Years of Crisis 1919-1939 By : colton morrow

I. Post War Uncertainty

A. A New Revolution in Science- The ideas of Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud were part of a scientific revolution that had an enormous impact on the 20th century.

1. Impact of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity

a. Einstein theorized that while the speed of light is constant, other things that seem constant, such as space and time, are not.

b. Space and time can change when measured relative to an object moving near the speed of light - about 186,000 miles per second.

c. Since relative motion is the key to Einstein's idea, it is called the theory of relativity.

2. Influence of Freudian Psychology

a. Sigmund Freud treated patients with psychological problems

b. He believed that much of human behavior is irrational, or beyond reason.

c. He called the irrational part of the mind the unconscious.

d. In the unconscious, a number of drives existed of which the conscious mind was unaware.

Sigmund Freud

B. Literature in the 1920s - In 1922 T.S. Eliot, an American poet living in England, wrote that Western society had lost its spiritual values. He used the word "wasteland" to describe the postwar world because it was drained of hope and faith. In 1921 the Irish poet William Butler Yeats conveyed a sense of dark times ahead in his poem "The Second Coming".

T. S. Eliot
William Butler Yeats

1. Writer's Reflect Society's Concern

a. The horror of war made a deep impression on many writers.

b. The Trial and The Castle were eerie books written by Franz Kafka.

c. The books feature people caught in threatening situations they can neither understand nor escape.

d. Ulyssus was written by James Joyce and it focused on a single day in the lives of three people in Dublin, Ireland.

2. Thinkers React to Uncertainties

a. Existentialism - the belief that each person creates his or her own meaning in life through choices made and actions taken.

b. Jean Paul Sartre was a major leader of the Existentialists.

Jean Paul Sartre

c. Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher who influenced existentialists. He urged a return to the ancient heroic values of pride, assertiveness, and strength. His ideas had a great impact on the politics in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

Friedrich Nietzsche

C. Revolution in the Arts - Painting and music continued to evolve after the war.

1. Artists rebel against tradition

a. Expressionist painters used bold colors and exaggerated forms.

b. Cubism transformed natural shapes into geometric forms.


c. Surrealism - an movement that sought to link the world of dreams with real life. "Surreal" means beyond or above reality. The paintings have an eerie dreamlike quality and depict objects unrealistically.


2. Composers Try New Styles

a. Russian composer Igor Stravinsky used irregular rhythm or harsh combination of sounds. Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg rejected traditional harmony and music scales.

b. Jazz was developed by mostly African Americans in New Orleans, Memphis and Chicago, and it emerged throughout the United States.

Jazz musician

D. Society Challenges Conventions - There was a new kind of individual freedom in the 1920s.

1. Women's Roles Change

a. After the war women's suffrage (the right to vote) became law in many countries including the United States, Britain, Germany, and Austria.

b. Women had their hair cut short and they wore shorter, looser clothes. They wore make up, drove cars, and began to drink and smoke in public.

c. Women began to seek careers in medicine, education and journalism.

E. Technological Advances Improve Life - The war's technological advances were put to use to improve transportation and communication.

1. The Automobile Alters Society

a. The automobile now had electric starters, air-filled tires, and more powerful engines.

b. After the war, prices dropped so the middle class could afford cars.

Cars became more affordable

c. More people now traveled for pleasure.

d. People moved to suburbs and commuted to work in cities.

2. Airplanes Transform Travel

a. Charles Lindbergh made a 33 hour solo flight from New York to Paris.

Early planes were very basic.

b. Most passenger airlines were established during the 1920s, but only the rich could afford to fly.

c. Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

Amelia Earhart

3. Radio and Movies Dominate Popular Entertainment

a. In 1920 KDKA in Pittsburgh, PA began radio broadcasting.

b. Many countries from Cuba to Japan began to produce movies.

c. Charlie Chaplin became a popular comedic actor.

Charlie Chaplin

d. Late in the 1920s sound was added to movies.

II. A WorldWide Depression - After the war the American economy had serious weaknesses that were soon to bring about the most severe economic downturn the world had known.

A. Post War Europe - The Great War left every major European country nearly bankrupt.

1. Unstable New Democracies - there was a sudden rise of new democracies.

a. The Provisional Government was formed in Russia in 1917. It hoped to establish constitutional and democratic rule.

b. Some countries had a dozen or more political groups. It was impossible for one group to win enough support to govern effectively.

c. Coalition government was formed when one party could not win a majority. A coalition government was a temporary alliance of several parties.

B. The Weimar Republic - Germany's new democratic government set up in 1919, named after the city where the national assembly met.

1. Inflation Causes Crisis in Germany

a. Germany didn't raise taxes, they just printed more money. Paper money lost its value.

b. The value of the mark (Germany's currency) fell sharply.

