Years of Crisis By, Heather Abbott

Section 1. Post War Uncertainty

1. A New Revolution In Science -The ideas of Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud had an impact on the 20th century. These thinkers were part of a scientific revolution that brought about centuries earlier by Copernicus and Galileo.

1a. Impact of Einstein's Theory of Relativity- In 1905, Einstein theorized that while the speed of light is constant, other things that seem constant, such as space and time, are not. Einstein's theory of relativity is what he calls his ideas of motions. Now uncertainty and relativity replaced Isaac Newton’s comforting belief of a world operating according to absolute laws of motion and gravity.

1b. Influence of Freudian Psychology- Sigmund Freud had many influential ideas like Einstein. He specialized in psychology. He believed that much of human behavior is irrational. He thought of the unconscious, as this irrational part. 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. Even so, by the 1920s, Freud’s theories had developed widespread influence.

2. Literature in the 1920's - Many popular poets describe the West as a barren wasteland, and a future second coming.

2a. Writers Reflect Society's Concerns - 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. Many future novels would demonstrate the ideas of Freud.

2b. Thinkers React to Uncertainties - Existentialism was a philosophy movement. A major leader of this movement was Jean Paul Sartre. They believed there was no universal meaning to life. Each person creates their own meaning. Friedrich Nietzsche was a influential German philosopher. He believed in ancient heroic values of pride.

3. Revolution in the Arts - Paintings and music developed after the war.

3a. Artists Rebel Against Tradition- Artists wanted to depict inner world of emotion, rather than realistic things. Cubism was founded by Georges Braque. It was founded in 1907. Geometric forms. Surrealism is an art movement that links world of dreams with real life. These paintings focused on your subconscious.

3b. Composers Try New Styles -Classical and popular music strayed away from traditional musical styles. They had irregular beats and rhythms. This is when jazz emerged.

4. Society Challenges Convention- New freedoms emerged in the 1920's.

4a. Women's Roles Change- While women become more common in the workforce during the war, which allowed them to have more rights. They began to leave certain traditions. Emma Goldman spoke out against women's restrictions.

5. Technological Advances Improve Life- Technology advanced greatly during and after the war. Medicine and treatments improved.

5a. Automobile Alters Society - After the war cars became cheaper. More people began to purchase them and it changed everyone's lifestyle. More jobs opened as a result of this.

5b. Airplanes Transform Travel- In 1919, 2 British pilots made the first successful flight across the Atlantic. Charles Lindbergh was an American who flew 33 hours.

5c. Radio and Movies Dominate Popular Entertainment- In 1920, the world's first radio station began broadcasting. Charlie Chaplin became known as Hollywood's king. The world became closer as a result of new transportation.

Section 2. A Worldwide Depression

1. Postwar Europe- The war left Europe bankrupt.

1a. Unstable New Democracies- There was a sudden new rise in democracy. Coalition Governments are when multiple political parties join together to achieve a goal. These did not help the strive for a democratic world. Coalition governments made people want strong authoritarian governments.

2. The Weimar Republic- The new German government, called the Weimar Republic, was named after the place where the national assembly met. The people of Germany blamed this for the effects of the Versailles Treaty.

2a. Inflation Causes Crisis in Germany- The Germans lost the war, and as a result had to pay major fines. They printed more and more money as a result, which caused a decline in the economy. This caused major increase in prices of even normal goods.

2b. Attempts at Economic Stability- Charles Dawes, an American banker, helped Germany get back on its feet. The Dawes plan helped Germany return to it's original economy. However, they gained a great loan from us.

2c. Efforts at a Lasting Peace - As prosperity returned, Germany’s foreign minister, Gustav Stresema and France's minister, Aristide Briand tried to improve relations between countries. Germany joins league of nations. The Kellogg-Briand peace treaty was signed by every country in the world. However League of Nations was still main.

3. Financial Collapse- The world's economy rested upon the United States.

3a. A Flawed U.S. Economy- The untied states had many flaws with the economy. All the wealth was being given to the rich. This caused the other families to not being able to purchase goods which led to economy decline. Farmers were unable to pay back loans which caused man baks to close.

3b. The Stock Market Crashes- The stock market was a way for everyone to make money. In 1929, a record 16 million stocks were sold. This caused the stock market to crash.

4. The Great Depression- By 1932, factory production had been cut in half. Thousands of businesses failed, and banks closed. Around 9 million people lost the money in their savings accounts when banks had no money to pay them. Many farmers lost their lands when they could not make mortgage payments. By 1933, one-fourth of all American workers had no jobs.

4a. A Global Depression- World trade dropped by 65%. This was due to high tariffs imposed by the U.S and other countries.

4b. Effects Throughout the World- Latin America, Austria, and Asia suffered. Austria's banks failed, Asia lost exports, and trade stopped in Latin America.

5. The World Confronts the Crisis- Each country gained a crisis.

5a. Britain Takes Steps to Improve Economy- British subjects elect national government. This allowed Britain to regain its economy and preserve its government.

5b. France Responds to Economic Crisis- France's unemployment method sky rocketed. Coalition governments formed. This preserved France's democratic government.

