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Chapter 21
The Collapse and Recovery of Europe
Chapters 21, 22, and 23 tell the separate stories of three
major regions.
The “Great War” (World War I) of
1914–1918 launched a new phase of
world history
• “a European civil war with a global reach”
• between 1914 and the end of WWII, Western
Europe largely self-destructed
• but Europe recovered surprisingly well
between 1950 and 2000
The First World War
• By 1900, Europeans, or people of European
ancestry, controlled most other peoples of the
• rise of a powerful new Germany was a
disruptive new element
• by around 1900, the balance of power in
Europe was shaped by two rival alliances
– Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria, Italy)
– Triple Entente (Russia, France, Britain)
• June 28, 1914: a Serbian nationalist
assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir
to the Austrian throne
• general war broke out by August 1914
• factors that contributed to the outbreak and
character of the war
– popular nationalism
– industrialized militarism
– Europe’s colonial empires
• Germany's War Plan
Germany called for a swift defeat of France, longer war with Russia
Invaded neutral Belgium, Luxembourg without declaration of war
Failure to defeat France set stage for 3 years of stalemate
Military dictatorship gradually replaced Kaiser, German Reichstag on running war
• Allied War Plans
• French planned to attack into Alsace-Lorraine to recover lost land
• French military planners spoke of elan and e’spririt de corps to overcome technology, German
• Russia was to swiftly mobilize and attack Germany, Austria in the east
• Western Front
Soldiers dug trenches length of the front; machine guns and artillery dominate battlefield
Neither side could advance against the other's defenses.
Allies and Germans both began to use technology to break deadlock
Both sides imposed blockades on the other using navies, submarines
Aristocratic officers, peasant soldiers of Russia unprepared; Germany had world’s most modern army
Virtual destruction of the tsarist armies and steady loss of territory to Germany
Nicholas II, who had taken direct control of the front, incompetent
Germany quickly developed a war of maneuver: no static front
Russia did well against the Austro-Hungarians
Bulgaria joins Central Powers in 1915
Serbia, Montenegro overrun by Central Powers in 1915
Italy joined allies to gain territory but did very poorly.
Rumania joined allies to regain Transylvania and quickly overrun
• Eastern Front
• Italian and Balkan Fronts
most had expected WWI to be a quick war
Germany was finally defeated November 1918
became a war of attrition (“trench warfare”)
became “total war”—each country’s whole
population was mobilized
– massive propaganda campaigns to arouse citizens
– women replaced men in factories
• rearrangement of the map of Central Europe
– creation of independent Poland, Czechoslovakia,
– created new problems of ethnic minorities
– triggered the Russian Bolshevik revolution (1917)
– the Treaty of Versailles (1919) made the conditions that
caused WWII
• Germany lost its colonial empire and 15 percent of its European
• Germany was required to pay heavy reparations
• Germany suffered restriction of its military forces
• Germany had to accept sole responsibility for the outbreak of the
• dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
– the Armenian genocide
• the United States appeared as a global power
• in Asia and Africa, many gained military skills
and political awareness
• 14 Points
– Woodrow Wilson's plan for a non-punitive peace
– Germany agreed to an armistice based on 14 Points
– Thwarted by the Entente allies
• Britain and France demanded reparations
• Demanded a treaty that blamed Germany for the war
• Paris Peace Conference, 1919
Allied leaders assembled in Paris
Germany was deliberately humiliated
Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empires were dismembered
Russia not invited as Allies were at war with Bolshevism
Colonies of European Nations, China
• Largely ignored
• Envoys were often not even consulted
• The Versailles Treaty, signed on June 28, 1919, was the peace settlement between
Germany and the Allied Powers that officially ended World War I. However, the conditions
in the treaty were so punitive upon Germany that many believe the Versailles Treaty laid
the groundwork for the eventual rise of Nazis in Germany and the eruption of World War
The Great Depression
• The Great Depression represented the most
influential postwar change.
