Interwar period

John Florens | Feb 16, 2023

Table of Content


The interwar period refers to the 21 years between the two world wars (1918-1939).

It was a turbulent period when, despite the apparent peace, conflicts lay dormant. Now the three ideologies that have changed the face of the world are taking shape: fascism, Nazism (in particular) and communism. These three ideologies are gaining ground amid a general apathy on the part of European democracies.

The post-war years were particularly difficult for the former Central Powers, who had lost the war, especially for Austria-Hungary, which would fall apart, and for Germany, which would suffer from the obligation to pay war damages. Unemployment will rise, inflation will reach unimaginable heights, street violence will create a state of siege.

For the other states, the situation will not be much better, as they all have to rebuild after the war. The United States will accept a wave of immigrants, the 1920s will be dominated by gang fights due to Prohibition. The interwar era was also one of cultural emancipation, marking a change in mores and fashion. It is the era of jazz and romance. Now there is the development of cinema, street theatre and radio, which will play an important propaganda role in Nazi Germany.

Interwar is an adjective with a general meaning occurring between two wars or between two wars. ( inter- between, bellum-war)

In current parlance, the term has specialised to designate the period between World War I and World War II.

The Belle Époque

The early 20th century saw innovations, inventions and discoveries that changed the way we live our daily lives. Western Europe, which was the political, economic and cultural centre, was going through a period of stability and abundance, with the bourgeoisie dominating society, the economy and politics, known as La Belle Époque.

Even though liberal politics dominated the continent, authoritarian monarchies still existed in the centre of Europe. Germany had become one of the world's leading industrial powers, where the Social Democratic Party won the legislative elections, but the Kaiser still appointed the cabinet. Austro-Hungary was a multinational empire in the process of economic recovery, and its people wanted modernisation, stability free from the unrest of the aristocracy, bourgeoisie and nationalists, with the heir to the throne, Archduke Ferdinand, as their providential man. Russia had a precarious economy, under pressure from a rising bourgeoisie, with an overstretched Tsar and government accepting some economic and political reforms.

The Western democracies, England and France, were dominated by bourgeois, with vast colonial empires, developed capitalist economies, modern societies and social innovations and reforms (from giving women the vote to meeting workers' demands for wages and professions) and avant-garde. Mankind was witnessing a second industrial revolution, with electricity being introduced, industrial agglomerations emerging, banking and stock exchange systems developing and increasingly affecting everyday life. Products were becoming more varied and cheaper, increasing convenience, and transport was shortening distances. Newspapers, magazines and books were increasing mass culture, elementary education was free and increasingly accessible to the general public. Also, not only the elite but also the other classes could afford to spend their leisure time.

Africa was divided between the six great colonial powers: Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal and Belgium. Most of the inhabitants were tribal and primitive by European standards. China was wracked by internal conflicts, divided into zones of influence of the European powers, fractured by a sophisticated local elite and a rigid, conservative and submissive human mass. Latin America, amid slow economic modernisation, came under US protection through the Monroe Doctrine, becoming a polarised area with large landowners, economically immobile and landless and discontented peasant masses, and a minor bourgeois segment.

The techno-scientific explosion was the hope of most social segments and levels, and war was seen by an aristocratic and conservative European diplomacy as a useful tool, as a last resort when negotiations failed according to political realism. The First World War, which lasted four years but was fought in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Atlantic Ocean, consisted of huge human and material efforts by the combatant states and huge numbers of casualties, marking the beginning of a new violent century, with large-scale genocides, warring ideologies, totalitarian regimes, but also of major technological progress that was to take hold and radical improvements in living standards, peaceful projects and concerns for individual rights at international level to build a democratic and free world.

The Great War

World War I broke out after a 50-year period of peace in Western Europe, sparked by the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, when Alsace and Lorraine were taken over from the French and annexed to Germany. France had lost its position as the hegemonic power in Europe and was forced to pay war damages. Germany and the whole of Europe entered the diplomatic period known as the Bismarckian period (1870-1895), while socially and culturally, Europe and the British Empire were going through the Victorian Age. Germany was the largest European power in demographic, technological and economic terms, while the British Empire was the largest colonial empire and held naval supremacy. Germany had the largest army with the best equipment in the Prussian tradition, which was also evident in other areas. The army dominated German society which was hierarchical and disciplined.

Eastern Europe had been marked by conflicts, such as the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878), in which Russia consolidated its influence in Bulgaria and Serbia, and as a result, in 1879, Germany and Austro-Hungary formed an alliance that resulted in the Central Powers. Italy unified, France occupied Tunisia to strengthen the eastern frontier of Algeria, and Italy wanted to gain territory in Mediterranean Africa, so it formed an alliance with the Central Powers. France allied itself with Russia, forming a Franco-Russian alliance, so the most autocratic state allied itself with the most liberal European state.

There were many leagues promoting pan-Germanism to justify territorial expansion, with Russia determined to ally with France. France even loaned Russia large sums of money to expand. The British wanted to build a railway from Cairo to Cape Town, and were ready to continue their rivalry with the French in the struggle for colonies. That's why, in 1898, the French and British armies were about to fight at Fashoda. But tensions between the two countries eased when King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, who was both French-speaking and Francophile, was crowned. He was greeted with hostility in Paris, but improved relations with France. Thus, the Antanta was formed.

German Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany pursued a global policy-Weltpolitik, a colonial policy, occupying many African territories and coming into direct conflict with Britain. Economically, Germany had overtaken England, and German products competed strongly with British ones. In 1905, a revolution broke out in Russia, which was defeated, but in the wake of it, war with Japan broke out and was lost by the Russians, destroying the myth of white supremacy. The Russian fleet circled the globe to attack the Japanese, and in the Battle of Tsushima, the Russians lost to the Japanese.

In 1907, France, England and Russia formed an alliance, laying the foundations for the Alliance due to the imbalance caused by Germany's growing power and territorial and economic claims. War was seen in the mindset of the time as a way of resolving conflicts in an aristocratic Europe.

On 28 June 1914, the Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, Franz Ferdinand of Austria, was assassinated in Sarajevo. Using the assassination as a pretext, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, the war escalated rapidly into a European war. The British hesitated to enter the war until the Germans occupied Belgium. The plan for German occupation of Europe was drawn up by Alfred von Schlieffen in 1905. According to the plan, the heart of France was considered to be between Sedan and Verdun, so the Germans planned to envelop the French army, the plan being inspired by an ancient battle, the Battle of Cannae. But the French used the 17th plan, which involved a blistering attack into Alsace and Lorraine. Schlieffen knew that Germany would be fighting on two fronts and believed that Russia would fail to mobilise its army in time. In reality, the Russians mobilised quickly. Following the Battle of the Marne, the decline of the German army began.

The First World War lasted four years, but the outcome was decided in the first weeks after the Germans failed to quickly conquer France. Serbia proved a strong opponent, liberating its territory from Austro-Hungarian troops. Entering the war, the Ottoman Empire had successes against the Russians and British in the Caucasus. The British landed in the Persian Gulf, but the plan failed. They brought in troops from New Zealand who were defeated at Gallipoli.

In 1915, after hesitation, Italy entered the war, but proved weak, with 12 battles fought on the Isonzo river with no result. Bulgaria entered the war on the side of the Central Powers after having invested heavily in the army following the war of 1878, devastating Serbia which was unable to cope on two fronts, with Serbian leaders going into exile in Corfu. In 1916, Romania entered the war at a favourable moment on the eastern front as the Russian army, led by Drusilov, advanced strongly. After the defeat at Marna, the Germans applied a new strategy, implementing Schlieffen's encirclement plan, trying to find a point to continue the encirclement, a mad rush continuing all the way to the North Sea.

The Western Front takes on the typical image of "static trench warfare". On the Eastern Front, the Russian army, which had suffered defeats in 1914, recovered quickly, but the conditions for a revolution were in place. In 1915, the Germans changed their strategy and so sealed off the western front and attacked in the east, winning important victories, occupying Warsaw and part of Ukraine and reaching as far as the Baltic States. But seeing that they could not take Russia out of the war, they attacked in the west, changing tactics to a war of destruction. The Germans placed an impressive number of guns, targeting a small area, on the southern front in 1916, with devastating fighting at Verdun. The French used similar tactics, and so, in the aftermath of the Battle of Verdun, 600 000 soldiers died on both sides.

In 1916, the Germans began a new offensive against the British, who were bringing in more and more soldiers, and introduced compulsory military service. This was followed by the Battle of the Somme (1916), which resulted in 600 000 casualties. Romania was subjected to an assault by the four central powers, 2

In 1917, Russia emerges from the war, marked by the Bolshevik revolution, the Eastern Front disappears, a favourable moment for the Germans. But the balance of power was to change with the entry of the United States into the war. The war escalated into a world war. In 1918, the main German effort shifted to the Western Front. Taking advantage of the respite on the Eastern Front, the Austro-Hungarians received German support in what became known as the Caporetto disaster, as Austria devastated Italy. But Germany was economically suffocated, and in October 1918, the Germans were completely overwhelmed and driven out of the occupied territories. The Central Powers successively surrendered. On 29 September, Bulgaria was the first to capitulate. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire surrendered. On 3 November, Austro-Hungary surrendered to the Italians. On 11 November Germany surrendered. The last central power to capitulate was Hungary on 13 November.

World War I involved countries on all continents, but was most concentrated in Europe. It was thought of as a short war, but it lasted longer. It was believed that by Christmas, the soldiers would return home victorious. But there were generals who foresaw that the war would be a long one. It turned out to be an industrialised war, with new weapons being used, such as cannons firing over 30 kilometres, prototype warplanes, tanks (which had no cannons, just infantrymen in them firing at the enemy), chemical weapons and submarines introduced by the Germans. It turned out to be a Total War, one of the most heavily mobilised wars: France mobilised 5 million soldiers (1

It was a war of nationalism, because beyond the mobilisation of societies, nation states were mobilised, making use of national values and nationalist concepts. In the wake of the war and Germany's defeat, extremist nationalism took hold.

The First World War was a war of positions, a war of trenches.

Ending the War

The First World War left in its wake huge human and material losses, a difficult global economic situation, a moral crisis of conscience which led to the emergence of the pacifist movement and the implementation of numerous programmes and projects to organise the new world on new bases to ensure peace, security, development and well-being.

On November 8, 1917, the Bolshevik government issued the Peace Decree and the American government launched the peace program known as President Wilson's 14 Points. The two programmes included important principles such as open diplomacy, the right to self-determination (whereby each population could choose its form of government, to live freely, in a free, independent and sovereign state), democratic peace without annexation. The American programme provided for equality between states, freedom of navigation at sea, freedom of trade, reduction of armaments, creation of a League of Nations to maintain peace and cooperation between states. On 11 November 1918, the First World War ended.On 18 January, the 1919 Paris Peace Conference began, attended only by the victorious Allied states. The differences between the participants were huge, opinions and proposed solutions did not agree. Reports and analyses were produced by the 50 committees and commissions of experts and by the main bodies of the conference - the Council of Ten, the Council of Five, the Council of Four: Britain, USA, France, Italy. Japan is also involved in Far Eastern and Pacific issues. US President Woodrow Wilson told French President Raymond Poincare that peacekeeping would be more difficult than war. War, social and national upheaval and the heavy burdens imposed on the defeated states led to the break-up of four great empires: Russian, Austro-Hungarian, German and Ottoman.

Consequences of the First World War

Europe still played a considerable political role at the global level, European states still maintained their colonial empires, and Europe also held a primacy over culture. New centres of power emerged, new non-European states were industrialised, with countries like Japan entering the markets of China, South-East Asia and India. However, relations between the metropolises and the colonies deteriorated. Woodrow Wilson's campaign for the sovereignty of peoples and Marxist anti-imperialist theses led to the beginning of political emancipation movements. The US had the most to gain, doubling its national income and steel production, and increasing its merchant fleet, borrowing $11-12 billion from belligerents and winning investment competition in Latin America, taking the lead as a global superpower. According to Hugh Thomas-A History of the World, there were four great consequences of World War I:

Germany was no longer the strongest country in Europe. France, which had its ambitions, was limited by Britain.

The death toll was enormous, estimated at 16-30 million dead and 22 million injured, most of them Europeans. France recorded 1.7 million dead and missing, representing 4-5% of the population, plus 130 000 people maimed for life. Germany: 2.8 million dead, representing 3-4% of the population. Austria-Hungary: 2 million dead, Russia: 2.8-3 million dead (2% of population), rising to 5 million after the Bolshevik regime. Britain and Italy lose three quarters of a million people, 2-4% of the population. An unspecified number of civilians also died as a result of military operations, poor hygiene conditions which favoured epidemics such as tuberculosis, typhus, dysentery and the Spanish flu which killed 50-100 million people, or 3-5% of the global population. The most affected age groups were those between 15 and 40 years old, resulting in a decrease in the birth rate. Millions of people were forced to relocate from lost territories, like the Germans who were forced to leave Alsace and Lorraine. In Hungary, 400 000 Hungarians from Transylvania, Slovakia and Serbia found refuge. 200,000 Bulgarians moved from lost territories. 1 million Greeks emigrated from Turkey.

