Years of Crisis Chapter 15: Michael Buoncristiani


1919- Weimar Republic is established in Germany

1921- Albert Einstein receives the Nobel Prize

1927- American pilot Charles Lindbergh crosses Atlantic

1928- Kellogg-Briand peace pact is signed by almost every country in the World

1929- U.S. stock market crashes; Great Depression begins

Postwar Uncertainty

A.) A New Revolution in Science:

Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud were as important to the 20th century as Copernicus and Galileo were centuries earlier.

1.) Impact of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity

Albert Einstein was born in Germany. He had great ideas on space, time, energy, and matter. scientist discovered in 1905 light travels the same speed in all direction and Einstein said it correlated with other things in life. Light travels at around 186,000 miles per second. Einsteins ideas are called the theory of relativity. This changed outlooks of people from Issa Newtons laws.

2.) Influence of Freudian Psychology

Austrian physician Sigmund Freud had discoveries as revolutionary as Einstein. He treated patients with psychological problems. He said much human behavior was beyond reason. He said the irrational part of the brain was called unconscious and many drives exited in it especially ones seeking pleasure, this weakened faith.

B.) Literature in the 1920s

The brutal fighting of World War One made many rethink traditional faith and belief. The thoughts scared many of the people. In 1922, T. S. Eliot said that Western society lost spiritual values. He said the post war world was a wasteland. In 1921 William Butler Yeats said there was a second coming.

1.) Writers Reflect Society’s Concerns

The horror of the world left deep impressions on writers. Franz Kafka wrote The Trial and The Castle. his book showed people caught in difficult situations. This book stuck people in hard postwar times. James Joyce got the worlds attention with his stream-of-consciousness novel Ulysses (1922).

2.) Thinkers React to Uncertainties

Some philosophers turned to Existentialism. One of the leaders of the movement was Jean Paul Sartre. Existentialists thought there was no universal meaning to life and each person creates their own meaning through action. Existentialists got influence from the German, Friedrich Nietzsche. In the 1880's he wrote western ideas such as reason, democracy, and progress. he wanted accent ways of values. He influenced 20th century politics in Italy and Germany.

c.) Revolution in the Arts

New direction in painting and music came before the war and evolved again after.

1.) Artists Rebel Against Tradition

Artists rebelled against early realistic art, the wanted to show the inner world of imagination and motion instead of realistic expressions. Expressionist painters like Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky used bold colors and distorted or exaggerated forms. Inspired by African art, Georges Braque of France and Pablo Picasso of Spain formed Cubism in 1907. Cubism changed the looks and showed many different views of the art. Surrealism looked to link the worlds dreams with real life inspired by Freud. Surreal means above or beyond. Surrealists tried to call on unconscious parts of their minds. Many of their paintings were eerie.

2.) Composers Try New Style

In classical and popular music composers had changed styles. Russian composer Igor Stravinsky used irregular rhythm in The Rite of Spring. Arnold Schoenberg, Austrian rejected traditional styles. Jazz emerged in the United States. Began by musicians in New Orleans, Memphis, and Chicago, it swept the United States and Europe.

d.) Society Challenges Convention

World War 1 changed life and have people a new idea of freedom during the 1920s. Young people were willing to break up with the past.

1.) Women’s Roles Change

The war allowed women to take new roles. Their help in the war brought in their right to vote. After the war women got voting rights in the countries United States, Britain, Germany, Sweden, and Austria. Women started to move away from traditional ways, wearing shorter dresses, shorter hairstyles, smoking in public, wore makeup, drove, and drank. Many followed traditional marriage and family ways, but others such as Margaret Sanger and Emma Goldman risked getting arrested speaking for birth control. Women looked for new careers and the numbers of women in the fields of medicine, education, journalism, and others.

e.) Technological Advances Improve Life

During WWI much medical innovation came. The technology advances were put to transportation and communication.

1.) The Automobile Alters Society

After war was a big time for cars because it brought, electric starters, air-filled tires, and more powerful engines. Now cars had chrome bumpers, bright polish and headlights. Before war in Britain cars were mainly for the rich, but after middle class could afford. by 1937 Britain produced 511,000 cars per year. When car use increased, travel for pleasure and businesses were made to serve motorists and it affected where people lived. Many moved to suburbs and commuted to the city.

2.) Airplanes Transform Travel

After war International air travel became important. in 1919 two British pilots made the first successful flight across the Atlantic from Newfoundland to Ireland. Charles Lindberg got world attention by making a solo 33 hour flight from New York to Paris. Most major airlines were established during the 1920s. At first only rich could afford air travel. Everyone although enjoyed exploits of pioneers such as Amelia Earhart who in 1932 became the first women to fly solo across the Atlantic.