– contracting stock prices wiped out paper fortunes
– many lost their life’s savings
– world trade dropped 62 percent within a few
years; businesses contracted
– unemployment soared; reached 30 percent in
Germany and the United States by 1932
The economic collapse first occurred in the United States in 1929
– American banks closed their doors
– Europe, which remained dependent on American credit, drawn into the crisis.
– Investment funds were withdrawn when creditors went bankrupt.
– Without capitalization, industrial production, demand for labor fell
– Massive unemployment meant less money to consume goods produced
The social devastation of the Depression was evident at all levels.
– This slump was deeper and more prolonged than previous ones.
– It brought widespread unemployment and increased suicide rates
– Popular culture turned towards escapism
– The Depression confounded 19th century optimism
Depression led to extreme experiments and paralysis in government around world
– The USSR
• Resisted the general trend to depression because it was a centralized, command
• Without ties to most of the West, the Soviets were unaffected by the drop in
worldwide demand.
– Latin America. Japan
• Industries were heavily dependent on exports
• Countries suffered typically high unemployment figures
• The Depression increased Japanese paranoia about the West
• Promoted more aggressive imperialism in Asia
• In Latin America, it inspired greater state involvement in the economy
– In the West
• The Depression prompted new government-led welfare schemes and political
• Rise of Keynesian economics where government used fiscal economics to remedy
• State raised, lowered interest rates to benefit society
• States taxed richer populations, industry to achieve end
World Trade Collapsed as nations protected domestic economies from competition
Causes of the Great Depression
• American economy boomed in the 1920s
• by the end of the decade, factories and farms
produced more goods than could be sold
• Europe was impoverished by WWI and didn’t
purchase many American products
• Europe was recovering and produced more of its
own goods
• speculative stock market had driven stock prices
up artificially high
The New Deal
• (1933–1942)
• Franklin Roosevelt’s administration launched a complex
series of reforms
• influenced by the British economist John Maynard
• Roosevelt’s public spending programs permanently
changed the relationship between government, the
private economy, and individual citizens
• didn’t work very well: the U.S. economy only improved
with massive government spending because of WWII
• Nazi Germany and Japan coped the best with the
The League of Nations created to maintain world peace
Forty-two members, twenty-six of them outside Europe
Dominated by UK, France and used as force against Germany
The league had no power to enforce its decisions
League could only
Make suggestions
Impose sanctions
United States never joined
USSR ignored
Germany not invited for some time
Idealistic Attempts
– Attempts to disarm nations led to naval reduction treaties
– Attempt to outlaw war led to Kellogg-Briand treaty
– Many nations reduced their militaries to minimal levels
The Fascist Alternative in Europe
• new political ideology known as fascism became
important in much of Europe in period 1919–1945
intensely nationalistic
exalted action over reflection
looked to charismatic leadership
against individualism, liberalism, feminism, parliamentary
democracy, and communism
– determined to overthrow existing regimes
– conservative/reactionary: celebrated traditional values
• fascism appealed to dissatisfied people in all social
• achieved major power in Italy and Germany
1935 Ethiopia
– Italy also wanted an empire
– Started a war with, annexed Ethiopia
– Western Allies, League of Nations did nothing to halt war
Spanish Civil War
– 1931 Radicals oust Spanish king, declare Spain a republic
– Military, Church, elite hate republic
• Francisco Franco assumes leadership, creates fascist organization
– Civil War 1936 – 1939 saw world involvement
• UK, France refused to become involved
• USSR sent aid, volunteers to Republicans
• Italy, Germany sent aid, volunteers to Falangists (Nationalists)
Fascists Elsewhere
– Strong Fascist movements in France, Belgium, Eastern Europe
– Most fascists saw liberals, democrats, communists, socialists as enemies
Hitler and the Nazis
took shape as the Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler (1889–1945)
many similarities to Italian fascism
grew out of the collapse of the German imperial state after WWI
a new government, the Weimar Republic
creation of myth that Germany had not really lost the war but had
been betrayed by civilians (socialists, Communists, and Jews)
• the National Socialist (Nazi) Party won growing public support
• the Nazis had only 2.6 percent of the vote in 1928; 37 percent in
• as chancellor, Hitler suppressed all other political parties, arrested
opponents, censured the press, and assumed police power
In Germany
The Depression led to Nazism, the German variant of Fascism
Adolf Hitler called for the state to guide society
Nazis in power
Built a totalitarian state
Exercised direct control over many aspects of German life
Eliminated opposition groups through terror, secret police, concentration camps
Jews were made the scapegoats for all modern problems and persecuted
In foreign policy
The state was greater than the sum of individual interests
Promised to end the humiliation of Versailles
Railed against Jews.