The war disrupted rapid progress in health infrastructure, which also led to an increase in infant mortality, with infant mortality in France rising from 17% in 1914 to 22% in 1918. Human losses affected the economy, which was deprived of producers and consumers. The war increased the number of disrupted families, leaving millions of widows and orphans, contributing to the steady ageing that dominated Europe in the 1920s.

In France alone, 300,000 houses have been destroyed, 3 million hectares of fertile soil have been destroyed and industrial production has fallen by 35%. Germany reduced its coal production by 45% and agricultural production by 50%. On a continental scale, agricultural potential has shrunk by 35% and industrial potential by 40%. The budget deficit has increased 10-20 times its pre-war level. In 1914, France and England were the world's biggest creditors. In 1918, France and England owed billions of US dollars. A global estimate shows that World War I cost $338 billion.

The material damage was considerable, especially as some of the most prosperous regions of pre-war Europe were affected: Belgium, northern Italy, Poland, western Ukraine. If before the war Europe was owed millions of dollars by the US, after the war Europe owed $11-12 billion to the Americans, with the British borrowing the most. Gold and silver coins disappeared.

Shortages of currency, food and consumer goods have led to rising inflation and prices, and the depreciation of European currencies, with the franc losing 50% of its value, the pound sterling-10% and the German mark-90%. Prices rose fivefold in France and 12fold in Germany. Special ministries were set up to give a large part of the national budget to widows, war orphans and veterans. The question of reparations was raised, and it was felt that Germany would be the one to pay huge sums. A financial crisis followed, destabilising European currencies and raising prices.

A new social type - the "veteran" - was created, comprising millions of individualistic Europeans who had become solitary, educated or illiterate, returned from war, scarred by trauma. The war taught them comradeship, unity, hierarchy and obedience to superiors, but they developed a hostility to the political class and parliamentary institutions that were considered guilty of the outbreak of war. Some, idealised and transformed into war heroes, sought the same values in everyday life that they had learned in the war, developing paramilitary groups such as the Fire Cross in France or the Steel Helmets in Germany, while young people, alienated by social and political changes, swelled the ranks of extremist parties such as the Nazi or Fascist parties.

Tense social relations were created, and the fortunes of manufacturers and middlemen, arms manufacturers and big merchants grew, becoming the new rich. French artillery and vehicle manufacturers like Schneider, Citroen and Renault, or Italians like Ansaldo and Fiat, or the owners of the German steelworks in the Ruhr, had much to gain from the war, along with small merchants. At the other end of the scale were the poor, victims of war and inflation, with fixed incomes they could not revalue, suffering from currency depreciation and foreign blows. Small depositors were ruined by coups in Russia or the dissolution of royal houses. The middle class was aggressively pauperised. The purchasing power of wage earners has depreciated massively: France-15%, Britain-20%, Germany-25%. Farmers suffered greatly from inflation. The war even accelerated the rural exodus caused by the need for labour in the arms industry, producing an uprooted population, alienated from traditional life. In Eastern Europe land reforms were implemented and peasant political parties emerged.

The war caused the dissociation of traditional structures, leading to the expansion of women's work, which until then had been employed in domestic tasks and in the service sector, working in factories, occupying 35% of industrial jobs. The war resulted in millions of widows or divorcees in Germany and France alone, with the number of divorces doubling and in the UK increasing fourfold. Social transformations led to widespread social unrest and social discontent which led to the rise and spread of extremist movements, as well as trade union movements created by strikes such as the 1920 strike in France which paralysed transport. Workers could work only 8 hours a day and gain other benefits, but in the medium term, social unrest and compromise proved serious.

On the political front, however, democracy has gained in the medium term in some countries, but classical liberalism has suffered. Universal suffrage is introduced, with Finland being the first country in Europe where women voted. Relations between the individual and the state changed. Liberal principles were no longer respected and recognised. There was large-scale mobilisation of human and material resources, the moral cohesion of the nation, justice and social equity. The state no longer administered in a narrow domain, no longer maintained public order, exercised justice, managed foreign relations and the defence system. It set economic priorities, built factories, intervened in research and relations between social groups, and regulated wages and working hours at the request of the trade unions, and maintained rationing and control over products for many years. Relations between public powers changed, with governments more efficient and capable of making quick decisions while parliaments proved slow, lacking unity. Parliament was increasingly losing control over the executive. Parliaments were blamed for the outbreak of war, and governments were the ones who brought victory and the end of the war, but no one could bring back the victims of war.

Culturally and spiritually, traditional values have been shattered in Europe. War has eclipsed the optimism of the 19th century, destroying the faith of previous generations in building an ideal society. The grumbling, the tensions, the war effort provoked a compensatory reaction to make up for the lost four years, resulting in an appetite for joy, but found only in urban environments. The gap between the rural and urban environments has widened. Religious sentiment and mystical disputes over destiny were revived. War led to challenges to faith and church. But it stimulated pacifism among intellectuals which manifested itself in negotiations, disarmament, the creation of international institutions like the League of Nations, pacts to outlaw war. But the disappointments of losers and winners led to the exasperation of national pride, with democracy blamed for the sacrifice of honour and national interest. The British elite (Oxford, Cambridge) perished in the war. The First World War generation is considered a 'lost generation' Gertrude Stein uses the term 'disoriented generation'.

Dadaism was the first avant-garde movement to emerge during the First World War, calling the whole culture into question. Schnitzler, a doctor by profession, writer and representative of Austrian culture, argues that the Austrians felt their multinational empire was about to crumble and that only a war would save their future. In Germany alone, 1.5 million war poems were published in the first year of the war. Numerous masterpieces are published in French, English, German and American literature. Examples:

Literature about the First World War continued into the interwar period. Vast works of war literature appeared in British literature: poems and articles that:

In German literature, Ernst Junger-Prin storms of steel or Erich Mariș Remarque-On the western front again.

Hemingway's novel, Lost Generation, presents the phenomenon of the lost and confused generation. Several novels exuded an air of pacifism. There are many artists who have suffered from war and been killed, 80% leaning towards this view. There are writers like Junger or Kessel who glorify war, highlighting the anachronistic values of war, especially heroism. Ernst von Salomon stood out with "The Outlaws".

Disappointments came quickly and illusions were shattered. In the face of disaster and death, most people adopted the pacifist current. Famous paintings were made highlighting war. Paul Nash made an expressionist painting, a moonscape, with re-cut tree trunks, called 'Building a New World'. John Singer Sargent painted "Gaze". Otto Dix made 50 etchings entitled "War". Expressionism emerged in Germany. It had no solitary group, no programme, but it had a mood, spreading to German-speaking countries. It was a movement of accentuation and distortion, not respecting anatomy. Expressionists rejected anatomical harmony. The movement emerged in 1905 and has been manifest in literature since 1910. Georg Heym was the most important German Expressionist poet, foreshadowing the First World War. Expressionism and Dadaism are known as avant-garde movements. Tristan Tzara , a leading figure of Dadaism, wrote Song of an Elevator. The current was characterized by infantilism.

One of the cultural consequences of the war was the destruction of the cultural restrictions that had existed before it. In the wake of the social upheaval came jazz that was appreciated in the US and Europe. The Jazz Age was marked by an obvious frenzy of living, with past values such as family, character and education taking a back seat. Invidualism took hold.

Andre Gide's novel Fruits of the Earth, published in 1897, marked the beginning of a strong individualism. Marcel Proust stood out for his deeply personal experiences. Aldous Huxley stood out with The Mona Lisa's Smile, Point to Point, and Luigi Pirandello with Six Characters in Search of an Author. James Joyce stood out with Ulysses.

Changes in diet and clothing occur. Berlin had become a true cultural capital of Europe, alongside Vienna and Paris. American elements are adopted by Europeans. The crisis of rationalism is growing and the popularity of the absurd is increasing. Surrealism physically breaks away from Dadaism. Elements of occultism and esotericism enter ideologies.


Paris Peace Conference

The Peace Conference applied the principle of nationalities. The political map of Europe was altered by the drawing of new borders and the reconstitution of independent states such as Poland, Austria and Hungary, as well as the emergence of new states such as Czechoslovakia, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Baltic States and the ending of the territorial unity of other states such as Romania and Italy. Independent Austria was a predominantly agrarian country with a precarious economic and financial situation, and a dissatisfied population wanted to unite with industrial Germany. Hungary was reduced to its territories with a majority Hungarian population. Poland was reconstituted and Czechoslovakia was born out of the former Austro-Hungary. Around Serbia, Croats, Slovenes and Bosniaks united to form the Serbo-Croat-Slovenian Kingdom. The Kingdom of Romania united with Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania. Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were formed from the former Russian Empire. Ethnic minority groups arose in some states, which maintained a state of unrest and contestation, and the territorial dispute between Soviet Russia and Poland turned into a conflict won by the Poles who pushed their border eastwards.

On 28 October 1920, in Paris, a treaty was signed between England, France, Italy and Japan, on the one hand, and Romania, on the other, recognizing Romania's sovereignty over the territory between the Prut and the Dniester, and committing the Romanian state to respect the rights and freedoms of all inhabitants. On the new European political map, some states were more advanced economically, culturally and democratically. Others were poorer, weaker, where democracy, liberal ideas, legality and tolerance were incipient or unknown. New constitutions were introduced, making important leaps towards democracy through the parliamentary system. New laws were passed to ensure economic, social and cultural progress. In others, the opposite phenomenon occurred, democratic values and the spirit of tolerance were denied, and xenophobic, revisionist or revanchist manifestations were accentuated.

Territorial changes

Germany was blamed for starting the war. The Treaty of Versailles included severe territorial, demographic, economic and military conditions for Germany.

Germany cedes territory to France, Belgium, Denmark and Poland, inhabited by 8 million people. Germany loses 1

Between 1920 and 1921, plebiscites were held; in southern Prussia, Germany won 90% of the vote, and in Upper Silesia, Germany kept 2

Compulsory military service is banned, the army is reduced to 100,000 soldiers and 5,000 officers, no more than seven infantry divisions and three cavalry divisions, recruited on a voluntary basis. Armaments could no longer be manufactured, and the possession of armoured vehicles, heavy artillery, submarines and military aircraft was banned. The area to the left of the Rhine and a 50 km strip along the right bank were demilitarised, fortifications and hardened sites were demolished. The German Grand Staff and military formations were disbanded.

As compensation for the destruction of the coal mines in northern France, Germany ceded ownership of the coal mines in the Saar Basin to France, and the Saar was placed under the administration of the League of Nations. The Free City of Danzig and the territory adjacent to it constituted the Free City placed under the protection of the League of Nations. Germany undertook to grant the right of transit through its territory to persons, goods, ships, wagons and postal services. Germany was obliged to recognise the independence of Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland and lose its colonies, pay reparations to the victors and grant them the most-favoured-nation clause. Germany was to pay the equivalent of 20 billion gold marks during the first four months of 1921.

The peace treaty weakened Germany's power, turning it into a second-class state. The Germans felt that they had been cheated from within and wronged and humiliated from without, a situation that would be taken advantage of by ultranationalists, militarists and Nazis who would not recognise the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles and challenge the new borders. They will resort to various means to restore the pre-war Greater Germany. In Austria, the military strength could not exceed 30 000, in Bulgaria 20 000, in Hungary 30 000 and in Turkey 50 000.

The atrocities of war and the desire for permanent peacekeeping led to the rise of the pacifist movement which helped to create the League of Nations at the Peace Conference on the basis of the Pact drawn up by the special commission headed by the American President. The Covenant of the League of Nations was included in the peace treaties and contained 26 articles, defining the objectives of the League, its composition and structure, its mode of operation, rights and obligations. The main structures of the League were the Council, made up of 5 permanent members (later 4 after the US did not participate) and one of 4 non-permanent members (6 members after 1922-1926), the General Assembly attended by 42 members, a Secretariat in Geneva and a permanent Court of International Justice established in The Hague. There were a number of political subsidiary bodies: the Permanent Commission on Mandates, the High Commission for Refugees and technical bodies for intellectual cooperation and social affairs. The basic article of the Pact was Article 16, which provided for economic and military sanctions against aggressor states that did not comply with the dispute settlement procedures laid down in the founding act of the League. The binding nature of arbitration was necessarily complete with the detailing of mediation methods and the decision to create a permanent Court of International Justice. Article 19 provided for amendments to the Treaties subject to unanimous voting in the League's decision-making structures. The headquarters of the League was established in Geneva, and the pact took up some of the basic principles of the American peace programme, stating that the main aims were to guarantee the peace and security of nations, equal cooperation between them, reduction of armaments, peaceful settlement of disputes and differences between states, and punishment of those who violated treaties and international obligations. In German-held colonies or territories held by the Ottoman Empire, the League of Nations resorted to the mandate system, entrusting the administration of territories to England, France or Japan, with a view to preparing them to become autonomous or independent. Mandates varied in length, and the recipients were Japan in China and the Pacific area, England and France in Africa and the Arab world of the Ottoman Empire, Syria and Lebanon to France, Palestine and Iraq to England. Some disputed cities were declared free and passed under the authority of the League of Nations, such as the Free City of Danzig disputed by Germany and Poland, and the City of Rijeka and its environs claimed by Italy and Yugoslavia. 20 000 km of new borders were drawn, old economic units were dismantled, new monetary systems were created, and the economic and legal integration of the new regions made it difficult for Eastern European states, such as Yugoslavia, which had no railway system but four railway systems, each with different gauges and times.

