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Interwar Totalitarian countries ____________________ _______________________________________________

Interwar Democracies ____________________________ _______________________________________________

Key Question  Why did the ____________________ _______________________ allow threats to their system of government and way of life to __________________ in the twenty years_________________________________?

Reason 1a) Pacifism

Reason 1b) A Loss of Faith in the Virtue of Western Society

Hansen Name ____________________WWII Period _________Lecture Guide for the World War II, Unit II The Weakness of the West Lecture

    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Psychiatry
  • Reason 1c) U.S. Returns to Isolationism
Reason 1d) The Looming Menace of Communism

Reason 1e) Economic Difficulties

The Age of Anxiety

Themes of Totalitarianism

WWI Paved the Way for Totalitarianism

The Soviet Union

Fall of the Tsar and the Rise of Communism

Stalin Takes Power and Sets Up a Totalitarian State

Hansen Name ____________________WWII Period _________Lecture Guide for the World War II, Unit II The Rise of Totalitarianism Lecture

  • Italy’s Anger at the End of WWI
  • Mussolini
  • German Anger After WWI
  • Continuing Problems (Weimar Gov., Ruhr Valley, Great Depression)

Hitler’s Election, Policies, and the Stab in the Back Theory

Japan Turns Away from the West

  • Japan (cont.)
  • Reactions to Totalitarianism From the West
    • U.S.
    • France
the interwar years the weakness of western democracies and the rise of totalitarianism
The Interwar Years- The Weakness of Western Democracies and the Rise of Totalitarianism



part i the weakness of the west
Part I.- The Weakness of the West

Our Key Question  Why did the victors of World War I allow threats to their system of government and way of life to rise to power in the twenty years following World War I?

reason 1a pacifism a desire for peace at all costs
Reason 1a) Pacifism A Desire for Peace At All Costs

How does this wood carving help us to understand the high level of pacifism in 1920s Europe?

Why is this pacifism relevant?

reasons 1b a loss of faith in the virtue of western society
Reasons 1b) A Loss of Faith in the Virtue of Western Society
  • Pre WWI- “Human reason ushered in democracy and the Industrial Age. Perhaps it can solve all of our problems…”. Utopianism
  • Post WWI- “Umm… ok… scratch that.”
  • “If modern science brought us the slaughter in the trenches, what will future ‘progress’ bring us?
    • Not totally misguided… think about the atom bomb
    • Orwell’s 1984
this western loss of faith in progress was aggravated by new ideas at the time
This Western Loss of Faith in Progress Was Aggravated By New Ideas at the Time
  • Philosophy
    • Existentialism (Nieztsche)
    • There is no God and no meaning to life. Humans must create their own meaning.
  • Physics
    • Einstein’s Relativity
    • Time and space are both curved and are both relative to the observer
    • Time is relative
      • If I were to travel away from the earth on a space ship traveling the speed of light and came back in a year, 100 years would have passed on earth
    • Heisenberg uncertainty principle
      • If you know exactly where a particle is, you cannot know its speed. If you know its exact speed, you cannot know exactly where it is.
  • Psychiatry
    • Human brains are not entirely rational
    • Many human actions are motivated by subconscious desires

If a human were to move near the speed of light, time would slow down for them, relative to the observer…


Which is more comfortable to believe?


Salvador Dali: Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War), 1936


freudian psychology
Freudian Psychology

Freudian View of the Brain

Pre-Freudian View of the Brain






1d the looming menace of communism
1d) The Looming Menace of Communism
  • Russia had become Communist
  • Communism advocates a worldwide violent revolution to replace world governments
  • Rejects wealth inequality
  • Connected to Atheism, and ironically at the same time, Judaism
reason 1e economic difficulties
Reason 1e) Economic Difficulties
  • In the 1920s, nations struggled economically to recover from WWI war debt
  • By the end of the 1920s, they started to recover, but then…
  • …the Great Depression hit
  • It is hard to convince people, especially in a democracy, to spend money for military action, even if the action is justified, in a time of economic crisis
    • Shouldn’t that money be going to help the poor?
    • Interesting Keynesian idea
historians have dubbed the 1920s the age of anxiety
Historians Have Dubbed the 1920s The Age of Anxiety
  • There were attempts to deal with this anxiety
  • Various Pacts and Treaties
    • Locarno Pact
    • Kellogg-Briand Pact
attempt at an amazing metaphor
Attempt At An Amazing Metaphor

