Presentation on theme: "After WWI, Germany in economic despair and political instability. Treaty of Versailles blamed Germany for the WWI and placed restrictions on Germany. Germany’s."— Presentation transcript:
After WWI, Germany in economic despair and political instability. Treaty of Versailles blamed Germany for the WWI and placed restrictions on Germany. Germany’s government, the Weimar Republic couldn’t deal with Germany’s problems resulting from the treaty. People blamed the government for signing the treaty. German generals felt Germany was betrayed by communists, Jews, and liberals in the government. Throughout Europe, many countries were in economic distress and on the verge of bankruptcy. There was widespread unemployment and inflation in Germany and Italy.
The German inflation of 1923 — one dollar worth trillions of marks During WWI, Germany printed vast amounts of paper money in order to pay expenses, which resulted in runaway inflation in the early 1920’s. Germany had spent $37 billion on the war, but only collected $1.5 billion in tax revenues. To solve the problem, Germany just printed more money which led to inflation. In 1923 a glass of beer cost 2 million marks and a loaf of bread cost 4 million marks. 1914: 4.2 marks=$1 U.S. 1923: 4.2 trillion marks=$1 U.S.
Adolf Hitler was born in Austria in He dropped out of high school and tried to become an artist. He enlisted to fight in WWI. After the war, he became an extreme nationalist. He believed Germany had been sold out by the Weimar Republic. In 1923, he led an uprising in Munich that was quickly crushed by the army. For that, Hitler was put in prison for a year. He wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle) in prison. This book detailed his political beliefs.
After prison, Adolf Hitler worked hard to rebuild the Nazi party. He promised benefits to peasants, workers, and the middle class. Desperate people flocked to local Nazi party headquarters in search of a free meal and companionship. They also found hope in Hitler’s ideas. Hitler claimed the German people belonged to a superior “Aryan” race that was destined to control inferior races and rule the world. Hitler considered Jews an inferior race and blamed them for Germany’s economic troubles and defeat in WWI. Hitler also felt the Soviet Union was an obstacle to German expansion.
Political poster suggesting that with Hitler’s leadership, Germany can freed of its problems. Between 1928 and 1932, the Nazis were voted into more and more seats in the Reichstag, the German legislature. By 1932, the Nazis had become the largest single party in the Reichstag, and the German president asked Hitler to become chancellor. Hitler formed a coalition government and increased his power. Hitler called for elections. A week before the elections, a fire, probably set by the Nazis, destroyed the Reichstag building. Hitler accused the communists of setting the fire and planning a revolt. He used that threat of communism to convince the President to issue emergency orders abolishing freedom of speech and assembly. When President von Hindenburg died in 1934, Hitler combined the offices of president and chancellor.
This was the beginning of The Third Reich. He used many methods to build a totalitarian state in Germany. He rounded up rivals in the Nazi party and political opponents and had many of them murdered. Hitler established a secret police, the Gestapo, to hunt down and arrest anyone suspected of opposing Nazi rule. Laws were passed that made the good of the state (Hitler’s) more important than individual rights. (extreme nationalism) Hitler Youth: an organization that taught military discipline, patriotism, and obedience The Youth rounded up “un-German” books, which were burned in spectacular public bonfires. Children attended public schools controlled by the Nazis. Churches forced ministers to deliver pro-Nazi sermons on Sundays.
Jews were expelled from all government jobs and from teaching positions. Soon after, they were forbidden to practice law and medicine. This forced many Jews, including physicist Albert Einstein, to emigrate to the United States. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 deprived German Jews of their citizenship and banned marriages between Jews and non-Jews. All Jews had to register with the government and wear yellow stars of David on their clothing so they could be easily identified. Nazi policy against Jews became harsher. Nazis organized riots in several German cities where many Jews were killed and hundreds of Jewish shops and synagogues were destroyed. Some 20,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Persecution of Jews would continue to intensify.
Hitler’s appeal continued to grow anyway. He promised economic recovery and territorial expansion for Germany. He used his belief in the “Aryan master race” to convince people that Germany had the right to expand eastward and win more territory. Kristallnacht: night of broken glass Hitler built housing, highways, and sports arenas. He ignored the Versailles Treaty and began rebuilding the German military, which employed thousands of workers. He justified this by saying Germany had to protect itself from the Soviet Union. Hitler increased taxes and controlled wages and prices.
Benito Mussolini Fascist leader of Italy Like Germany, Italy faced severe political and economic problems in the years immediately following WWI. During the war, the Italian government had promised social change and land reform. It didn’t happen so there was unrest among workers and peasants. Italy didn’t get the territory it wanted after WWI. Many Italian nationalists denounced the government for its weakness. The socialist party promised relief for workers and peasants. It gained power but couldn’t control worker revolts or keep order. This turmoil helped an ambitious politician, Benito Mussolini, to gain power.
Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler Both Hitler and Mussolini intervened in the Spanish Civil War on the side of Francisco Franco and the Nationalists. They used the war as a testing ground for new German and Italian tanks and weapons. Cooperation between Italy and Germany in Spain led to the creation of a military alliance in October 1936, known as the Rome-Berlin Axis. Nationalists won the Spanish Civil War and Franco imposed a fascist dictatorship on Spain. Since Britain, France, and the United States had done little to prevent Axis intervention in Spain, Hitler and Mussolini felt encouraged to interfere in other countries.
