Between the Wars Modern World History C. Corning – Feb. 2010
League of Nations • The League of Nations was created in 1919 by the peace treaties that ended WWI. • Two goals: (1) keep peace among nations and (2) make the world a better place for ALL people. (Including colonies?) • Member nations had to sign a promise that they would not go to war with other member nations AND if a member attacked another member, the other nations would defend the country under attack (Collective Security)
League of nations • There were only three peace-keeping actions the League of Nations could take against a member nation: • Legal means – Court of International Justice • Economic sanctions - member nations would not trade with the attacker, thus threatening economic ruin for the attacker • Military sanctions – forming a League of Nations army (from the member nations) to fight the attacker ** In first ten years, League dealt with 9 disputes
Limitations of League • Not every nation was a member. • USA – policy of isolationism • USSR – “capitalist” club • Some members lacked “enthusiasm” for the League. • Germany – excluded until 1926, club of “victors” • The League’s ability to keep the peace had never been fully tested by 1929 (guess who is going to test them!) • No proof that League could settle a dispute between two major powers – OR that sanctions could stop a war.
Europe After the war • 1920s European nations were rebuilding after the war. • Only U.S. and Japan were in good financial shape • Europe had to borrow money from the U.S. • From 1914-1918 the last of Europe’s absolute monarchies were overthrown • Russia, Germany and Austro-Hungary • New democracies took their place • Multiple parties, need for coalition government • Difficult to govern effectively
Germany • New democratic gov’t established in 1919 – Weimar Republic • Many weaknesses: • Germany lacked a democratic tradition • Too many political parties • Germans blamed the Weimar gov’t for country’s defeat and the Treaty of Versailles • Germany faced big economic issues: • Inflation – too much money printed to pay war expenses • Reparation payments • Dawes Plan – by 1929 Germany was producing as much as before the war
Russia/Soviet Union • Lenin died in 1924 – Stalin assumes power in 1929 after forcing Trotsky into exile • Stalin wanted the Soviet Union to be one of the most powerful nations in the world • Totalitarianism – a gov’t that takes total, centralized STATE control of every aspect of public and private life (see pg 441) • Leaders give a sense of security and direction for the future • Uses secret police to crush opposition and create an environment of fear to control people • Challenges the values most prized by democracies: reason, freedom, individuality, etc. • Tool: terror, indoctrination, propaganda, censorship and religious/ethnic persecution • Economic measures: Five-Year Plan and collective farms
japan • During the 1920s the Japanese government became more democratic and built international relations • However Japan’s parliamentary system had weaknesses: • Constitution put limits on the powers of the Prime Minister and the cabinent • Civilian leaders had little control over the armed forces • Military leaders reported only to the emperor
japan • 1929 Great Depression hit Japan hard – citizens blamed the gov’t • Military leaders gained control of the country however unlike the fascism in Europe they did NOT try to establish a new system of gov’t • Militarists were nationalists • Wanted to restore traditional control of gov’t to military • Made Emperor Hirohito symbol of state power • Goal: solve Japan’s economic problems through foreign expansion
Japan – Plans for a Pacific Empire • 1931 Japan seized Manchuria (China’s NE province) • Japanese parliament opposed action • Japanese business had invested there • Rich in iron and coal • 1932 the Army set up puppet government with Puyi, the last Qing emperor, installed as the nominal regent and emperor (Japan really control the gov’t) • This was the first direct challenge to the League of Nations – Japan ignored protests and withdrew from the League in 1933 • 1937 – Sino-Japanese War – Japan invades China and captures northern cities
Great Depression • Photos on other Power Point (see our blog) • Oct 1929 Black Tuesday – share prices on Wall Street fell – basically worthless • Depression began in the US and then spread to most other countries • Depression: a severe economic slump/a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity • Germany and Austria hit very hard because of war debts and dependence on American loans and investments
Depression - Impact • How did Depression affect world peace? • (1) gov’ts tried to protect their citizens with new economic policies (protectionism) • These policies of protectionism and self-sufficiency harmed international relations. • (2) Depression caused social unrest among the people of many countries • Germany 6 out of 64 million by 1934, Japan experienced idle factories/peasants starving • (3) Massive unemployment – people blamed their gov’ts – this led to the collapse of democratic governments in Germany and Japan • New gov’ts acted agressively towards other countries in order to improve the situations in their countries
Problems with Empires • The Great Depression added to another problem that was threatening world peace in 1929 • Division of world: empire haves and have nots • Britain and France owned the largest empires in 1929 – why? • How did this effect world peace? • (1) Other countries envied these empires and wanted to expand • (2) Britain and France avoided the worst impacts of the Depression – other countries wanted to do the same • (3) Local peoples wanted the same right of self-determination that European nations received • (4) Britain and France had to keep large, expensive armies and did NOT want to disarm – why?
Rise of Fascism • Many democracies remained strong despite the Depression: U.S., Great Britain, France, Scandinavian countries • For many of the younger/weaker democracies, the citizens lost faith and turned to Fascism: Germany, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Poland • Fascism: militant political movement that emphasized loyalty to the state and obedience to its leader. (see pg 477) • Extreme form of nationalism – loyalty to an authoritarian leader • Lots of militarist influence – uniforms, units, salutes
Fascism vs Communism • Comparisons: • Rule by dictator – the STATE was supreme • One-party system • Denial of individual rights • Differences: • Fascism had no clearly defined theory or program • Did not seek a classless society • Fascist leaders tend to aristocrats, industrialists, war veterans and the lower middle class – WHY? • Fascists were nationalists – communists were international (“workers of the world unite”)
Italy and Spain • Italy - Benito Mussolini – Il Duce (Leader) – 1922 • Fascism spread because of Italy’s disappointment with the 1919 Paris Peace Conference • Also rising inflation and umemployment • People lost trust/faith in their democratic gov’t • Fascist Party formed 1919 – Black Shirts • Spain – Gen. Francisco Franco – dictator 1939 • 1936 Civil War between the Nationalists (Fascists) and the Republicans (supported elected gov’t) • Western democracies remained neutral; Germany, Italy (Nat’l) and Soviet Union (Rep) got involved
European response to fascism • Rather than taking a stand, most Great Britain and France made concessions, hoping to keep peace • Still dealing with economic issues from the Depression • Deep desire to avoid war • U.S. continued to follow a policy of Isolationism • 1935 Congress pass the Neutrality Acts which banned loans and the sale of arms to nations at war.