3.) Radio and Movies Dominate Popular Entertainment

Guglielmo Marconi conducted his first successful radio experiments in 1895, but the real push for radio development was during WWI. In 1920 the worlds first commercial radio station was KDKA in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Seeming overnight radio swept America. Every major city had stations with news, plays, plays and even live sports. quickly most families owned radio. In 1920s motion pictures became a major industry. Countries from Cuba to Japan produced movies. in Europe film became real art. But, in places like Hollywood district of Los Angeles where 90 percent of movies were produced, they were entertainment. The kid of Hollywoods silent screen was Charlie Chaplin, English-born. He became a comic genius best known for playing a lonely little tramp bewildered by life. In the late 1920s sound transferred movies.

A Worldwide Depression

a.) Postwar Europe

WWI left almost every major European country bankrupt. Europe's domination in world affairs declined after war.

1.) Unstable New Democracies

At the end of the war the world saw the formation of new democracies. 1914 to 1918 Europe had its last rulers overthrown. The first of teh new Governments was in Russia, 1917. It was called a provisional government. It was supposed to make a democratic government but soon fell under communist rule. The little experience with republic government made it hard on the European countries. Even in France and Italy, whose parliaments had existed before World War I, the large number of political parties made effective government difficult. Much of the reason was because there were so many parties it was hard for one to get a ton of political support. When no party won a Coalition government was formed, a temporary alliance of several parties for a parliamentary majority to be reached. But disagreements didn't let this last long. Government changed often and this made it hard.

b.) The Weimar Republic

In 1919 Germany made a new government called the Weimar Republic. It was named after the city of the national assembly. This government was weak from the start. Also, there were many more political parties and millions of Germans blamed Weimar for war loss and post war humiliation caused by Versailles treaty.

1.) Inflation Causes Crisis in Germany

Germany faced many economic problems during and after war.Unlike Britain and France, Germany had not greatly increased its wartime taxes. To pay expenses they printed money. After their defeat their money lost value. Burdened with heavy dues to allies they started printing even more money. This caused severe inflation. For example, in Berlin a loaf of bread cost less than a mark in 1918, more than 160 marks in 1922, and some 200 billion marks by late 1923. People took wheelbarrows full of money to buy food.

2.) Attempts at Economic Stability

In 1923 Germany recovered from the inflation with the help if the international committee headed by american banker Charles Dawes. The deal was a 200 million dollar loan from American banks to help Germany currency. Also made more realistic repair payments. Put to effect in 1924 teh dawes plan slowed inflation. By 1929 Germany was producing as much as it was before the war.

3.) Efforts at a Lasting Peace

As Germany returned to normal, their Prime Minister Gustav Stresemann and French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand tried to improve their countries relations. They met in Locarno, Switzerland with officials from Belgium, Italy, and Britain. They signed a treaty that the two would not go to war again. Germany also agreed to respect France and Belgium borders. Then were admitted to the league of nations. In 1928, the hopes raised by the “spirit of Locarno” led to the Kellogg-Briand peace pact. Almost every country in the world including the Soviet Union. The treaty said war was an instrument of national policy. The refusal of the US weakened the Union.

c.) Financial Collapse

In the late 1920s the World economy was made by the US economy and if the US weakened the world might and in 1929 it did.

1.) A Flawed U.S. Economy

Problems in the US economy caused many problems such as overproduction. By 1929 American factories were producing almost half the world's industrial goods. This led to enormous profit. However the wealth was not spread out. The richest 5 percent of the population received 33 percent of all personal income in 1929. Also 60 percent of American families earned less than $2,000 per year, therefore they couldn't afford the goods. So, stores cut down on orders factories cut workers which led to less purchase and a downward spiral came. Farmers faced problems also and had competition with farmers from Australia, Latin America, and Europe. They were unable to sell their products which led to too much product and dropped prices. Unpaid bank debt led many to close.

2.) The Stock Market Crashes

In 1929 New York Cities Wall Street was the financial capital of the world. Middle income people began buying stocks on margin. This meant that they paid a small percentage of a stock’s price as a down payment and borrowed the rest from a stockbroker. This was good until the market fell and investors had no money to pay off the loan. In september of 1929 investors though prices were unnaturally high and began to sell. By October 24 the gradual lowering of stock prices went down a slide. Everyone wanted to sell and on Tuesday October, 29 stocks plunged and a record 16 million stocks were sold. The market collapsed.

d.) The Great Depression

People could not pay back the money and within months unemployment rates went up and industrial production, prices, and wages declined. This long slump became known as the Great Depression. The crash did not cause the Depression but quickened it. By 1932 Industrial production was cut in half, businesses closed and so did banks. Around 9 million people lost the money in their savings accounts cause banks had no money to pay them. Farmers lost land and by 1933 one fourth of American workers had no job.

