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Europe Between the Wars: 1919-1939. An Uncertain Peace: The Search for Security.

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Presentation on theme: "Europe Between the Wars: 1919-1939. An Uncertain Peace: The Search for Security."— Presentation transcript:

1 Europe Between the Wars:

2 An Uncertain Peace: The Search for Security

3 The Failures of Versailles The creation of new nations through the policy of nationalism had created more problems than it solved. Border disputes between the new nations of Eastern Europe led to increasing tensions in the area.

4 Aftermath of the First World War

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7 The United States refused to ratify the treaty and America’s absence from the League of Nations weakened the organization from the outset.

8 The French sought to strengthen the organization through the creation of an international military force, but fears of the loss of sovereignty led to a rejection of the proposal.

9 The US and Great Britain refused to honor its agreements to form a mutual defense alliance with France. With Russia in the hands of the Communists, this left France alone and embittered.

10 French Alliances To compensate France built a series of alliances with the newly formed Eastern European nations.

11 Poland and the so-called “Little Entente” (Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia) were no substitution for the once mighty Russia.

12 The French Policy of Coercion ( ) France decided to follow a course of strict enforcement of the Treaty of Versailles.

13 The Allied Reparations Commission settled on a sum of 132 billion marks (33 billion dollars) to be paid in yearly installments of 2.5 billion marks.

14 Allied threats to occupy the industrial Ruhr Valley led Germany to agree to the payments.

15 After making its first payment in 1921, Germany announced it was unable to make any further payments.

16 France declared Germany to be in violation of the treaty and sent troops to occupy the Ruhr Valley.

17 Germany adopted a policy of passive resistance to the French occupation and began printing increasingly worthless paper money.

18 German Inflation Inflation quickly made the German mark worthless.

19 In 1914, 4.2 marks equaled a dollar. On Nov. 1, 1923 the ratio was 130 billion marks to the dollar.

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21 1.3 trillion By the end of November the rate was 1.3 trillion to one! 4,200,000,000,000 : 1 in December

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23 Exchange rates, US Dollar to Mark, Source : Gerald D. Feldman, The Great Disorder, Oxford : UP 1997, p.5 Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan April 1922 July 1922 Oct Jan Feb , , , Mar Apr May 1923 June 1923 July 1923 Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec , , , , , ,620, ,860, ,260,000, ,193,600,000, ,200,000,000,000.00

24 From The London Daily Express “A Berlin couple who were about to celebrate their golden wedding received an official letter advising them that the mayor, in accordance with Prussian custom, would call and present them with a donation of money. Next morning the mayor, accompanied by several aldermen in picturesque robes, arrived at the aged couple's house, and solemnly handed over in the name of the Prussian State, 1,000,000,000,000 marks or one halfpenny.”

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26 Revolution in Germany The economic crisis led to uprisings by both communists and ultra-nationalists.

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28 The 1920 Kapp Putsch. "There is terrible misery and hunger in the city," wrote Einstein. "The infant mortality is horrendous...The government has become totally powerless, while the true powers fight each other: the Army, money, and groups of socialist extremists.“

29 The National Socialists

30 By 1924, pressure from Britain and the US led the French to seek a more conciliatory tone with Germany.

31 The Hopeful Years ( ) Election of Liberal-Socialist governments in France and Great Britain led to a more conciliatory approach to the reparations problem.

32 A new German government led by Gustav Stresemann ended the passive resistance and committed Germany to carry out the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles.

33 The Dawes Plan An international committee led by American banker Charles Dawes developed a plan to loan money to Germany to allow that country to repay its debts.

34 Debt restructuring and American investment led to a new era of European prosperity.

35 The Treaty of Locarno German foreign minister Gustav Stresemann and French minister Aristide Briand concluded a treaty that formalized the borders between Germany and France. The agreement was hailed as a major step to ending war forever.

