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1920s and Totalitarianism

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Douglas Buchacek

on 6 October 2016

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Transcript of 1920s and Totalitarianism

The collapse of the U.S. economy had great effect throughout the world.

- World trade collapsed
- Inflation continued
- Banks closed
- Unemployment skyrocketed.
The Rise of Fascism in Europe


However, in countries like Germany and Italy, which did not have such histories, people started to question the ability of democracy to solve society's problems. Increasingly, people looked to non-democratic forms of government. Many of these governments were "authoritarian." Support for the Communists increased. A new political movement, called "fascism" also gained support.

Authoritarianism: a governmental or political system in which individual freedom is less important than the power or authority of the state/government, centered either in one person or a small group that is not constitutionally accountable to the people.

Examples: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union's ability to (seemingly) avoid the worst aspects of the Great Depression looked attractive.
Josef Stalin, who had succeeded Lenin as leader of the Soviet Union, was launching his "5 Year Plans," which called for greater industrialization in the country. He was also seizing farms throughout the country and turning them into "collective farms." This process caused a famine that killed about 12 million people.

5 Year Plans: Josef Stalin's plans to industrialize the Soviet Union (1st 5 Year Plan: 1928)
Because of the extreme depression of the 1930s, and also because Stalin's Soviet Union was so secretive that people either didn't know about his crimes, or chose to not believe that they could be true (or worse, believed Stalin's words that people who were arrested and killed deserved it as "enemies of the people"), in some cases, people looked to the communists as a way to fight the effects of the Great Depression.

Although the Communists gained popularity despite this violence, many people turned to another form of totalitarianism called "fascism." Two examples of Fascists are Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

Totalitarianism: government control over every aspect of public and private life. Totalitarianism has a very similar meaning to authoritarianism.

Fascism: political movement that emphasizes loyalty to the state and obedience to the leader. Fascists often have the support of the middle and upper class and the military.
Stalin also began eliminating enemies, instructing his secret police, called the NKVD, to arrest or execute anyone who may be disloyal to him. As in the past, many of these people wound up in the vast stretches of Siberia, in a huge network of concentration camps known as the "Gulag."

Secret Police: a police agency which operates in secrecy and beyond the law to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian political regime.

Ex: Soviet NKVD, Gestapo and SS in Nazi Germany.
Ways of thinking about political identity: the political spectrum.

We know about many political parties and movements: Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals, progressives. People who study politics often group people and parties on the "political spectrum." This gives rise to the terms "left wing" and "right wing."

"Left wing" tends to be people who support the working class against the upper class. Left wing parties or individuals tend to support group action to solve problems.

"Right wing" tends to be people who support individual rights over collective (group rights) and tend to support business and industry.

The further left or right you go on the spectrum, the more authoritarian the parties become. So, extreme left would be communism, and extreme right would be fascism.

Authoritarianism: a governmental or political system in which individual freedom is held as completely subordinate to the power or authority of the state, centered either in one person or a small group that is not constitutionally accountable to the people.

In extreme situations, people often turn to extreme parties or people. We will discuss reasons for that in a second.
Characteristics of Fascism:

1) Extreme devotion to the Leader.
- Hitler was known as "der Fuhrer."
- Mussolini (Italy) was known as "Il Duce"

2) Extreme Nationalism: people are made to believe that their country is more important than the individual.

This allows people to justify killing in the name of their country, no matter how brutal it may be. Also, there is usually extreme militarism.

3) Scapegoat: someone to blame.
- communists
- socialists
- Foreigners: Americans, British, etc.
- People who are "different": gays and lesbians, the handicapped
- Religious minorities: Jews

4) Authoritarianism: all aspects of life is controlled. The state institutes censorship, propaganda, secret police In Germany, this secret police was known as the Gestapo.
Timeline of the rise of fascism in Europe:

1919: Fascist party founded in Rome. Benito Mussolini, a newspaper editor, promising to end inflation and unemployment and to gain territory for Italy starts attracting popularity.

