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Between Two Fires

Between Two Fires
Life after the War
• Women’s suffrage
• Labor unions gained power
• Social legislation passed
Europe in 1919
Eastern Europe
• New states created—
Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia,
Austria, Hungary, Poland, and
the Baltic States of Estonia,
Latvia, Lithuania
• Only Czechoslovakia had a
democratic tradition
• Ethnic minorities of Germans in
Czechoslovakia and Poland
The Weimar Republic: 1919-1933
Provides democratic government until Nazi rise to power.
Opposed as a weak substitute for Imperial Germany
Attempts to overthrow the new government
The “Stabbed-in-the-Back” Theory
Disgruntled German WWI veterans
Ruhr Valley
• 1923-Weimar Republic fell behind on reparation
• France and Belgium invaded Ruhr Valley
– Payments in coal and steel
• Weimar Government encouraged workers to passively
– Had to pay workers benefits and wages
– hyperinflation
The German Mark
The German Mark
Rise of Nazi Party
National Socialist German Workers’
• 1919-Hitler denounces Weimar
• Economic distress
• Harmed middle class
• Worldwide depression
• Fear of communism
• Nationalism
• Aryan “Master Race”
• Anti-Semitism
The Beer Hall Putsch: 1923
The Beer Hall Putsch Idealized
Hitler in Landesberg Prison
5 year sentence
Mein Kampf [My Struggle]
• Germany required
“Lebensraum” or
living space in the
• Blamed Germany’s
problems on Treaty of
• Pledges to restore
German honor
Locarno Pact: 1925
Austin Chamberlain (Britain)
Aristide Briand
 Recognized permanent Western borders of Germany and loss of Alsace
Lorraine to France.
 Germany signed treaties with Poland and Czechoslovakia, agreeing to
change the eastern borders of Germany by arbitration only.
 Germany allowed to enter League of Nations in 1926
Kellogg-Briand Pact: 1928
 15 nations committed to outlawing
aggression and war for settling disputes.
 The Problem  no way of enforcement.
The Great Depression (1929-1941)
Causes of the Depression
• Global economy
• International stability 1924-1929
• Prosperity hindered by
– Inflation
• borrowed money, depreciated currency
– Disrupted markets
• At end of war European nations had difficulty reestablishing former
trade patterns
– Agricultural depression
• Glut of grain drove down prices
– Economic nationalism
• High tariff barriers to protect domestic markets
– Reparations
• Money from US to Germany then Germany to France and Britain
and then back to US making economic activity reliant on American
financial conditions
– Credit financing
• Buying on margin by borrowing up to 90% of stocks value
Effects of Depression
Stock values plummeted
Businesses cut back production and laid off workers
Investment and world trade plummeted
Unemployment rose drastically
– Strengthened parties who promised solutions
– Germany and US hardest hit with as many as 35% unemployed
• Stock market crash rippled throughout the financial world
– Global bank failures
• Drain on national treasuries to pay off debts
– Currency values depreciated
– Lack of confidence in British pound
– Britain forced off Gold Standard in 1931 and soon after the US
Democratic Responses
• Liberal economic theory said to pursue
austerity but it failed to stimulate
• John Maynard Keynes argued that
government needed to “prime the pump”,
cut taxes and spend on programs to aid
Great Britain
• Depended on trade more
than other nations
• Economic Nationalism
• Labour Party replaced
Liberal Party
• 1916—Easter Rebellion
– Irish Free State 1922
• Egypt given autonomy
• Dominion status to former
colonies of Canada,
Australia, and New Zealand
• Less dependent on trade
and therefore not as hard
hit by world downturn
• Popular Front- Blum
– First Socialist and Jewish
Prime Minister
– 40 hour workweek
– Paid vacations
– Collective bargaining rights
for workers
• Norway, Sweden, and
• Combined socialism
and democracy
– Enacted wide-ranging
social welfare
programs to curb
effects of Depression
– Regulation of price of
agricultural products
– State ownership of key
• Dictators exploited mass
media to mobilize the public
to fanatical support of the
“movement” not simply
passive obedience as with
absolute monarchies
• Dictators claimed total
control of society
• Civic and social life
subordinated to the party,
movement, and leader
Rise of
In Italy
And Germany
What is Fascism?