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37 The Kellogg-Briand Pact The “Spirit of Locarno” carried over into a multi- national agreement negotiated by French minister Briand and American Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg that outlawed war “as an instrument of national policy.”

38 The Kellogg-Briand Pact, like the League of Nations, lacked any mechanism to deal with violations of the agreement.

39 Disarmament Conferences A series of Disarmament Conferences were called in the 20s to deal with the issue of arms reduction.

40 From 1921 to 1922 the Washington Naval Conference was held to establish stable relationships among the naval forces of the various powers.

41 Three treaties were enacted at the conference: the Four- Power Treaty, the Five- Power Treaty, and the Nine- Power Treaty.

42 The Geneva Conference In 1925 a convention in Geneva, Switzerland, banned the use of toxic gas in warfare. By the time World War II began in 1939, most of the Great Powers, except Japan and the United States, were signatories.

43 Soviet Recognition By 1924, the Soviets had relaxed in their push for global communist revolutions in favor of economic development at home.

44 The western nations had also realized that the USSR was not going to disappear and most of Europe had established full diplomatic relations with the Soviets.

45 The Comintern The USSR still funded the propaganda activities of the Communist International, a worldwide organization of pro-Soviet Marxist organizations.

46 The issue of encouraging world communist revolutions kept the nations of western Europe fearful and distrustful of the new Soviet Union.

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48 The Great Depression After World War I most of the nations of Europe abandoned the wartime government control of their economies and returned to the pre-war liberal ideal of laissez-faire.

49 Causes of the Great Depression War debt and reparations made the economic recovery of a fragile one. Overproduction of farm products, especially in the United States, led to a dramatic decrease in farm prices.

50 Eastern European nations began to close their markets to outside goods by raising tariffs An increase in the use of hydroelectricity and oil led to a slump in the coal market.

51 As the stock market boomed in America, many US banks and investors began to pull their money out of Europe to invest in US stocks.

52 The Great Crash On October 29,1929, the New York Stock Exchange, the largest in the world, had its worst day of panic selling. By the end of the year declines in stock values reached $15 billion.

53 Impact on Europe American investors accelerated their withdrawal of funds from Europe, leading to the weakening of banks in Germany and Central Europe.

54 Credit-Ansalt On May 31, 1931, the most prestigious bank in Vienna, the Credit-Ansalt, collapsed bringing about financial panic in Europe.

55 Impact of the Depression By the height of the depression in 1932, 25% of British workers were idled and the unemployment rate in Germany hit 40 percent.

56 Industrial production decreased 50% in the US and 40% in Germany and throughout the industrial world the unemployed and homeless filled the streets.

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59 Social Impacts Women were often able to find low paying domestic work when no jobs were available for men.

60 This gender reversal led to social stress and opened the way for demagoguery

61 Young men idled by unemployment turned to crime or gangs and were lured by the rhetoric and promise of radical extremists.

62 Political Crises The liberal policies of Laissez- Faire were unprepared for the depth of the Great Depression. The deflationary policies of cutting costs and raising tariffs only served to worsen the economic crisis.

63 This in turn led to political changes – some countries adopted radical new government programs to deal with the crisis and all over Europe there was an increase in interest in Communism and Authoritarian rule.

64 Democracy Between the Wars After the First World War many European nations instituted democratic government elected by universal suffrage.

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66 Women gained the right to vote in Great Britain and other states, but would have to wait in Italy, Spain and France until after WWII.

67 Great Britain The Liberal government of David Lloyd George was unable to cope with the economic problems after World War I.

68 In 1923, the Labour Party became the second largest political party in Britain and Ramsay MacDonald became the first Labour Party Prime Minister.

69 Labour was restrained by its coalition with the Liberals and unable to make any drastic reforms.

70 After ten months the party was defeated by the Conservatives who attacked the Labour administration for being soft on Communism.

71 Like the US, Great Britain will be led by a Conservative pro- business majority through prosperity of

72 Despite the economic prosperity, unemployment remained at 10 percent and labor unions continued to agitate for higher wages and better conditions.

