Britain and France repeatedly made concessions, hoping to keep peace. Both nations were dealing with serious economic problems as a result of the Great Depression. In addition, the horrors of World War I had created a deep desire to avoid war
United States Follows an Isolationist Policy: Many Americans supported isolationism, the belief that political ties to other countries should be avoided. Isolationists argued that entry into World War I had been a costly error. Beginning in 1935, Congress passed three Neutrality Acts. These laws banned loans and the sale of arms to nations at war.
The German Reich Expands: On November 5, 1937, Hitler announced to his advisers his plans to absorb Austria and Czechoslovakia into the Third Reich (ryk), or German Empire. The Treaty of Versailles prohibited Anschluss (, or a union between Austria and Germany. However, many Austrians supported unity with Germany. In March 1938, Hitler sent his army into Austria and annexed it. France and Britain ignored their pledge to protect Austrian independence. Hitler next turned to Czechoslovakia. About three million German-speaking people lived in the western border regions of Czechoslovakia called the Sudetenland.
Britain and France Again Choose Appeasement: France and Britain were preparing for war when Mussolini proposed a meeting of Germany, France, Britain, and Italy in Munich, Germany. The Munich Conference was held on September 29, 1938. The Czechs were not invited. British prime minister Neville Chamberlain believed that he could preserve peace by giving in to Hitler’s demand. Britain and France agreed that Hitler could take the Sudetenland. In exchange, Hitler pledged to respect Czechoslovakia’s new borders. When Chamberlain returned to London, he told cheering crowds, “I believe it is peace for our time.” Winston Churchill, then a member of the British Parliament, strongly disagreed. He opposed the appeasement policy and gloomily warned of its consequences:
Nazis and Soviets Sign Nonaggression Pact: Britain and France asked the Soviet Union to join them in stopping Hitler’s aggression. As Stalin talked with Britain and France, he also bargained with Hitler. The two dictators reached an agreement. Once bitter enemies, Fascist Germany and Communist Russia now publicly pledged never to attack one another. On August 23, 1939, their leaders signed a nonaggression pact. As the Axis Powers moved unchecked at the end of the decade, war appeared inevitable.


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