• Seen as an alternative to the faltering Liberal
democracies and Marxism
• Militarism
• Nationalistic
– Extolled war as proving ground of national identity
Glorification of the state
“Cult of Personality”
– Middle class oriented
– Upheld racial and national identity
• One-party rule
• Rituals and symbols
Mussolini and Italy
• Unhappy with Treaty of Versailles
– Unable to recapture “unredeemed” lands from
Austria and the new nation of Yugoslavia
• Economy suffered
• Mussolini glorified state and violence as a
means to combat Italy’s enemies
• “Blackshirts”
– Intimidated political opponents
– Promoted breakdown of Parliamentary order
October 1922
March on Rome
King Victor Emmanuel II
Mussolini named Prime Minister
Il Duce
1. “Made the trains run on time”
2. Censored press
3. Built up military
4. Secret police
5. Catholic Church and the Lateran Agreement
i. recognition of sovereignty of church over the
Vatican with papacy’s promise to not interfere
with functions of state
6. Promoted large families and motherhood for a
healthy race to replace declining birth rate
Cult of
"I believe in Rome, the Eternal,
the mother of my country……
I believe in the genius of Mussolini
…and in the resurrection of the Empire."
Pledge required of the Balilla,
the Fascist youth
group of 14-18 year olds
( uniforms: all black)
known as legionaries
"Italy wants peace
and quiet, work and
calm. I will give these
things with love if
and with force if
Benito Mussolini
Promise them what they want
EX. Mussolini’s Promises
“A little something for everyone”
• Are you Hungry? I’ll give you bread
• Are you worried about communism? I’ll
protect your private property
• Are you unemployed after the war? Join
my “Blackshirts”
vs. Communism
How do they compare?
No Strong
[cult of
[cult of
Class Structure
No Classes
Private Property
No Private
Growth of the NAZI Party through Political Means
– Membership in Nazi party increases with anti-Semitic
– S. A. or Brownshirts provoked street fights with rival
political groups
– Originally pitched message at workers but gained little
support with only 3% of the vote in 1928
– Membership increases because of Depression and
switching its appeal to the middle class
• By 1930 6 million supporters
• 1930 Nazis gains seats in Reichstag
• 1933 Hindenburg asks Hitler to become
Hitler appointed Chancellor
Nazi Total State
• Reichstag Fire blamed on Communist Party
– Banned as illegal
– Arrested leaders
• Nazis still fail to gain majority of seats
• Still able to have Hitler rule by decree for five
• 1933 all government employees had to swear
personal oath of loyalty to the Fuhrer
• 1934 National Socialism declared illegal
Night of the Long Knives
June 30, 1934
• To gain support of military
he purged leaders of S.A.
who were seen as threat to
army’s monopoly of military
• S.A. leader Ernst Rohm was
seen as last potential threat
to Hitler’s power
• Two months later
Hindenburg died
– Hitler now President
Terror as a Weapon
• Gestapo
– Secret police arrested real
and imagined opponents
– Sent to concentration camps
– S. S. replaced S. A. as
enforcers of terror
The Economy and Youth
• Promoted self
sufficiency especially
in strategic goods
such as fuel and
• Membership in state
run union required
• Autobahn
• To enforce gender
roles and build strong
racial stock
– Hitler Youth
– League of German
– Women relegated to
traditional roles
– Anti-Semitic policies
1935 Nuremberg Laws
• Defined “Jew”
• Stripped of citizenship
• Prohibited sexual
relations with Aryans
November 9-10, 1938
• Synagogues
• Businesses
• Hundreds killed
or arrested
Others Targeted
• Sterilization of “mentally unfit”
• Euthanasia for terminally ill, insane, and
physically deformed
• Approximately 200,000 killed between
– Eventually protest by religious groups ended
• For those who read Mein Kampf this was
apparent before WWII
Hitler’s Lebensraum Program
“I have issued the command - and I'll have anybody who
utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing
squad - that our war aim does not consist in reaching
certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the
enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head
formations in readiness - for the present only in the East
- with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and
without compassion, men, women, and children of
Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain
the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who,
after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the
-Hitler’s speech in preparation for
the invasion of Poland.
Soviet Union
• Communists adopt
color Red
• New Name- USSR
• Collectives
• Rapid modernization
• Police State
• Socialist Realism—
• Purges
• Religion ridiculed
Culture in the Interwar Years
• Lost Generation
– Pessimism
– Kafka
– Remarque’s “All Quiet on the Western Front”
• War destroys innocence and meaning
– T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land”
– Stream of consciousness
– Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein
Mass Culture and Leisure
• Shift in Public Morals
Displays of sexuality
Women smoked in public
Dance halls
More revealing clothing
Laws against birth control abandoned in many states
• Jazz
– Josephine Baker
Some condemned decadence while others embraced it
Buying on credit or installment plans
Advertising fed consumerism
Radios and motion pictures
Joseph Goebbels “Ministry of Propaganda”
1927 BBC chartered
1936 Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times
Increase in air travel and tourism
1936 Berlin Olympics—Jesse Owens won five gold medals
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