The effects of the Wall Street Crash
In the 1920s there was great optimism that the world would become a better place to live in. However in october 1929 the American market crashed and the whole worlds' soon followed. Here are the main effects
- There was mass global unemployment.
- No one could sell their shares becasue no one wanted to buy.
- It became near impossible to find work because no one could afford to employ anyone.
- People had less money to spend so the crisis just got worse and worse.
- America demanded that Germany pays off the Dawes Plan loans causing Germany's econamy to collapse.
- By only a year after the initial dip 2,500,000 Americans lost their jobs.
The collapse of the League of Nations- The Manchur
In September 1931 Japan invaded Manchuria- China.
- Japan couldn't import resources because since the Wall Street Crash everything had become too expensive.
- Japan didn't have many resources of their own apart from silk.
- Manchuria had large supplies of oil and coal.
- Japan's population was rising- millions were unemployed and there were frequent food shortages.
- The League of Nations asked Japan to withdraw. They refused.
- In March 1933 Japan left the League.
- Many countries lost faith in the League over how they had handled the incident.
- The League took over a year to even publish a report on the incident.
The collapse of the League of Nations- The Abyssin
- In 1935 the Italian army invaded the country of Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
- Mussolini wanted to do this because he wanted to build a 'new Roman Empire' in Africa.
- When he invades the League enforce several trade sanctions of Italy- but not on petrol and oil. With plentiful supplies of fuel the Italian army continued with their slaughter of the Abyssinian fighters.
- The Hoare-Laval pact is proposed. This pact offered Italy the rich part of Abyssinia if they agreed to stop fighting immediatly.
- However when this pact was exposed to the public there was an unheval and it was abolished.
- Haile Selassie- the leader of Abyssinia appealed to the League for international aid but his request was rejected. He left with a forbodding warning to the west that while it was not them today, their time will come and the west will perish.
- Eventually the League blocked oil and petrol trade with Italy but it was too late- in 1936 Italy had taken Abyssinia.
Overview of the failiures of the League of Nations
- USA never joined.
- Britain and France often put their own interests before the rest of the League.
- Many countries only looked after their own self interest after the Wall Street Crash.
- Failed to take the right action during the Abyssinian Crisis.
- The League's failiure during the Abyssinian and Manchurian Crisis' made many countries call to question the power of the League.
- Both Italy and Germany left the League- showing a splintering in international relations that contributed to the second world war.
- The trade sanctions imposed by the League were useless because even if a country was totally cut off from trade with League nations it could still trade fully with America.
The rise of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany as the head of he Nazi party in 1933. The Nazi party was an extreme nationalist movement, and their main aim was to make the western world pay for how they had treated Germany at Versailles. Here are some of their party's general ideas.
- Fascist- thought Germany was the superiour country, Aryan Germans were the 'Ubermenchen'.
- Jews, homosexuals, disabled people, black people, Russians, Westerners were all 'Untermenchen'.
- They wanted Germany to have a dictatorship.
- They wanted to conquer Russia and Poland to create a living space- 'lebensraum' for German people.
- Germany's military strength should be restored.
Hitler's occupation of the Rhineland
- Hitler wanted to test the League. He decided to try and occupy the Rhinelad- an area of Germany demilitarsed at the Treaty of Versailes and patroled by French troops.
- A year before the invasion Hitler offered a 25 year peace plan with France and Belgium.
- The planned date for the occupation was 1937 but Hitler made his move when Italy was marching on- may 1936- Abyssinia because the League would be too ocupied with that.
- Even though the act was in direct conflict with Versialles many countries chose to ignore it. Britain was reluctant to make the move, both the public and the polititians thought Germany deserved a small win for how badly they'd been treated after the war.
- Hitler wanted to create a 'Grossduetschland'. He would start by joining up with Austria- an agreement known as the Anschluss.
- Mussolini gets nervous when he hears Germany is planning to occupy Austria because it would be a great place to mount an attack on italy from. He decides to controle the Austrian borders with his troops so Germany cant get in.
- Instead of invading Hitler threatens the Austrian Chansellor- Kurt Schuschnigg- and forces him to step down.
- Arthur Seyss-Inquart- the Austrian Nazi leader- takes power in Austria on 11th of march 1938.
- On march 12th Seyss-Inquart invited Germany into Austria.
- Italy singed the Rome-Berlin axis with Germany- a peace settlement- and allowed Germany into Austria.
- The Anschluss was in direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles but not one really wanted to risk going to war over it, especially not Britain who didn't really agree with that term of Versailles anyway.
- On the 10th of april a public referndum was held in Austria regaurding whester or not to join with Germany- 99.75% said yes.
Pre-war Britain was a trubulent place. There were new, extreme political ideas sprouting up, most prominent of which being the Black Shirts. They were an extreme fascist group, following mainy of the same ideologies as Hitler's Nazi party. Although they were never elected in Britain, their presence certainly showed that in desparate times, people would migrate to the extremes of the political spectrum.
- Ramsey McDonald- Britain's first labor PMelected in June 1929, angry at the unemployment and poverty caused by the Wall Street Crash.
- Oswald Moseley- conservative, then labor,then set up the British Unions of Fascists- the Black Shirts. Extremely anti-sometic.
- Niville Chamberlain- PM at the time of the Anchluss, exercising a policy of appeasment to Germany. He eventually had to take action when Germany refused to pull out of Poland and on the 3rd of September 1939 declared war on Germany.
The Sudeten Crisis
- The Sudeten land was an area of Czechslovakia largely populated by German speaking peoples hitler saw it as a huge economic and military asset and encouraged Sudeten Germans to rise up and riot, beginning on the 12th of October 1938.
- The rioter failed. Neville Chamberlain met with the Czech government and eventually got them to agree to give bits of the Sudeten land to Hitler, but he wanted it all.
- Hitler heard Sudeten Germans were being mistreated and threatened that if he didn't have the whole of the Sudeten land by the 1st of October otherwise he would have to move in himself to protect his people.
- On the 29th of September Italy, France, Britain and Germany met in Munich and decided that the Sudeten land should belong to Germany.
- On the 30th of September Chamberlain convinced Hitler to sign the 'Anglo-German Agreement' that said the two countries would never goto war agian.
- On the 1st of October Germany went in and occupied the Sudete land. Soon after Hungary and Poland decided that they were entitled to parts of Czechslovakia that had historically belonged to them and moved in. On action was taken.
- Appeasement- giving consessions to avoid war.
- Rhineland- an area of Germany demilitarised by the Treaty of Versailles.
- Neville Chamberlain- British PM from 1937-1940.
- Anchluss- the forbidden joining of Austria and Germany.
- Edward Benes- the Czech President who resigned over the Sudeten Crisis.
- Rome-Berlin Axis- a pact between Italy and Germany.
- Nazi-Soviet Pact- the agreement bewteen germany and the USSR that shocked the world in 1939
The Nazi-Soviet Pact
The Nazi-Soviet pact- signed in August 1939- was shocking to the entire world. Germany and the USSR were both at opposite ends of the political spectrum and bitter enemies of one another. Many think that Hitler signed it because he could see that war was inevitable and didn't want to fight it on two fronts, and Stalin was sure he would have to fight Germany sooner of later and this pact would give him time to strengthen his forces. Here are the terms of the treaty.
- The two ountries wil not fight.
- They will split Poland with one another.
- They will invade Poland without fighting eachother.
- Neither forces can ally with Britain or France (not that they wanted to).