Peace and War International Reaction

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The Peace Settlement Big Three

Although the war ended in November 1918, the bitterness, hatred and enmity between all coutries was far from over.

France- George Clemenceau, 1.5 million dead, most of fighting took place in France economy and idustries were exhausted, deversation - harsh treaty

Britain- David Lloyd George, 1 million dead , some bomb damage, a treaty but still able to treade with Germany

USA- Woodrow Wilson, 100,000 casulties, no destruction on USA ground but lost ships, to build a better more peaceful world from the ruins of the Great War


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Treaty of Versaille

At the end of the First World War, Germany had expected a fair peace treaty based on Woodrow Wilsons 14 points, howevery they were wrong and many Germans became recentful of the Treaty:

  • Germany had 

When the Big 3 made peace at Versailles they made a lot of decisions about what should happen to Germany but they also considered the wider world. The last of Wilsons 14 points was about setting up tge League of Nations. There main aims were:

To prevent wasr by solving problems by discussion and negotiation

To bring about disarment by getting all countries to get rind of their weapoms

To improve health as well as living and working conditions

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Other Peace Treaties

Treaty of St Germain (with Austria) 1919 - Austria agred to break up of the Austro Hungarian Empire, they accepted Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia as independent countries, land was lost to Italy and army was limeted to 30,000 men and it had to pay reparations

Treaty of Neuilly (with Bulagria)  1919 - Bulgaria lost land to Yugoslavia and Greece but gaineed land from Turkey, it had to pay 400 million in resperations and its army was limited to 20,000 men

Treaty of Trianin (with Hungary) 1920 - Hungary became an idnependnt country, Land was given to Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia and Autria, army was limeted to 35,000 men and it had to pay respearations

Treaty of Sevres (with Turkey) 1920 - Land was taken so Turkey's European possessions were limited to a small area around Constantinople, the turkish empire was broken up, Iraq, Transjoran and Palestine became British mandates, Syria became a French mundate. Arabia became independent

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The League of Nations

The League of Nations ws set up in 1920 with 42 original member countries. It was based on the idea of President Woodrow Wilson with the aim of avoiding future wars, its aims were: 

  • to prevent aggression by any nation
  • to encourage co-operation between nations
  • to work towars international disarmamnt
  • to improve the living and working conditions of all peoples

The League was built upon the idea of collective security. This meant that the members of the League could pevent war by acting together to protect and defend the intrests of all nations.

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The Great Depression

In 1929 the US economy collapsed. This was due to the Wall Street Crash, when the value of shares on the New York stock market fell very quickly and the banking system subsequently collapsed. The Crash was to have dramatic effects on the USA and the world.

  • American business experienced a huge drop in  the number of goods they could sell and companies laid off workers as they cut production. By 1933 American production of manufactured goods was only 20 per cent of what is had been in 1929.
  • Many European countries such as Germany was dependent on the US trade and loans. Since the USA could no longer affored to import goods from overseas, the economies went into what became know as the Great Depression. This had serious effects on international realtions.
  • Depression and high unemplyment was a major reason why Hitler came to power in Germany in January 1933;
  • Much of the goodwill that had excisted between nations in the 1920's collapsed.
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The Manchuruian Crisis 1931 - 1933

By the early twentieth century, Japan was rising power in Aisia and the Pacific and had developed very quickly into a modern trading nation. However, the Wall Street Crash had a majour impact on the Japanese economy. Japan looked forother ways to expand. In 1931, the Japanese used the excuse of an attack by Chinese troops on a Japanese railway to invade Chinese territory of Manchuria. Manchuria was a rich in natrual resources and raw materials and provided a market for Japanese goods. The invasion was a success and Manchuria was renamed Manchukuo.

China was in the middle of a civel war so was unable to defend Manchuria. The Chinease appealed to the Leaugue of NAtions for support against the Japanese. The League sent over people to investigate. It was very slow and took over a year to investigate, by which time the invasion and occuopation had been completed. Finally the League asked Japan to withdraw, the Japanese left the League and remained in Manchuria.

