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[34] Europe Between the Wars.doc

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Kenneth Bartlett

March 23, 2011 Europe Between the Wars - Italy - won the war lost the peace => Fascism Britain - Suffered terribly in WWI - economic damage = just as awful - lost much of int’l carrying trade with U.S. - Many markets and seaborne trade = picked up by U.S. - Accumulated wealth = lost in battlefields of France and Belgium - Double blow th th - Since mid-19 - position challenged - end 19 c - Germany and U.S. Threat => old factories because Britain started industrialization => new countries, new markets - Every penny available had to be used to ensure Britain would not lose to Germany - Any money available in Britain able to be used to compete with new industrial power = gone - People in colonies (e.g. India) questioned why they should be ruled by such a distant nation and why they had sacrificed their lives in the war - WWI - no exultant victory like Napoleonic wars - Weakened economically, shattered psychologically => war won but at such a cost that it would be impossible to recover to pre-1914 - Very little employment - huge debt - almost inconceivable that ex-soldiers would ever work again - Pensions - families of killed soldiers, trying to rebuild a military so depleted from war - 2 million unemployed in early 1920s - Basic industries - manufacturing textiles, production of raw materials (coal and iron) = suffered greatly - Textiles = cheaper to be produced in U.S. - Coal and steel = no one needed them because there was no money to spend on it - People resuced price => reduced profit - Economic prospects of Britain = desperate - Working class = fighting to make things fairer, more democracy => people came home to find no money, few jobs (jobs available = low paying, tiny pensions) - Impossible for gov’t to deliver things it had implied: better housing, working conditions, health care, job security - Liberal party - david lloyd george - any deep interference in economic structure would disrupt in “unseen hand” -- things would come back - He was incapable of acting - Elections = liberals did not have a strong following => people looked for alternatives - Working class = rise of universal suffrage => alternatives to traditional parties (left and centre -- liberals and conservatives) - People looked for socialism -- labour party - trade union - 1923 - labour party surpassed liberals - popular appeal - Socialism as alternative to liberals => polarization of left and right - Liberal party wasn’t happy - tried to fight back => draw some members of left back to centre -- coalition - Ramsay MacDonald (d.1937) - 1 labour P.M. Of britain - seemed that labour party was rising - Coalition wouldn’t work = differences were too great (1924 - collapsed) - Conservatives, traditional ruling elites = very scared of labour party => said labour party was secretly Bolshevik => they sounded much like Lenin - Conservatives - able to return to power because they scared people into thinking they were threatened by Communism; conservatives won - Things got worse - 1926 - huge surplus of coal and steel => solution: reduce wages - Whether to work for nothing or close the steel/coal pits - Trade union congress - general strike 1926 - polarizing act - galvanized left - has to be marxist solution; galanivzed right - marxism is at our doorsteps - Well-born aristocratic young men took jobs of strikers (e.g. delivering milk, coal) - Collapse of world economy - 1929 stock market crash - Polarization would result in some kind of coup d’etat => some kind of accommodation: social- ist solution? Property-driven solution? - Strength of british democracy - but both sides had powerful leaders - Some brits (sidney and beatrice webb -- leftists) went to Soviet Union to analyze the way things were done => Praise of soviet communism - The right went closer to those ideas that influenced Hitler and Mussolini => only solution is a fascist solution -- new discipline, new person, rational planing - state to regulate private property to achieve goals (like Mussolini) - Attracted many people => beat up socialists, increasingly anti-Semitic - Attracted terrified, overwhelmed citizens who were upset they weren’t getting what they want- ed - British parliament - flexible to right and left - but centre remained, democracy survived France - Like Britain - Suffered material damage - 4 ½ years of trench warfare - Huge population loss - Humiliation of germany - police germany and make sure it can’t rise - More tightly policed empire than britain - Better-balanced economy than britain - George clemmencaeu - strengthened, more discipline and purpose - passed along to parliamen- tary gov’t - Polarization in france like in biritna - french politics divided b/w left and right - Raymond Poincaré (d.1934) - right-wing wanted to continue harsh politcies towards germany, humiliate them as much as possible - Leftists diagreed - let’s rebuild France, let’s strengthen our economy - 1932-3 - 6 govt’s in 18 mon
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