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’The Age of Extremes’
War’s end ushers in era of turbulance as new
countries and governments struggle for stability
amidst volatile economies and nationalist forces.
Polarised: ’red’ cities, conservative countryside.
Despite Lenin’s dreams and short-lived uprisings
in Hungary, Vienna, Berlin, communist revolution
will next come on Russia’s other border- China.
Extreme right-wing in Central Europe feeds on
resentment, insecurity, anti-Semitism, love of
violence to install military regimes except in
’advanced’ democratic Czechoslovakia
Re-arranging the map
The League of Nations
40+ countries. Unanimous vote to pass resolution.
Settles minor territorial disputes: Sweden-Finland,
Greece-Bulgaria, gives ’mandates’ runs Saar.
Germany joins 1926. USSR excluded until 1934
Fought drug sellers, slave traders, disease such as
leprosy, repatriated POWs, aided refugees.
International Labor organisation, Court of Justice.
Fails to persuade Poles to withdraw from Vilnius, Italy
from Corfu. Seen as ’toothless.
Disarmament talks fail in 1923 and again 1932.
Japan, German, Italy, Spain pull out in 1930s.
The League of Nations
Germany in 1920s
Hyperinflation due to wartime debt and printing money
France, Belgium occupy Ruhr to keep coal flowing
1923. Yet stability restored 1924.
Various plans to relieve German war reparations:
Dawes Plan 1924 provides US loans to Germany to
pay reparations to France, UK so they can pay back
US. Young Plan further reduces German loans 1929.
Germany economy growing by mid-1920s. Hitler’s
putsch has failed, Nazis have only minimal support
Wall Street crash causes US to impose higher tariffs
on European goods, call in their loans, ruining banks.
The Dawes and Young Plans
Fascism v. Communism
• Italy first ‘fascist’ state under Benito Mussolini in 1922.
• Both ‘totalitarian’ in practice: total state control, oneparty rule, leader worship, no free press, individual
rights, rely on police, propaganda, youth groups, rallies
• Fascism promotes racial superiority, military
aggression, traditional roles. Middle class support.
• Communism wants equality for all (including women),
no private sector, no religion, worldwide revolution.
• Both popular in times of economic distress, instability.
Propaganda-USSR and Italy
World Trade in the early 1930s
Elections in Germany 1928-33