1.) A Global Depression

The US economy collapse was heard around the world, worried American bankers demanded oversea loans and Americans withdrew money in Europe. US congress placed high tariffs on imported goods and the European market in the US dropped. This was so American dollars would stay in the US, but this backfired. Conditions worsened. US increased tariffs made foreign countries increase tariffs and the world trade dropped by 65 percent. Unemployment rocketed.

2.) Effects Throughout the World

Since Germany and Austria were depended o America for loans and investment for their war debt they were hit hard.

e.) The World Confronts the Crisis

The Depression confronted democracies with serious economic challenges and all handled them in their own way.

1.) Britain Takes Steps to Improve Its Economy

The depression hit Britain hard and to meet emergency voters elected a multiparty coalition known as the National Government. They passed high tariffs and increased taxes. It lowered interest rates to encourage Industry growth and it slowly helped. By 1937 unemployment was cut in half and production was above 1929 levels.

2.) France Responds to Economic Crisis

France had a more self sufficient economy and by 1930 it was heavy agriculture and less dependent on trade. By 1935 millions of French workers were unemployed. France was politically unstable and in 1936 moderates, Socialists, and Communists formed a coalition. The Popular Front, as it was called, passed a series of reforms to help the workers.

3.) Socialist Governments Find Solutions

Socialist governments raised retirement pensions and increased unemployment insurance. For all the benefits they taxed all citizens and democracy stayed intact.

4.) Recovery in the United States

After the depression America elected Franklin D. Roosevelt. On March 4, 1933 h3 planned to restore American faith in their nation. Roosevelt immediately began a program of government reform that he called the New Deal. Large projects provided jobs for the unemployed.

Fascism Rises in Europe

a.) Fascism’s Rise in Italy

Fascism was a Fascism was a new, militant political movement that emphasized loyalty to the state and obedience to its leader. Fascism had no clearly defined theory and preached nationalism. They pledged loyal to and authoritarian leader and wore certain outfits, used salutes and had mass rallies. They were similar to communists by one leader rule, no individual rights, states were supreme. Neither practiced any kind of democracy. However, unlike Communists, Fascists did not seek a class-less society. They often had members of low middle class.

1.) Mussolini Takes Control

Fascism in Italy was disappointing after being unable to get large land after the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and rising inflation and unemployment causing social unrest they wanted a leader to take action. Benito Mussolini promised to save Italy by rebuilding economy and their army. He had founded the fascist party in 1919. As conditions got worse he became more popular. Finally, Mussolini publicly criticized Italy’s government. Groups of Fascists wearing black shirts attacked Communists and Socialists on the streets. Because he feared worker revolt he got support from middle class. In October 1922, about 30,000 Fascists marched on Rome. They demanded that King Victor Emmanuel III put Mussolini in charge of the government. The king decided Mussolini was the best for the dynasty.

2.) Il Duce’s Leadership

Mussolini was now Il Duce or the leader. He destroyed democracy made secret police and took over broadcast. He outlawed strikes. He wanted to take control by befriending land and business owners.

b.) Hitler Rises to Power in Germany

Who Mussolini became Italian dictator in mid 1920s Adolf Hitler was a small politician. He volunteered for the German army and was twice awarded for bravery.

1.) The Rise of the Nazis

After 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 Nazism. They adopted the swastika or hooked cross. They made the storm troopers, a private army. Hitlers success as organizer led him to leader (der Führer). They seeked to take power of Munich in 1923. Hitler failed and was arrested and tried for treason, but only got five years and only served nine months. While in jail, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle). It showed his hopes. 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. He called the Versailles Treaty an outrage and vowed to regain German lands. He said Germany needed more living space (lebensraum). He promised to take Europe and Russia. After leaving prison in 1924, Hitler revived the Nazi Party and many ignored him.

c.) Hitler Becomes Chancellor

By 1932 the nazis were the largest party. In January 1933, they advised President Paul von Hindenburg to name Hitler chancellor. Hitler called for elections but days before the meeting building burnt, they blamed communists. Hitler made Germany totalitarian and made an elite unit called SS (Schutzstaffel, or protection squad). They arrested and murdered Hitlers enemies. This brutal action and the terror applied by the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, shocked most Germans into total obedience. The nazis got command if economy.

1.) The Führer Is Supreme

Hitler wanted more control and destroyed everything that was against nazi and outlawed teaching against them. He made Hitler Youth for boys and League of German Girls.

