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La Belle Époque [1871-1914] “The Beautiful Era”

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La Belle Époque [1871-1914] “The Beautiful Era”. La Belle Époque. Materialism Higher standard of living Development “zones” Inner Zone  Br, Fr, Ger, Belg , No. It,W . Austria Outer Zone  Ire., Iberian Pen., most of Italy, Europe east of Ger. Underdeveloped Zone  Afro-Asia.

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La Belle Époque

  • Materialism
    • Higher standard of living
    • Development “zones”
      • Inner Zone Br, Fr, Ger, Belg, No. It,W. Austria
      • Outer Zone  Ire., Iberian Pen., most of Italy, Europe eastof Ger.
      • Underdeveloped Zone  Afro-Asia

La Belle Époque

  • Increased European Population
  • Growth of Cities & Urban Life
  • Migration from Europe
    • 1850-1940  60 million left Europe
    • Went to  US, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Australia/N. Zeal.
  • “Second” Industrial Revolution
    • Steam  electricity
    • Internal combustion & diesel engines.
    • Cars, planes, submarines.

La Belle Époque

  • “Second” Industrial Revolution Britain  “The World’s Industrial Workshop”
    • Corporations  limited liability of investments.
    • Mass production.
  • Free Trade [esp. in England]
  • World Markets [Global Economy, Part II]
  • Advance of Democracy
    • Extension of the vote to the working class.
    • Disraeli v. Gladstone (English PM)

La Belle Époque

  • The Appeal of Socialism
    • By the 1880s, most socialist parties were Marxist [esp. Ger. & Fr.]
    • Not very successful in England.
  • Faith in Science Alone
    • Science at the core of industrialization.
    • “New Wonders” of daily life.
    • Charles Darwin
      • Origin of Species [1859]
      • “survival of the fittest”

La Belle Époque

  • Faith in Science Alone [con’t.]
    • “Social Darwinism”  Herbert Spenser
    • Eugenics
    • Newtonian Science turned on its head
      • Einstein  “Theory of Relativity”  nature & energy were separate & distinct.
      • Max Planck  Quantum Physics

La Belle Époque

  • Faith in Science Alone [con’t.]
    • Professionalization of “new” sciences [anthropology, archeaology,etc.]
      • Psychology
        • Ivan Pavlov  conditioned responses
        • Sigmund Freud  psychoanalysis
          • The Interpretation of Dreams [1900]
          • The role of the unconscious [the id, ego, super ego].

La Belle Époque

  • New Trends in Philosophy
    • Agnosticism
    • Nihilism
      • Friedrich Nietzsche
        • Übermensch  “Super Man”
    • Irrationalism
    • Existentialism
      • Sören Kierkegaard  existence proceeds essence
  • Internal Religious Struggles
    • modernists vs. fundamentalists

La Belle Époque

  • Anti-Semitism
    • Dreyfus Affair
    • Theodore Herzl  DerJudenstaat [The Jewish State], 1896
      • “Father of Modern Zionism”
  • Women’s Movement
    • Emmeline Pankhurst
  • 15. Advance of Democracy
    • Extension of the vote to the working class.
    • Disraeli v. Gladstone (English PM)
  • 16. The “New” Imperialism
the dreyfus affair

In 1894 a list of French military documents [called a bordereau] were found in the waste basket of the German Embassy in Paris.

  • French counter-intelligence suspected Captain Alfred Dreyfus, from a wealthy Alsatian Jewish family  he was one of the few Jews on the General Staff.
The Dreyfus Affair
the dreyfus affair1

Dreyfus was tried, convicted of treason, and sent to Devil’s Island in French Guiana.

  • The real culprit was a Major Esterhazy, whose handwriting was the same as that on the bordereau.
    • The government tried him and found him not guilty in two days.
The Dreyfus Affair
the dreyfus affair2

A famous author, Emile Zola, published an open letter called J’Accuse!

    • He accused the army of a mistrial and cover-up.
    • The government prosecuted him for libel.
    • Found him guilty  sentenced to a year in prison.
The Dreyfus Affair
the dreyfus affair3

Public opinion was divided  it reflected the divisions in Fr. society.

