SECTION 1: Postwar Uncertainty
1. A New Revolution in Science
A. Impact of Einstein's Theory of Relativity
Physicist Albert Einstein established the Theory of Relativity in 1905, changing the way people view the world. He theorized that things like space and time are not constant and can change when measured relative to an object moving near the speed of light.
B. Influence of Freudian Psychology
Physician Sigmund Freud constructed a theory on the human mind. He theorized that the human brain has many irrational and primal instincts and this part of the brain is called the unconscious. His ideas weakened faith and developed into a widespread influence.
2. Literature in the 1920s
After the war people questioned past beliefs about reason and progress. People feared that the world was falling apart, spiritually, emotionally, and culturally. People were losing hope.
A. Writers Reflect Society's Concerns
The horrors of war affected writers and their pieces too. Franz Kafka wrote eerie novels that struck a chord among readers in the uneasy postwar years. James Joyce wrote books that showcase Freud’s theories on the unconscious.
B. Thinkers React to Uncertainty
The search for answers in the uncertain world post WW1 lead many philosophers to existentialism. This is the belief that people have no purpose in life but they themselves make their own destiny. One great influencer of the existentialists was Friedrich Nietzsche. He thought that western ways muzzled creativity and individualism.
2. Revolution in the Arts
A. Artists Rebel Against Tradition
Artist rebel against previous traditional styles of painting. They began to paint images of the imagination and emotion rather than realistic pieces. Expressionist painters like Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky used bold colors and exaggerated forms. Painters like Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso founded Cubism in 1907. Cubism is natural transformed shapes turned into geometric forms. Surrealism is a art movement purposed to link real life to people's dreams.
B. Composers Try New Styles
In all forms of music composers started to use more unusual styles, like the Artists they strayed from tradition. A new style called Jazz emerged in the US.
3. Society Challenges Convention
A. Women's Roles Change
The independent spirit of the times affected women too as they began to lead their own lives. Because of women's crucial role in the war women were allowed to vote. more and more women were wearing less restricting clothes and hairstyles. Feminism sparked.
- 4. Technological Advances Improved Life
After the war scientists developed new drugs and medical treatments that helped millions. The technological advancements were used ti improve transportation and communication after the war.
A. The Automobile Alters Society
At first cars were only available to the rich but after the war prices dropped and middle class people could afford cars. People started st live in the suburbs and commute to work in the cities. People also started to travel for pleasure.
B. Airplanes Transform Travel
In 1919, two British pilots made the first successful flight across the Atlantic, from Newfoundland to Ireland. In 1927, American pilot, Charles Lindbergh made a 33 hour flight from New York to Paris. Passenger aircraft began to be used in the 1920's but only the rich could afford it.
C. Radio and Movies Dominate Modern Entertainment
Guglielmo Marconi conducted his first successful experiments with radio in 1895 but it wasn't till 1920 that the world's first commercial radio station began broadcasting. The radio's popularity exploded in America. Motion pictures also became a major entertainment industry in the 1920's. Charlie Chaplin's silent films were very popular.
1. Postwar Europe
A. Unstable New Democracies
At the end of the war there was a rise in democracies. Europe's absolute rulers had been overthrown. The Provisional Government in Russia formed in 1917. They hoped to establish constitutional democratic rule but failed and fell into a Communist dictatorship. Other Europeans had no idea how to run a democratic government and as a result some countries had several political groups. when these groups couldn't make a decision a coalition government (a temporary alliance of several parties) was needed. The attempt at democracy failed and voters again became willing to have a dictator.
2. The Weimar Republic
Germany's new democratic government was known as the Weimar Republic, set up in 1919. It had several weaknesses from the start. People blamed the new government for the outcome of the war.
A. Inflation Causes Crisis in Germany
Germany didn't increase wartime taxes and this caused economic troubles. To create economic stability they tried to just print money and this caused extreme inflation. People were forced to bring wheel barrows full of money just to buy food and this caused people to question the new democracy.
B. Attempts at Economic Stability
Germany's inflation recovered greatly because of an American banker named Charles Dawe. His plan enabled the German government to recover by giving Germany a $200 million loan. They also set a more realistic payment for war reparations.
C. Efforts at a Lasting Peace
German and French foreign ministers met in 1925 with officials from Belgium, Italy, and Britain and signed a peace treaty to never go to war with each other again. Germany was admitted to the League of Nations.
