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Dictators Come to Power
Effects of World War I and the Great Depression
• Upheavals in countries led to the rise of dictators and totalitarian
Government During the 1920s
• Many nations embraced oppressive dictatorships and
• A theory of government in which a single party or leader controls the
economic, social, and cultural lives of its people.
• This was a 20th Century phenomenon
• It was more extreme than a simple dictatorship
• Why do you think it was able to take hold in the years leading up to WWII?
Repression in the Soviet Union
• 1917 Lenin establishes the first totalitarian state which results in
starvation, famine, and death of millions
• Joseph Stalin becomes leader of the Communist Party in 1924
• Suspicious, cruel, ruthless, tyrannical
• Great Terror- Stalin purged the Communist party of real and
suspected traitors
• Propaganda kept Stalin in power
Repression in Italy
• Totalitarianism was a result of war and treaties
• Returning veterans could not find jobs, postwar economic
depression, and a weak government allowed for the growth of the
Communist Party.
• 1919 Benito Mussolini formed the Fascist party- it trumpeted
nationalism and promised to make Italy great again.
• Followers were known as Black Shirts
• He outlawed political parties, took over the press, created secret police,
organized youth groups
• Opposed liberalism and socialism
• Post WWI Germany= Democracy
• Weimar Republic (government) struggled during the 1920s
• Anger over the Treaty of Versailles and internal disunity plagued
the new government
• National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi) threated the
• They opposed communism, socialism or anything that promoted
class interests or workers’ rights above German ethnic solidarity
• Led by Adolf Hitler
• “Mein Kampf”- “My Struggle”- states Hitler’s explanations for the
problems facing Germany
• Communists and Jews
• Hitler was anti-semitic- prejudice against Jews
• How the Nazi Party succeeded
• Unemployment
• Homelessness
• Hunger
• Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933
Became President and ruled uncheck by the German Parliament (Reichstag)
State controlled press
Secret police
State controlled education system
Political initiatives restricted freedoms
• 1920s was a period of increased Democracy and peaceful change
• Reduced military power, all men the right to vote, trade unions, political
• Ended with the Great Depression
• Military leaders believed expansion would solve Japan’s problems
and grant security
• Never became when totalitarian state
• Constitutional Monarchy head by an aloof emperor
Japan- Expansion
• Aggressive military expansion
• 1931- attacked Manchuria
• Northeastern China
• Puppet State
• Japan controlled domestic and foreign policy and natural resources
• 1937- Gained control over Chinese railroads and coastal areas
• Japanese soldiers acted with brutality
• Rape of Nanjing- murdered residents and burned the city
Dictators Turn to Aggression
• Germany and Italy resorted to acts of aggression similar to Japan
• League of Nations- no real power to enforce the decrees
• America never joined
• Long on words, short on action
• Hitler enlarged his army, navy, and air force in direct defiance of the Treaty
of Versailles
• Goal of moving all people into one Reich (state)
• Expand to gain Lebensraum (living space)
• Sent troops to the Rhineland- direct challenge to the League- no response
• Mussolini invaded Ethiopia and succeeded
• Policy of granting concessions in order to keep the peace
• Why would France and Britain appease the fascist powers?
• Didn’t want to start another war
• Believed Soviet Union was a greater threat
• Believed a strong Germany would be a buffer for Soviet Union
• U.S. maintained isolationist policy
• Anschluss- Hitler brought Austria into the Reich
• Due to lack of commitment from U.S., France, and Britain
Munich Conference
• British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and France appeased
Germany and sacrificed the Sudetenland
• Munich Pact- agreement reached at the conference
• Chamberlain declared it had, preserved “peace for our time”
• Postponed the war for 11 months