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Depression, Reaction and the Return of World War. How did a world order devoted to peace in 1920 become engulfed in the world’s worst war?. Objectives. How did the results of World War I leave some countries bitter and unsatisfied with the international order?

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Depression, Reaction and the Return of World War

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depression reaction and the return of world war

Depression, Reaction and the Return of World War

How did a world order devoted to peace in 1920 become engulfed in the world’s worst war?


How did the results of World War I leave some countries bitter and unsatisfied with the international order?

How and why would Italy abandon democracy for ultra-nationalistic right wing dictatorship? How did Italy become the model for Germany by 1933?

Why did Japan turn to ultra-nationalistic militarism in the 1930’s? How did this conflict with America’s position in the Pacific?

How did Germany turn to an ultra-nationalist dictatorship under Hitler and the Nazi party?

How did German right wing nationalism work against the Jewish population of that country?

How did American isolationism and European appeasement support the rise of militarized dictatorships?

the big picture
The BIG Picture

This lecture focuses on World History since these events would draw America into World War II

Following World War I, some of the victor nations were left too weak to maintain their position while defeated nations were too bitter to accept the terms of peace

War debts and reparations were lingering problems in international relations following World War I

The Depression had a catastrophic effect on many nations that would promote the support of militarized dictatorships

The 1930’s can be compared to a gathering storm as the world moved to war. Attempts to disarm and promote peace rapidly failed though the 1930’s

the brutality of equality stalin and the soviet union
The Brutality of Equality: Stalin and The Soviet Union
  • Josef Stalin leads USSR following death of Lenin
    • “too brutal to rule.”
  • Forces Soviet farmers into collectives
  • Used starvation to force obedience
  • Murdered opponents
    • When one person dies, it is a tragedy, when a million people die, it is a statistic.”
  • May have been responsible for death of 30 million Soviet citizens
  • Hatred of Communism united right wing governments
right wing ultra nationalism
Right Wing Ultra Nationalism
  • Right wing
    • Far right of political spectrum
    • Focus on the individual’s duty to the state
    • Little interest in the rights of the individual
    • Nationalist dictatorship
  • Nationalism
    • A focus or devotion to the interests and identity of the nation
    • Ultra-nationalism buries the interest of the individual to serve the interests of the state and often promotes military solutions in foreign relations
  • Right wing dictatorships saw left wing Communists as the great evil and Democracies as weak and unfocused
mussolini s fascist italy a model of a right wing ultra nationalist state
Mussolini’s Fascist Italy: A Model of a Right Wing Ultra-Nationalist State
  • Italy was weak and divided in spite of being on the winning side of World War I
    • Communists promoted the end of capitalism and class identity (rather than Italian nationalism) as the future for Italy’s people
    • Italian capitalists turn to a former socialist Benito Mussolini to restore order
    • Mussolini impresses the public with large flashy shows of power (militarism), nationalism, public symbolism and fiery speeches- paramilitary Blackshirts
    • Takes on title Il Duce (the leader)
  • Il Duce seeks to rebuild the Roman Empire and restore Italian pride
  • The Italian king asked Mussolini to form a government for Italy in 1922-Following Mussolini’s threatened march on Rome
  • Restore discipline and order at the expense of individual rights
a look at mussolini
A look at Mussolini
  • An American newsreel that examines Mussolini from 1935
  • A look at Mussolini’s speech 1934
    • He is actually talking against Germany who he fears as gaining too much power and influence
    • His hate and fear of France (shared with Hitler) would eventually bring about the Axis alliance of 1936
  • Hitler was leading a political party with 20 members when Mussolini was inspiring right wing dictatorship in Italy… Hitler was watching with great interest!
hitler and the rise of national socialism in germany the right time
Hitler and the Rise of National Socialism in Germany: The Right Time
  • The shock of World War I generated bitter resentment in Germany
    • Accept full responsibility for World War I
    • Forced to pay crippling reparations to Allies
    • Lost sizable parts of territory
    • Occupied and demilitarized
  • Shocks to national pride played well to the efforts of ultra-nationalist groups to restore German greatness
  • Austrian-born German Corporal Adolf Hitler one of many who refuse to accept defeat in World war I
hitler back in the day
Hitler back in the day