The American Congress refused to ratify peace treaties signed or accepted by President Wilson. Americans rejected the League of Nations. The US went from being Europe's debtor to Europe's creditor and was able to impose its views, even though it had reverted to its traditional policy of isolation. Despite the difficulties and shortcomings, the League of Nations took many steps to maintain peace and security, to respect the treaties and to apply the principles of the Pact. It has implemented the economic and financial reconstruction of Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece and Portugal. The World Economic Conference of 1927, organised under its auspices, aimed to implement a broad programme of economic cooperation between states. The Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed in August 1928, eliminated war from international relations, and all conflicts were to be resolved through peaceful negotiations. The League of Nations undertook to reduce armaments to the minimum necessary to maintain internal order and defend frontiers.

Regional defensive alliances such as the Lesser Antares (Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania) and the Balkan Entente (Greece, Yugoslavia, Romania and Turkey) were created.

The main problem worldwide was the German one. There were different models of solutions sought by the victorious great powers, especially the British and French. The German problem was not seen in isolation, but was linked to the Russian problem and Europe's economic difficulties. France oscillated between a policy of firmness and one of reconciliation with Germany, and Britain was moving early on towards rapprochement, with Germany the key to European prosperity. With a dose of naivety, it was thought that a prosperous Germany would easily accept its new international status. Germany was the key to Britain's plan to rebuild the continent, with the reintegration of Russia and Eastern Europe into the European economic mainstream high on the British agenda.

France's policy of firmness towards Germany appeared to be the only possible political solution to the failure to obtain Anglo-American security guarantees. The policy of firmness consisted in using the instruments created by the Treaty of Versailles to redress the potential imbalance between a victorious France, economically and demographically weakened, and a defeated Germany, but with far greater economic and human potential and freed from the threat of the Franco-Russian alliance. The French position, expressed by President Clemenceau, was opposed by British Prime Minister Lloyd-George, who saw France's desire to fix its borders on the Rhine as an attempt to establish continental hegemony. In order to ensure French security and deter the German neighbour, the attempt was made to replace the pre-war alliance with Russia by a series of treaties with small states in central and eastern Europe and by encouraging rapprochement. After the timid Western intervention in the Russian civil war and the defeat of anti-Bolshevik forces, the small Eastern European states were meant to form a cordon sanitaire to prevent the expansion of Russian communism.

Anglo-French conflict was inevitable. The British conceived their German policy in terms of the economic reconstruction of the Weimar Republic, while the French tried to control Germany's development, using reparations as an economic tool. Anglo-French differences were far from confined to the German question, as the break-up of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of Turkey would lead to deep divisions between the two former allies. The Greek-Turkish conflict found the two great powers on opposite sides, with Kemal, supported by France and Italy, winning a decisive victory in August 1922 against Britain-backed Greece. Following the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, Turkey regained its entire Anatolia and European territories. Rivalry over the former Arab territories of the Ottoman Empire contributed greatly to the deepening differences over the German question.

England's pro-German policy was seen by a number of policymakers in London as a return to the traditional policy of supporting continental balance. A counterweight to France was to be opposed. British options for rebuilding Europe were influenced by the economist John Maynard, author of Economic Consequences of Peace (1919), who saw four solutions for rebuilding Europe: revising the treaties, resolving the problem of inter-allied debt, a large international loan underwritten by the US combined with monetary reforms, restoring trade between East and West and resuming ties with Russia.

Germany complicates the equation of relations with Soviet Russia after the Treaty of Rapallo of April 1922 and the Treaty of Neutrality and Non-Aggression of April 1926. The first treaty established the procedure for settling disputes between the two countries, mutual renunciation of war reparations, restoration of diplomatic relations, most-favoured-nation clause and economic cooperation. The second treaty stipulated that in the event of an attack on one side, the other would undertake to act peacefully towards it. In the event of war between the USSR and Poland, French support for Poland was granted, while Germany remained neutral.In 1931, the treaty expired and an extension protocol was concluded and ratified in May 1933.

The two treaties marked a real political and diplomatic success for each state, bringing them out of isolation, facilitating economic cooperation, and, militarily, providing an instrument of pressure and blackmail on the Western powers to be more conciliatory towards fulfilling the obligations imposed on Germany or towards Soviet Russia. After the establishment of Nazism, German-Soviet relations deteriorated.

The peace and security of Europe depended on the state of relations between France and Germany. France was victorious, but the economy was struggling to recover, the foreign debt was huge, the franc had devalued, and the salvation was seen in the collection of the war debt from Germany. Germany's socio-political climate deteriorated, with a proliferation of ultra-nationalist, revisionist and revisionist groups, including the National Socialist Party led by Adolf Hitler. Bolshevik followers founded the German Communist Party in 1919. Right-wing ultranationalist groups tried to overthrow the regime established in 1919 by the Weimar Constitution, and two coups were planned, both of which failed.

After the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany launched a full arsenal to undermine its clauses. Deliveries on reparations were made with difficulty, but Germany had to give in as it faced a united Anglo-French front threatening the use of force and ultimatums. Germany was doing all it could to obstruct the work of the inter-allied disarmament control commission.

Due to economic difficulties, on 12 July 1922, the German government submitted to the Allies a six-month moratorium on the payment of reparations, citing the precarious state of German finances, while the British reacted favourably, the French being willing to accept the German request if a number of guarantees were offered, such as the Ruhr mines. The London Conference of 7-14 August made an attempt at a settlement, leading instead to strained Anglo-French relations as the British put pressure on the French by forcing the issue of the inter-allied debts, who rallied to the American position demanding full payment of the inter-allied debts. On 31 August, French Prime Minister Raymond Poincare blocked the possibility of a moratorium in the Reparations Commission.

In the context of deteriorating Anglo-French relations, in December 1922, the Reparations Commission noted Germany's failure to meet its reparations obligations. On 2 January it was decided, despite British opposition, to take over the Ruhr as a guarantee, and on 11 January 1923 Franco-Belgian troops entered the Ruhr. France sought to ensure that Germany complied with the obligations laid down at Versailles, but also to induce Germany to adopt a policy favourable to French interests. The German reaction took the form of a campaign of passive resistance by Ruhr workers and civil servants which would have led to the paralysis of the region. The French would thus no longer benefit from the occupation.

Despite resistance, the occupation authorities managed to restart coal production and deliveries to France. The resistance, financed by the German government through inflationary methods, led to terrible inflation. The financial burden of passive resistance and the Franco-Belgian success in restarting the mining industry led to a decision by the new German government led by Gustav Stresemann to discontinue resistance on 26 September 1923. The new government was keen to eliminate potential sources of public discontent and the emergence of a separatist movement in Rhineland.

The German government's options were limited by the financial crisis of 1923. France was determined to accept the American mediation solution by convening a committee of experts under the leadership of financier Dawes. The occupation of the Ruhr proved to be a strategic failure for France, transforming Germany's image from aggressor to victim, and Britain and the US took over the administration of German reparations.

Generations of politicians like Aristide Briand and Gustav Stresseman have made their mark. The years 1924-1929 were characterised by the coming of the Left to power in France and England, the short-lived economic recovery and widespread financial stability. France could no longer afford a policy other than that of compromise and conciliation with Germany, drawing closer to Britain. The Dawes Plan was adopted at the London Conference of 16 July-15 August 1924, representing the victory of the Anglo-American vision of the economic reconstruction of Europe, and was a five-year plan which stipulated that the Germans would pay 1 billion gold marks in the first year and 2.5 billion in the last year of payment. Deliveries were secured by a mortgage on German railways and supervised by a general repair agent based in Berlin with a high degree of de facto control over the Weimar Republic's financial domain. The plan was set in motion by an international loan to Germany. Stresemann knew that the only way to counter France's strength was to secure Anglo-American financial and political support. The Dawes Plan represented a first major revision of the Treaty of Versailles, reducing Germany's total payment by abolishing the power of the Reparations Commission. In 1924 the Locarno Conference was held and the Renan Pact was concluded to solve the security problem on the Franco-German-Belgian borders and the East European problem. German Chancellor Cuno offered France a guarantee of its western borders against the backdrop of an improving European economic situation, the resolution of the reparations issue and France's failure to annex the Ruhr. The British ambassador in Berlin suggested a resumption of the Franco-German border guarantee project.The Treaty of Rome reinstated sovereignty over Rijeka. Stresemann agreed in the hope of avoiding an Anglo-French mutual assistance treaty, obtaining an early withdrawal of Allied troops from the Rhineland, eliminating the possibility of further French unilateral action along the lines of the Ruhr.

On 5-16 October 1925, a conference was held attended by Chamberlain, Briand, Stresemann, Mussolini and Vandervelde, resulting in the mutual guarantee of the Franco-German and Belgian-German borders, with the Renan Pact guaranteeing Great Britain and Italy. If Germany invaded the demilitarised zone, it was considered a hostile act or being declared an aggressor state if it attacked Poland or Czechoslovakia, and France intervened without violating the provisions of the Locarno Pact. France signed mutual assistance treaties with Poland and Czechoslovakia.

France's objective was to obtain British guarantees by signing the Locarno Pact. The British were achieving a semblance of Franco-German reconciliation without making anything but political commitments. Germany gains from the provisions of the Rhenan Pact. In September 1926, Germany joins the League of Nations. On 17 September 1926, the Thoiry meeting is held. Briand proposed a series of concessions, such as the departure of the occupying troops from the Rhineland, the return of the Saarland, and the liquidation of the military control regime in exchange for financial concessions. But after the recovery of the French economy and the slowdown in disarmament negotiations in December 1926, Briand told Stresemann that he had to temporarily abandon the Thoiry proposals. Between 1926 and 1929, Briand and Stresemann were seeking a détente in Franco-German relations. Emil Mayrisch, a Luxembourg industrialist, initiated the materialisation of the attempt to build a new Franco-German relationship, representing the cartelisation of the metallurgical industry in France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Saar. The International Steel Alliance fixed production quotas between supplier countries and introduced the joint Franco-German Information Committee structure.

France has turned to collective security. Briand wanted to initiate a change in the attitude of the American administration, with whom relations had become strained over the issue of inter-allied debts, by suggesting a mutual commitment whereby France and the US renounced war in resolving political problems between them. American Secretary of State Kellogg modified the French plan, proposing the signing of a treaty of renunciation of war open to all nations. Under the 1926-27 Tirana Treaties, Italy provided protection for Albania. On 27 August 1928, 15 states signed the Pact of General Renunciation of War. All independent states joined, including the USSR and Turkey. On 9 February 1929, the Soviet Union, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania and Turkey signed the Litvinov Protocol. This initiated the pactomania that dominated the period 1926-1929, with the belief that the future of mankind would be peaceful. In August 1928, Strsemann demanded the departure of the last occupying troops from German territory, and Poincare and Briand decided to accept an early withdrawal in exchange for a solution to the reparations problem. In August 1929, a new conference met in The Hague and decided to withdraw the occupation troops from the Rhineland on 30 June 1930.

On 7 June 1929, a committee of experts from the beneficiary states and Germany met on a unanimous report - the Young Plan - which proposed a solution to the German economic situation. Germany gains financial autonomy, supplies in kind are reduced, eliminated within ten years. France failed to interlink the issue of reparations payments and that of inter-allied debts. The plan was adopted at the Hague Conference on 31 August 1929. A period of Franco-German détente followed. French security policy, however, involved expansion eastwards to counterbalance a potentially dangerous Germany. French diplomats focused on flanking alliances-1921 with Poland, 1924 with Czechoslovakia, 1926 with Romania, 1927 with Yugoslavia. The French focused on economic penetration in the Eastern European region, on total loans to Hungary, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland (700 million francs in total). French banks have entered the Eastern European market in force, controlling up to 50% of their capital. The German allocation turned out to be a tactical means of revising the Treaty of Versailles and securing hegemony in Central Europe. In March 1931, a draft for an Austro-Hungarian customs union marked a step towards a German Mittel Europe, but was unsuccessful under pressure from France. But Germany's policy of neutrality and friendship with the USSR in 1926 worried Paris.

In 1929, the New York stock market crash marked a turning point in the history of the interwar period, changing the economic, social, political and diplomatic life of Europe. The Great Depression destroyed confidence in economic liberalism and the ability of democratic governments to manage the dramatic situation of European economies properly. The economic crisis led to the impoverishment of the middle classes that supported moderate politics, creating the conditions for political drift towards extremism and the establishment of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes throughout Europe. The fragile international environment was characterised by frequent and severe international crises, political tensions compounded by severe economic problems and aggressive competition policies, and the exacerbation of nationalism.