Hitler prepared for war: looked to rebuild a German empire
He withdrew Germany from the League of Nations
Broke Treaty of Versailles by suspending reparations, rearming
Germany declared a union with Austria in 1938
Threatened to invade Czechoslovakia in 1938: European nations demand a conference
France and Britain acceded to Hitler's demands in return for the hope of continued peace.
Appeasement failed when Hitler's forces swallowed all of Czechoslovakia in 1939.
The Soviet Union and Germany signed a peace treaty in the same year.
Finally, when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, Britain and France declared war
Japanese Authoritarianism
• like Germany and Italy, moved to authoritarian
government and territorial expansion
• important differences:
– Japan played only a minimal role in WWI
– at Versailles, Japan was an equal participant on the
winning side
• 1920s: Japan was apparently moving toward
• greater individual freedoms, including for women
the Great Depression hit Japan hard
the military became more dominant
free expression was increasingly limited
the government adopted many themes from
the Radical Right
• the military became more dominant
• free expression was increasingly limited
World War II
World War II
World War II was even more global than World War I
• The Road to War in Asia
• Japanese imperial ambitions rose in the 1920s and
– Japan had acquired influence in Manchuria after the
Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905
– 1931: Japanese military units seized control of Manchuria
– Western criticism led Japan to withdraw from League of
– by 1936, Japan was more closely aligned with
– 1937: major attack on the Chinese heartland started
WWII in Asia
• 1940–1941: Japan launched conquest of
European colonies (Indochina, Malaya, Burma,
Indonesia, and the Philippines)
• presented themselves as liberators of their
fellow Asians
• December 1941: attack on Pearl Harbor
WORLD WAR II: AXIS 1939 - 1942
 Blitzkrieg: Germany conquers Western Europe : 1939 – 1940
 Blitzkrieg: lightening war of tank, air, mobility
 Battle of the Atlantic: German subs against British convoys
 Battle of Britain: British defeat German airforce
 The German invasion of the Soviet Union
1941: Germany conquers Balkans, invades USSR
Blitzkrieg strategies less effective in Russia
Hitler underestimated Soviet industrial capacity,
Germans ill-prepared for war, stalled at Stalingrad
 U.S. support of the Allies before Pearl Harbor
 Roosevelt sold, "loaned" arms , war material to UK
 Later supplied the Soviets and the Chinese
 Japanese expansion
 Continued into southeast Asia: Indochina, 1940-1941
 USA responded by freezing Japanese assets, used oil embargo
 Demanded withdrawal from China and southeast Asia
 7 December 1941
 US navy at Pearl Harbor attacked
 US declared war on Japan; Germany, Italy declared war on USA
 Japanese overran Southeast Asia, swept seas of Allied Navies
WORLD WAR II: 1942 - 1945
Impact of Soviet Union and U.S. entry in 1941
USSR brought vital personnel and USA industry to Allies
Russia fielded 350 divisions against the German 130
Germany forced to fight a two front war
German subs sank 2,452 ships, U.S. shipyards built more
Allied victories came after 1943
Russians defeated the Germans at Stalingrad, pushed them back
1944, British-U.S. troops invaded North Africa and then Italy
June 1944, British-U.S. forces invaded northern France at Normandy
Overwhelmed Germans on coast of Normandy, 6 June 1944
Round-the-clock strategic bombing by Allies leveled German cities
Germans surrendered unconditionally 8 May 1945; Hitler committed suicide
Turning the tide in the Pacific
The Battle of Midway, June 1942; United States broke Japanese code
Island-hopping strategy: moving to islands close to Japan for air attacks
US launched unrestricted submarine warfare against Japanese empire
British invade Japanese empire through Burma, SE Asia
Chinese nationalists, communists tie down 2 million Japanese troops
Savage fighting on islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa
US launches round the clock air raids against Japan
Japanese used kamikazes; Okinawan civilians refused to surrender
U.S. military was convinced that Japan would not surrender