Hitler promoted the idea that Germany’s surrender was a stab in the back by Jews and Communists in Berlin

some general observations about the early nazi party
Some General Observations about the Early NAZI Party

The Nazi Party began as a small group of frustrated soldiers who felt that Germany was being held back from its glorious destiny

The Nazi Party grew most powerful when civil and economic order broke down, especially after the Depression hit

Hitler and some Nazis attempted to overthrow the state of Bavaria- failed and he went to jail in 1924- imitating Mussolini’s march on Rome

general principles of the nazi party
General Principles of the Nazi Party
  • Ultra-Nationalism
    • Fanatic devotion to German heritage
    • Pseudo-scientific application of Darwinism with Germans as the master race- social Darwinism
    • Jews considered defilers of the race
  • Militarism
    • Break the yoke of the Treaty of Versailles
    • Rebuild the military to support Germany’s rightful place in the world- expand German living space to the east
  • Socialism- Take control of the economy to support the interests of the state
  • Hitler wrote about his vision for Germany while in jail in 1923 where he wrote Mein Kampf
nazi politics
Nazi Politics
  • The Nazi Party was one of over a dozen political parties fighting to control the German Reichstag (Parliament) in the late 1920’s
  • Party grows in power following the Depression
    • 1928- 12 seats in Reichstag 1933- 288-
  • Nazi party turned to the political process to rise to power- message of national pride and redemption grew popular
  • Nazi paramilitary forces SA (Storm Troopers) intimidated enemies and managed discipline at Nazi rallies
  • Rallies were impressive displays of military discipline and German nationalism
coming to power
Coming to Power

Nazi candidates became the largest party in Reichstag by the end of 1932

German President and war hero Paul Von Hindenburg asked Hitler to become chancellor (prime minister) Jan 1933

Reichstag burned down 27 February- Nazis blame the Communists and request extraordinary powers to save the nation

Reichstag votes overwhelmingly to give Hitler the power of dictator

Nazis make other political parties illegal and the Nazi party infiltrates most every institution of Germany

consolidating power 1933 1934
Consolidating Power 1933-1934
  • Hindenberg dies in 1934 and Hitler declared Fuhrer (Leader)
  • Hitler refers to this new government as The Third Reich (Third State) that would last 1000 years
    • He was connecting his vision of Germany to its history.
    • He overestimated the lifespan of his Reich by 988 years
  • Without legal opposition, Hitler and the Nazi Party would craft Germany into a right wing ultra-nationalist militarized state
  • Replaces the Nazi SA with Hitler’s own personal bodyguard (The SS)
  • Germans to pledge loyalty to Hitler (not nation or constitution)
fascist leadership
Fascist Leadership

Hitler was aware that emotion was more powerful than reason in his public appearances

Great efforts were made to inspire friends and cower opponents

Propaganda and public policy supported the cult of the Fuhrer

Nazi Fascist Theatre

the success of fascism
The Success of Fascism
  • Hitler and Mussolini could point to real success in their countries to 1939
    • Hitler’s pump priming (70% for military spending) would end the Depression in Germany
    • Impressive public works became the envy of the world- Berlin Olympics of 1936
    • The “theatre of Fascism” in Italy restored order and national pride in Italy
  • Many inside and outside fascist nations saw this as the new wave of modern government
    • A strong stand against communism
    • Democracies as tired and weak
    • Many supporters in America!
Ultra-nationalist fascist states use scapegoats to place blame for the problems suffered by citizens