In 1931, the economic crisis swept across Europe, affecting the Austrian and German banking systems. In contrast, France would experience a period of prosperity, with a financial strength and capital advantage. In July, German President Hindenburg appealed to the American administration for a moratorium on reparations payments. US President Hoover responded favourably. A moratorium on intergovernmental debts was declared from 1 July 1931 to 20 June 1932. The financial panic deepened and an international committee of experts concluded that Germany's financial stability was called into question by the international payments it had to make. France was prepared to accept a cancellation of reparations payments, provided that the payment of the inter-allied debts was stopped. On 10 December, the US Senate rejected the reduction of US claims. After the expiry of the moratorium, Germany is in default. A solution had to be found to avoid German bankruptcy. The UK and Italy supported the principle of cancelling reparations in full and called a new conference to discuss the reparations issue. In Lausanne on 16 June-9 July 1932, reparations owed by Germany were reduced to over 3 billion Reichsmarks.

In 1931, amid the impact of the economic crisis, the Manchurian crisis broke out. The fragile Japanese economy was suffering from the economic crisis and chaos was manifesting itself in China. In July-September 1931, incidents unfolded in Japanese-influenced southern Manchuria. The Japanese occupied most of Manchuria. The Council of the League of Nations demanded Japan's immediate withdrawal, but Japan refused, and the League of Nations decided to send a commission of inquiry chaired by Lord Lytton. The League was undecided, although leaders of small states like Benes and Titulescu were vociferous in their pro-Chinese views. Only Britain and the US could intervene against Japanese aggression. But both had huge financial problems and could not afford to launch a military intervention. London wanted a general agreement with Japan on the delimitation of spheres of influence in the Far East.

The crisis escalated in January-February 1932 after several attacks on Japanese citizens in Shanghai, and Japanese troops occupied the city. On 5 May, a truce is reached through British mediation. However, Japan continues its offensive in Manchuria in August 1932, and any organised resistance by regular Chinese troops ceases. On 18 February 1932 Manchuria's independence was proclaimed, and on 9 March Pu-Yi, the former emperor of China, became regent. On 2 October the Lytton Report is presented, the conclusions of which were discussed at the extraordinary session of the League meeting in 1932-33. The new document adopted unanimously was more critical of Japan: Chinese sovereignty over Manchuria unquestioned. The new state lacked legitimacy and should not be recognised, and Japanese troops should be withdrawn immediately. On 27 March 1933, Japan formally asked to leave the League of Nations.

The Preparatory Commission for Disarmament functioned in May 1926-January 1931 with the objective of preparing a Disarmament Conference. The Conference on Disarmament met on 2 February 1932 under the chairmanship of Arthur Henderson and was attended by 62 states. A number of projects were presented:

On 17 May, the new German Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, accepted the MacDonald Plan and on 7 June it was adopted by all participating states. But the conference was interrupted and resumed in October. There were a number of changes: Britain agreed to establish methods of disarmament control, France asked to extend the transitional period for Germany to achieve equal rights from 5 to 8 years. After four years, France would begin disarmament and Germany could re-arm. But the differences continued. On 14 October 1933, Germany left the Conference and, after five days, gave up its membership of the League of Nations. The Conference met until 1935, but negotiations were conducted between the German Nazi regime and Britain and France.

To ensure continental security, the Four Great Powers Pact was initiated, which Germany welcomed as a major blow to the idea of collective security, an idea inspired by a speech Mussolini made in Turin in 1932 which noted the ineffectiveness of the League of Nations and advocated the signing of a pact between the four Western powers. British Prime Minister MacDonald visited Rome to develop the plan for the pact as an opportunity to limit Germany's actions. Mussolini saw the pact as an instrument for the four great powers to jointly reform the system based on the Treaty of Versailles.

The amended version was signed on 7 June, adopting a policy of effective cooperation. But as border changes and treaty revisions could only be decided by the League of Nations by unanimous vote, the Pact was never ratified by the signatory states. Authoritarian regimes such as those in Germany, Italy and Japan resorted to aggressive solutions: economic recovery through the development of war industry, solving unemployment through mobilisation, economic autarchy and offensive foreign policy to open up the market by force. In his work Mein Kampf, Hitler outlines the main objectives of the Nazi Reich's foreign policy: the elimination of the constraints imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, the integration of the ethnic German population into Greater Germany, the acquisition of living space through conquests in Eastern Europe, the alliance with Fascist Italy and Great Britain and war with France.

Italy also had its own foreign agenda, through which Mussolini pursued an imperialist policy animated by the illusion of recovering the glorious past of the Romanian Empire. It oscillated in 1935 between Danubian Europe where it shared interests with Germany, the Mediterranean in competition with France and Britain, and East Africa, in addition to Libya, Somalia and Eritrea already held.

Germany, immediately out of the League of Nations, tried to take the diplomatic initiative by presenting a new plan in November-December 1933: an army of 300,000 soldiers based on short-term military service, equipped with the same weapons as in the other countries. Germany reaffirmed its loyalty to the Locarno decisions and accepted international control of its military forces and the annexation of Saarland without a plebiscite. France wanted Germany to rejoin the League of Nations. To prevent a break-up, Britain mediated, and Hitler and Mussolini accepted British proposals that echoed the ideas of the MacDonald plan. France publicly refused German rearmament. After leaving the Conference of Disarmament and the League of Nations and the failure of negotiations with France, the Nazi regime's aims were to neutralise France's alliance system. After the Concordat with the Papacy, the non-aggression treaty with Poland was concluded on 26 January 1934. For Poland, the non-aggression treaty was an important step in the policy of balance between the USSR and Germany. The German-Polish pact resulted in the beginning of a French diplomatic offensive. France was approaching Italy with the aim of strengthening anti-German opposition and building alliances in the east that would force Germany to fight on two fronts.

With his borders protected in the west by Locarno and freed from the worry of a conflict with Poland, Hitler turned his attention to Austria. In July 1934, in Vienna, the Nazis made a failed attempt to seize power. The assassination of Chancellor Engelbert Dulfuss and Austrian calls for German assistance prompted France and Italy to focus on Austrian independence. A Franco-Italian agreement is signed in January 1935, which eliminates their differences over Africa. The Saar, following a plebiscite, becomes part of the Reich. On 9 and 16 March, Hitler displays the existence of the German air force, even though it was forbidden under the Treaty of Versailles. Universal military service was introduced and 36 divisions were created.

Following the Stresa conference in April, the German actions were condemned, and in June 1935 Franco-Italian military talks were held to coordinate reactions to further violations of the Treaty of Versailles. Under French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou, France reopened its relationship with Russia, despite domestic opposition. French plans for Europe had two dimensions: multilateral-the creation of an Eastern Locarno, which would see Germany, Russia, Poland and the Baltic states integrated into a pact, and bilateral-a Franco-Soviet treaty. But the Eastern Pact failed, prompted by Poland's announcement that Soviet troops refused to transit its territory. Barthou was assassinated in Marseille, and the project was abandoned for good. The bilateral solution was encouraged by Germany's open rearmament. On 2 May 1935, France and Russia signed a mutual assistance pact, and on 16 May a similar treaty was concluded between the USSR and Czechoslovakia.

On 18 June 1935, Britain signed a naval agreement with Germany. Germany admitted that it was once again in breach of the Treaty of Versailles, owning a fleet equal to 35% of the tonnage of the British navy. The Anglo-German naval agreement meant the end of the Stresa Front and legitimised a new crack in the Versailles system. Relations between Italy and France and Britain became tense after Rome seemed to be gradually moving closer to Berlin.

On 3 October 1935, Mussolini ordered the attack on Ethiopia. France and Britain acted through the League of Nations, and economic sanctions were voted against Italy on 18 October. But following disagreements between the French and British, the sanctions were ineffective. By 1936, Ethiopia was defeated and occupied by the Italians. The Hoare-Laval plan to divide Ethiopia had failed, the idea of collective security was compromised, Anglo-French policy had failed, and Mussolini was grateful to Hitler for the benevolent neutrality displayed during the Ethiopian crisis.

Meanwhile, France ratifies a mutual assistance treaty with the USSR on 27 February 1936. Hitler, using it as a pretext, sends in German troops to reoccupy the Rhineland, cancelling the demilitarised zone status. The remilitarisation of the Rhineland did not seem to affect French military commanders, while the British government conveyed to France that the German action was not considered a flagrant violation of the Locarno Pact.

Hitler eliminates the possibility of external military intervention. Poland had become cooperative, Belgium's neutrality and the remilitarisation of the Rhineland reduced the chances of French military intervention, and Germany was preparing for a truly massive conflict. Meanwhile, the British and French turned their attention to the Iberian Peninsula.

On 17 July 1936, the leaders of the military garrisons in Spanish Morocco revolted against the socialist government. Civil war ensued. Rebel nationalist officers led by General Franco failed to take control of the entire army, so it received outside assistance from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in 1936 despite decisions taken by the non-intervention committee set up in September of which they were members. In October 1936, Belgium renounced its alliance with France and proclaimed its neutrality. Although some Eastern European states formally maintained their security relations with France, some rapprochement with the Third Reich was attempted. Hitler intended to prolong the civil war in Spain in order to strengthen relations with Italy, which was siding with the Nationalists, and to avoid a victory for the Soviet-backed Republicans.

Germany launched its four-year plan on 18 October 1936, designed to put the German economy on a war footing and make it self-sufficient in raw material supplies. Although unemployment had been eliminated, industrial production had increased and massive infrastructure projects were being implemented, the German economy was in a stalemate due to increased imports of raw materials. A diplomatic offensive was resumed to erode the French system of alliances. On 11 July 1936 the German-Austrian agreement was signed, and from 1937 to 1938 German pressure increased. On 25 October 1936, Germany and Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact against the USSR and Britain, planning a three-front conflict. In November 1937, Italy joins the Anti-Comintern Pact. On 26 October 1936 Italy and Germany conclude a cooperation agreement: the Berlin-Rome Axis.

On February 12, 1938, Hitler met with Chancellor Schuschnigg, threatening invasion if the Austrian Nazis were not allowed to enter the government. The Austrian Chancellor accepted the German demands, then opted to settle the question of Austria's status in a referendum to be held on 13 March. On 12 March, Hitler ordered the invasion of Austria, legitimised by a Nazi-organised referendum on 10 April. 97% of Austria's eligible voters were in favour of the Anschluss (annexation of Austria). In May 1938, the Sudeten Crisis broke out. Due to the mobilisation of the Czechoslovak army and strong messages from England and France, the crisis could not be resolved. Hitler took advantage of the German minority in Czechoslovakia (3 million ethnic Germans, the majority in the Sudetenland). The Führer officially claims the Sudetenland.

Although there were two meetings between Chamberlain and Hitler at Berchtesgaden and Godesberg in September 1938, the crisis was not resolved. The German powers were constantly receiving threats from Berlin of a new global conflict and calls to respect the right to self-determination of the Sudeten minority. Britain and France were desperate to avoid conflict with Germany. The British Prime Minister Chamberlain proposed an International Conference to discuss the Sudeten question, held in Munich on 29 September 1936, which brought together Germany, Italy, France and Britain. In the end, the Nazis achieved their goals: the Sudetenland was ceded to Germany. Czechoslovakia had to cede the Teschen region to Poland and parts of Slovakia to Hungary following an arbitration in Vienna.

The Little Entente broke up following the disintegration of Czechoslovakia. In 1939, Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia. Poland reverted to an intransigent policy towards Nazi Germany by refusing to join the Anti-Comintern Pact. On 14 March 1939, Slovakia proclaimed its autonomy, led by German-backed Tiso. Two days later, German troops occupied Prague and Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. In its place came Slovakia and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, and Hungary took over sub-Carpathian Ruthenia. In April 1939, Italy annexed Albania. Following the latter annexations, Britain and France attempted to create a bloc immune to Nazi influence by offering territorial guarantees to Poland, Greece and Romania, but with military support from the USSR. Poland and Romania refused any contact with the USSR, nor were Britain and France willing to enter into a formal alliance with the USSR. In May 1939, Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litinov was replaced by Molotov. On 22 May, Germany and Italy concluded the Pact of Steel. Germany and Japan create a parallel military alliance against the Western powers, but without success. German pressure on Poland intensified because of the Corridor issue that separated Germany from East Prussia, giving Poland an exit to the British Sea via the port of Danzig.

On 25 July, the French and British decided to send a military mission to Moscow to discuss technical issues regarding a possible alliance. But as the Franco-British delegation arrived late in Moscow and was made up of officers of little weight, Stalin was persuaded to accept an audience with the Nazi Foreign Minister Robbentrop on 23 August, and the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact was signed.

The Pact consisted of two documents: a public one which provided for neutrality to be maintained if one side was involved in a war, and a secret one - the Secret Additional Protocol - which demarcated spheres of influence in Eastern Europe, with Eastern Poland, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Bessarabia entering the Soviet sphere and Western Poland entering the German area.

