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Leading to WWII
Postwar Europe
• By 1920s, European nations were rebuilding
their economies
• Only the U.S. and Japan came out of the war
in better financial shape that before
– U.S. stock market is booming
Unstable New Democracies
• Europe’s last absolute rulers had been
overthrown
• Citizens of the new democracies had little
experience with representative government
• Large numbers of political parties made effective
government difficult
– Coalition Governments
• Frequent changes in government made it hard to
develop strong leadership and move toward longterm goals
The Weimar Republic
• Weaknesses from the start
– Germany lacked a strong democratic tradition
– Germany had several major political parties and
many minor ones
– Millions of Germans blamed the Weimar
government, not their wartime leaders, for the
country’s defeat and postwar humiliation caused
by the Versailles Treaty
Inflation
• Germany’s paper money
loses value
• Heavy reparations to the
Allies and other economic
problems
• Germans needed more
money to pay for goods:
– 1918- loaf of bread= less
than a mark
– 1922- loaf of bread= 160
marks
– 1923- loaf of bread= 200
billion marks
The Dawes Plan
Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact
Treaty Promises:
• France and Germany will
never again make war
against each other
• Germany respects the
existing borders of France
and Belgium
• Germany is then admitted
into the League of Nations
Problems:
• No means to enforce its
provisions
• The League of Nations had
no armed forces
• The refusal of the U.S. to
join the League of Nations
weakened it
Weaknesses in the U.S. Economy
•
•
•
•
Uneven distribution of wealth
Overproduction by business and agriculture
Many Americans buying less
U.S. economic prosperity largely sustained the
world economy- if the U.S. economy weakens,
the whole world economic system might
collapse…
Stock Market Crash- 1929
• Optimism about the U.S. economy showed in
soaring prices for stocks
• Many middle-income people bought stocks on
margin
• This system only works when prices keep rising
• Investors began to think that stock prices were
unnaturally high and started selling
– Panic resulted
– October 20- a record 16 million stocks were sold and
the market collapsed
Bank Runs & Loss of Savings Accounts
By 1933, one quarter of all American
workers had no jobs
Depression Spreads Globally
• American bankers demanded repayment of their
overseas loans and American investors withdrew
money from Europe
• American market for European goods dropped
sharply
– Congress placed high tariffs on imported goods
– Chain reaction
• Germany and Austria particularly hard hit- due to
war debts and dependence on American loans
and investments
Confronting the Crisis
• Britain
• France
• Socialist governments in
Denmark, Sweden,
Norway
• U.S.- F.D.R.- New Deal
Fascism Rises in Italy
• Fascism- a new militant political movement
that emphasized loyalty to the state and
obedience to its leader
– No clearly defined theory or program
– Extreme form of nationalism
– Loyalty to an authoritarian leader
– Wore uniforms of a certain color, used special
salutes, and held mass rallies
Fascism & Communism
Similarities
• Both systems ruled by
dictators who allowed oneparty rule
• Denied individual rights
• State was supreme
• Did not practice any kind of
democracy
Differences
• Fascists did not seek a
classless society, but rather
believed each class had its
place and function
• Fascists were nationalists
while Communists were
internationalists (hoping to
unite workers world-wide)
Benito Mussolini
• Founded the Fascist party
in 1919
• Publically criticized Italy’s
government
• Promised to rescue Italy
by reviving its economy
and rebuilding its armed
forces
• Played on fear of a
workers revolt
• March on Rome- October
1922
Il Duce
• Abolished democracy
and outlawed all
political parties except
the Fascists
• Secret police jailed his
opponents
• Government censors
• Outlawed strikes
Hitler Rises to Power
• Little-known political
leader
• Volunteers for WWI and
awarded the Iron Cross
twice
• Settles in Munich at the
end of the war
– Joins a tiny right-wing
political group that shares
his belief that Germany
had to overturn the Treaty
of Versailles and combat
communism
Nazi Party
• National Socialist German Workers’ Party
• Adopted the swastika, hooked cross, as its
symbol
• Set up a group of private militia called the
storm troopers or Brown Shirts
• Hitler’s success as an organizer and speaker
led him to be chosen der Fuhrer (leader) of
the Nazi party
Mein Kamph
My Struggle
• Written while Hitler was in prison
• Asserted that Germans, incorrectly called
“Aryans,” were a “master race” and non-Aryan
“races” such as Jews, Slavs, and Gypsies were
inferior
• Called the Versailles Treaty an outrage and vowed
to reclaim German lands
• Declared Germany overcrowded- promised to get
more living space by conquering eastern Europe
and Russia
Hitler and Nazis Take Control
• Hitler comes to power legally- named Chancellor
• Called for new elections- Nazis win by a slim
majority