2.) Hitler Makes War on the Jews

Hatred of jews or anti-Semitism was key to nazi beliefs and they used jews for scapegoats. They also took most of their rights by 1933. On November 9, 1938 Nazi mobs attacked jews. This rampage, called Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass), signaled the real start of the process of eliminating the Jews from German life.

d.) Other Countries Fall to Dictators

Fascists took over Germany and Italy while nations formed in Eastern Europe after WW1 fell to dictators also. Many wealthy land owners took over these countries and communists powers. Only strong countries did not fall like Britan. The problem was no experience in a democratic government. By the mid 1930s the world powers were split by totalitarian and Democratic.

Aggressors Invade Nations

a.) Japan Seeks an Empire

In the 1920s Japan became democratic and signed treaties to respect Chinese borders. In 1928 they signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact renouncing war. Japans parliament had weaknesses. Its constitution restricted the Prime minister and cabinet and civilian leaders had little control over army and Military leaders reported inly to the emperor.

1.) Militarists Take Control of Japan

Japan was fine with civilian power till the 1929 Great Depression and military leaders gained support. The Militarists wanted to restore old power and gave 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 militarists wanted to fix things by foreign expansion and to conquer China. China would give japan raw materials.

2.) Japan Invades Manchuria

Japanese business was highly invested in Chinas northeast province Manchuria and they took it over despite objection from japan parliament. They set up a puppet government and Japanese engineers began arriving in large numbers and building mines and factories. This was the first direct challenge of the League of nations. The league was all major democracies except the US.

3.) Japan Invades China

Four years later Border implications led to full war between japan and China and China army led by Jiang Jieshi was no match to the better equip and trained japan army. Beijing and more Northern cities as well as the capital Nanjing fell to Japan in 1937. anese 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.

b.) European Aggressors on the March

The Leagues failure to stop Japan encouraged Europe fascists and the Italian leader Mussolini dreamed a colonial emperor in Africa like Britain.

1.) Mussolini Attacks Ethiopia

Ethiopia was one of three African independents and they coolant resists the more equip Italy a second time in October 1935. Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie appealed the League of nations the league did not want the attack but did not try to stop it.

2.) Hitler Defies Versailles Treaty

Hitler promised to undo the Versailles treaty that limited the German army size and in March 1935 they said they would break the rules. The failure to stop Germany made Hitler take more risks and on march 7, 1936 German soldiers crossed a restricted river into Rhineland. The British urged appeasement, giving in to an aggressor to keep peace. Hitler admitted that he would've backed down if challenged. The German occupation here changed the coming of war. Hitler’s growing strength convinced Mussolini that he should seek an alliance with Germany. 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.

3.) Civil War Erupts in Spain

Hitler and Mussolini tested Democracies in Europe again and in July of 1936 army leader favoring Fascist government joined Francisco Franco in a revolt. This made a civil war. Hitler and Mussolini sent Franco help and Republicans received little help abroad. Early in 1939 Republican resistance collapsed. Franco became Spain's fascist dictator.

c.) Democratic Nations Try To Preserve Peace

Britain and France tried to make peace instead of fighting. Both were dealing with the great depression and WW1 horrors, they wanted to keep out of war.

1.) United States Follows an Isolationist Policy

Many Americans supported Isolationism a belief that political ties with 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.

2.) The German Reich Expands

On November 5, 1937 Hitler announced to his advisors plans to take Austri and Czechoslovakia into the Third Reich of the German empire. Many Austrian supported unity with Germany but Hitler in march 1938 sent in army and annexed them. He turned next to Czechoslovakia and the German speaking 3 million on the West border called Sudetenland. This heavily forfeited area made Czech's main defense. They refused to ask France for help.

3.) Britain and France Again Choose Appeasement

France and Britain were prepping for war when Mussolini proposed a meeting of Germany, France, Britain, and Italy in Munich, Germany. The Munich Conference was help September 29, 1938. The Czech's were not invited and British Prime minister Neville Chamberlain thought to get peace by giving into Hitler. 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. Less than six months later Hitler took Czechoslovakia and 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 Hitler knew neither wanted war.

4.) Nazis and Soviets Sign Nonaggression Pact

Britain and France asked the Soviet Union to help stop Hitler. As Stalin talked to the two he also bargained with Hitler. he two dictators reached an agreement. Once bitter enemies, Fascist Germany and Communist Russia now publicly pledged never to attack one another. August 23, 1939 the leaders signed the Nonaggression pact and the axis powers moved unchecked.

Created By
Michael Buoncristiani


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