Chapter 15: Years of Crisis By: nathan Alcorn

  • SECTION 1- Postwar Uncertainty.
  • A- A New Revolution in Science- The ideas of Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud had an enormous impact on the 20th century. These thinkers were part of a scientific revolution as important as that brought about centuries earlier by Copernicus and Galileo.
  • 1.- Impact of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.- German-born physicist Albert Einstein offered startling new ideas on space, time, energy, and matter. In 1905, Einstein theorized that while the speed of light is constant, other things that seem constant, such as space and time, are not. Space and time can change when measured relative to an object moving near the speed of light—about 186,000 miles per second.
  • 2.- Influence of Freudian Psychology- The ideas of Austrian physician Sigmund
  • Freud were as revolutionary as Einstein’s. Freud treated patients with psychological problems.
  • He believed that much of human behavior is irrational, or beyond reason. He called the irrational part of the mind the unconscious. 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 1920's, Freud’s theories had developed widespread influence.
  • B- Literature in the 1920's- The brutality of World War I caused philosophers and writers to question accepted ideas about reason and progress.In 1922, T. S. Eliot, an American poet living in England, wrote that Western society had lost its spiritual values. He described the postwar world as a barren “wasteland,” drained of hope and faith.
  • 1.- Writers Reflect Society’s Concerns- The horror of war made a deep impression on many writers. Many novels showed the influence of Freud’s theories on the unconscious. The Irish-born author James Joyce gained widespread attention with his stream-of consciousness novel Ulysses (1922).
  • 2.-Thinkers React to Uncertainties-s In their search for meaning in an uncertain world, some thinkers turned to the philosophy known as existentialism. The existentialists were influenced by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. In the 1880's, Nietzsche wrote that Western ideas such as reason, democracy, and progress had stifled people’s creativity and actions.
  • C. Revolution in the Arts- 1.-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. Inspired by traditional African art, Georges Braque of France and Pablo Picasso of Spain founded Cubism in 1907. Surrealism, an art movement that sought to link the world of dreams with real life, was inspired by Freud’s ideas. The term surreal means “beyond or above reality.”
  • 2.-Composers Try New Styles- In both classical and popular music, composers moved away from traditional styles.A new popular musical style called jazz emerged in the United States. It was developed by musicians, mainly African Americans, in New Orleans, Memphis, and Chicago. It swept the United States and Europe. The lively, loose beat of jazz seemed to capture the new freedom of the age.
  • D-Society Challenges Convention- World War I had disrupted traditional social patterns. New ideas and ways of life led to a new kind of individual freedom during the 1920's.
  • 1.-Women’s Roles Change- The independent spirit of the times showed clearly in the changes women were making in their lives. The war had allowed women to take on new roles. Their work in the war effort was decisive in helping them win the right to vote. After the war, women’s suffrage became law in many countries, including the United States, Britain, Germany, Sweden, and Austria.
  • E-Technological Advances Improve Life-During World War I, scientists developed new drugs and medical treatments that helped millions of people in the postwar years. The war’s technological advances were put to use to improve transportation and communication after the war.
  • 1.-The Automobile Alters Society- The automobile benefited from a host of wartime innovations and improvements—electric starters, air-filled tires, and more powerful engines. In prewar Britain, autos were owned exclusively by the rich. British factories produced 34,000 autos in 1913.
  • 2.-Airplanes Transform Travel-International air travel became an objective after the war. In 1919, two British pilots made the first successful flight across the Atlantic, from Newfoundland to Ireland At first only the rich were able to afford air travel.
  • 3.-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. In 1920, the world’s first commercial radio station—KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—began broadcasting. Almost overnight, radio mania swept the United States. Every major city had stations broadcasting news, plays, and even live sporting events. Soon most families owned a radio. The king of Hollywood’s silent screen was the English-born Charlie Chaplin, a comic genius best known for his portrayal of the lonely little tramp bewildered by life. In the late 1920's, the addition of sound transformed movies.
  • SECTION 2- A World Wide Depression.
  • A.-Postwar Europe- In both human suffering and economic terms, the cost of World War I was immense. The Great War left every major European country nearly bankrupt. In addition, Europe’s domination in world affairs declined after the war.
  • 1.- 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. The first of the new governments was formed in Russia in 1917. Many citizens of the new democracies had little experience with representative government. For generations, kings and emperors had ruled Germany and the new nations formed from Austria-Hungary.
  • B.-The Weimar Republic- Germany’s new democratic government was set up in 1919. Known as the Weimar (WY•MAHR) Republic, it was named after the city where the national assembly met. The Weimar Republic had serious weaknesses from the start.