3. Financial Collapse
A. Flawed U.S. Economy
In the U.S. there was severe overproduction by businesses and agriculture and Americans were buying less and less. American Factories were producing near half of the world's goods. The only problem with this is that America's wealth was not evenly distributed. 60% of Americans earned less than $2,000 a year. A chain effect occurred. People could afford less, stores ordered less, factory workers got laid off, and the cycle continued. New technologies in agriculture all over the world also lead to the increase in production and a decrease in profits and prices.
B. The Stock Market Crashes
Wall Street was the financial capitol of the world. As the optimism about the booming economy lead middle class people to buy stocks on margin. In September 1929 some investors sold their stocks because the prices were so unnaturally high. By October 24th, a gradual lowering of stocks lead people to panic and everyone wanted to get rid of their stocks. A record 16 million stocks were sold. The market collapsed.
4. The Great Depression
The once prosperous stocks were now worthless and within months the unemployment rate skyrocketed. By 1932 factory production had been cut in half and businesses and banks closed. Around 9 million people lost all of the money in their saving accounts and farmers lost their lands. By 1933 one fourth of American workers had no jobs.
A. A Global Depression
The failing of the American economy affected the entire world. American bankers demanded their loans overseas to be paid and investors withdrew their money from European investments. Congress placed a high tariff on imported goods to keep businesses in the U.S. but the plan backfired. Many other countries raised their own tariffs and world trade dropped by 65%
B. Effects Throughout the World
Because of war debts and dependence on American loans and investments Germany and Austria were highly affected. Austria's largest bank failed in 1913 and in Asia farmers and merchants were hurt by the falling of value in exports. The crash was also heavily felt in Latin America because the demand for their products by America and Europe dropped.
5. The World Confronts the Crisis
A. Britain Takes Steps to Improve Its Economy
The Great Depression affected Britain severely. To prevent the problem from worsening a multi part coalition known as the National Government was formed. Higher tariffs, increased taxes, a regulation on currency, and a lowered interest rate were passed and contributed to the steady recovery.
B. France Responds to Economic Crisis
France was more agricultural and self sufficient so they were not as extremely affected as other countries but they still lost1 million jobs. In 1933, five of the coalition governments failed so their as a new coalition between moderates, socialists, and communists to help workers, known as the Popular Front. They were unsuccessful in helping lower unemployment rates.
C. Socialist Governments Find Solutions
Socialist governments also found successful resolutions to the crisis. They built recovery programs. In Sweden public works projects were government sponsored and in all Scandinavian countries raised pensions for the elderly and increased unemployment insurance, subsides for housing and other welfare benefits.
D. Recovery in the United States
In 1932 President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected. After promising Americans a recovery he immediately began the New Deal project. Large public works projects provided jobs and new government agencies gave financial help to businesses and farmers. Government money were spent on welfare and relief programs and regulations were imposed to reform the stock market and the banking system.
1. Fascism's Rise in Italy
Fascism- militant political power movement the emphasized loyalty to the state and obedience of its leader.
Fascists had lots of ideas and had a strong passion for obedience to the leader. The believed that nations must struggle and they also pledged themselves to a single authoritarian leader. They wore uniforms, held huge rallies, and used special salutes. Fascism is very closely related to Communism.
A. Mussolini Takes Control
Fascism was fueled by the disappointment of not getting a lot of land out of the Paris Peace Conference. Rising inflation and unemployment also contributed. To many Italians the democratic government was useless and people craved an authoritarian leader to take charge. Benito Mussolini boldly promised a change. He founded the Fascist Party in 1919 and as things got worse his popularity got better. In October 1921 about 30,000 Fascists marched on Rome. Mussolini was put in power.
B. II Duce's Leadership
Mussolini was now II Duce (the leader). He abolished democracy and outlawed all political parties but the Facisits. Secret police and censorship were highly used.
2. Hitler Rises to Power in Germany
A. The Rise of the Nazis
Hitler settled in Munich on 1919 and joined a little political group that later named itself the National Socialist German Workers' Party, called Nazi for short. They formed the German version of fascism called Nazism. They set up a private militia called the troopers or Brown Shirts. Hitler was named as leader if the Nazis. Hitler was arrested in 1923 in Munich after attempting to seize power there. He served less than nine months there. While he was in prison he wrote Mein Kampf or My Struggle, describing is goals and dreams for Germany. He promised to gain Germany more land. Just like in other countries the economy crashed and people turned to a strong leader.