German currency

c. Inflation set in. Germans needed more and more money to buy basic goods.

2. Attempts at Economic Stability

a. The Dawes Plan led by Charles Dawes provided a 200 million loan from American banks.

b. The Dawes Plan was put into effect in 1924 and helped to slow inflation.

c. By 1929, German factories were producing as much as before.

German factory

3. Efforts at a Lasting Peace

a. In 1925 Gustav Stresemann (German's foreign minister) and Aristide Briand (France's foreign minister) tried to improve relations.

b. A treaty was signed that France and Germany would never make war against each other.

c. The Spirit of Locarno peace pact was signed in 1928 by almost every county in the world to renounce war as an instrument of national policy.

C. Financial Collapse - In 1929 the U.S. economy weakened and effected the whole world's economy.

1. A Flawed U.S. Economy

a. American factories were turning out nearly half the world's industrial goods. There were enormous profits that were not evenly distributed.

b. 60% of all American families earned less than $2,000 per year. They were too poor to buy the goods.

Many Americans were very poor.

c. Unable to sell goods, store owners cut back on orders which meant factories laid off workers.

d. Farmers faced competition from Australia, Latin America and Europe. There was a world-wide surplus that drove prices and profits down.

There was world-wide surplus

2. The Stock Market Crashes

a. Many middle class Americans borrowed money from stockbrokers to buy stock.

b. In 1929 investors began selling stock. A panic resulted. No one wanted to buy.

c. On Tuesday October 29, 16 million stocks were sold. The market collapsed.

D. The Great Depression - a long business slump

1. A Global Depression

a. Worried American bankers demanded repayment for overseas loans. American investors withdrew their money from Europe.

b. U.S. Congress placed high tariffs on imported goods so that American dollars would stay in the US.

c. Other countries imposed higher tariffs too and world trade dropped 65 percent.

d. Unemployment rates soared.

2. Effects Throughout the World

a. In 1931 Austria's largest bank failed.

Austria's banks failed

b. In Asia, farmers and urban workers suffered because of low export values.

c. U.S. and European demand for sugar, beef and copper dropped and collapsed prices.

E. The World Confronts the Crisis

1. Britain Takes Steps to Improve its Economy

a. British voters elected a multiparty coalition - the National Government.

b. They increased taxes, passed high protective tariffs and regulated their currency.

2. France Responds to Economic Crisis

a. In 1933, five coalition governments formed and fell.

b. In 1936 moderates, Socialists, and Communists formed a coalition called The Popular Front which passed a series of reforms.

3. Socialist Governments Find Solutions

a. Socialist governments in Denmark, Sweden and Norway built recovery programs.

b. All Scandinavian countries raised pensions for the elderly and increased unemployment insurance and welfare benefits. The government taxed all citizens to pay for it.

3. Recovery in the United States

a. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president elected after the Depression had begun.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

b. The New Deal was a program of government reform started by Roosevelt.

c. Large projects helped provide jobs. Government agencies gave financial help to businesses and farms. Large amounts of money were spent on welfare and relief programs.

d. The New Deal did eventually reform America's economic system.

IIII. Fascism Rises In Europe - Fascists promised to revive the economy, punish those responsible for hard times, and restore order and national pride.

A. Fascism's Rise in Italy - Fascism was a new military political movement that emphasized loyalty to the state and obedience to its leader. It was similar to communism in that both are ruled by dictators.

1. Mussolini Takes Control

a. Italians wanted a leader who would take action.

b. Benito Mussolini boldly promised to rescue Italy by reviving its economy and rebuilding its armed forces.

Benito Mussolini

c. In 1922 Fascists marched on Rome and demanded Mussolini be put n charge of the government.

d. After widespread violence and a threatened uprising, Mussolini took power legally.

2. II Duce's Leadership

a. Mussolini was now II Duce or the leader.

b. He abolished democracy and outlawed all political parties other than Fascists.

c. Mussolini sought to control the economy. He forced radio stations and publications to only broadcast and publish Fascist doctrine.

B. Hitler Rises to Power in Germany - Hitler volunteered for the German army and was twice awarded the Iron Cross, a medal for bravery.

1. The Rise of the Nazis

Nazi soldier

a. the National Socialist German Workers' Party was called Nazi for short.

b. Nazism was the German brand of Fascism.

c. The party adopted the swastika, or hooked cross, as its symbol.

d. Hitler and the Nazis tried to seize Munich and failed. He was arrested for treason and sentenced to 5 years. He served less than 9 months.

e. Hitler wrote Mein Kampf while in jail which was a book about his beliefs and his goals for Germany.

f. Aryans were Hitler's master race. Anyone non-Aryan was thought to be inferior.

e. Hitler declared Germany was overcrowded and needed more lebensraum or living space. He promised to get that space by conquering eastern Europe and Russia.