Pre 1914 World

Technological Gadgets to Ease Life

Shorter Work Hours

Society/ The Age of Anxiety

World War I



Stream of Consciousness- distopias







themes of totalitarianism
Themes of Totalitarianism
  • Dictatorship/Cult of Personality
  • Rejection of Individual Liberties
  • Expansionism
  • Provided a sense of security to their people
    • The poverty of the Great Depression
    • The Age of Anxiety
  • Promised to Restore Honor
    • Done partly through the use of scapegoats
  • Reliance on Nationalism
wwi paved the way for totalitarianism
WWI Paved the Way for Totalitarianism
  • People are used to taking orders from a government
    • Rationing
    • Military control, etc.
2a the soviet union
2a) the Soviet Union –
  • Fall of the Tsar and the Rise of Communism
    • Collapsed out of WWI
    • Civil War  Lenin and Communism
      • World’s first Communist nation
    • Communism is a rejection of ‘government hands-off economics’, aka Capitalism
    • Instead- violent revolution to overthrow the haves
    • End of private property  no more class structure or oppression
    • Must happen everywhere to work (according to Marx)
stalin takes power and sets up a totalitarian state
Stalin Takes Power and Sets Up a Totalitarian State
  • Lenin dies
  • Stalin, not Lenin’s chosen successor, takes power by force
  • His Policies
    • Collective Farming
    • Farmers must merge their farms into collectives to provide food for the state
    • Five Year Plans
    • Soviet Industry Was Put on Steroids
was stalin successful
Was Stalin successful?
  • INDUSTRY UNIT 1932 1938
  • Coal millions of tons 64 132
  • Oil millions of tons 22 32
  • Pig Iron millions of tons 6 14
  • Steel millions of tons 6 18
  • Automobilesthousands 23 211
  • Tractors thousand 50 176
  • Machinery billions of rubles 18 33
  • Chemicals billions of rubles 2 6
but at what cost totalitarian methods
But at what cost? Totalitarian Methods…
  • Starvation in the Ukraine
  • Elimination of wealthy farmers
  • Gulags
  • Purges
  • Propaganda and Censorship
2b fascism in italy

Mussolini’s Secret Police

2b) Fascism in Italy
  • Italy’s Anger at the end of WWI
    • Had fought for allies, but didn’t feel that they’d been rewarded properly
    • Felt overlooked in Europe
      • Few colonies
      • Poor and unindustrialized
  • Mussolini was a journalist who discovered the power of propaganda
    • If he put good stories about himself in the media, however untrue, they bolstered his image
    • He promised a bold, bright future
      • A renewed Roman Empire
  • Was Willing to Use Violence
    • Assassination of his chief political rival
    • Secret police
  • Mussolini Promised to Protect Italy from Communism (which at the time was attractive to many poor or radical Western Europeans)
  • Why did Communism provoke such fear in the ruling classes?
    • Think of the stories filtering out of Russia at this time
    • Ukraine Starvation, forced collectivization
the weimar republic in germany was weak
The Weimar Republic in Germany was Weak
  • Black mark as gov’t that signed the Treaty of Versailles
  • Started its life with crushing reparation debts
  • Had no significant military, which allowed small extremist groups to play a role in German politics
results occupation of the ruhr valley 1923 1924
Results: Occupation of the Ruhr Valley (1923-1924)
  • Hyperinflation
  • International sympathy for Germany
  • May have convinced the French that military options against Germany were of little value…
Dawes Plan…U.S. loans to Germany to get them back on their feet…
  • Why was the Dawes Plan Ridiculous?
  • Dawes Plan did quiet German Radicalism for a while
The Great Depression, However, Smashed Apart the German Recovery (and made the Western Democracies Less Likely to support military action)
great depression 1929
Great Depression (1929)
  • A worldwide phenomenon
  • Radicalism Surged in Germany During the Ruhr Valley Invasion
  • Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch
  • Trial Makes Him a Household Name
    • Slap on the wrist
  • Mein Kampf
hitler promises to solve germany s problems
Hitler Promises to Solve Germany’s Problems
  • Put Germans to Work!
  • Fight Communism!
  • Perhaps most importantly: Regain German Honor by Renouncing Treaty of Versailles!
hitler s methods true to his idol mussolini
Hitler’s Methods- True to His Idol Mussolini
  • Propaganda
    • Use of mass technology
      • Radio and even television
    • ‘Contact’ Sci-Fi story
  • Secret Police
    • Gestapo
  • Violence
    • Assassination of rivals and even powerful (and thus rival) supporters
  • Charisma 
hitler was elected
Hitler was Elected
  • Hitler had cleverly affected a more moderate platform after his prison stint
  • After his election, he quickly Cemented His Hold On Power
    • Oath of Loyalty to the Military
    • Reichstag Fire
      • Eliminates All Parties Except the Nazis
    • Rejects Treaty of Versailles
      • Begins to remilitarize
    • Nuremburg Laws
    • Women’s role
      • Baby machine’s. Why?
japan s turn away from the west
Japan’s Turn Away From the West
  • Leader in Asian Westernization/Industrialization
    • Defeat of Russia in 1905
  • Joined allies in WWI
  • Angered at racism during Treaty of Versailles
    • Literal, in your face, racism
      • Clemenceau- (paraphrase) - “I can’t believe we have to stay cooped up in here with these ugly bastards (Japanese diplomats) while there are blond women in the world.”
    • No racial equality clause in the Treaty of Versailles
  • U.S. Pushed the British to renounce their alliance with Japan
    • U.S. sees Asian Pacific as its economic backyard
  • Japan began to feel that its aspirations of being a world class power would be forever frustrated by the white powers
    • Island has limited resources- need for an empire!
    • The rise of militarism
  • World at War Film
reactions to totalitarianism
Reactions to Totalitarianism
  • America’s Reaction
    • Isolationism
france s reaction
France’s Reaction
  • The U.S., Britain, and the League are doing squat to protect us… and who is Hitler going to come for first?
    • France!
  • Maginot Line
    • Kinda like the best trench system ever built
    • Makes a lot of sense after WWI
britain s reaction
Britain’s Reaction
  • The British Reaction- appeasement- will start off our next unit and lead to the war itself