Tojo, Japanese ambassador Japan had not been devastated by WWI or civil war and their economy grew rapidly after WWI Japan depended on foreign markets for silks and other goods that the Great Depression of the 1930’s caused economic disaster. A group of military leaders rose to power when the Japanese became dissatisfied with the instability of their country and having the reputation of a second-rate power. They built up Japan’s military and sought to expand its control in Asia. In 1931, the army defied the civilian government and attacked Manchuria, a region in China rich in coal and iron.
By 1932, the military was in control of Japan; the entire government was led by a group of military leaders. The government imposed censorship, arrested critics, and dismissed liberal professors from the universities. A secret police was set up to punish enemies of the state and the press and the schools taught total obedience to the emperor. Nationalist groups glorified war and the empire. The new government offered a solution to Japan’s many problems---the acquisition of an overseas empire. Japan assumed the role of leader in Asia and opposed western imperialism. They sought support from other fascist powers and in 1936 signed a military agreement with Italy and Germany, forming the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis. Japan continued to prepare its aggressions in Asia.
German ruler Adolf Hitler met and shook hands with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in Godesberg, Germany on September 22, 1938 Even before the Spanish Civil War, Hitler had planned to expand German borders and in 1936 he violated the Versailles Treaty provisions barring German troops from the Rhineland by rearming Germany and reoccupying the territory on France’s border. Since he was friends with Italy now he was able to move into Austria in 1938 and declared Austria a part of Germany. Britain and France condemned his moves but took no action so he met little resistance to these violations of the Treaty. Britain’s Chamberlain’s approach towards Hitler was one of appeasement.
He believed that resistance might lead to another war and destroy the possibility of future negotiation. He thought that making concessions might preserve peace. Pacifism was widespread in both Britain and France, as memories of the huge battlefield losses in WWI were still vivid. Also, most British people thought Germany had the right to occupy the Rhineland since it was German territory. France couldn’t not act against Germany without Britain’s support. Three million Germans lived in the Sudetenland, the western border region of Czechoslovakia. Hitler encouraged them to demand self-government with Czechoslovakia but the Czech government refused those demands. Chamberlain used his approach of appeasement to convince the Czechs to agree to self-government for the Sudetenland. Hitler saw how easy it was to get his way so demanded the Czechs surrender the region to Germany so Chamberlain asked for a conference without Czechoslovakia present and awarded the Sudetenland to Germany. Chamberlain: “Peace with honor…..peace for our time.”
German tanks roll through a Sudeten street. The banner reads “Hail to our German borders!” In March 1939, six months after the conference and Hitler promising Czech independence, German troops overran the rest of Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain was shocked by the violation of the agreement and knew now that Hitler couldn’t be trusted. Hitler wanted Poland to return the city of Danzig and the Polish Corridor to Germany. Britain said they would aid Poland if Poland was attacked and France also promised to support Poland. Hitler made a pact with the Stalin and the Soviet Union on August 23, 1939 pledging not to attack each other. Secret clauses: future division of Poland
Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, Keeping the pledge to support Poland, Great Britain and France immediately declared war on Germany. The second world war of the century had begun. The Germans defeated the Polish armies in three weeks and the Polish government fled to Romania. For the next six months the war proceeded slowly with occasional submarine warfare, aerial raids o naval bases, and battles between naval vessels.
Most Americans were not willing to support direct involvement in Europe; they preferred to remain neutral. Memories of WWI were still fresh, and they were getting over the Great Depression. 1935: US passed the Neutrality Act following Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia prohibiting the shipment of arms to belligerent nations. Two more neutrality act were passed in 1936 and 1937 forbidding the granting of loans and credit to belligerents and prohibiting American ships from carrying non-military goods to belligerents.
Lend-Lease Roosevelt needed to convince the American people that the nation’s interests were actually threatened by the aggression of the Axis dictatorships. Isolationist feelings declined as a result of France’s defeat and the ongoing Battle of Britain. Americans began to worry where Hitler would strike next if Britain fell. The United States passed the Lend-Lease Act in the spring of 1941 to allow for the lend-lease or transfer of military equipment to nations whose defense was considered vital to the United States. The Lend-Lease Act ended American neutrality, committing the United States to an Allied victory.
In August 1941, Winston Churchill and FDR met and drew up a statement of war aims (goals) known as the Atlantic Charter. They promised to seek no gains in territory and to support the right of all peoples to choose their own form of government.
The bombing of Pearl Harbor—December 7, 1941 (USS Shaw) Japanese aggression was of great concern to the US and when Japan attacked China in 1937, the US cancelled its commercial treaty with Japan. The United States stopped exporting gasoline and scrap metal to Japan. Early in 1941, it moved the American Pacific fleet from the west coast to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to demonstrate military readiness. In November Japanese prime minister Tojo sent representatives to negotiate with the US in Washington DC. While the negotiations were underway, the decision to bomb Pearl Harbor had been made. The Japanese felt that a war with the United States was inevitable. Japan needed the oil, rubber, and food resources in the area to wage war with China. Japan didn’t want interference from the US naval and air forces.
Under the leadership of General Tojo, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, The Japanese sank or badly damaged 8 American battleships. Ten other ships were damaged. 188 planes were destroyed. Over 2,300 Americans were killed.
The United States Declares War The day following the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt went before Congress to ask for a declaration of war. Within a few hours of his speech, Congress declared war on Japan. Only one vote was cast against the declaration. Germany and Italy, Japan’s Axis allies, declared war on the United States a couple of days later. The US formally accepted this challenge with a unanimous vote by Congress declaring war on them. The attack by Japan united America as almost nothing else could have done. The United States was no longer isolated. Great Britain, France, and the United States were now the Allied Powers.