Japanese surrender after devastating assault
U.S. firebombing raids devastated Japanese cities: in Tokyo, 100,000 killed
August 1945: atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed 200,000
Japanese emperor surrendered unconditionally 15 August, ending WWII
Total War
Total War
Mobilization of all society in order to win
Civilians used to work in war industry
Women used in non-combatant roles
Minorities employed in many roles including combat
Industry, science mobilized to support war
Allies went on total war very early; Axis delayed and it cost them the war
Civilians and the War
– Combatants started to attack civilians
– Cities and civilian targets became fair game
– Non-traditional combatants attack enemy behind the lines
– In Yugoslavia, Albania, Poland, France, Russia, China helped win the war
– Scientists became an integral part of the war
– Rockets, jet fighters, radar, atomic bombs, super weapons
– Allies had a clear and early lead but Germany had its surprises
The Germans utilized racially acceptable minorities in their army
Russians, Chinese mobilized everyone – irrespective of race, ethnicity
Japanese enlisted other ethnic groups but mistreated their Korean soldiers
The USA and the African Americans
Given low, menial jobs; segregated from white troops
White officers commanded black units
Only later in war allowed into combat
Graduates of Tuskagee formed a famous fighter squadron
The British and French
Mobilized their empires and citizens for war
British Indian Army, French colonial troops very active
Women and the war
"It's a Woman's War, Too!"
Over half a million British, 350,000 American women joined auxiliary services
Soviet and Chinese women took up arms and joined resistance groups
Jewish women and girls suffered as much as men and boys
Women's social roles changed dramatically
By taking jobs or heading families, women gained independence and confidence
Changes expected to be temporary, would return to traditional role after war
"Comfort women"
Japanese armies forcibly recruited 300,000 women to serve in military brothels
80 percent of comfort women came from Korea
Many were massacred by Japanese soldiers; survivors experienced deep shame
Types of Murder
Armenian Holocaust
Genocide: Killing of a specific group of people, attempt to wipe out
Democide: Mass murder of people by government
Ethnic Cleansing: Term common when one group attacks, kills another
First genocide of 20th century
Turks killed 1.5 million Armenians for their support of Russians in World War I
The Holocaust
Long history of anti-Semitism
The "final solution"
Will to resist sapped by prolonged starvation, disease
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: 60,000 Jews rose up against Germans
Began with slaughter of Jews, Gypsies, undesirables in Soviet Union
By 1941, German special killing units had killed 1.4 million Jews
By 1942 Nazis evacuated all European Jews to camps in east Poland
Jewish resistance
Created tolerance of Nazi's anti-Jewish measures
At first Nazis encouraged Jewish emigration
Many Jews were unable to leave after Nazis took their wealth
Nazi conquest of Europe brought more Jews under their control
About 5.7 million Jews perished; more than 2 million Poles died
Almost 98% of all Gypsies were murdered
Other Examples
Democides: Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot (Cambodia), Zaire/Congo
Genocides: Rwanda, Sudan
Ethnic Cleansings: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kurds in Iraq
 The origins of the cold war (1947-1990)
Unlikely alliance between Britain, USSR, USA held up for duration of war
Not without tensions: Soviet resented U.S.-British delays in European invasion
 Postwar settlement established at Yalta and Potsdam
Each Allied power to occupy and control territories liberated by its armed forces
Stalin agreed to support United States against Japan
Stalin's plans prevailed; Poland and east Europe became communist allies
President Truman took hard line at Potsdam, widened differences
 Postwar territorial divisions reflected growing schism between USA, USSR
Soviets took east Germany, while United States, Britain, and France took west Germany
Berlin also divided four ways; by 1950 division seemed permanent
Churchill spoke of an "iron curtain" across Europe, separating east and west