1919: Adolf Hitler joins the National Socialist German Worker's Party. Most people called them the Nazis.
-- Members often dressed in brown uniforms, leading many people to call them "brownshirts".

1922: King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy appoints Mussolini prime minister of the Italian government.

1923: Adolf Hitler and the Nazis attempt to seize power in Germany.
-- The "Beer Hall Putsch" is unsuccessful
-- Hitler is thrown in jail.
-- Sentences to 5 years, he serves 9 months.
-- writes his autobiography, Mein Kampf (My Struggle)

1929: Stock Market crash. Germany again plunged into terrible economic conditions.

1932: The Nazis become Germany's largest political party.

1933: President Paul von Hindenburg appoints Hitler chancellor of Germany.
-- Hitler calls for elections.
-- Just before the election, the Reichstag, or German parliament, burns to the ground.
-- Hitler blames the communists, and uses the event as an excuse to seize absolute power.
Principles in Mein Kampf

- Germany's problems in the 1920s should be blamed on the Treaty of Versailles, communists, and Jews.

- Germans were the "master race," known as "Aryans." Everybody else, Slavs, Gypsies and especially Jews were inferior.

- All German speaking people should be united into a single country ("Reich"). He would do this by taking back all land taken from Germany by treaty of Versailles.

- Aryans needed more land to support their population, and therefore, Hitler planned to seize land from "inferior" people for use by the Germans. This was known as "lebensraum" ("living space").

- "Lebensraum" specifically targeted the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

1920s - Awesome or Awful?
Kaiser Wilhelm II stepped down in 1918:replaced by a government known as the Weimar Republic.

The Weimar Republic signed the Treaty of Versailles, effectively ending World War 1.
The Weimar Republic had many political parties.

In some elections, 13 different parties were running at the same time.

Because of this, it's governments had to be made up of coalitions.

Coalition: an alliance

Coalition government: an alliance of many political parties that cooperate to get a majority.

Majority = 50% + 1

Strength: many opinions can be represented.

Weakness: Can be unstable: Sometimes its an alliance of groups that don't like each other. If they get into an argument, the coalition might break up and new elections will have to be held.
The Weimar Republic in Germany had many weaknesses:

-- Germany lacked democratic traditions.

-- There were multiple political parties: Coalition Governments: From 1919-33, there were twenty separate coalition governments and the longest government lasted only two years.

-- Germans blamed the Weimar Republic for post-war humiliation.

-- Germany suffered MASSIVE inflation. Germany had to print money to pay off World War 1 reparations.

inflation: a decline in the value of money, accompanied by a rise in the prices of goods and services.

deflation: a rise in the value of money, accompanied by the fall in the prices of goods and services.

Loaf of Bread in Berlin, 1918: less than 1 German Mark

Loaf of Bread in Berlin, 1922: 160 Germans Marks.

Loaf of Bread in Berlin, 1923: 200 billion German Marks.

1 US dollar = 4,210,500,000,000 Marks (1923)



In the U.S. however, things were pretty awesome:

The U.S. had not been blown to bits by the war. Americans were content to go back to isolationism. The U.S. didn't even join the League of Nations.

Because of this, the League of Nations was weak and ultimately failed to be effective at preventing war.

Without war debts, the U.S. economy soared. People were able to buy new consumer products: radios, automobiles. This prosperity was known as the Roaring 20s.

Video: 19:00 - 38:00

http://media.nclive.org/authvid.phtml?vid=158&ctime=1950
Totalitarianism
Propaganda: http://www.salon.com/2012/02/03/nazi_iconography_imprint/singleton/
This feeling or prosperity in the United States disguised some significant problems:

1) Significant income inequality:
- the richest 5% 0f the population received 33% of personal income in 1929.
- many people could not afford to buy things.
- factories decreased production and started laying off workers.
- Unemployment rose.
2) Agricultural overproduction:
- new farming methods and technology led to increased crop yields.
- This increase caused prices to drop.
- Farmers were unable to pay the banks for their farms and homes.
- People lost their homes, and some banks closed.
The bottom really fell out in 1929. Even though there were weaknesses in the US economy, the stock market was rising continuously throughout the 1920s. Stock prices were rising, and people investing their life savings in stock.

stock: a piece of an individual company. Stocks have no fixed value. The price of stock can rise and fall depending on the value of the company.