Democratic regimes

At the outbreak of World War I, the Ottoman Empire is in decline and seeks to remain neutral. At the provocation of the young war minister Enver Pasha, Turkey entered the war in November 1914 on the side of the Central Powers. Three of Turkey's five armies were placed under the command of General Liman von Sanders. The Turkish fleet attacked British and French ships in the Black Sea. In 1915, 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a campaign that broke out over Armenian collaboration with the Russians. On 30 October 1918, the Ottoman Empire signs an armistice; Ottoman delegates arrived on the warship Agamemnon at the invitation of the victors from the Antante side. The aftermath of the war was devastating for the empire. The terms imposed by the victors (the British first and foremost) were crippling. The Ottoman Empire not only had to disband its army, it even had to allow the victorious powers access to the entire empire. Vast territories of Turkey proper were taken under the control of the victors. In Istanbul the Allied troops entered in force and again in a symbolic manner. On the same day, the Turkish juniors left first for Odessa, then for Berlin. Their leaders were Talaat, Gemal and Enver - those who had ruled the Ottoman Empire for the last 10 years. The three were to be assassinated, the first two by the Armenians, who were trying to avenge the genocide. The following months, the Entente troops occupied strategic areas of the Ottoman Empire as agreed. The British occupy eastern Anatolia, Iraq comes under British rule. The French occupy southern Anatolia - Kirika. The Italians landed at Konya and Adalia. The Greeks entered the west at Smyrna (Izmir).

With Britain's support, Arabia was liberated from Ottoman control, the Jews were promised part of Palestine as a nation state by the Balfour Declaration, and after the defeat of the Central Powers, the West occupied the rest of the empire. With the Treaty of Sevres in 1920, the Turkish Empire lost its sovereignty.

Resistance to the occupation regime was organised around Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), a general who had already distinguished himself during the First World War, a man who knew European civilisation quite well. He was a military man by profession and was a good organiser. He came from a mixed Turkish-Albanian family and became a symbol of Turkish nationalism. He had even distinguished himself in the war in superlative fashion. He won the victory at Gallipoli. He organised the defence so well that the British were defeated and forced to retreat. Still, the Ottoman Empire was a decadent one. Atatürk, after this victory, was sent to the Caucasus, hoping to suffer defeat, but the Bolshevik Revolution began and the Russians pulled out of the war. The Sultan continued to wish to compromise him. Kemal, in 1919, not only did not repress nationalist movements, but actually encouraged them. Kemal had democratic tendencies, but he was more of a modern military dictator.

The struggle for independence began in 1919, when Kemal and former naval officer Rauf Bey convened a national congress on 23 July in Erzerum. The congress founded the National Party, which set up its headquarters in Ankara after ousting the regime in Istanbul on 5 October 1919, winning an overwhelming victory in the elections. Its first success came when the USSR recognised its eastern borders. France is also forced to give up its territorial claims in 1921. The war against Greece, which was aimed at annexing Constantinople and parts of Anatolia, ended with the expulsion of the Greek army and the Greek population settled in these territories.

At the Erzurum Congress (July-August 1919), things were going in favour of the Kemalists, whom the Sultan considered rebels. However, it was a trap, as Istanbul was still under the control of the Antante and the Sultan. The congresses decided that the overwhelmingly Arab-populated regions should decide their own fate, but at the Paris Peace Congress they came under the control of the victorious powers (France, England). The second point provided for plebiscites in the Caucasus, in the hope that territories in the area would become part of Turkey. The determination of the status of Eastern Thrace was to be guided by the outcome of the free vote. The sixth point guaranteed that the rights of minorities would be respected, in defiance of the Antante and subordination to the Sultan. The Antante troops leave Istanbul. The Sultan's ties with the Kemalists are severed for good after they are arrested and sent into exile in Malta. Mustafa Kemal moves Turkey's capital to Ankara. The Kemalists form a seven-member alternative government. The first state the Kemalist power turned to was Bolshevik Russia. Kemal wrote to Lenin, who wrote back, as he too needed help. An agreement was signed between the two sides, very advantageous for the Turks, who received arms and bags of gold across the Caucasus.

Increasingly consistent military and political successes followed. From June 1921, the powers of the Entente are defeated and withdraw: first the Italians, then the French. In the meantime, the most important successes of the Kemalist army against the Greeks have occurred. Kemalist power was encouraged by the Sultan's acceptance of the Treaty of Sevres (10 August 1920), which was burdensome and humiliating for the Turks. The struggle for independence ended with the destruction of Izmir. On 11 October 1922, the occupying powers concluded the Peace of Mudanya with the government. In 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne gave international recognition to the Turkish state.

The Sultan's government accepted the formation of an independent Armenia, the formation of a Kurdish state, the obligation to pay debts to the Ottoman Empire, the cession of territories to European powers. Ismet Pasha stopped the Greeks from entering Ankara at Inonu. In August 1921, when the Greeks supported by the British with arms and advisors advanced once again and were defeated on the Sakarya River. A long wait in favour of the Kemalists followed. The decisive battle came in August 1922, with the Greeks suffering a crushing defeat also on Sakarya. They were thrown into the Aegean Sea. About 1 million Greeks fled Turkey. The effect of the Greek migration was to destabilise the country. Three former prime ministers and two former foreign ministers were killed.Not only Greece was defeated, but even the British. The law abolishing the sultanate was passed, with Mehmet VI having little influence on politics. He retired to Malta. In 1922, the sultanate was abolished before the first president was elected. The caliphate, the religious courts and the office of supreme leader of Islam were abolished. On 29 October 1923, Kemal proclaimed a republic and moved the capital to Ankara. Thus began the reform process.

The next 15 years of Kemal's rule brought radical political and social changes to Turkey. The 1925 dress reform allowed women to stop wearing the veil and men the headdress. The Gregorian calendar and the metric system were adopted, and a legal system was implemented that was adopted by other European nations: the Swiss civil code, the German commercial code and the Italian penal code. Monogamous marriage, equality between men and women were introduced, and in 1930 women were given the right to vote and in 1934 women could hold public office and had the right to divorce. In 1925, religious opposition parties were banned.

In 1933 Istanbul University was established; then Ankara University. In 1928 the simpler and more efficient Latin alphabet was introduced. Many economic reforms were carried out. Turkey experienced a fabulous increase in production, many steel mills were built and more than 6 million hectares were cultivated. In less than 100 years the population grew from 10 to 70 million. Kemal was honoured with the nickname Atatürk (Father of the Turks), who died in 1938 and was succeeded by his former comrade-in-arms, Ismet Inonu, who continued Turkey's modernisation policy.

France's demographic situation had become desperate after the First World War. With 1.7 million dead, 2.8 million wounded and 600 000 disabled, France had a population of 39.2 million, 400 000 fewer than before the outbreak of war. To counter denaturalisation, the law against abortion was passed as France was unable to mobilise at a level comparable to Germany. 48% of the French lived in the countryside, the rest in urban agglomerations, cities like Paris with 6 million inhabitants. The middle classes were hardest hit and hardest hit by the currency crisis, with rents being locked in and housing stock compromised, slowing the pace of new housing construction. Inflation, rising cost of living, falling real wages contributed to the deterioration of living conditions. Speculators, middlemen and industrialists benefited from the war, becoming the nouveau riche. In December 1918, the General Confederation of Labour proposed a radical project: the 8-hour day, equal pay regardless of gender, the generalisation of collective agreements and the nationalisation of certain economic sectors, some of which were legislated in 1919. The war contributed to an increase in trade union membership, with over 2 million members in 1920. The failure of the 1920 strikes and the split of the far left caused the trade union movement to ebb. The peasantry was slow to develop, with the rural exodus accelerating after 1920. Electricity, radio and public transport are introduced in the villages. But the rural environment remained conservative, and farmers organised themselves into associations such as the Jeunesse Agricole Chretienne.

Coal production was down from 41 million tonnes in 1913 to 22 million tonnes in 1918. But French industry proved to be dynamic in the field of electricity, the railway network being electrified, in the automobile industry, in 1928 there were 250,000 vehicles of French brands such as Renault, Peugeot and Citroen, occupying second place with 5% of total production, in Michelin rubber processing, in oil refining, in the steel industry, in the chemical industry, in aluminium processing, and the doubling and modernisation of the industry was due to the American methods and innovations introduced and to advertising.

But taxation had become burdensome-more than 10% of product sales, high tariffs protected French industry but stifled the spirit of initiative, and agricultural property was unprofitable due to its small size even though the cereal-growing regions would have record yields.

The French Socialist Party (SFIO) was one of the basic pillars of the First International. After being discredited by the war, it joined the Third International. The SFIO sent two observers to the Second Congress of the Comintern, and they became supporters of the 21 conditions on the transformation of socialist parties into extremist left-wing movements. In December 1920, the SFIO Congress was held in Tours. Leon Blum opposed the party's membership of the Communist International, invoking the traditional principles of French socialist doctrine, refusing unconditional dependence on the Comintern, rejecting doctrinal monolithism and the subjection of trade unions to the party. But the majority of delegations decided to join and the French Communist Party-French Section of the Communist International-SFIC emerged. Blum and his supporters remained in the SFIO.

And on the trade union front, the split is taking place. In 1921, the Communists left the CGT and formed the General Confederation of United Labour-CGTU. The CGT was strengthened by the accession of the civil servants' unions, developing a strategy combining trade union struggle and negotiations and remaining the largest French trade union central. Ideologically, the SFIO adopted a moderate stance, recruiting not only workers but also petty bourgeois and civil servants, with its electoral centre in the industrialised north. The Socialist Party was Marxist, maintaining reformist politics, debate and diversity of ideas, while the SFIC affirmed its opposition to capitalism and traditional socialism, following Soviet directives, adopting a class-versus-class policy, banning any rapprochement with left-wing movements competing for the same electorate.

It had electoral successes in 1924 and 1928 thanks to its radical speeches, but lost many supporters, maintaining its electoral strongholds in the Paris suburbs and the rural departments west of the Massif Central. Radicalism developed, a traditional French radical movement which defined itself by its attachment to the Republic, the secularity of the state and its belief in the League of Nations, and proposed social justice, but refused levelling and equality of educational opportunities. The electorate of the radicals was composed of the lower and middle bourgeoisie and, to a small extent, the peasantry. The functionaries moved towards the socialists after 1920, while the radicals slid to the right but retained some left-wing elements. There were two opposing tendencies, the moderate Eduard Herriot and the aggressive Eduard Daladier, and to resolve the conflict, J Zay, P Coty and P Mendes-France renewed the Radical doctrine by proposing an increased role for the interventionist state in economic life.

The parliamentary right was conservative, committed to the social order, economically liberal and against the interventionist state. The 'right-wing' political current was not organised in parties, but in parliamentary groups called the independents or the alliance of democrats, which included personalities such as Poincare, Laval, Briand and Tardieu. The far right was anti-republican and monarchist and expressed itself through the French Action represented by Charles Maurras and Leon Daudet, which won a small number of seats in the National Assembly. It was condemned by the Pope for its extremely aggressive discourse against the Republic, Jews and foreigners, with the support of the daily Echo de Paris and the paramilitary group les camelots du roi.

The right-wing opposition expressed itself through activist movements, leagues, hierarchical, disciplined organizations, which declared themselves French, patriotic, apolitical, anti-Marxist, antiparliamentary and authoritarian, such as the Fox Cross, Jeunesses Patriotes, Solidarite Francaise, and were financed by big industrialists such as Renault, Michelin and Mercier. Fascism only penetrated into small circles like the movement led by Georges Valois, into political and literary journals like those of Robert Brasillach and Driere LaRochelle, and Marcel Deat would split off from the SFIO a non-socialist group that wanted to maintain the proletariat and the middle classes under the slogan "Order, Authority and Nation", and Marcel Bucard, financed by Mussolini, proposed Francoism, a fascist current, and in 1936, an ex-communist, Georges Doriot, would found the French People's Party, which was National Socialist.

In November 1929, following parliamentary elections, a conservative and nationalist National Assembly was formed, including veterans. 433 seats out of 613 are won by the centre-right due to fears of the Bolshevik threat. In January 1920, despite his prestige, Clemenceau is defeated by Deschanel, due to dissatisfaction with his attitude at the Peace Conference. Deschanel is succeeded the same year by Al. Millerand. Associations of former combatants were formed, victories were celebrated, and lavish ceremonies were held in Alsace and Lorraine. Joan of Arc is canonised by the Pope's goodwill, and Artistide Briand re-established links with the papacy, anticlericalism having been overcome.

But the economic situation was difficult, unemployment and bankruptcy were on the rise, and labour movements and strikes were multiplying and becoming more radical, with the government overreacting by using military intervention. In 1920, a CGT-organised rail strike is organised, but fails. The currency crisis worsens as the value of the franc falls. Prices were rising, purchasing power was falling, and financial woes were compounded by a budget burdened by war pension payments and reconstruction costs. Banks began speculating again. The imposition of reparations payments to Germany was difficult to enforce, and the occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 was to bring an even larger budget deficit. Raymond Poincare, President of the Council of Ministers, proposed to stop inflation through budgetary consolidation, tax increases and foreign borrowing, but he resigned when he was unsuccessful. In 1924, elections were won by a coalition of radicals and socialists, and a disgruntled Millerand also resigned, succeeded by the moderate republican Doumergue.