The events marked the beginning of the end of the League:

  • Britain and France were not williong to support League in taking action against Japan
  • The League failed to prevent aggression encouraging Italy and Germany
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The Abyssinian Crisis 1935 - 1936

In 1935 Italians troops invaded the African country of Abyssinia

  • Mussolini had ruled Italy since 1922 and wanted to increase Italy's perstigeas a world power by increasing Itay's territories in Africa
  • Abyssinia was one of the few countries in Africa not under European control
  • The Italians wanted revenge for humiliating defeat by the Abyssinians at eh Battlw of Adowa in 1896

The Emperor of Abyssinia, Haile Selassie, appealed to the LEague of assistance. The League condemned Itialian aggression and imposed economic sanctions against Italy. However , thease sanctions ded not include oil and Italy continued to trade with non- League mmbers such as the USA. France and Britain did not want to offend Mussloini and drive him closer to Hitler and Germany.

The effects of the Abyssinian crisis were serious for the League. It marked the end of the League as a peacekeeping organisation as it could no longer be taken seriously 

  • The crisis showed that its members were not willing to use force to stop aggression
  • The secret deal had also shown Britain and France to be undermining the League
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Hitler's Aims 1933

From January 1933 Gernan foreign policy was contolled by Hitlar.

  • He took Germany out of the LEague of NAtions which Germany had been allowed to join in 1926
  • Hitler saw the Treaty of Verailles as one of the major causes of Germany's problems. He promiced the German people that he would reverse the Treaty and retake the territory that Germany had lost. He wanted to create a greater Germany.
  • In the longer term Hitler planned to expand into Eastern Europe to give the GErman people Lebensraum which he belived they needed.
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Return of the Saar 1935 (January)

The industrial are of the Saar was taken from Germany in the Treaty of Versailled and put under the control of the League of Nations.

A vote was held amoung the populatopm after fifteen years to decide whether it should be returned to Germany. It was held in January 1935 when over 90 percent voted in favour. Hitler greeted this result as a huge triumph, and declared that this was the first of the injustices of the Versailles to be reversed. 

One of Hitlers first steps on coming to power was to increase Germany's armed forces. although this had to be done secretly at first due to the terms of the Treaty of Versaille. 

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The Disarmament Conference 1932 - 1934

This Conference first met in February 1932.

The Germans walked out of the Conference in July 1932 when the other oiwers failed to agree to disarm down to the level of Germany. 

In May 1933 Hitlers returned to the Conference and promiced not to rearm if in five years all other nations destroyed their arms. When they refused Hitler withdrew from the Conference in October 1933 and, soon afrer, from the League of Narions 

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Non- Aggression Pact with Poland 1934

In January 1934 Germany signed a non- aggression agreement with Poland. This was signed for several reasons:

  • Hitler was hoping to weaken the existing alliance between France and Poland.
  • He hoped to reduce Polish fears of GErman aggression
  • He wanted to show that he had no quarrel with Poland, only with the Soviet Union
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Anglo- German Navel Treaty 1935

Hitler knew that Britain had some sympathy with Germany on the issue of rearmament. Britain belived that the limits imposed by the Treaty of Versaille were too tight and that a strong Germany was a barrier against Communism.

In 1935 Britain signed a navel agreement with Germany which allowed Germans to build up its navy up to 35 per cent of the size of the British navy and have the same number of submarines. Britain was accepting Hitlers's breach to the Treaty of Versaille.


In 1935 Hitler re-introdueces conscription and announced a peacetime army of 550,000. He was breaking the terms of the Treaty of Versaille.

Representatived from France, Italy and Britain met in a town called Stresa where they agreed to work together to preserve the peace in Europe. They condemned German rearmament. This became known as the Stresa Front against German aggression but it collapsed due to the Anyssinian Crisis, which destroyed close relations between France, Britain and Italy, and the Aglo- German Navel Treaty. 

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Remilitarisation of the Rheinland 1936

Hitler took further steps to reverse the Treaty of Versaile in March 1936 when he began moving German troops back into the Rheinland.

