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The Belle Époque. The Age of Progress. The Late 19 th and Early 20 th Centuries marked the height of modern liberal European society.

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The Belle Époque

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the age of progress
The Age of Progress
  • The Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries marked the height of modern liberal European society.
  • Rising standards of living and mass communications gave rise of leisure culture, greater demands by women and the oppressed, and an explosion in artistic expression.
  • The new confidence of this period would be contrasted by the opposition to it.
the women question
The Women Question
  • In the 1860s, women’s movements gained strength they had not had before.
  • This reflected the power of women in the workplace and in the home.
  • Three types of women's movements:
    • Middle class-led, focusing on social issues.
    • Focused on equal rights (laws and voting)
    • Women’s trade unions (concerned with pay and working conditions)
the women question1
The Women Question
  • Working women still made up a large percentage of the workforce.
  • Jobs were often determined by gender.
  • Women were more prevalent in the service industries and textile factories than in heavy industrial production.
the women question2
The Women Question
  • Increasing education for women opened new opportunities.
  • More women became secretaries, clerks, nurses, and teachers (occupations that became associated with their sex).
  • Significant clashes continued between feminists and chauvinists and Social Darwinists.
popular culture
Popular Culture
  • Mass culture continued to expand in scope as people (esp. middle class) had more leisure time.
  • Entertainment became and important business as upper and middle class would attend opera or musicals while working class attended vaudeville or circuses.
  • Holidays a beach resorts became popular for people of all classes.
  • New “ball games” became popular, first at boys school, then spreading both for amateur players and for spectators.
  • Games such as football (soccer), rugby, and cricket were popular team games played at schools and by working class people in the cities.
  • For upper classes, golf, tennis, and polo became increasingly popular.
the arts
The Arts
  • The late 19th century was a time of rapid change and experimentation in the arts, with no one dominant style.
  • Arts moved away from strict realism.
  • The arts often reflected national character. Some moved to simpler styles, like the Pre-Raphaelites.
  • This period marked the beginning of “modern” art styles with symbolism, impressionism, post-impressionism developing.
arts pre raphaelites
Arts – Pre-Raphaelites
  • J.W. Waterhouse – The Lady of Shallot
the arts impressionism
The Arts - Impressionism
  • Claude Monet – The Houses of Parliament
the arts impressionism1
The Arts - Impressionism
  • Claude Monet – The Waterlilies
the arts impressionism2
The Arts - Impressionism
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Moulin de la Galette.
the arts symbolism
The Arts - Symbolism
  • Edvard Munch – The Scream
attacks on capitalist civilization
Attacks on Capitalist Civilization
  • By the late 19th century, liberal society was largely successful in its transformation of Europe.
  • Even so, it was attacked on both the left and the right by those who sought to reform it or bring about its demise.
  • These movements would bring into question the cult of progress which had dominated much of the second half of the 19th century.
working class movements
Working Class Movements
  • The First International
    • The International Working Men’s Association was organized in 1864.
    • The meeting of workers from around the world was dominated by Karl Marx from the start.
    • He would eventually expel French and English socialists who disagreed with Marxism.
    • The First International would last until 1872.
the socialist parties
The Socialist Parties
  • Beginning in the 1870s, socialist political parties began gaining more power across Europe.
  • With the exception of Britain, these parties generally adhered to Marxism.
  • Conflicts between those who hoped to win parliamentary victories and those who wanted revolution caused disunity.
trade unionism
Trade Unionism
  • Membership in trade unions soared in the late 19th century.
  • Factory workers who organized large scale strikes flexed more power than they ever had before.
  • The goals of unions were often limited to their situation, but with the influence of Marxism and anarchism, they often took on broader social protests.
  • Anarchism gained a greater following among the poor and oppressed.
  • Anarchists opposed all imposed authority and middle class values, some called for abolition of private property, individualism, and pacifism.
  • Anarchists (and other radicals) were responsible for a series of terrorists acts and assassinations in the years leading up to World War I.
mikhail bakunin
Mikhail Bakunin
  • He was the most famous early anarchist.
  • Bakunin became involved in the 1848 revolutions and was exiled to Siberia.
  • When he escaped, he joined the First International.
  • Disagreements with Marx led to his expulsion in 1872.
  • He strongly believed in nationalism.
the christian critique
The Christian Critique
  • Catholicism
    • The Catholic Church was at odds with liberalism
    • In Pope Pius IX’s Quanta Cura (1864), the Church attacked human reason, the authority of the state, and the rights of the Church.
    • In the First Vatican Council (1869-70), papal infallibility was reaffirmed.
    • Pope Leo XIII and Pius X followed with similar criticisms of liberalism and communism

