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The Joyless Victors: Britain and France

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  1. The Joyless Victors: Britain and France

  2. Post-WWI Britain Economic Confusion • The economy was depressed throughout the 1920s. • By the end of 1921, two million were unemployed and unemployment was 12% • After 1922 government welfare was the normal means of income for thousands of British families • The Unemployment Insurance Acts for workers • Construction of 200,000 subsidized housing units for the poor

  3. The Empire Crumbles • Britain’s navy was decimated by the Germans in WWI and its foreign trade had declined disastrously • International competition eroded Britain’s economic system even further • Britain loses India and Egypt which gain their independence in 1920s • Most of Ireland gains its independence in 1921 • Australia and Canada gain independence

  4. The First Labour Government • In 1923, the Labour Party will gain leadership of the gov’t under Ramsey MacDonald • The Labour Party was concerned about the rights of workers and wanted the gradual nationalization of major industries • The Labour Party will lose power in 1924 to the Conservatives and Stanley Baldwin

  5. The General Strike of 1926 • In order to make their industry internationally competitive, British management attempted to cut wages. • In 1926 coal miners went on strike, followed by sympathetic workers in other industries. • Baldwin refused to back down to demands of the workers and broke the strike


  6. Summary: Britain • Labor unrest continued throughout the 1920s • The Labour-Conservative gov’t passed a number of pieces of social legislation to invoke the support of the working masses • Gov’t-funded pension Acts were passed for widows, orphans, and the old age • Britain will struggle through the 1920s, but will sink even deeper into depression during the 1930s

  7. Post-WWI France (1919-1929) • France suffered enormous casualties in the war • Severe loss of its young population • 25% of its manufacturing industries and agriculture was destroyed • France had to borrow money to fund the war and relied on German reparations to maintain the French economy • When Germany was unable to pay reparations, France’s economy plummeted

  8. Political State of France • France became extremely conservative after WWIfear of revolution • In January 1923 France occupied the German Ruhr, as punishment for Germany’s defaulting on reparations. • Germany continued to slowly pay reparations to France • France experienced a slight surge in prosperity until the depression of the 1930s

  9. French Foreign Policy • The main concern of France was establishing a foreign policy to ensure a weak Germany • Constructed the Maginot Line along its eastern border which was a series of concrete fortifications aimed at Germany • Made treaties with Belgium, Poland, and other Eastern European countries to contain Germany

  10. Summary: France • A lot like Britain, France’s economy suffered greatly due to the ravage of WWI. • Ultimately, France became very conservative during the 1920s and used the fear of future conflict with Germany to build alliances with other nations and the Maginot Line to protect France.

  11. The French Search for Security: An Elusive Goal The French invasion of the German Ruhr (1923) began a crisis that brought strikes and rampant inflation in Germany. Here French troops have commandeered a German locomotive during one of the strikes. UPI/CORBIS/Bettmann

  12. What two disastrous encounters with Germany proved that France could not match the military machine of the German Empire? • Franco-Prussian War • World War I

  13. What post-WWI factors forced France into demanding reparations from Germany? • U.S. returned to isolationism • Russians were ostracized • Germans needed to be weakened to protect France

  14. Map 26–1 GERMANY’S WESTERN FRONTIER The French- Belgian-German border area between the two world wars was sensitive. Despite efforts to restrain tensions, there were persistent difficulties related to the Ruhr, Rhineland, Saar, and Eupen-Malmédy regions that required strong defenses.

  15. The Joyless Victors Britain France Problems Occupation of the Ruhr Compromise with Gustav Streseman French political problesm Maginot Line Locarno Pact and the Kellogg-Briand Pact • Problems • Qualities of Labour Party • Qualities of Conservatives • Ramsey MacDonald • Stanley Baldwin • Tariffs • Competition • Loss of Colonies