  • 1.- Inflation Causes Crisis in Germany- Germany also faced enormous economic problems that had begun during the war. Unlike Britain and France, Germany had not greatly increased its wartime taxes. After Germany’s defeat, this paper money steadily lost its value. Burdened with heavy reparations payments to the Allies and with other economic problems, Germany printed even more money. As a result, the value of the mark, as Germany’s currency was called, fell sharply. Severe inflation set in.
  • 2.- Attempts at Economic Stability- Germany recovered from the 1923 inflation thanks largely to the work of an international committee. The committee was headed by Charles Dawes, an American banker. Put into effect in 1924, the Dawes Plan helped slow inflation. As the German economy began to recover, it attracted more loans and investments from the United States.
  • 3.- Efforts at a Lasting Peace- In 1925, the two ministers met in Locarno, Switzerland, with officials from Belgium, Italy, and Britain. In 1928, the hopes raised by the “spirit of Locarno” led to the Kellogg-Briand peace pact. Frank Kellogg, the U.S. Secretary of State, arranged this agreement with France’s Briand. Almost every country in the world, including the Soviet Union, signed.
  • C.- Financial Collapse- In the late 1920s, American economic prosperity largely sustained the world economy.
  • 1.- A Flawed U.S. Economy- y Despite prosperity, several weaknesses in the U.S. economy caused serious problems. These included uneven distribution of wealth, overproduction by business and agriculture, and the fact that many Americans were buying less. By 1929, American factories were turning out nearly half of the world’s industrial goods. The rising productivity led to enormous profits. However, this new wealth was not evenly distributed. The richest 5 percent of the population received 33 percent of all personal income in 1929.
  • 2.- The Stock Market Crashes- s In 1929, New York City’s Wall Street was the financial capital of the world. Banks and investment companies lined its sidewalks. At Wall Street’s New York Stock Exchange, optimism about the booming U.S. economy showed in soaring prices for stocks. In September 1929, some investors began to think that stock prices were unnaturally high. They started selling their stocks, believing the prices would soon go down. By Thursday, October 24, the gradual lowering of stock prices had become an all-out slide downward.
  • D.- The Great Depression- People could not pay the money they owed on margin purchases. Stocks they had bought at high prices were now worthless. Within months of the crash, unemployment rates began to rise as industrial production, prices, and wages declined. The stock market crash alone did not cause the Great Depression, but it quickened the collapse of the economy and made the Depression more difficult. By 1932, factory production had been cut in half.
  • 1.- A Global Depression- The collapse of the American economy sent shock waves around the world. Worried American bankers demanded repayment of their overseas loans, and American investors withdrew their money from Europe. Moreover, when the United States raised tariffs, it set off a chain reaction. Other nations imposed their own higher tariffs.
  • 2.- Effects Throughout the World- Because of war debts and dependence on American loans and investments, Germany and Austria were particularly hard hit. In 1931, Austria’s largest bank failed.
  • E.- The World Confronts the Crisis- The Depression confronted democracies with a serious challenge to their economic and political systems. Each country met the crisis in its own way.
  • 1.- Britain Takes Steps to Improve Its Economy-The Depression hit Britain severely. To meet the emergency, British voters elected a multiparty coalition known as the National Government. It passed high protective tariffs, increased taxes, and regulated the currency.
  • 2.- France Responds to Economic Crisis- Unlike Britain, France had a more selfsufficient economy. In 1930, it was still heavily agricultural and less dependent on foreign trade.
  • 3.- Socialist Governments Find Solutions- The Socialist governments in the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway also met the challenge of economic crisis successfully. They built their recovery programs on an existing tradition of cooperative community action. In Sweden, the government sponsored massive public works projects that kept people employed and producing.
  • 4.- Recovery in the United States- n 1932, in the first presidential election after the Depression had begun, U.S. voters elected Franklin D. Roosevelt. His confident manner appealed to millions of Americans who felt bewildered by the Depression. On March 4, 1933, the new president sought to restore Americans’ faith in their nation. Roosevelt immediately began a program of government reform that he called the New Deal. The New Deal did eventually reform the American economic system. Roosevelt’s leadership preserved the country’s faith in its democratic political system.
  • SECTION 3- Fascism Rises in Europe
  • A.- Fascism’s Rise in Italy- Unlike communism, fascism had no clearly defined theory or program. Nevertheless, most Fascists shared several ideas. In some ways, fascism was similar to communism. Both systems were ruled by dictators who allowed only their own political party.