Pope Pius IX

the christian critique1
The Christian Critique
  • Social Action
    • Churches and related organizations began expanding and taking on new roles in helping the poor and oppressed of Europe.
    • Organizations and churches like the Salvation Army, founded by Methodist minister William Booth in England, took on greater roles in caring for the poor.
growing pessimism
Growing Pessimism
  • There was growing pessimism even among those who desired radical change.
  • George Sorel questioned Marxism as to optimistic, instead focusing on anarcho-communism that was chosen by individual will.
  • Henri-Louis Bergson echo these sentiments, focusing on intuition over intellect as the driving force for change.
growing pessimism1
Growing Pessimism
  • Revival of the Right
    • During the late 19th century and early 20th century, there was also a revival in conservative thought.
    • Much of this was driven in reaction to the liberal domination of the time and the growing power of the left among the workers.
    • This revival pulled on nationalism and tradition to keep power in the hands of the traditional ruling elite and appealed to rural people and the lower middle classes.
anti semitism
  • Throughout much of Europe, a wave of anti-Semitic feeling was slowly rising.
  • This was particularly visible in Russia, with the enactment of the May Laws in 1882 (these severely restricted rights for Jews).
  • Throughout most of Europe, society was tolerant (France granted emancipation in 1790), but anti-Semitic undercurrents remained and were exposed through incidents such as they Dreyfus Affair in France and anti-Semitic parties willing elections in Germany.
friedrich nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
  • German philosopher who criticized Christianity’s beliefs in humility, pity, and altruism.
  • He exalted the will, stating the human will gives life meaning.
  • He stressed the idea of the superman, or heroic leader, who broke the rules and led a higher level of existence.
politics and reform
Politics and Reform
  • The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw an increased push for democracy and reform across much of Europe.
  • Some areas made this transition relatively easily (Britain, France, and Germany), while others faced reactionary problems (Russia and Austria)
great britain
Great Britain
  • The Reform Bill of 1867
    • Expansion of the electorate was a major issue debated by the Conservatives (Tories) and Liberals (the old Whigs).
    • Each side hoped to gain the support of the working classes by giving them the vote.
    • The Conservative government of Benjamin Disraeli passed reform in 1867, but the expanded electorate gave the Liberals power in 1868.
great britain1
Great Britain
  • William Gladstone
    • Liberal Party Leader, served as PM four times.
    • Known as the “Great Ministry” due to Gladstone’s strong religious convictions.
    • His Liberal governments passed reforms in education, workers rights to unionize and strike and the secret ballot.
great britain2
Great Britain
  • Benjamin Disraeli
    • Served as PM twice.
    • Renewed Tories after the Corn Laws schism.
    • Committed to program of “Tory Democracy”.
    • Expanded government’s role in economy, regulated working conditions, improved sanitation.
great britain3
Great Britain
  • The Irish Question
    • The question of Irish Home Rule (a separate parliament for Ireland) plagued Gladstone’s later governments.
    • Since Catholic Emancipation in 1829, growing numbers of Catholic MPs demanded home rule.
    • Two home rule bills (1886, 1893) were defeated by Conservatives and anti-home rule Liberals.
great britain4
Great Britain
  • The Labour Party
    • The growth of labor unions and associations like the Fabian Society gave voice to socialism in Britain.
    • The Labour Party was founded in 1900 by Scotsman Keir Hardie.
    • By 1906, Labour had won 26 seats in parliament and would by the 1920s replace the Liberals as one of the two major British political parties

Keir Hardie

the parliament act of 1911
The Parliament Act of 1911
  • The Liberals dominated government from 1906 to 1924.
  • In 1911, a “People’s Budget” was presented, which the Conservative House of Lords failed to pass.
  • King George V (r. 1910-1936) threatened to appoint new Liberal peers, the Lords passed the bill.
  • As a result, Parliament passed a measure restricting the powers of the Lords (could not stop budget and repeated bills passed by the Commons.)