5c. Socialist Governments Find Solutions-Socialist governments remained democratic despite the economic decline.

5d. Recovery in the United States- Roosevelt created a program called New Deal to help solve the issue. This was a government reform. It did, however, solve the issues. Roosevelt helped get us out o our economic whole.

Section 3. Fascism Rises in Europe

1. Fascism's Rise in Italy- Fascism was a new military movement that presented loyalty to the state's leader. Fascists believed in classes, and was made up of lower middle class, aristocrats, and war veterans.

1a. Mussolini Takes Control- Benito Mussolini was an Italian writer who promised to rescue Italy. He founded Fascist Party in 1919. After a march in Rome, the king gave Mussolini power.

1b. Duce's Leadership- Mussolini abolished democracy, and only allowed the Fascists political party. He took direct control of everything and everyone.

2. Hitler Rises to Power in Germany- Adolf Hitler volunteered to fight for Germany and was awarded many medals, which led him to become known.

2a. The Rise of the Nazis- Hitler joined the Nazis. Nazism is a fascism German political party. He was later elected leader. The party tried to overthrow, but failed and Hitler was arrested. He wrote Mein Kampf while there. The book said Germans were superior to everyone else and all others were inferior, like Jews. After the economy crashed, leaders turned to Hitler for stability.

3. Hitler Becomes Chancellor- The president of Germany thought he could control Hitler, so they made him Chancellor. Him and the Nazi party gain majority. He turns Germany into a totalitarian state. The SS was devoted only to Hitler, and scared everyone into following Hitler. He created new laws which prohibitaed freedoms, but boosted the economy.

3a. The Fuhrer is Supreme- Hitler wanted everyone to follow him. He controlled everyone's lives, including what the read and what they heard.

3b. Hitler Makes War on the Jews- On November 9, 1938, Nazi's attacked Jews and destroyed thousands of their homes. This was the first of many attacks to come. The Jews had become the main focus for the Nazis hatred.

4. Other Countries Fall to Dictators- Europe remained democratic, despite Germany's attempts. Hungary became a dictatorship. However, most nations were in split decisions to determine the rule of their nation.

Section 4. Aggressors Invade Nations

1. Japan Seeks an Empire- 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 forces.

1a. Militarists Take Control of Japan- when the Great Depression struck in 1929, many Japanese blamed the government. Military began to rule the country. 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. They wanted to solve the country’s economic problems through foreign expansion. They planned a Pacific empire that included a conquered China.

1b. 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. In the early 1930's, the League’s members included all major democracies except the United States. The League also included the three countries that posed the greatest threat to peace: Germany, Japan, and Italy. When Japan seized Manchuria, many League members vigorously protested. Japan ignored the protests and withdrew from the League in 1933.

1c. Japan Invades China- Despite having a million soldiers, China’s army led by Jiang 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 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.

2. 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.

2a. Mussolini Attacks Ethiopia- Mussolini ordered a massive invasion of Ethiopia in October 1935. The spears and swords of the Ethiopians were no match for Italian warfare. The Ethiopian emperor, Haley 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.

2b. 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 Fuhrer announced that Germany would not obey these restrictions. The League issued only a mild condemnation. 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. On March 7, 1936, German troops moved into the Rhineland. Stunned, the French were unwilling to risk war. The British urged appeasement, giving in to an aggressor to keep peace. Hitler later admitted that he would have backed down if the French and British had challenged him. The German reoccupation of the Rhineland marked a turning point in the march toward war. First, it strengthened Hitler’s power and prestige within Germany. Second, the balance of power changed in Germany’s favor. France and Belgium were now open to attack from German troops. Finally, the weak response by France and Britain encouraged Hitler to speed up his expansion. In October 1936, the two dictators reached an agreement that became known as the Rome-Berlin Axis. A month later, Germany also made an agreement with Japan. Germany, Italy, and Japan came to be called the Axis Powers.

2c. Civil War Erupts in Spain- 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. Only the Soviet Union sent equipment and advisers. An international brigade of volunteers fought on the Republican side. Early in 1939, Republican resistance collapsed. Franco became Spain’s Fascist dictator.

3. Democratic Nations Try to Preserve 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.

3a. 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.

3b. The German Reich Expands- On November 5, 1937, Hitler announced to his advisers his plans to absorb Austria and Czechoslovakia into the Third Reich, 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. This heavily fortified area formed the Czechs’ main defense against Germany. The Anschluss raised pro-Nazi feelings among Germans. In September 1938, Hitler demanded that the Sudetenland be given to Germany. The Czechs refused and asked France for help.

3c. 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, then a member of the British Parliament, strongly disagreed. He opposed the appeasement policy and gloomily warned of its consequences: Less than six months after the Munich meeting, Hitler took Czechoslovakia. Soon after, Mussolini seized Albania. Then Hitler demanded that Poland return the former German port of Danzig. The Poles refused and turned to Britain and France for aid. But appeasement had convinced Hitler that neither nation would risk war.

3d. 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.

Created By
Heather Abbott

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