The leader of the Radical Party, Eduard Herriot, became Prime Minister, leading a homogeneous radical government, supported by Socialists who could not be in government to avoid alienating the French business community. It sought recognition of trade union rights for civil servants, failing to impose a secular education programme. The financial situation was increasingly difficult, the Treasury was in difficulties, and due to alarmed public opinion and lack of support from the socialists, the government resigned in April 1925 and the franc fell by 50%. In July 1926, a national union government of right-wingers and radicals was formed, led by Poincare. It sought to restore the treasury, pay off the public debt and recover the franc, and to get business circles to repatriate capital and attract foreign investment. Although the National Union won the 1928 elections, the radicals split and Poincare retired ill, followed by centrist politicians Laval and then Tardieu, who was a leftist who imposed free secondary education and a social security plan. But the French political and financial climate was deteriorating and political scandals, corruption, compromises between businessmen and politicians were intensifying, and widespread anti-parliamentary attitudes were growing.

In 1930 agricultural prices fall, boosted by the good harvests of the previous years. The franc was artificially rising while sterling and other currencies were devaluing. Declining purchasing power of farmers and shrinking exports led to shrinking production and unemployment, with 300,000 French unemployed. Public work programmes were launched to attract unemployed labour, such as the Alsatian canal and the Maginot fortifications. Due to the collapse of farmers' incomes in 1932, the elections are won by socialists and radicals who promise social protection but have no clear plan and do not prove effective. They turned to protectionism, subsidising businesses, encouraging the reduction of agricultural production through a system of premiums. Economic activity has not recovered and budgetary balance has been compromised, so firms like Bugatti or Citroen have gone bankrupt, and gold reserves and the Bank of France's debts have shrunk.

A political crisis erupts, and the government faces an opposition campaigning for tax increases and budget spending cuts. The left opposed direct taxes, the right opposed direct taxes, and the executive was paralysed, political instability ensued, with four successive governments in 1933 alone amid political scandals (such as the Stavinsky Affair of December 1934 involving bank note fraud, and Stavinsky, who discovered them, died suspiciously), the deepening crisis and the anti-parliamentary wave among the middle classes and the peasantry, followed by the rise of the extreme right, which was manifesting itself in the press against Jews and foreigners. In February 1934, Daladier, the new President of the Council of Ministers, appeared before the Chambers, while thousands of demonstrators who were also veterans headed for the Palais Bourbon under the pretext of the revocation of the prefect of police. The police intervened and there were violent clashes and many casualties. Daladier withdrew and right-wing demonstrations continued, with popular rallies and trade union strikes organised by left-wing parties. A government of national concentration led by Doumergue, Tardieu, Herriot, Laval, Barthou and Petain is formed, with right-wing leanings. In 1936, after Pierre Laval approached Mussolini, the radicals joined the opposition, causing the cabinet to resign. The government was able to cut public spending by 10%, lowering wages and rent prices and laying off 500 000 workers. In July 1934, the PCF and the SFIO concluded a first pact of unity of action, in which the communist leader Thorez called for a popular front of labour, freedom and peace. In July 1935, joint demonstrations of communists, socialists and radicals take place. In January 1936 the CGTU united with the CGT despite their differences to oust the right-wing government.

In April-May 1936, socialists, radicals and communists participated in a common and fundamental programme to defend republican freedoms and social progress, the Popular Front won a majority in the Chamber of Deputies and the new government was led by the socialist Leon Blum, with only socialist and radical ministers, supported by the PCF.

In May 1936, following the success of the Popular Front, large-scale strikes are organised by 2.5 million workers who leave the Paris car factories. The strike spreads to all sectors of the economy, threatening total paralysis in France. On 7 June 1936, the Mantignon Agreements are signed between the CGPF and the CGT under government arbitration, providing for the conclusion of collective labour contracts, freedom of association, a 7-15% pay rise, a 40-hour working week and 15 days' paid annual leave.

But the Blum government met with multiple opposition. The Fire Crosses became the French Social Party with 600,000 members. Secret Committees of the Revolutionary Action sprang up, accusing Blum of being a Jew, and anti-Semitism and anti-parliamentarianism increased. Blum was unable to honour his commitments, succeeding only in increasing state control of the Bank of France and nationalising French arms factories and railways. Employers dissatisfied with the government's intervention, capital exited the country, leading to a new crisis and a further devaluation of the currency in 1936, with unemployment rising in 1937 and wage benefits reduced by rising prices. In June 1937, Leon Blum appeared before the Senate asking for full financial powers, but the Upper House refused to grant them, as it was not sufficiently controlled by the Popular Front. Blum would return in March 1938, but failing again, he withdrew. The government of the Popular Front was over.

In April 1938 Daladier's government, made up of radicals, centre and moderates, is installed, obtaining an exceptional mandate from the Senate, decreeing economic laws on budgetary savings. New taxes are introduced and labour regulations disappear. Strikes organised by the CGT are suppressed. Although the measures were unpopular, they were effective in stopping the economic crisis. The armament effort is stepped up and France is prepared for a new war.

Britain lost its monopoly on oil due to American and German competition and the emergence of other energy sources such as oil. British machinery was technologically outdated. Only a quarter of coal was mechanically mined, compared to France and Germany who mechanically mined 89% of coal. Despite having durable, long-life equipment, Britain lost competition in the textile and metalworking industries, losing its dominant place as a successful economic and industrial model that it had held in the 19th century.

In 1914 the British Empire lost economic primacy to Germany and the USA. After the war, Britain's old customers, Russia and China, were in trouble or bankrupt, as were Germany and central Europe. Exports fell by 15% in 1929 compared to 1913. British manufacturers were attached to traditional products and were late to adapt to the changing demand, concentrating on consumer goods such as fridges, gramophones and radios. The individuality of British employers lacked economic dynamism. Wage costs were inflexible, outstripping German by 30%, French by 40% and Italian by 50%. Burdensome taxation discouraged investors. The North East, Scotland, Lancashire and South Wales were hit by unemployment. By contrast, the Midlands and London were benefiting from massive industrial establishment and increasing job supply. The British Conservative Party dominated the political class, polling 38-55% in the midst of the economic crisis, with figures such as Bonar Law, Stanley Baldwin, Austin Chamberlain, Samuel Hoare and former Liberal Winston Churchill.

The party's principles focused on the defence of tradition, free enterprise, financial rigour and social order. The party claimed to be reformist and was supported electorally by the upper aristocracy and bourgeoisie, as well as the highly educated middle class and the working poor, and enjoyed the prestigious support of the Times, Daily Express, Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail.

The Labour Party also enters the political class in force, winning 30% of the vote, becoming the party with the largest number of supporters in 1926, with political figures such as Ramsay MacDonald, Sydney Webb, Phillip Snowden and Clement Attlee. Although loyal to the Socialist International, it refused to accept the British Communist Party, having a radical, collectivist, egalitarian programme, gradually becoming more liberal and cautious, being a party of social justice, progressive, pacifist and anti-fascist. Supporters from the ranks of skilled workers and intellectuals were recruited from Yorkshire, the mining districts of Wales and London, with the Daily Herald as its publication.

While the two parties were on the rise, the Liberal Party was in a long decline due to conflicts between leaders Lloyd George and Asquith, despite past successes such as social advances, Irish autonomy and victory in the First World War. It was perennially in third place, and from 1928 had a more radical programme etched after Keynes' views. It had as its leading figures Shir John Simon and Walter Runciman, with the liberal Manchester Guardian as its publication.

The British Communist Party was created in 1920 with 10,000 members and even sent two MPs to the British Parliament. Although it took advantage of social tensions, it was unable to mobilise sufficient numbers of malcontents in the 1932 "hunger march", even though they benefited from labour publications like the Daily Worker.

The British Union of Fascists came into being in 1931, created by former Labour minister Oswald Mosley, with 20,000 supporters from the middle classes, mostly in London. In 1936 the Public Order Act was passed banning the wearing of uniforms. In July 1940, the Union was dissolved.

The British cabinet was strengthened after the war, and the institutional balance and control of parliament over the executive was intact. The majority party governed under opposition control and the arbitrage of the nation. There were 8 governments and 5 prime ministers in the interwar period, with the electorate being called upon to settle parliamentary debates that caused unrest.

The British Parliament was the sole repository of national sovereignty. The House of Commons saw its legitimacy increase with the introduction of universal suffrage for 21-year-olds. An MP's salary was three times the average worker's wage. Parliament's legislative role was diminishing thanks to the intense projects proposed by the executive, but governments still remained dependent on supporters in parliament. From 1923, MacDonald was appointed Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister's membership of the House of Commons became a binding tradition. In 1937 the title of Prime Minister and the existence of the Cabinet was recognised by the Crown Act. The monarchy retains its prestige, and in 1936 the dynastic crisis is overcome. The monarchical institution was not passive in the face of changes in British society and contributed directly to political developments by appointing Labour prime ministers.

From 1916, Liberal David Lloyd George led a government of national unity alongside the Conservatives and Labour, but without consulting the Houses through a five-member war cabinet for the duration of the war.

In December 1918, the Conservatives won 48% of the vote, the Liberals 14%, Labour 22%, forming a Conservative-Liberal coalition cabinet. The government was preoccupied with reviving consumption and investment, causing the economy to overheat and prices to rise. Bank notes were issued in massive numbers during the war, the pound depreciated against other currencies and the foreign debt worsened. The executive resorted to deflationary measures, cutting government spending on defence, health and education, prices thus stabilised, the value of the pound rose, but exports fell, output fell and unemployment rose. The government introduced a programme of reforms-210,000 social housing units, improved the status of women-while the trade unions were much more militant, demanding wage increases, shorter working hours and nationalisation of manufacturing sectors, and demonstrating their demands through numerous strikes. The government granted concessions, with an 8-hour working day.

In 1920 the Emergency Power Act is passed, giving the executive exceptional powers. In April 1921 there is a massive protest after the executive tried to rationalise the mining industry and reform the railway system. Miners and workers go on general strike, but the strike fails due to the withdrawal of railroad and transport workers. Lloyd George faced external difficulties in Ireland, India and the Middle East, and the Conservatives withdrew their support. Lloyd-George resigned in October 1922. In the November 1922 election, the Conservative Party wins with 38% of the vote, the Liberals-29% and Labour-30%.

Bonar Law is appointed Prime Minister, but he retires ill and hands over to Stanley Baldwin, who was backed by the big banks and employers. He proposed a pro-business policy, but in order to stop unemployment by encouraging domestic production he initiated protectionist measures. Another general election was held in December 1923, in which the Conservatives won 38%, Labour 31% and the Liberals 30%, with no party winning a majority. Labour came to power with Liberal support, and a government was formed led by the moderate Ramsay MacDonald, who proposed a softer socialist programme-reduced indirect taxes, developed the social home network, democratised secondary education, increased benefits for the unemployed and elderly, and in foreign policy maintained open relations with the USSR, thus losing Liberal support and being attacked by the Conservatives. Another election was called in October 1924 in which the Conservatives won 47% of the vote, Labour 33% and the Liberals 18%. A Conservative government is formed, led by Stanley Baldwin, with Churchill as finance minister. He proposed restoring the value of the pound and in 1925 the Gold Standard Act, by converting it to gold, returns the pound to its pre-war value. But economic problems worsen as British exports fall, prices and production costs are cut, and in the absence of effective re-training, wages are cut. In 1926, miners' wages are cut and a general strike breaks out for eight days on 4-12 May. The government gained full powers and pressured the unions to resume work, but the miners held out for 8 months before accepting the wage cuts. The Baldwin cabinet won a 1927 vote on the Industrial Disputes Act banning strikes, depriving civil servants of trade union rights and abolishing compulsory union membership dues to the Labour Party. Unions weakened, but social tensions continued.

The crisis has had economic effects such as shrinking trade, falling exports and shipbuilding revenues, unemployment in industrial sectors. Labour came to power in 1929, but it stirred up the business circles which sold sterling for francs, amplifying the withdrawal of American funds, and then the crisis deepened due to the Central European banking crash of 1931.

In May 1929, a new election is held: Conservatives-38%, Liberals-23% and Labour with 37%, forming a government led by Labour's MacDonald, while the Conservatives will be united in opposition, with the options of raising taxes and reducing budget spending to get out of the crisis. The Liberals were divided between the right wing led by Sir John Simon who advocated deflationism and the left wing led by Lloyd-George who proposed increasing consumption by making credit cheaper and increasing the budget deficit. The governing Labour Party suffered from internal divisions, agreeing to tax large wealth but oscillating between deflationary measures and dirigiste methods. In August 1931, the MacDonald government resigned.

King George V invited the political forces to form a government of national union, and successive governments were formed under MacDonald, Baldwin, Chamberlain, dominated by Conservatives who held 473 seats in 1931, 387 in 1935. The pound has fallen by 30%, but British products are back in competition on the international market and exports are resumed, with funds being brought into the budget. Interest is lowered from 6% to 2%, the domestic market is protected by tariffs, investment is revived. In 1931 the Import Duties Act is passed. In 1932 a general tariff was imposed to protect production and the domestic market. The "Buy British" campaign is launched. In August 1932, imperial preference is established among Commonwealth countries and a sterling zone is organised to protect the imperial economy.