King George V

  • The Paris Commune
    • With defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the fall of Napoleon III, radicals attempted to take advantage of the situation in France.
    • Radicals attempted to establish a socialist government in Paris.
    • The government of the Third Republic, under leadership of Adolphe Thiers crushed the radicals, kill 20,000 in the process.

Adolphe Thiers

  • The Third Republic
    • Had a weak central government centered in the Parliament.
    • Coalition governments were common since no one party could dominate, relied on compromise.
  • The Boulanger Affair
    • General George Boulanger attempted to take power when financial scandals broke.
    • He failed, discrediting monarchists.
  • The Dreyfus Affair
    • Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew, was court-martialed for giving secrets to the Germans.
    • Evidence was found to the contrary, but Dreyfus was convicted as second time.
    • Many, including novelist Emile Zola came to his defense.
    • Dreyfus was pardoned in 1906.

Alfred Dreyfus

  • Anticlericalism
    • The Dreyfus Affair exposed corruption in army and church.
    • This led to anticlerical campaign, separating Church and state.
  • Socialism
    • Dealing with the monarchists and church, republicans ignored the workers.
    • In 1905, socialists groups joined to form United Socialist Party.
  • Reich government
    • Reichstag was elected by universal manhood suffrage.
    • Bundesrat was appointed by German princes.
    • Cabinet and chancellor were responsible to Kaiser, not parliament.
  • Economic development
    • German economy soared from 1871 to 1914 based on coal and steel production.
    • German population grew from 41 million in 1871 to 65 million by 1914.
  • Wilhelm II (r. 1888-1918)
    • Wilhelm succeeded his father Frederick who was Kaiser for only 99 days.
    • He dismissed Bismarck in 1890 to consolidate his own rule.
    • He allowed anti-socialist legislation to expire, giving the Social Democrats greater power.
    • By 1912, the Social Democrats were the largest single party in the Reichstag.
  • Economic and Political Unrest
    • There were revolts and strikes throughout Italy in the 1890s.
    • King Humbert I was assassinated by an anarchist in 1900, he was succeeded by Victor Emmanuel III (r. 1900-1946).
    • Despite the repressive policies of PL Giovanni Giolitti, voting was gradually expanded to all men by 1912.
    • During this period, Italy had the fasting growing economy in Europe.

Victor Emmanuel III

  • Revolution and Restoration
    • Discontent across Spain in 1868 brought revolution and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.
    • Isabella son, Alfonso XII led a relatively conservative government.
    • Discontent in the colonies and problems of industrialization were exacerbated by defeat in the Spanish American War (in which Spain lost Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico.
austria hungary
  • Nationalist Discontent
    • Extension of the vote in Austria did little to quell the discontent of the national minorities of the Empire.
    • In Hungary, the parliament began a process of Magyarization, seeking national minorities to accept Hungarian language and culture.
    • Slovaks, Romanians, Croats and the other South Slavs resented this.
  • Alexander II (r. 1855-1881)
    • Under Alexander II, limited reforms were put in place.
    • He was assassinated by terrorists.
  • Alexander III (r. 1881-1894)
    • He ruled Russia with a iron hand.
    • Using his secret police, he crushed dissent in all forms.

Tsar Alexander III

  • Nicholas II (r. 1894-1917)
    • He was determined to continue his father’s autocratic rule.
    • Under him, Russian industrialization pushed forward, but most of the pop. was still rural and poor.
    • Radicals gained greater following, especially the socialists.
  • Russo-Japanese War
    • The Japanese and Russians came into conflict over Manchuria and Korea.
    • In Feb. 1904, the Japanese attacked the Russian Fleet a Port Arthur.
    • The Japanese defeated the Russian fleet at the battles of Mukden and Tsushima in 1905.
    • The Treaty of Portsmouth ended the war, humiliating Russia.
  • Revolution of 1905
    • Russia’s defeat in the war discredited

the tsarist regime.

    • In Jan. 1905, troops shoot at peaceful demonstrators in St. Petersburg calling for reforms (constitution, civil liberties, labor unions), this became known as Bloody Sunday.
    • Strikes swept the country and a naval mutiny occurred on the battleship Potemkin.
    • Revolution was quelled with the issuing of the October Manifesto by Nicholas II, promising reforms and democracy.