  • The Dreyfusards were anti-clericals, intellectuals, free masons, & socialists.
  • For Anti-Dreyfusards, the honor of the army was more important than Dreyfus’ guilt or innocence.
    • Were army supporters, monarchists, & Catholics.
The Dreyfus Affair



the dreyfus affair4

Dreyfus finally got a new trial in 1899.

  • He was brought back from Devil’s Island white-haired and broken.
  • Results:
    • Found guilty again, BUT with extenuating circumstances.
    • Was given a presidential pardon.
    • Exonerated completely in 1906.
    • Served honorably in World War I.
    • Died in 1935.
The Dreyfus Affair
the zionist movement
The Zionist Movement
  • Was motivated by the Dreyfus trial to write the book, DerJudenstaat, orThe Jewish State in 1896.
  • Creates the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland.
  • “Father of Modern Zionism.”

Theodore Herzl[1860-1904]

emmeline pankhurst


  • Her husband & children were all involved in the suffrage movement.
  • They became militants & were arrested and imprisoned.
  • 1917: She and her daughter, Christabel, formed the Women’s Partyin 1917:
    • Equal pay for equal work.
    • Equal marriage & divorcelaws.
    • Equality of rights & opportunities in public service.
    • A national system of maternity benefits.
Emmeline Pankhurst
representation of the people act 1918

Women over 30 got the right to vote.

  • All men gained suffrage.
    • Property qualifications were completely eliminated!
  • Reform Act of 1928
    • Women over 21 years of age gained the right to vote at last!
Representation of the People Act (1918)
the two great men advanced democracy
The Two “Great Men” Advanced Democracy
  • Benjamin Disraeli, Conservative Prime Minister
    • 1868
    • 1874-1880
  • William Gladstone, Liberal Prime Minister
    • 1868-1874
    • 1880-1885
    • 1886
    • 1892-1894
the 2 nd reform bill 1867

In 1866, Gladstone introduced a moderate reform bill that was defeated by the Conservatives.

  • A more radical reform bill was introduced by Disraeli in 1867, passed largely with some Liberal support.
The 2nd Reform Bill - 1867
the 2 nd reform bill 18671

Disraeli’s Goals:

    • Give the Conservative Party control over the reform process.
    • Labor would be grateful and vote Conservative.
  • Components of the Bill:
    • Extended the franchise by 938,427  an increase of 88%.
    • Vote given to male householders and male lodgers paying at least £10 for room.
    • Eliminated rotten boroughs with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants.
    • Extra representation in Parliament to larger cities like Liverpool & Manchester.
  • This ended the “Victorian Compromise.”
The 2nd Reform Bill - 1867
benjamin disraeli 1804 1881

A dandy and a romance novelist.

  • A brilliant debater.
  • Baptized by his father into the Anglican Church.
  • BUT, he was the first & only Prime Minister of Jewish parentage.
  • A strong imperialist.
    • “Greater England”foreignpolicy.
  • Respected by Queen Victoria.
Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)
william gladstone 1809 1898

An active legislator and reformer.

  • Known for his populist speeches.
  • Could be preachy.
  • Queen Victoria couldn’t stand him.
  • Tried to deal with the “Irish Question.”
  • Supported a “Little England”foreign policy.
William Gladstone (1809-1898)
the foreign policy debate


  • Conservative Party
  • England must be the greatest colonial power.
  • Spend £ on supporting the empire.
  • Gladstone.
  • Liberal Party.
  • England must invest in her own people at home.
  • Try negotiations, rather than costly military solutions.
The Foreign Policy Debate

“Little England” Policy

“Big England” Policy

scramble for africa1

Gladstone opposed the “Mad Scramble.”

  • 1880-1881: First Boer War in South Africa [Gladstone].
“Scramble for Africa”
scramble for africa2

1884-1885: Mahdi uprising in the Sudan [Gladstone].

“Scramble for Africa”

Muhammad Ahmad “al-Mahdi”

Charles Gordon “Pasha”

congress of berlin 1878

Purpose  Great Powers & Ottomans met to settle issues from the Russo-Turkish War.

  • Disraeli represented England.
Congress of Berlin (1878)
india the british raj
India: The British Raj

The new “Empress of India” receiving the “Jewel in the Crown” of her Empire.