• Uses his new power to turn Germany into a
totalitarian state
– Banned all other political parties
– Had his opponent arrested
– Created the SS
Nazi Germany = The Third Reich
SS
Schutzstaffle (Protection Squad)
• Loyal only to Hitler
• Arrested and murdered
hundreds of Hitler’s
enemies in 1934
• Gestapo (Nazi secret
police) combined with
the SS’s brutal action
shocked most Germans
into obedience
Nazi’s Take Command of Economy
• New laws banned strikes
• Dissolved independent labor unions
• Gave government authority over business and
labor
• Put millions of Germans to work
Hitler Controls German Life
• Turned press, radio,
literature, painting, and film
into propaganda tools
• Books that did not conform
to Nazi beliefs were burned
• Churches forbidden to
criticize the Nazis or
government
• Schoolchildren had to join
the Hitler Youth (boys) or
the League of German Girls
Other Countries Fall to Dictators
•
•
•
•
•
•
Hungary
Poland
Yugoslavia
Albania
Bulgaria
Romania
• By 1935, only 1
democracy remained in
eastern EuropeCzechoslovakia
• Only nations with
strong democratic
traditions were able to
hold on to democracy
– England
– France
– Scandinavian countries
Japan
• Becomes more democratic in the 1920s
– Signs treaty to respect China’s borders
– Signs Kellogg-Briand
• Parliamentary system’s weaknesses
– Constitution puts strict limits on the powers of the
prime minister and cabinet
– Civilian leaders had little control over the armed
forces
– Military leaders reported only to the emperor
Militarists Take Control
• Wanted to restore traditional control of the
government to the military
• Made emperor the symbol of state power
– Emperor Hirohito
• Extreme nationalists- solve the country’s
economic problems through foreign expansion
– Planned a Pacific Empire that included a
conquered China
Japanese Invasions
Manchuria
• First direct challenge to the
League of Nations
• Japan ignored the protest of
League members
• Withdrew from the League
of Nations in 1933
China
• 4 years later, border
incident turns into full-scale
war
• China’s army no match for
Japans
• China establishes a new city
further west and guerrillas
led by Communist leader
Mao Zedong continues to
fight the Japanese in the
conquered area
Mussolini Attacks Ethiopia
• Ethiopian leader Haile
Selassie appealed to the
League of Nationsmembers only
condemned the attack
• Britain and France
thought if they gave in
to Mussolini in Africa
they could retain peace
in Europe
Hitler Defies Versailles Treaty
• Announced Germany would not abide by the
treaty’s restrictions on the German military
size
• League issued a mild condemnation
• This convinced Hitler to take greater risks…
The Rhineland
• 30 mile-wide zone on
either side of the Rhine
river
• Forms a buffer between
Germany and France
• Also an important
industrial area
• German troops moved
in- March 1936
Reaction
• French were stunned… but unwilling to risk
war
• British suggested appeasement
• Hitler later admitted he would have backed
down if the British and French had challenged
him
German reoccupation of the Rhineland
marks a turning point in the march
toward war
• Strengthened Hitler’s power and prestige
• Balance of power changed in Germany’s favor
– France and Belgium are now open for an attack
• Weak response by France and Britain
encouraged Hitler to speed up his expansion
The Axis Powers
• Rome-Berlin Axis- Hitler
and Mussolini
• A month later- Germany
makes an agreement
with Japan
• The three form the AXIS
POWERS
Spanish Civil War
• 1931- Republic replaces
monarchy
• 1936- Army leaders join
General Francisco Franco
in a revolt
• Hitler and Mussolini
support Franco
• Other side had little
support
• 1939- Franco becomes
Spain’s first Fascist
dictator
Democratic Nations Try to Preserve
Peace
• Britain and France repeatedly make
concessions, hoping to keep peace
• U.S. follows isolationist policy
• November 1937- Hitler announces plans to
absorb Austria and Czechoslovakia into the
Third Reich
Sudetenland
• Three million Germanspeaking people live in
the western border
regions of
Czechoslovakia
• Heavily fortified area
formed the main
defense against German
• Hitler demanded the
Sudetenland be given to
Germany
Same Old Story
• Treaty of Versailles prohibited a union
between Austria and Germany
• Hitler sent his army into Austria and annexed
it
• France and Britain ignored their pledge to
protect Austrian independence
• Hitler turns to Czechoslovakia
• Czechs turn to France for help…
Munich Conference
Left to Right: Chamberlain (UK), Daladier (France), Hitler, Mussolini, Ciano (Italy)
Munich Conference and After
• Britain and France agree to let Hitler have the
Sudetenland as long as he promises to respect
the new borders
• Less than six months after the meeting, Hitler
seizes Czechoslovakia
• Soon after, Mussolini seized Albania
Hitler Looks at Poland
• Hitler demanded that
Poland return the
former German port of
Danzig (Polish Corridor)
• Poles refuse and turn to
Britain and France for
aid
• Appeasement had
convinced Hitler that
neither nation would
risk war
Nonaggression Pact between Germany
& Russia