Thos was a risk for Hitler because:

  • The reoccupation of the Rhineland was a clear breach of the Teaty of Versaille
  • German troops were in no potion to stand up to the French army if it reacted

However in 1936, Franc was occupied with doemstic problems and Britain was not keen to provoke Germany. In addition there was no doubt in Britain about the fairness of the Treaty of Versaille. The French were unwilling to act without the support of Britain, and so Hitler's gamble paid off.

This success convinced Hitler that Britain adn France would not try to prevent him achieving his other aims. 

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Why did the Cold War Begin?

During the Second World War the USA and the USSR had fought together as allies against Germany and Japan. Once this wasr was won relations between the two 'superpowers' quickly deterioated. And so the Cold War began. 

They never declared war on each other, instead there was a stand of between the two superpowers which incuded an arms race and a propaganda war.

Both sides did not have alot in common and were very differnet.

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USA in the Cold War

The main political and economic features of the USA were:

  • It had democratic system of goverment. The President of the USA was chosen in free deocratic election.
  • It had a capitalist economy. Business and propert were privately owned. Indivduals could make profits in bisiness or lose their jobs.
  • Americans belives firmly in the freedom of the individual and in governemt by consent.

In the 1920's and 1930's, the USA had followed a policy isolationism. Now, faced by Communism exrending into easter Europe, the American Government ws prepared to help and support the people and countries who wanted domocratic astatede with the capitalist economies. 

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The USSR in the Cold War

The USSR was a Communist State:

  • People could vote in elections for the Supreme Soviet, but they could only vote for memebers of the Communist Party and the Supreme Soviet had no real power. In the Communist system, peoples lives were controlled closely.
  • The rights of individuals were seen as less important than the good of society as a wholde
  • The USSR had a planned economy. The goverment owned all idustry and planned what every factory should produce.

Unlike the USA the USSR had been attacked many times in the past. Germany had invaded Russia in 1914 and again in 1941. Stalin was detemind tha this would never happen again. In his view the USSR could only be safe if the countries on its borders were controlled by Communist Governments. 

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The Teheran Conference 1943

At the Teheran conference the Big Three Starlin (leader of the USSR), Roosevelt (US President) and Churchill (British Prime Minister)- agreed that th Soviet Union could have a sphere of influence (an area under soviet control) in Eastern Europe.

However there were differences of opinion over Germany's future:

  • Stalin wished to punish and severely weaken GErmany with resparations
  • Churchill and Roosevelt wanted to rebuild Germany. They remeberd the mistakes in the Teaty of Versaille
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The Yalta Conference 1945 (February)

At the Yalta Conference, the Allied leaders (Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin) got on well well together. The following points were agreed:

  • Germany would be divided into four zones. These would be run by the USA, France, Britain and the USSR.
  • Germany's capital city Berlin would also be divided into four.
  • The countries of eastern Europe would be allowed to hold free elections to decide how they would be governed.
  • The USSR would join in the war against Japan in return for territory in Manchuria and Sakhakin Island.
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The Postdam Conference 1945 (July - August)

In April 1945 President Roosevelt died, so at the Postdam Confernece the USa was was represented by a new president, Harry Truman. During the conference Churchill was replaced by Clement Atlee as the British Prime MInister. The new leaders did not getr one well with Stalin as Roosevelt and Churchill had.

There was agreement in some points of discussions:

  • The Nazi Pary was to be banned and its leader would be tried as war criminals
  • The Oder- Neisse (two rivers) line was to form oart of the border between Poland and Germany.

However, there were disagreements on other issues. There were clear signs that Stalin did not trust the USA and Britain and they did not trust him.

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The Beriln Blockade and Airlift 1948 - 1949

This was the first major crisis of the Cold War. 


Germany's economy and goverment had been shatterd by the war and the Allies were faced with a serious question: should they continue to occuoy Germany or shoulld they try to rebuild it?

  • Britain and the Usa wanted Germany to recover- they could not afford to keep feeding its people and they felt that puunishung Germnay would not helo future peace.
  • The USSR did not want to rebuild Germany and Stalin was suspicious about why the USA and Britain did.