  • 1.- 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. 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.
  • 2.- Il Duce’s Leadership- Government censors forced radio stations and publications to broadcast or publish only Fascist doctrines. Mussolini outlawed strikes. He sought to control the economy by allying the Fascists with the industrialists and large landowners. However, Mussolini never had the total control achieved by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union or Adolf Hitler in Germany.
  • B.- Hitler Rises to Power in Germany- When Mussolini became dictator of Italy in the mid-1920s, Adolf Hitler was a little-known political leader whose early life had been marked by disappointment.
  • 1.- The Rise of the Nazis- At the end of 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 party adopted the swastika, or hooked cross, as its symbol. The Nazis also set up a private militia called the storm troopers or Brown Shirts. While in jail, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf. This book set forth his beliefs and his goals for Germany. Hitler asserted that the Germans, whom he incorrectly called “Aryans,” were a “master race.”
  • C.- Hitler Becomes Chancellor- The Nazis had become the largest political party by 1932. Conservative leaders mistakenly believed they could control Hitler and use him for their purposes. In January 1933, they advised President Paul von Hindenburg to name Hitler chancellor. Thus Hitler came to power legally. The Nazis quickly took command of the economy. New laws banned strikes, dissolved independent labor unions, and gave the government authority over business and labor. Hitler put millions of Germans to work.
  • 1.- The Führer Is Supreme- Hitler wanted more than just economic and political power—he wanted control over every aspect of German life. To shape public opinion and to win praise for his leadership, Hitler turned the press, radio, literature, painting, and film into propaganda tools. Schoolchildren had to join the Hitler Youth (for boys) or the League of German Girls.
  • 2.- Hitler Makes War on the Jews- Hatred of Jews, or anti-Semitism, was a key part of Nazi ideology. Although Jews were less than one percent of the population, the Nazis used them as scapegoats for all Germany’s troubles since the war. This led to a wave of anti-Semitism across Germany.
  • D.- Other Countries Fall to Dictators- While Fascists took power in Italy and Germany, the nations formed in eastern Europe after World War I also were falling to dictators. In Hungary in 1919, after a brief Communist regime, military forces and wealthy landowners joined to make Admiral Miklós Horthy the first European postwar dictator. In Poland, Marshal Jozef Pilsudski seized power in 1926. By the mid-1930s, the powerful nations of the world were split into two antagonistic camps—democratic and totalitarian. And to gain their ends, the Fascist dictatorships had indicated a willingness to use military aggression.
  • Section 4- Aggressors Invade Nations.
  • A.- 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. 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 armed forces. Military leaders reported only to the emperor.
  • 1.- Militarists Take Control of Japan- As long as Japan remained prosperous, the civilian government kept power. But when the Great Depression struck in 1929, many Japanese blamed the government. Unlike the Fascists in Europe, the militarists did not try to establish a new system of government. 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.
  • 2.- 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. The Japanese attack on Manchuria was the first direct challenge to the League of Nations. In the early 1930s, 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.
  • 3.- Japan Invades China- Four years later, a border incident touched off a full-scale war between Japan and China. Japanese forces swept into northern China. Despite having a million soldiers, China’s army led by Jiang Jieshi was no match for the better equipped and trained Japanese.
  • B.- European Aggressors on the March-The League’s failure to stop the Japanese encouraged European Fascists to plan aggression of their own.
  • 1.- Mussolini Attacks Ethiopia- Ethiopia was one of Africa’s three independent nations. The Ethiopians had successfully resisted an Italian attempt at conquest during the 1890s. To avenge that defeat, Mussolini ordered a massive invasion of Ethiopia in October 1935. The spears and swords of the Ethiopians were no match for Italian airplanes, tanks, guns, and poison gas.
  • 2.- Hitler Defies Versailles Treaty- y 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. The League issued only a mild condemnation. 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.
  • 3.- Civil War Erupts in Spain- Hitler and Mussolini again tested the will of the democracies of Europe in the Spanish Civil War. Spain had been a monarchy until 1931, when a republic was declared. The government, run by liberals and Socialists, held office amid many crises. 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.
  • C.- 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. Both nations were dealing with serious economic problems as a result of the Great Depression.
  • 1.- 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.
  • 2.- The German Reich Expands- s On November 5, 1937, Hitler announced to his advisers his plans to absorb Austria and Czechoslovakia into the Third Reich, or German Empire. 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 Sudeten Germans. In September 1938, Hitler demanded that the Sudetenland be given to Germany. The Czechs refused and asked France for help.
  • 3.- 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. 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.
  • 4.- 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.


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