Similar division in Korea: Soviets occupied north and United States the south
 Truman doctrine, 1947: USA would support "free peoples resisting subjugation"
Perception of world divided between so-called free and enslaved peoples
Interventionist policy, dedicated to "containment" of communism
 The Marshall Plan, 1948: U.S. aid for the recovery of Europe
Idea to rebuild European economies and strengthen capitalism
Soviet response: Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) for its satellites
 NATO and the Warsaw Pact: militarization of the cold war
1949, United States created NATO, a regional military alliance against Soviet aggression
1955, Soviets formed the Warsaw Pact in response
Two global superpowers protecting hegemony with alliances
United Nations, established 1945 to maintain international peace and security
 Postwar Europe
 Divided into competing political, military, economic blocs
 NATO, European Economic Communities; Warsaw Pact, COMECON
 Neutral: European Free Trade Association; Yugoslavia
 Western Europe
 U.S. allies supported by permanent presence of American army
 Parliamentary governments, capitalist economies
 Eastern Europe
 Dominated by Soviet Union, Red Army, secret police
 Communist governments modeled after USSR dominate countries
 Germany divided east and west in 1949
 Soviets refused to withdraw from eastern Germany after World War II
 Allied sectors reunited 1947-1948, Berlin remained divided as well
 Berlin blockade and airlift, 1948-1949
 The Berlin Wall, 1961
 In Asia
 Turkey, Greece, Iran pressured by USSR, allies: US responds with Truman Doctrine
 Communist Chinese armed by USSR, drive Nationalists out of China by 1949
 Korea divided into Communist North, Pro-Western South: North invades South in 1950
 Communists influence Viet Minh in Indo-China
• Joseph Stalin
Was able to gain control of the Communist apparatus,
Stalin wished to accelerate the process of nationalization
Repealed NEP: did not trust private initiative or capitalization
Establish an industrialized society under governmental control
Totalitarian Rule or Stalinism
Stalin forced both artists and scientists to conform to government demands
Created a totalitarian state through creation of state police, the party
Potential rivals were ruthlessly eliminated
Dissemination of information was carefully controlled
Stalin's regime was repressive
A New Reign of Terror – The Purges
To further his control, agenda purged all opposition, real, imagined
Soviet secret police arrested people without warrants, usually on gossip suspicion
System of informers left society in utter terror awaiting the knock on the door
In early 1930s, began region of terror
Purged intellectuals and party officials
Some executed, some sent to prison camps in Siberia called Gulags
Late 1930s
Purged Red Army
Executed more than 60% of all officers above the rank of major
Left Red Army unable to resist Nazi invasion during World War II
Economic Policies
Stalin ordered the collectivization of agriculture in 1928
Large state-run farms replaced individual family units.
Collectivization permitted government capitalization
Collectivization permitted firmer control over the peasant population
Wealthier peasants, or kulaks, resisted: Stalin ordered them killed
Communists imposed collectivization by force
Government-run farms produced little incentive for peasantry
Collectivization siphoned capital, labor out of agriculture into industry
To foster industrialization
Stalin created a state planning commission and a series of five-year plans
Government paid for infrastructure and industrialization
The focus was entirely on heavy industry, not consumer production
State planning reduced dependence on markets but created bottlenecks and waste
Despite problems, Russian industrialization under the five-year plans was rapid.
Toward an Industrial Society
Soviet industrialization shared some aspects with early Western developments.
Urbanization rapidly increased
Factory management of labor was strict, and welfare services developed over time.
Standards of living remained low
Industrialization produced few consumer products.
The process was state-directed, and there was no mechanism to air worker grievances.