In 1948, the French, American and British zones merged to become one zone. WIth the help of Marshall Aid, West Germnay began to recover and prosper. It was a very different story in East Germany. In this area, controlled by USSR, there was poverty and hunger. Many East Gernab were leaving because West Germany seemed a better place to live.

In Starlins eyes, it seemed that the Allies were building up West Germany in order to attack him. When in 1948 they introduced a new West Germany currency it was the last straw.

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The Beriln Blockade and Airlift 1948 - 1949


Stakibn tried to blockade Berlin, the former capital of Germany, in East Germany. In a month, he closed alll road and rain connections from Berlin to West Germany, hoping he could force the Western Allies out of the city. 

The Allies decided to airlift supplies. The airlift lasted until the following Spring of 1949 and reached its peack on 16-17 April when 1398 flights landed nearlt 13000 tonnes of supplies in 24 hours. During the airlift West Berliners were supplied with everything from food and clothing to oil and building supplies. It was a great success.


By May 1949, the USSR lifted the blockade. It was a victory for the West, but relations with USSR hit rock bottom. Co- operation in Germany in the future was very unlikely and the country would remain divided. The zone controlled by the USA, Britain and Grance became the Federal Republic of Germany in August 1949. The Soviet zone became the German Democratic Republic. 

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The Berlin Wall 1961

Berlin had always been a source of conflict betqwwn the Soviets and western Allies. Capitalist West Berlin, surronded by the Communist state of East Germany, continued to be a problem for East Germany and the USSR.

  • The high standard of living enjoyed by the people of Weat Berlin contrasted sharply with that of the Communist half of the city- East Berlin. It was a continual reminder of the people in East Germany of their poor living condiotions.
  • It was estmatede that 3 million people had crossed from East to West Berlin between 1946 and 1960. Many of thease people were skilled workers and it seemed that the conomic survial of East Germany was in doubt if this escape route remained open. 

In 1961 Krushchec and the East German leadership decided to act. On 13 August 1961 they began to build a wall surronding West Berlin.

  • Firts a barbed wire fence but on the 17 it was replaced by a wall.
  • All movement from East and West was stopped
  • For days Soviet and American tanks faced each other across streets untill slowely backing up

West Germany could do nothing to stop it.

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The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962

In October 1962 America spy planes identified nuclear missile being built on Cuba. 

Castro had recently taken over Cuba,he was communist. He seized American business in Cuba and gave them to Cuban people, very popular.

The USA cut off aid to Cuba and refused to buy cotton and tobacco. In return Castro seured help from USSR. Krushchev was keep to gain infuence so close to the USA.

In Spring 1961 the USA had a new president, John F Kennedy. He was alarmed at what he sae as a Communist threat to the USA. He gave America support to an invasion of th Cuba by rebels opposed to Castros Government. The landing took place at the Bay of Pigs and was a disaster. 

The crisis lasted for 13 days.

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The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 (2)

  • 16 October- Kennedy was told that Krushchev intende to build missile sites in Cuba
  • 18-19 October- Kennedy held talkis with his closest advisers. The Hawks wanted an aggresive policy whilst the Doves favoured a peaceful solution
  • 20 October- Kennedy decided to impise a naval blockade around Cuba to prevent Soviet missiles and equitment reaching Cuba. The Amwricans searched any ship suspected of carrying arms or misslies
  • 21 October- Krushchec sent a letter to KEnnedy insisting that Soviet ships would force their way through the Blockade.
  • 24 October- Krushchev issued a statement insiting that the Soviet Union would use nuclear wearpons in the event of a war
  • 25 October- Kennedy wrote to Krushcev asking him to withdraw missliles from Cuba
  • 26 October- Krushchev replied to Kennedy's letter. He said he would withdraw the missiles if the USA promiced not to invade Cuba and withdraw missiles from Turkey
  • 27 October- As US spy plane was shot down over Cuba Attorney Gerneral Robert Kennedy propoesed a deal with the Soviet Union. The USA would withdraw missile form Turkey as long as it was kept secret.
  • 28 October- Krushchev accepted the deal.
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