Chapter 15 By: Desiree Russell

Section 1: Postwar Uncertainty-The horrors of World War I shattered the Enlightenment belief that progress would continue and reason would prevail. In the postwar period, people began questioning traditional beliefs.

1. A New Revolution in Science- The ideas of Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud had an enormous impact on the 20th century.

A. Impact of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity- German-born physicist Albert Einstein offered startling new ideas on space, time, energy, and matter. Einstein’s ideas had implications not only for science but also for how people viewed the world.

B. Influence of Freudian Psychology- The ideas of Austrian physician Sigmund Freud were as revolutionary as Einstein’s. He believed that much of human behavior is irrational, or beyond reason. He called the irrational part of the mind the unconscious.

2. Literature in the 1920s- The brutality of World War I caused philosophers and writers to question accepted ideas about reason and progress.

A. Writers Reflect Society’s Concerns- The horror of war made a deep impression on many writers.

B. Thinkers React to Uncertainties- In their search for meaning in an uncertain world, some thinkers turned to the philosophy known as existentialism.

3. Revolution in the Arts- Although many of the new directions in painting and music began in the prewar period, they evolved after the war.

A. 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.

B. Composers Try New Styles- In both classical and popular music, composers moved away from traditional styles.

4. Society Challenges Convention-New ideas and ways of life led to a new kind of individual freedom during the 1920s.

A. Women’s Roles Change- The independent spirit of the times showed clearly in the changes women were making in their lives.

5. Technological Advances Improve Life- During World War I, scientists developed new drugs and medical treatments that helped millions of people in the postwar years.

A. The Automobile Alters Society- The automobile benefited from a host of wartime innovations and improvements—electric starters, air-filled tires, and more powerful engines.

B. Airplanes Transform Travel- International air travel became an objective after the war.

C. 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.

Section 2: A Worldwide Depression- By the late 1920s, European nations were rebuilding wartorn economies.

1. Postwar Europe- In both human suffering and economic terms, the cost of World War I was immense.

A. 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.

2. 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.

A. Inflation Causes Crisis in Germany- Germany also faced enormous economic problems that had begun during the war.

B. Attempts at Economic Stability- Germany recovered from the 1923 inflation thanks largely to the work of an international committee.

C. Efforts at a Lasting Peace- As prosperity returned, Germany’s foreign minister, Gustav Stresemann.

3. Financial Collapse- In the late 1920s, American economic prosperity largely sustained the world economy.

A. A Flawed U.S. Economy- Despite prosperity, several weaknesses in the U.S. economy caused serious problems.

B. The Stock Market Crashes-In 1929, New York City’s Wall Street was the financial capital of the world.

4. The Great Depression-People could not pay the money they owed on margin purchases. Stocks they had bought at high prices were now worthless.

A. A Global Depression-The collapse of the American economy sent shock waves around the world.

B. Effects Throughout the World- Because of war debts and dependence on American loans and investments, Germany and Austria were particularly hard hit.

5. The World Confronts the Crisis- The Depression confronted democracies with a serious challenge to their economic and political systems.

A. Britain Takes Steps to Improve Its Economy- The Depression hit Britain severely.

Section 3: Fascism Rises in Europe- Many democracies, including the United States, Britain, and France, remained strong despite the economic crisis caused by the Great Depression.

1. Fascism’s Rise in Italy- Fascism was a new, militant political movement that emphasized loyalty to the state and obedience to its leader.

A. 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. A newspaper editor and politician named Benito Mussolini boldly promised to rescue Italy by reviving its economy and rebuilding its armed forces. He vowed to give Italy strong leadership.

Mussolini had founded the Fascist Party in 1919. Finally, Mussolini publicly criticized Italy’s government.

Groups of Fascists wearing black shirts attacked Communists and Socialists on the streets. October 1922, about 30,000 Fascists marched on Rome. They demanded that King Victor Emmanuel III put Mussolini in charge of the government. After widespread violence and a threatened uprising, Mussolini took power “legally.”

B.Il Duce’s Leadership Mussolini was now Il Duce, or the leader. He abolished democracy and outlawed all political parties except the Fascists.

Section 4: Aggressors Invade Nations-E By the mid-1930s, Germany and Italy seemed bent on military conquest.

1. Japan Seeks an Empire-During the 1920s, the Japanese government became more democratic. In 1922, Japan signed an international treaty agreeing to respect China’s borders.

A. Militarists Take Control of Japan-n As long as Japan remained prosperous, the civilian government kept power.

B. Japan Invades Manchuria-a Japanese businesses had invested heavily in China’s northeast province, Manchuria.

C. Japan Invades China-Four years later, a border incident touched off a full-scale war between Japan and China.

2. European Aggressors on the March- The League’s failure to stop the Japanese encouraged European Fascists to plan aggression of their own.

A. Mussolini Attacks Ethiopia- Ethiopia was one of Africa’s three independent nations.

B. 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.

3. 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.


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