Nazis identified Jews and Communists as the cause of Germany’s failures in the past

nazi laws against the jews
Nazi Laws Against the Jews
  • Anti-Semitism- attitudes, beliefs and policies directed against Jewish people
  • In 1935, the Nazis instituted a series of laws that defined and limited the rights of Jews in Germany
  • Legal restrictions against Jews continued to grow. By 1942, Jewish residents were concentrated in government run work camps in occupied Poland
  • Chart on left shows how Jewish heritage is defined. Picture shows fear of Jews breeding with Aryan (German) women.
  • Supported by education (propaganda) and German history
hitler s anti semitism in a nutshell
Hitler’s Anti-Semitism: In a nutshell

"I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.." – Hitler, Mein Kampf

german anti semitic policies up to world war ii
German anti-Semitic Policies up to World War II
  • Anti- Semitism was a central pillar of the Nazi Party
    • A scapegoat and target
  • Identification and isolation(1935)
    • Nuremberg laws deny Jews citizenship rights
    • Forbid Jews and Germans from marriage
    • Excluded from professions
  • Persecution and Concentration
    • Kristallnacht- Night of the Broken Glass- Nation-wide attack against Jewish institutions 9-10 November 1938
    • Jewish populations to wear identification
    • Jewish populations concentrated where they can be controlled
  • Extermination of Jewish populations begins in earnest after the outbreak of war
the gathering storm in europe
The Gathering Storm in Europe
  • Hitler broke the Treaty by 1936
    • Did so one peace at a time
    • Allies did little to stop him
  • Alliance with Italy in 1936 (Rome-Berlin Axis)
  • Worked with Italy to support a fascist revolution in Spain 1936-1939
    • Democracies did nothing to Support Spain against the Fascists
    • A testing ground for Axis military strategy
  • Annexed Austria in March 1938
germany and italy by 1938
Germany and Italy by 1938

Hitler claimed every annexation of territory would be his last

Convenient for western democracies to sacrifice the east to placate Hitler

neutrality appeasement and the axis
Neutrality, Appeasement and the Axis
  • American neutrality laws tightened by Congress in 1935
    • Limited America’s engagement in Europe and the Pacific
  • British and French feared another war with Germany
    • Accepted Germany’s demands as reasonable
    • Appeasement- yielding to aggression to keep peace
  • Hitler gambled that Britain and France would not risk war over Czechoslovakia
    • He was right- Britain and France yielded to German claims for part of Czechoslovakia at Munich Conference
    • Germany took the remained of that country the following spring
  • Germany takes huge amounts of territory without firing a shot!
  • A claim on Poland in September 1939 would start the war in Europe
a brief look at japanese militarism the origins
A Brief Look at Japanese Militarism: The Origins
  • Japan had accumulated a small empire by the end of World War I
  • The Depression his Japan with a vengeance
    • Showed economic weakness of Japan
    • Wages dropped 50% as did trade
  • Ultra-nationalist societies argued that military conquest would put Japan in its rightful place in the world- self sufficiency
  • Ultra-nationalist secret society assassinates moderate political leaders
  • Military would have growing influence in government
a brief look at japanese militarism the actions
A Brief look at Japanese Militarism: The Actions
  • In 1931 the Japanese military attacks Chinese forces in Manchuria
    • Claim to be protecting a Japanese-owned railway that was bombed.
    • Bomb was placed by Japanese nationalists
    • League of Nations demanded Japan leave Manchuria
    • Japan left the League of Nations
  • Japanese forces attack Chinese forces near Beijing in summer of 1937
    • The beginning of the Pacific war
  • Japanese attack of China matches any attack for its brutality
the rape of nanking 1937 an example of japanese brutality in china
The Rape of Nanking: (1937): An Example of Japanese Brutality in China
  • After fall of city Japanese troops engage in a 6 week brutalizing of military and civilian population
  • 200,000 killed
  • 20,000 women systematically raped and mutilated
  • Considered a war crime in 1946
the world in the summer of 1939
The World in the Summer of 1939
  • Japan was deep into a bloody war in China
  • Germany and Italy expanding at minimum cost
  • Britain and France preparing for a war they fear while Germany needs war
    • Hitler’s advisors predict a recesson without war by fall 1939
  • America committed to neutrality