EURO 2300 Lecture Notes - Ignazio Silone, Italian Socialist Party, Spanish Civil War

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Published on 18 Mar 2013
EURO 2300 European Culture 1/7/2013 8:54:00 AM
Europe after the First World War
(i) Overview of the impact and legacy of the Great War: casualties; territorial
changes; economic and social impact
(ii) Politics:
Post-war peace treaties, 1919-20 (esp. the Treaty of Versailles)
o Very few areas in Europe that weren‟t impacted by WWI
o WWI led to more than 9 million deaths
Excludes civilian casualties
o Generation of man was cut down in the battlefields
o Many of the men who did arrive home were permanently disabled,
either physically or mentally
Society at this time was ill-equipped to deal with these types
of disabilities
o Shortage of young men, birth rate declined and due to the
disabilities there were a surplus of expenses for the governments to
deal with
Overview of post-war European politics: the troubled realities behind
Europe‟s new liberal and democratic order
o New states have very fragile democratic roots
o Economic impacts: the war was outrageously expensive, it marks
the turning point of the “reduction of Europe”
o High levels of unemployment, high levels of inflation
o Germany is the most obvious example of this reduction at one
point the German marcs were absolutely worthless resulting in
extreme inflation
o Crucial factor: inflation had its strongest impact on those who had
savings during the war the middle classes were typically the ones
with savings and they are the ones who were essentially the
“backbone” to the fascist movements within Europe
o Huge refugee movements after WWI due to the boundary changes
with the massive loss of territories
o Half a million war widows all who were entitled to pensions form
the state
Women have entered the workforce within the first world war
and after the war there is a movement to put men back into
the workforce and attempts to push women out
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Political Treaties and The Treaty of Versailles
o Key factor in shaping the post war Europe were the numerous
political treaties which drew up post war boundaries as well as
economic and political penalties to the defeated nations
o June 1919 under the terms, Germany along with its allies are
forced to accept responsibility for the outbreak of the war (article
231: War Guilt Clause)
Due to this clause, Germany was forced to pay damages to
the countries it had invaded
If the treaty had lasted past 1933 the Germans would have
been paying back damages into the 1980‟s
o In terms of territories, Germany loses quite a bit on both the
eastern and western fronts, lost all of its colonial empire and the
treaty forbade any unions between Germany and Austria
o At this time you have millions of Germans living outside the borders
of Germany, became a major point of Hitler‟s Nazi/Nationalist
o Germany was forced to disband its military, navy and air force
completely and the army was capped on the number of men it
could have
Marshal Foch on the Treaty of Versailles: „This is not peace; it is an
Armistice for twenty years‟
o Germany perceived that it had been treated very harshly, a lot of
countries agreed
o This period marks the creation of the League of Nations as well
on paper Europe looks likes its moving in the right direction
o The British Empire had never been bigger than it was in 1919
many people (the elites and the masses) felt that the democracy
had been imposed on them form the outside
o Very difficult socio-economic status of post-war Europe, democracy
was already on shaky grounds
Democracy‟s reputation suffered because of this
(iii) Culture:
Roots of cultural innovation in the pre-1914 period: Freud, Expressionism,
The cultural impact of the First World War: Dada
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o Deliberately provocative drew beards on the Mona Lisa
o Challenging the order of conventions
o Realism emerged
o In Russia the popularity grew around the Bolshevik group which in
its beginning had a very liberal view towards the arts and culture
The post-war avant-garde: emergence of Surrealism
(iv) Useful names and terms
„War guilt clause‟ (Article 231)
Pablo Picasso
Franz Kafka
Edvard Munch, The Scream (1893)
Friedrich Nietzsche
Marcel Duchamp
Bolshevik Revolution
Vladimir Mayakovsky
André Breton
Salvador Dalí
Mayakovsky (1918): „It‟s time for bullets to pepper museums‟.
Breton‟s definition of Surrealism: „The future resolution of [the] two
states, dream and reality, which are apparently so contradictory, into an
absolute reality: a surreality so to speak‟.
The Rise of Fascism in Inter-War Europe: Italy and Germany January 7th, 2013
Inter-war Europe: the rapid transition from democracy to dictatorship
Looks as though Europe is headed in the right direction on paper, as we
fast forward 20 years later into the late 30‟s we see that this is not true
In most of these countries parliament has been dissolved or suspended,
one man rule (monarch, civilian, army officer), dictatorial is strongly anti-
communist and fervently nationalist
Magic word to group these regimes was fascists
Mussolini‟s Italy and Hitler‟s Germany
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