Before we begin: • Remember, WWI… “The WAR to END ALL WARS”… was just 20 years prior. • Europe was only very slowly recovering while we were enjoying the “Roaring 20s” • When our economy crashed, so did Europe’s… WORSE than what happened in the US… mostly because of the Treaty of Versailles.
Remember: Wilson’s 14 Points • Woodrow Wilson brought with him a “blueprint” for World peace… the 14 Points: • League of Nations… The US NEVER joined… so it was weak and ineffective (even though it was our idea!) • Self Determination… Only for white Europeans… creates tensions that exist to this day. • No more alliances… yeah right.
The Interwar Years (1919-1939) • WWI turned the world upside down; the map of Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Africa and Asia have changed. • Monarchies and Empires have been replaced with new governments operating in newly-formed countries. (Germany, former A-H) • The destruction of the massive war gutted infrastructure and the working-age demographic from many European communities … the stage is set for more conflict.
USSR • Lenin dies soon after WWI leaving a ‘power vacuum.’ A struggle for control of the new socialist government began among various top officials.
Rise of Stalin • Joseph Stalin seizes control (by killing anyone who got in his way). • Stalin brutally oppresses anyone who stands in his way, shifting the government into a totalitarian regime.
Stalin’s “5-Year Plan” • USSR was still a back-woods, backwards place. Stalin was going to change that. • Comprehensive long-term economic plans were set in place to develop a soviet: • Industrial complex (factories and mines) • Agricultural complex: “Collectivization” (state-owned farms) • Military complex • Infrastructure (roads, rail, power, dams…) Brutally strict deadlines and demands were made to quickly modernize… the result was as many as 18-20 million dead Russians, worked to death to meet the goals. However, the results were impressive.
“The BIG Purge” • Those previously mentioned 18-20 million who were worked to death were sentenced to work to death… Stalin was paranoid that there was a plot to overthrow him, so he had whole groups of people rounded up… those who he believed were in opposition of the totalitarian regime he was creating.
Italy • A devastated economy led to a revolution against the monarchy. • A virtual nobody named Benito Mussolini organizes thousands of war veterans (the “Black Shirts”) to oppose the crown and marches on Rome. The king is deposed! Mussolini sets up a new government with himself in complete control. The term ‘fascism’ is coined. • (Fascism: emphasis on nationalism, an ethnic group, and the supreme authority of the leader) • The power goes to his head; Mussolini fancies himself to be a modern-day Caesar destined to rebuild the glory of the ancient Roman Empire
The Rise of Fascism in Italy • Fascism is a totalitarian form of government which: • Glorifies the state • Has one leader and one party and all power is in the hands of that leader. “Cult of Personality” • All aspects of society are controlled by the government • No opposition or protests are tolerated • Propaganda and censorship are widely practiced Benito Mussolini came to power in 1922 and helped found the political ideology of fascism. He sided with the Axis powers in 1940.
Remember: What the Treaty of Versailles did to Germany: • Germany: • Forced to take blame for the war • Loses territory (nearly half used to create Poland) • Loses military power • Loses monarchy: Weimar Republic installed • Reparations forced on them
Germany • The German people were furious and bitter after what happened to them in Versailles. • Despite that, the Weimar government got off the ground and was a functioning democracy… • However, the same economic problems that were plaguing Italy and the rest of Europe were even worse for the Germans. • One of more than a dozen political parties to form was a pro-Germany nationalist movement led by thousands of young, angry war veterans… the NAZI Party.
In Germany, depression, unemployment and hard times led to a dramatic increase in votes for Hitler and the Nazi Party. Voting for Hitler’s party increased as unemployment rates rose
Anti-Communism • Under communism, all means of production are controlled by the government, as are property, the media, and all other aspects of society. • The 1930s saw the rise of many totalitarian regimes; but most people chose fascism over communism. • Hitler exploited people’s fear of a communist takeover in Germany to rise to power in 1933. A Battle for Germany: Nazi anti-communist book from 1933
The 3rd Reich • Soon after legally coming to power, Hitler began testing the will of the new League of Nations by invading Austria… the League barely twitched… so he moved on to Czechoslovakia… merely a slap on the wrist. • A meeting is called between British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain and Hitler. Chamberlain pursued an “appeasement” policy resulting in the Munich Agreement.
Appeasement • Appeasement is the act of giving in to an enemy’s demands in hopes of avoiding further conflict. • In 1938, Hitler demanded that Czechoslovakia cede the Sudetenland to Germany.He claimed that the German population living there was being mistreated. • The British and French prime ministers agreed to Hitler’s demands without consulting Czechoslovakian leaders, in the hopes that this would avoid a war in Europe.
The Axis Powers form Not just Germany was trying to build an empire. The leaders of Italy and Japan also desired great empires. These three powers each believed they stood a chance if they helped one another.
The Nonaggression Pact • Hitler makes an agreement with Stalin: the Non-Aggression Pact: split Poland and promise to never attack each other. • Why would Stalin make this agreement?
Invasion of Poland: • Hitler (even after being warned by the Brits and French) attacks Poland… The allied powers FINALLY do something about it and declare war… WWII is under way. • By this time, Hitler’s regime was HEAVILY militarized, organized, and on a mission… the Allies have no idea what they’re really in for.
Blitzkrieg • “Lightning War” … think Schlieffen Plan from WWI only more effective due to new technologies.