73 After the crash of ’29 a short- lived Labour administration was forced to create a coalition of all three parties called the National Government.

74 National Government This group was able to bring Britain through the worst of the depression with traditional policies of balancing the budget and protective tariffs.

75 John Maynard Keynes Keynes closely examined the problem of prolonged depression in his major work, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936).

76 This book proposed that no self- correcting mechanism to lift an economy out of a depression existed.

77 Since business investment necessarily fluctuated, it could not be depended on to maintain a high level of employment and a steady flow of income through the economy.

78 Keynes proposed that government spending must compensate for insufficient business investment in times of recession.

79 The Republic of France The biggest problem facing the conservative National Bloc government of Raymond Poincare was the reconstruction of the war devastated region of northern France.

80 The French tied their redevelopment to the reparation payments of the defeated Germans.

81 This policy led to the fiasco of the French invasion of the Ruhr valley.

82 When Poincare’s government was forced to raise taxes to pay for the Ruhr occupation, his National Bloc was voted out of office and replaced with the “Cartel of the Left.”

83 The Cartel of the Left The Cartel was a coalition of leftist parties, the Socialists and the Radicals, that shared the common ideals of anti-clericalism, anti-militarism and the importance of education.

84 The Radicals were a moderate party of democratic socialists, while the Socialists were Marxists.

85 The opposing ideologies led to their failure and the Conservatives of Poincare were back in power during the relative prosperity of

86 The Depression in France France did not feel the effects of the depression until 1932 but when it hit it led to complete political chaos. Six different cabinets were formed in a 19 month period.

87 The February Riots – 1934 Groups of French Fascists marched through the French cities and the ensuing riots caused the left wing to organize in 1936 into the Popular Front.

88 The Popular Front The first Popular Front government was formed in 1936 as a coalition of Communists, Socialists and Radicals, with Leon Blum as Prime Minister.

89 Leon Blum The French New Deal Blum aroused conservative opposition by introducing a program of extensive social reform, including reduction of the workweek to 40 hours, paid vacations, compulsory arbitration of labor disputes, and nationalization of the Bank of France and the munitions industry.

90 The ultimate failure of the Popular Front to deal with the problems of the depression weakened the government and left it incapable of dealing with the threat of Nazi Germany.

91 The Totalitarian States Totalitarianism, in political science, a system of government and ideology in which all social, political, economic, intellectual, cultural, and spiritual activities are subordinated to the purposes of the rulers of a state.

92 Several important features distinguish totalitarianism, a form of autocracy peculiar to the 20th century, from such older forms as despotism, absolutism, and tyranny.

93 In the older forms of autocracy people could live and work in comparative independence, provided they refrained from politics.

94 NSDAP In modern totalitarianism, however, people are made utterly dependent on the wishes and whims of a political party and its leaders.

95 The older autocracies were ruled by a monarch or other titled aristocrat who governed by a principle such as divine right, whereas the modern totalitarian state is ruled by a leader, or dictator, who controls a political party.

96 Totalitarian Governments Those countries whose governments are usually characterized as totalitarian were Germany, under the National Socialism of Adolph Hitler; the USSR, particularly under Joseph Stalin; and Italy under Benito Mussolini.

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99 Fascist Italy Benito Mussolini created the Fascist movement in Italy with the creation of the organization he called Fascio di Combattimento or League of Combat.

100 The Birth of Fascism The problems of Italy as a new country were exacerbated by the enormous costs of World War I. The cost of the war is estimated at 700,000 dead and 148 billion lire.

101 Italy did gain territory in the north at Trieste and the Sud Tyrol but their demands for Dalmatia and Fiume were rejected.

102 These “losses” were used as propaganda that Italy had been cheated by the other powers.

103 In the period immediately following the war inflation was high and unemployment went sky high as men were demobilized from the army.