C. Hitler Becomes Chancellor - After becoming Chancellor, Hitler banned all other political parties and had opponents arrested.

1. The Fuhrer is Supreme

a. Hitler wanted control over every aspect of German life.

b. Hitler turned press, radio, literature, paintings and film into propaganda tools.

c. Even school children were forced to join the Hitler Youth or the League of German Girls.

2. Hitler Makes War on the Jews

a. Jews were less than 1% of the population but Nazis used them as scapegoats for all of Germany's problems.

b. In 1933 Nazis passed laws depriving Jews of most of their rights.

c. A rampage called Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass) signaled the real start of eliminating Jew from German life.

Many businesses were destroyed

D. Other Countries Fall to Dictators - With no democratic experience and severe economic problems, many Europeans saw dictatorship as the only way to prevent instability.

1. By the mid 1930s the nation was split into two antagonistic camps - democratic and totalitarian.

2. All dictatorships restricted civil rights, but none asserted control with the brutality of the Russian Communists or the Nazis.

IV. Aggressors Invade Nations - With the world moving toward war, many nations pinned their hopes for peace on the League of Nations.

A. Japan Seeks an Empire - During the 1920s the Japanese government became more democratic. In 1928 Japan signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact renouncing war.

1. Militarists Take Control of Japan

a. When the Great Depression struck in 1929, many Japanese blamed the government.

Japanese people blamed the government

b. Military leaders won control of the country.

c. They wanted to restore traditional control of the government to the military.

d. Japan's militarists were extreme nationalists who wanted to solve the countries economic problems through foreign expansion.

Japanese soldiers

2. Japan Invades Manchuria

a. Manchuria was an area rich in iron and coal.

b. The Japanese army seized Manchuria in 1931.

c. The attach was the first direct challenge to the League of Nations.

d. In 1933 Japan withdrew from the League.

3. Japan Invades China

a. In 1937 Japanese forces swept into northern China.

b. Jiang Jieshi set up a new capital at Chongquing.

B. European Aggressors on the March

1. Mussolini Attacks Ethiopia

a. Ethiopia was one of Africa's three independent nations.

Map of Ethiopia

b. Mussolini ordered a massive invasion of Ethiopia in October 1935.

c. Haile Selassie appealed to the League for help, but they did nothing.

2. Hitler Defies Versailles Treaty

a. The treaty limited the size of Germany's army.

b. In 1936, German troops moved into the Rhineland which was forbidden under the treaty.

c. British urged appeasement - giving in to an aggressor to keep peace.

d. The German reoccupation of the Rhineland marked a turning point in the march toward war because it strengthened Hitler's power/prestige within Germany, and the balance of power changed in Germany's favor.

d. In 1936 Hitler and Mussolini reached an agreement called the Rome-Berlin Axis which was an alliance between the two.

e. Germany also made an agreement with Japan.

f. Germany, Italy and Japan became known as the Axis Powers.

3. Civil war Erupts in Spain

a. In July 1936, Spanish army leaders who favored a Fascist-style government joined General Francisco Franco in a revolt which began a three year civil war.

b. Franco's forces were called Nationalists.

c. The Soviet Union sent equipment and advisors.

d. In early 1939 Republican resistance collapsed and Franco became Spain's Fascist dictator.

C. Democratic Nations Try to Preserve Peace - the horrors of World War I had created a deep desire to avoid war.

No one wanted war

1. United States Follows an Isolationist Policy

a. Isolationism - the belief that political ties to other countries should be avoided.

b. Beginning in 1935, Congress passed three Neutrality Acts that banned loans and the sale of arms to nations at war.

2. The German Reich Expands

a. In 1937, Hitler announced his plans to absorb Austria and Czechslovakia in the Third Reich or German Empire.

b. The treaty of Versailles prohibited Anschluss - a union between Austria and Germany.

c. In 1938 Hitler annexed Austria.

d. Hitler demanded that the Sudetenland (western border region of Czechoslovakia) be given to Germany. The Czechs refused.

3. Britain and France Again Choose Appeasement

a. The Munich Conference was held on September 29, 1938.

b. Britain and France agreed that Hitler could take the Sudetenland in exchange for him respecting Czechoslovakia's new borders.

c. Six months later, Hitler took Czechoslovakia.

4. Nazis and Soviets Sign Nonaggression Pact

a. Britain and France asked the Soviet Union to join them against Hitler.

b. Stalin and Hitler reached an agreement.

c. Fascist Germany and Communist Russia publicly pledged never to attack one another.


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