3. Hitler Becomes Chancellor
In 1932 the nazis are the largest political party. In 1922 President Paul von Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor. He turned Germany into a totalitarian state. A black-uniformed unit called SS or the protection squad, murdering hundreds of his enemies. The brutality of the secret police make people totally obedient. He took control of the economy and the unemployment rates dropped from 6 to 1.5 million in 1936.
A. The Fuhrer Is Supreme
Hitler controlled everything from books, radio, press, painting, and even film to shape public opinion of him. There were huge book burnings and churches were banned from speaking against him. Children were forced to join either the Hitler Youth or the League of German Girls.
B. Hitler Makes War on the Jews
The nazis used Jews as a scapegoat for post war troubles. In 1933 the Nazis passed a law depriving Jews of most their rights and violence against Jews raised. On the night of November 9,1938 a mob of Nazis attacked Jews in their homes and destroyed thousands of jewish owned businesses. This rampage was called the Night of Broken Glass or Kristallnacht in German.
4. Other Countries Fall to Dictators
Countries all over Europe were falling to dictators. Hungary fell first then Poland.In Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania, kings turned to strong-man rule, suspending constitutions.In 1935, only one democracy, Czechoslovakia, remained in eastern Europe. Only Britain, France, and the Scandinavian countries had surviving Democracies.
1. Japan Seeks an Empire
During the 1920's Japan 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.
A. Militarists Take Control of Japan
The civilian government lasted until the Great Depression when people turned blame to the government. Military soon gained power. They tried to restore traditional control of the government to the military. They kept Emperor Hirohito as head of state and gained support for the military leaders the ruled in his name. They planned to restore the economy by foreign expansion. They planned a Pacific empire that included a conquered China, expanding their raw materials, markets, and room for Japans rising population.
B. Japan Invades Manchuria
Japanese businesses had invested heavily in Manchuria because of its vast coal and iron. In 1931 the Japanese army overthrew Manchuria, despite the parliament. This was the first direct challenge to the League of Nations. By this time the League consisted of most major democracies. They protested the overthrowing of Manchuria and soon after Japan withdrew from the League.
C. Japan Invades China
Japan started a war over a boarder incident with China and quickly advanced, taking over Beijing and the capitol, Nanjing. China made the new capitol in Chongqing.
2. European Aggressors on the March
The failure of the league to stop Japan encouraged other European Fascists to plan aggression of their own. Mussolini planned to get colonies in Africa.
A. Mussolini Attacks Ethiopia
Ethiopia was one of the three last independent nations left. Mussolini called an attack in October of 1935, Ethiopia's inferior weapons were no match. Although the League condemned the attack, its members did nothing.
B. Hitler Defies Versailles Treaty
Long promising to bring down the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler planned his attack. The treaty limited the size of Germany's army. He announced that he would not obey these restrictions. The German army stood on the border of France, threatening. the League obeyed, fearing war. Hitler later admitted that he would have backed down if the French and British had challenged him.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. Germany, Italy, and Japan came to be called the Axis Powers
C. Civil War Erupts in Spain
Hitler and Mussolini tested the will of the democracies in europe in the Spanish Civil War. A republic was declared in 1936. the army leaders joined with General Francisco Franco in revolt, the war lasted 3 years. Hitler and Mussolini helped Franco win in 1939, becoming Spain's Fascist dictator.
3. Democratic Nations Try to Preserve Peace
A. United States Follows an Isolationist Policy
Many Americans believed in isolationism or the belief that political ties to other countries should be avoided.In 1935, Congress passed three Neutrality Acts, that banned loans and the sale of arms to nations at war.
B. The German Reich Expands
On November 5, 1937, Hitler announced his plans to absorb Austria and Czechoslovakia into the Third Reich or the German Empire. The League prohibits a union between Germany and Austria.In March 1938, Hitler sent his army into Austria and annexed it. Hitler next turned to Czechoslovakia. Demanding a territory along the border where many German speaking people lived.
C. Britain and France Again Choose Appeasement
France and Britain were preparing for war when Mussolini proposed a meeting of Germany, France, Britain, and Italy, later called the Munich Conference. They agreed that Germany could have the Sudetenland if they pledged to respect the new boarders. Less than 6 months later Hitler took Czechoslovakia. 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.
D. Nazis and Soviets Sign Nonaggression Pact
Britain and France asked the Soviet Union for help with Hitler. Stalin of the Soviet Union and Hitler of Germany reached an agreement. On August 23, 1939, their leaders signed a nonaggression pact.