The Coal Mines Act of 1930 brought about the concentration of mining activity. Steel trusts such as British Iron & Steel, Unilever in chemicals, the Cotton Industrial Reorganization Act in textiles, and the Rootes car industry. New industries appear in electricity and rubber processing which create new jobs. Agriculture is reorganised. Subsidies are granted at guaranteed prices that Agricultural Marketing Acts and Wheat Act. Unemployment is phased out.

In 1929, 4% of Britons shared 1

Mass distribution stores like Woolworth's have progressed. In 1924, the Housing Act introduced a social housing programme. Each middle-class home had home comforts, a car, consumer goods and a week's paid holiday. In 1918 the Fischer Act was implemented, making schooling compulsory up to the age of 14. Poverty persisted, but gradually declined thanks to reforms. Since the economic reforms, food has improved, housing has become more comfortable, and access to modern consumer goods, such as radio and cinema, has increased. Social housing was standardised, with bathrooms, gas and electricity.

The 1920s had a noisy and stormy daily life, specific only to the urban environment, with 80% of the population being concentrated there. Leisure became essential, and tourist resorts such as Blackpool, Clacton and Yarmouth appeared, aimed at classes other than the elite. Scooters, cars and roller skates are introduced and become fashionable.

Women's access to all fields widened, becoming more legally and culturally emancipated thanks to the 1919 law facilitating divorce and access to the legal profession. In 1920 the first deaconesses are appointed in the Church of England, Oxford and Cambridge universities admit students and the first woman MP, Lady Astor, is ceremoniously received into parliament. The fashion of the woman-flapper is launched, the frivolous, non-conformist type wearing short skirts and high heels, having a short haircut, listening to jazz, BBC radio, dancing the Charleston and black bottom, playing various games. The concept of the modern woman was born.

Exotic dress predominates and even one MP, John Hodge, appears in a yellow suit with yellow socks and a panama hat. The cinema is for all walks of life, being silent until 1927, reflecting the need for fantasy and enjoyment, comedy films with actors like Charlie Chaplin ,Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, adventure films like Tarzan or cartoons like Felix the Cat being successful.

Unlike the noisy 1920s, the 1930s became nostalgic, sad, dominated by neo-Victorian style, long skirts, wavy hairstyles, discreet colours, motherhood being reinstated, and Victorian romance and humour were favourites, the ballet regained its audience, and Frenchman Rene Clair's films competed on British screens with the Marx Brothers' comedies, while interest in nature grew, with parks springing up and cruises to Morocco, the Canary Islands and Scandinavia. The urban middle bourgeoisie was huge in numbers, playing an important economic and political role, bridging the gap between the aristocratic elite and the lower classes. Although democratic, cosmopolitan, dynamic and enterprising, Britain was concerned about the development of international relations, especially the rise of Nazism and Communism in Europe.

In 1916 the Irish proclaim Irish independence, but are defeated by the English army. The Constituent Assembly in Dublin proclaims Ireland's independence in 1914. In 1921, by an Anglo-Irish agreement, Ireland becomes a dominion (creation of the state of Ireland. In 1922, a full-scale civil war breaks out, pitting those who refuse to share the island against those in government. In 1937 Ireland declares itself independent and sovereign under the name Éire. A new constitution is adopted

Totalitarian regimes

In 1915 Britain, France and Russia persuaded neutral Italy to enter the First World War. Despite a minimal military contribution, Italy resented being sidelined at peace negotiations. With half a million dead and at the height of an economic crisis, internal factions led Italy into civil war.

From the three currents (nationalism, futurism, revolutionary syndicalism) come Arditi. The leader of the Arditi creates an organisation, Arditi Italia, and publishes a newspaper, L'Ardito. With these premises, however, Futurism was not very successful in its early months. In November 1919 the first post-war elections with universal suffrage were held, the Socialist Party came first with 156 deputies, the Italian People's Party was second with over 20% of the vote and 100 deputies, the Fascists had no deputies.Thus began the crisis and at the second national meeting, 1920, Carli and Marinetti withdrew from office. Mussolini himself was thinking of abandoning the movement, but rescue came in an unexpected way. Italy was in crisis, the left was strong, a communist party had been created and the Italians even invented a new form of strike, with the occupation of businesses. Given these conditions, the state refrained from intervening, preferring to take advantage of the ardent strikers who fought against the strikers.They attacked the town halls where the socialists had won, fought with the strikers, used extreme violence, their weapon was the bat (manganello). Sometimes they caught their opponents, poured castor oil down their throats.In a country lacking democratic experience, fascist violence propelled them onto the political stage.The number of fascists grew spectacularly at the same time as the popularity of the movement. By 1921 the fascists had 250,000 members.They were successful because they were banking on strengthening the state.

Italians were deprived and felt the need for a strong state, with the fascists promoting statocracy. Even in the struggle between party and state, the state was favoured in Italy.Mussolini said in 1919 that fascism means that everything is in the state and nothing human is outside the state, from this point of view fascism is totalitarian. It is the totalitarian essence of fascism. It differs from the other form of the capitalist system, liberalism (the state must be a minimum of organization, because it is only a necessary evil that must ensure the safety of citizens, economic stability). Totalitarianism, however, involves the state in all the daily, even private, activities of the people, something that exists in communism, fascism, Nazism and other forms.The following year, 1922, Mussolini claimed power, especially since he was the fifth government.

The Nationalist Right, with the slogan "Victory amputated", led by Benito Mussolini, turned into a violent and chaotic movement. In Rome and other areas, fascists waged bloody street battles against socialist and communist groups, and the parties failed to control the situation. In October 1922 Mussolini organised the March on Rome and demanded power. King Victor Emmanuel III accepted and granted him extensive powers. A coalition government was formed, as Fascism felt that a national government was needed.There were no Socialists and only three Fascists in the government. Elections were held in 1924 under the Acerbo Law, which gave a first majority to the party that won more than 40% of the vote and received more than 50% of the seats in parliament. The Fascists obtained a clear majority, 275 deputies, in coalition with the Nationalists and Liberals there were 374.

Mussolini took advantage of the internal crisis and after the assassination of the socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti in 1925, he established a personal dictatorship. All opposition parties were outlawed, Parliament was dissolved, the OVRA political police was created, individual civil rights were abolished, while the Church and the King retained their powers.

In 1929, Mussolini and Pope Pius XII concluded the Lateran Treaty which guaranteed the Vatican independent status. Mussolini kept his distance from Hitler and the Nazi regime, promising to defend Austria against the Anschluss. In 1935 the Stresa Front was formed with France and Britain to prevent further breaches of the Treaty of Versailles by Germany. In 1936 Mussolini invaded Ethiopia

Spain was shaken by political turmoil after the First World War. Corruption, separatist aspirations in Catalonia, and attempts to appease the protectorate in northern Morocco against Abd El Krim, leader of the independence movement, weakened the parliamentary monarchy, and in 1923 General Miguel Primo de Rivera staged a coup. He installed a personal dictatorship tolerated by King Alfonso XIII.

Despite a favourable end to the war in the Moroccan War, in 1930 the King was forced to abdicate due to economic and social problems. With the Pact of San Sebastian in 1930, republican parties and intellectuals like Jose Ortega y Gasset overthrew the monarchy. In 1931, they were victorious and the king was forced to leave the country. The Second Spanish Republic was founded, but became a target for radical political forces on the left and right. In 1933, there were violent riots organised by trade union workers demanding social reforms. The fascist movement strengthened, and in 1933 the anti-democratic Spanish Falange Party was founded and became the decisive instrument of the regime.

Strikes and political assassinations have widened the gap between conservative-nationalist forces, Republicans and radical socialists. In 1936, General Francisco Franco staged a coup d'état against the Popular Front that caused the Civil War. On 26 April 1937 the German Luftwaffe air force destroyed Guernica and bombed the civilian population to lower Republican morale. Many countries like Germany, Italy and the USSR got involved. The Republic fell in 1939 after Franco's troops conquered Barcelona. Francisco Franco installed a dictatorial regime in devastated Spain. He outlawed the establishment of political parties and suppressed opposition. 350 000 opponents were executed and thousands imprisoned, persecuting communists, Spain was a member of the Anticomintern Pact. But Franco's regime remained neutral during the Second World War.

The Weimar Republic was a period in German history that lasted from the end of World War I until Hitler's rise to power.

Although it is considered to be a democratic constitutional period marked by cultural development, it was fraught with difficulties. Not a single generation has benefited from its advantages or suffered its disadvantages to the full, and has been gripped by the drama of defeat. The Weimar Republic was a period of experimentation with democracy. Traces of the empire had completely disappeared and society was marked by organised anarchy. The war was not even over when revolutionary movements were launched. Germany, although it had played an extremely dangerous offensive role in the war, lost it due to economic limitations and population exhaustion. In early October 1918, the government was changed and a civilian was brought in to head it, and the military sought to leave the responsibility to the civilians. The leader of the German government, together with the leader of the Austro-Hungarian government, asked the American president to end the war.

But the response was two weeks late and was a negative one, demanding capitulation and the implementation of far-reaching changes. On 11 November 1918 the armistice was signed. Germany collapsed from within in a dissolution. The movement started from the city of Kiel where the war fleet was stationed, which was ordered to go out to sea and challenge the British fleet, but it turned out to be a suicide attack, the sailors thus protested, starting the "German revolution" that changed the old order. Arsenal workers went on strike, forming the first workers' and sailors' councils. The uprising spread to Germany's major cities and was seized upon by left-wing political forces, and on 7 November the independent socialist Kurt Eisner proclaimed a Soviet-style Republic of Councils in Bavaria. But the socialist left was divided between the German Social Democratic Party-SPD, which called for an armistice, the release of political prisoners and the abdication of the Kaiser, and the radical Spartakus-USDP organisation, which proposed a Bolshevik revolution. On 9 November, the revolution spread to Berlin and the socialist Scheidemann proclaimed the Republic while the Spartakist Liebknecht proclaimed the Socialist Republic. Emperor Wilhelm II abdicated.

On 10-15 November, 10,000 workers' and soldiers' councils were created in Germany, and a government was formed in Berlin consisting of 6 People's Commissioners-3 from the SPD, 3 from the USPD, led by Ebert. On 15 November an agreement was reached between the bosses and the trade unions which achieved the following: 8-hour working day, freedom of association, organisation of factory committees, while the socialist workers' representatives dropped their demands for nationalisation.

The army declared itself neutral if order was restored. On 28 November the SPD began preparations for the election of the Constituent Assembly. Right-wing parties emerge, while the Spartacists become the leaders of left-wing extremism. The conflict between the Socialists and the Spartacists worsened on 6 December. The government decides to dissolve the USPD-controlled Berlin Council Committee. The USPD commissioners left the government and the Spartacists founded the Communist Party. Violent clashes broke out between USPD and SPD supporters in the capital, and the governor of Berlin dismissed the perfect Communist police. Spartacists staged demonstrations that degenerated into armed clashes with the police, but the villages were untouched by the revolution. The army was called in to defend the government and on 9-12 January bloody fighting broke out in Berlin, the Spartacist insurrection was defeated and Spartacist leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were arrested and executed.

Reform began to be implemented, with the legalisation of women's suffrage, the liberalisation of morals and the politicisation of youth. However, the republic was challenged by the repression of the Spartakist uprising. The regime was forced to take responsibility for the Treaty of Versailles. Although it lost territory, Germany maintained its territorial balance and restraint as a result of the growing awareness of Germanness. Claiming lost German territories became a nationalist theme after 1919.

On 19 January 1919 the Constituent Assembly was elected, dominated by the Weimar-SPD Coalition, Zentrum, Liberal Party. The Constituent Assembly was composed of:

After long negotiations, on 31 July 1919, the Assembly voted on the draft constitution of the liberal Hugo Preuss, a Jew by birth, whose initial draft proposed a strongly centralised state to destroy Prussian hegemony, the Länder to gain relative religious, educational and economic autonomy, and constitutions and institutions to conform to federal law.L The Reich had exclusive financial, military and foreign policy powers. Right-wing opposition, tensions between the central authority and the Länder (Rhenish separatism, Bavarian insubordination, revolutionary temptations in Saxony and Thuringia) led to the draft being amended, with the name 'people's state' being preferred to 'federal state'.

The Weimar Constitution provided for equality before the law, public freedoms, the call for referendum. The German Reich became a republic with 17 Länder, and the parliament was composed of the Reichstag, elected by suffrage for 4 years, which passed laws and controlled the executive, and the Reichsrat, which brought together the representatives of the Länder, and the executive power was represented by the Reich President elected by universal suffrage for 7 years and could appoint the government led by the Chancellor.

Friedrich Ebert, a socialist, was elected as the first president from 1919 to 1925, leaving the chancellor to govern and did not clash with the executive. Marshal Hindenburg, a staunch monarchist, veteran and war hero, was second president from 1925 to 1934. He respected the Constitution and attracted public attention. He was re-elected in 1932 and began to devalue the position of parliament to the status of central authority.