104 Benito Mussolini Mussolini was a well known Socialist and editor of the Socialist newspaper Avanti (Forward).

105 When he wrote editorials in favor of Italian involvement in the war he was expelled from the Socialist party.

106 Fascio di Combattimento In 1919, Mussolini laid the foundations for his Fascist organization but was rejected in the parliamentary elections.

107 But political stalemate and strong nationalism saved the Fascists.

108 The Socialists, the biggest party, began to talk of revolution and became associated with Bolshevism.

109 The success of the Bolsheviks in Russia frightened the propertied classes.

110 Constant labor unrest and class struggle during the early twenties encouraged Mussolini to shift from the left to the right and capitalize on the fear of revolution and violence.

111 The Squadristi The Fascists formed bands of armed black- shirted street thugs to attack and intimidate the Socialists.

112 At the same time Mussolini formed an alliance with the Liberals who hoped to use the Fascists to break the power of the Socialists and then drop them.

113 By 1921, there were over 200,000 Squadristi and the Fascist had won 7% of the seats in Parliament.

114 The Fascists deliberately created disorder so they could be seen as the Party of Order when the quelled the unrest.

115 The March on Rome On October 24, 1922 Mussolini made a speech in Naples declaring that the Fascist would march on Rome and seize power.

116 Mussolini was bluffing but it worked.

117 On October 29 th King Victor Emmanuel III made Mussolini prime minister of Italy. 24 hours later the Blackshirts marched into Rome to the create the myth of insurrection.

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120 The Fascist State Because the Fascists only controlled a small minority, Mussolini was forced to move slowly and to appease the traditional institutions of the Church, propertied classes and the military.

121 Mussolini’s Balcony

122 The Acerbo Law July 1923, Parliament passed a law that stipulated that whoever won 25% of the votes in the next election would be granted 2/3rds of the seats in Parliament.

123 The 1924 Election The Fascists won 65% of the popular vote and a large majority of the seats in Parliament.

124 The Squadristi had, of course, used violence and intimidation to win, but the size of the victory indicated the level of popularity of the Fascist movement.

125 Matteotti Assassination In June of 1924, the Socialist leader, Giacomo Matteotti, was murdered by the Blackshirts and Mussolini was implicated in the assassination.

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127 In order to save himself, Mussolini now moved to have himself declared dictator.

128 Dictatorship In 1926, laws were passed allowing censorship of any publications against the monarchy, the military or the Catholic Church.

129 The Prime Minister was made “Head of Government” and given the power to rule by decree.

130 Police were given the power to arrest and detain without warrant; and all political and cultural organizations were controlled by the Fascist government.

131 OVRA A secret police, the OVRA, was established and by the end of 1926, Mussolini was ruling Italy as Il Duce – The Leader.

132 Il Duce

133 Totalitarianism in Italy Fascist propaganda and police control on Italy were never as repressive or effective as they were in Nazi Germany.

134 The educational program under Giuseppe Bottai failed to carry out the intended programs to create the “new Fascist man.”

135 Young Fascists A youth organization was created to indoctrinate the Italian youth and ultimately included 60% of the youth of the country.

136 But the youth of Italy were never very enthusiastic about the rigid discipline of the organization.

137 The Perfect Fascist The new Italian were expected to physically fit, educated and trained in the military arts.

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140 Women were expected to stay home and have children.

141 Laws were enacted to encourage larger families and women with the most children were granted Gold Medals and cash prizes.

142 Mussolini and the Church The fact that the Fascists never completely controlled the institutions of Italy, forced Mussolini to compromise with the Catholic Church.

143 Mussolini and Cardinal Pacelli

144 The Lateran Accords February 1929, the Fascists recognized the sovereign independence of the Vatican City, a 109 acre enclave within Rome. The Church in turn recognized the Italian state and was made the “sole religion” of Italy.

145 The Glory Days of Happy Dictatorship

146 The Final End of Mussolini


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