The political class was dominated by :

The army or Reichswerh remained hostile to the revolution, helped suppress the communist insurrection and rescue the socialists. But there were active officers who took part in attempted pukes in Berlin and Munich. The leadership was preoccupied with rebuilding German military potential by clandestinely training volunteers and testing new weapons in Russia, as well as training new generations of officers recruited from the aristocracy. Republican officers were eradicated, and from 1926 the corps was formed in 1930, with the army taking a stand against political unrest. The new generation of military cadres was seduced by National Socialism while older officers were conservative and monarchist. In 1932, after the establishment of the Nazi regime, they joined the Führer.

Paramilitary groups such as the Steel Helmets (1918) with 500,000 members, the Assault Sections with 300,000 National Socialist members in 1932, the Iron Front with anti-fascist shock troops organised by the Socialists (1930) and the Red Front with communist paramilitary troops with over 100,000 members were banned in 1929.

Although the right is making electoral gains, extremist movements are gaining momentum. Coalition governments are formed because no party had a majority in the Reichstag. In 1919-1923 the Weimar Coalition is in government, in 1923-1928 - the centre-right parties, and in 1928-1930 - the Grand Coalition, including the Socialists and National Germans.

Cabinets were a minority after 1930, appointed by the President, governing without the support of parliament by decree, subverting the Constitution. The Reichstag was repeatedly dissolved between 1930-1932, and ministerial instability (19 governments in 13 years) marked German society. It seemed that the Weimar Republic had failed. In 1920, the monarchist Kapp Mutiny was suppressed, and in 1923 Hitler's Beer Hall Mutiny was quashed. Hitler was an unnamed man trying to establish a right-wing dictatorship in Germany with a march from the Feldherrnhalle in Munich on 9 November 1923. In prison, arrested for attempted mutiny, he wrote the ideological work Mein Kampf. He was quickly released in 1924 for good behaviour, but retained his desire for power.

The situation of the new regime was precarious, with poverty, social and political unrest. The extreme left manifested itself violently, in 1920 occupying several towns in the Ruhr with the Red Army, and in 1921 the insurrectionary strike was violently suppressed. In 1920, a coup organised by a Frankish brigade on the Baltic failed. The number of assassinations increased, and there was a veritable "white terror"-376 murders, 354 of which were directed against leftists or moderates. The Guno government curbed in-kind deliveries for war reparations. On 11 January 1923 France occupied the Ruhr and the German government organised passive resistance. The economy was in disarray, inflation was raging, and the new coalition government led by Stresemann ended passive resistance and resumed reparations payments. In 1923 Rhineland challenged its independence with the support of French troops, but without success, while in Saxony and Thuringia communist insurgencies were defeated and in November 1923 the Bavarian crisis was resolved. Inflation worsened, a dollar was 4.2 marks in 1914, and in 1920-84 marks, 1922-186 marks.

Germany paid 8.2 billion gold marks in cash and in kind between 1919 and 1923, but passive resistance cost her 3.5 billion gold marks. The mark collapsed in July 1922, with a dollar worth 410 marks, rising from 7260 to 4,200,000,000 marks in 1923.

The daily life of the Germans was disrupted, prices and wages varied daily, towns and villages were allowed to issue auxiliary currencies, peasants returned to barter. Living standards plummeted, fixed income holders and small businesses went bankrupt. In October 1923, Finance Minister Schacht launched the Rentenmark, backed not by gold but by the state's recognition of industrial and agricultural debts. The currency was calculated at 1RM = 1 billion marks. The national currency was detached from traditional standards and criteria of value, corrupted by speculation. Budgetary austerity and the Reichsbank's fixing and freezing of interest rates on loans helped to stabilise the money supply.

Prosperity has apparently returned, with output slowly rising and unemployment falling. The focus is on rationalisation of production and industrial exports, with 72% of exports being manufactured goods. In 1930, 3,000 cartels appeared, and by 1932, 45% of companies controlled 84% of German industrial capital. But land was overexploited, property was in debt, prices lagged behind industrial prices, and the balance of trade was in deficit. In 1925, Marshal Hindenburg won the presidential election with 15 million votes, defeating the Zentrum candidate and the Communist-backed Ernst Thalmann. The payments bubble was balanced by an influx of foreign capital, with Germany becoming the largest importer of capital, only 1

In 1930, deprived of credit, over-industrialised Germany could not export enough to pay for raw material imports, and production collapsed in 1932 by 50% compared to 1929. Unemployment rose from 1.5 million in 1929 to 6 million unemployed Germans in 1931. An antipathy develops against capitalism, which is blamed for the crisis. Political forces tried various solutions to get out of the crisis, and big industry called for a revival of investment through lower taxes and budget cuts. In 1931, the workers' wages were lowered, and in 1932 they called for economic recovery through state intervention. Trade unions demanded increased unemployment benefits, landowners called for handouts, and right-wing parties opposed tax increases while left-wing parties rejected a policy of austerity.

The Bruning government tried to raise taxes, lowering wages, prices and rents, and took over part of the banking capital to control the financial system and put controls on trade. Unemployment worsened and the government lost its socialist support by governing through decree laws. Another presidential election was held in 1932, in which Hindenburg was re-elected with 19 million votes against the NSDAP candidate, Adolf Hitler, who won 13 million. In May 1932 the Bruning government fell and was replaced by Zentrum representative von Papen, who tried twice to dissolve the Reichstag to gain a majority. Following elections marked by violent incidents between the Left and the National Socialists, the NSDAP won 37% of the vote-230 seats in parliament, and in November 1932 it won 33.1%, the SPD-20.4%, and von Papen had to propose a coalition with the Nazi Party, although Hindenburg opposed it. Von Papen resigned in December 1932, and his successor, General Schleicher tried to establish a corporatist dictatorship to destroy Nazism and Communism, but failed. In January 1933, Hindenburg swore in Adolf Hitler as Reich Chancellor.

From 30 January 1933 to 2 August 1934, the German state shifted from democracy to dictatorship, with Hitler in full power. He formally maintained the Weimar Constitution, and Nazi ideology dominated the state and society, creating apparently legal conditions for abolishing the democratic constitution. After the Reichstag building in Berlin was burned down on 27 February 1933, the Nazi Party's Sä-trols began their first persecution of social democrats and communists. In an emergency decree, Hitler took advantage and suspended basic political rights, legalising the persecution of political rivals and removing them from state structures. In the last elections on 5 March 1933, the Nazis were unable to win a majority in parliament, despite intimidating the population. In the first parliamentary session, all legislators except the Social Democrats and Communists were arrested. All legislative power was transferred to Hitler's government. The Nazi government abolished Nazi federalism and established one-party rule. By 1934, all state parliaments were dissolved and replaced by governors of the new Reich regime. After the banning of the Social Democratic Party in July 1933, all other opposition political parties were quickly disbanded and the DNPV was forced to withdraw. The Nazi Party proclaimed itself a state party.

Hitler suppressed internal opposition within his party, and the SA troops were seen as a threat because they demanded a military takeover of the state. On 30 July 1934, under the pretext of preventing a coup, the leaders of the SA troops were assassinated, a repressive action known as national self-defence.

On 2 August 1934, Hindenburg dies, and Hitler takes over as President of the state, proclaiming himself Führer and Chancellor of the German Reich. The German army was forced to swear an oath to the Führer. Germany became a state of the Führer, the only point of reference for rival power groups. Terror, success in foreign relations and well-coordinated social measures strengthened the image of the Führer in the perception of the German people. New jobs were created and unemployment was halved in two years. By 1939, massive armament programmes caused a jobs crisis. To reassure the workers organised under duress in the German Workers' Front, they were given high wages, unemployment protection and paid holidays. The Nazi party organisation Kraft durch Freude organised inexpensive demonstrations and excursions. The regime kept a close eye on its national comrades, even in their spare time. 1 May is recorded as National Labour Day.

Attention was paid to the indoctrination of youth, with all youth groups being absorbed into the Hitler Youth and the German Girls' League. From 1936, all 10-18 year olds were forced to become members. The Reich Chamber of Culture was under the leadership of Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, overseeing cultural life. Literary works that did not conform to the party line were destroyed. Books and works by Walter Benjamin, Erich Kastner, Thomas Mann, Sigmund Freud and Carl von Ossietzky were publicly burned. Hundreds of writers emigrated, such as Bertolt Brecht and Stefan Zweig, and even Ossietzky, after spending three years in a concentration camp, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Networks of national surveillance agencies were created. In 1934, after the elimination of the SA troops, the elite detachment, the SS, became the most important tool in the fight against political opponents, keeping police and secret service departments under control. SS forces took over the administration of concentration camps, and in 1939, 25 000 disloyal people were imprisoned.

SA groups, incited by the anti-Semitic newspaper Der Sturmer, organized attacks against Jews. Nazi leaders turned persecution of Jews into a state activity. In April 1933, Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, organised a nationwide boycott of Jewish businesses, and the Law on the Reinstatement of the Civil Service of the Quarries of 7 April 1933 launched a wave of discriminatory decrees forcing Jews to give up their profession. Jews were forbidden to practice medicine and professions in the fields of culture or law, and were forbidden any contact with the Aryan population. The racial laws of 1935 abolished all political rights for Jews, and all Reich citizens were required to prove they had German blood. Only those who had three ancestors of Jewish origin and practised Judaism were considered 'Jewish'. In November 1938, Nazi leaders attempted to assassinate a German diplomat as a pretext for a large-scale prognosis against Jews. On the night of 9-10 November 1938, all Jewish synagogues and shops were burned down. 100 people were killed and 30,000 sent to concentration camps. The Jews had a ransom tax of 1 billion marks imposed on them, and all their capital was confiscated, and their property, shares and jewellery were sold under duress, followed quickly by the liquidation of all Jewish businesses and enterprises. The economy was forcibly Germanised.

The Nazi leaders also resorted to a forced emigration programme, establishing a Jewish Emigration Office, but from 1941 emigration was banned. Roma, Jews, homosexuals and other ethnic minorities are killed en masse. Hitler was planning a war to reclaim lost territory and avenge Germany's humiliation in World War I. The restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles were revised. In 1933, Germany leaves the League of Nations and Hitler makes known his desire for apparent peace. The Reich's agreement with the Vatican to secure the rights of the Catholic Church in Germany, non-aggression pacts with other states and the hosting of the Olympic Games in 1936 confirmed his policy. In 1935, Saarland joins Germany in a plebiscite, and the Allied powers recognise the Germans' right to self-determination. In 1935, Hitler introduces compulsory conscription, announces rearmament and signs a naval agreement with Britain. In 1936, the demilitarised Rhine region is occupied. The Nazis get involved in the Spanish Civil War and the Berlin-Rome Axis and the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan are established as anti-Soviet coalitions.

After the Anschluss (annexation and union of Austria with Germany) and the annexation of the Sudetenland by the Munich Agreement, Hitler abandons the peace policy after the division of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. With the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact of 23 August 1939, Germany and the USSR divide their spheres of influence in Poland. On 1 September 1939, Nazi troops invade western Poland under a staged pretext, triggering World War II.


  1. Interwar period
  2. Perioada interbelică
  3. ^ Marks, Sally (1986). "1918 and After: The Postwar Era". In Martel, Gordon. The Origins of the Second World War Reconsidered. Boston: Allen & Unwin. p. 19.
  4. ^ Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War by Margaret MacMillan, John Murray
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  6. ^ Simonds, Frank H. (9 November 1919). "A Year After the Armistice—The Unsettled Disputes". New-York Tribune. p. 26. Archived from the original on 9 November 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  7. ^ Schrader, Bärbel; Schebera, Jürgen (1988). The "Golden" Twenties: Art and Literature in the Weimar Republic. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-04144-6.
  8. ^ Todd, Allan (2001). The Modern World. Oxford University Press. pp. 52–58. ISBN 0-19-913425-1. Archived from the original on 22 November 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  9. ^ Rich, Norman (2003). Great Power Diplomacy Since 1914. Boston: McGraw-Hill. pp. 70–248. ISBN 0-07-052266-9.
  10. ^ McKercher, B. J. C. (1993). "The politics of naval arms limitation in Britain in the 1920s". Diplomacy and Statecraft. 4 (3): 35–59. doi:10.1080/09592299308405895.
  11. ^ karlino, su (archiviato dall'url originale il 19 giugno 2013).
  12. Lambert, Tim (14 de março de 2021). «A History of Poverty». Local Histories (em inglês). Consultado em 18 de dezembro de 2022
  13. Conhecer 2000. Vol. 03, "Da Idade Moderna à Época Contemporânea.", pág. 74. Editora Nova Cultural, 1995.
  14. Intelectuais, história e política: séculos XIX e XX. 7Letras, 2000, pág. 144 ISBN 9788573882216 Adicionado em 06/04/2018.
  15. Stefan Lovgren (17 de junho de 2005). «'War of the Worlds': Behind the 1938 Radio Show Panic». National Geographic (em inglês). Consultado em 1 de setembro de 2022

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