October 29, 1929: Black Tuesday.
- The stock market crashes.
- Billions of dollars in savings vanish almost instantly.
- By 1932: 225 of banks had failed (depositors lost their savings)
- Unemployment = 25%; in some places even higher: Chicago = 50%.
- 25% farmers lost their farms.
- Homelessness, malnutrition, loss of hope.

Stalin's Secret Police
Coalition Gov Activities
GuLag
BBC Rise of Hitler Part 1
BBC Rise of Hitler Part 2
Totalitarianism: government control over every aspect of public and private life.

Most totalitarian movements have an ideology which they follow and expect others to follow as well.

Most totalitarian governments use a secret police and others methods to enforce its rule.

Ideology: a set of ideas that forms someone's goals and actions.

Secret Police: a police agency which operates in secrecy and beyond the law to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian political regime.
In places with strong democratic traditions, like the United States and Great Britain, people looked for looked to existing governments to solve the problem.

Great Britain: new elections: national government

USA: Franklin Roosevelt elected president: 1932:
- created New Deal:
- government programs to create jobs and offer relief
- "Relief, Recovery, and Reform"

However, in many countries without democratic traditions, extreme political movements seized control or gained new support. Many of these movements were totalitarian.
Josef Stalin:
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union: mid-1920s - 1953.

Goals:
- Establishing communist dictatorship.
- Industrialization of the USSR.
Soviet Russia, along with four other communist republics that had been part of the Russian Empire, formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922.

USSR = Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

The USSR is often referred to as the Soviet Union.
Establishment of Communist Dictatorship
- non-communist political parties outlawed.
- strict censorship of the press: official newspaper = Pravda
- membership in the Communist Party required for advancement in education or on the job.
- Propaganda
- Independent, non-communist organizations banned.
- Use of secret police: NKVD, later known as the KGB. Opponents of the regime could be arrested by the NKVD and sent to a series of concentration camps known as GuLag.
Industrialization and Collectivization
Among industrialized powers, Russia had been the least developed and most backwards. Stalin set out to increase Soviet industrial output.

Five Year Plans: Stalin's plans to boost industry in the Soviet Union. Set almost unreachable goals for output of steel, coal, electricity and oil.

Steel: rose from 4 million tons in 1928 to 5.9 million tons. (Goal = 8.3 million tons)
Coal: rose from 35.4 million tons in 1928 to 64.3 million tons in 1932. (Goal = 68 million tons)
Oil: 11.7 million tons in 1928 to 21.4 million tons. (Goal = 19 million tons)

Failure to achieve goals may have resulted in arrest for "sabotage".
Stalin also sought to "collective" agriculture. He believed that having large farms instead of small individually owned farms would be more productive.

Late 1920s: Soviets start seizing land from farmers and organizing collective farms.
- Each farm would have a quota of wheat that it would have to achieve.
- Failure to produce the quota could result in arrest.
- Those who resisted were often arrested and sent to the GuLag or executed.

Collectivization of agriculture caused a famine in 1932 that killed 12 million people.
The Great Purge
As the 5 Year Plans and collectivization continued (and in some ways succeeded), Stalin set about cementing his power by elimination all potential rivals.

1936 - 1938: The Great Purge: campaign to eliminate all opposition to Soviet rule using terror, arrest and execution. Anywhere from 8 to 13 million people were arrested and sent to the GuLag or executed during this time period.
Although the Communists gained popularity despite this violence, many people turned to another form of totalitarianism called "fascism." Two examples of Fascists are Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

Fascism: political movement and ideology that emphasizes loyalty to the state and obedience to the leader. Fascists often have the support of the middle and upper class and the military.


Many people were buying stocks on margin, which means they were borrowing money to buy stocks.

Buying stock on margin: borrowing money to buy stock.

This was good as long as stock prices were rising. But if stocks prices fell, people would have no way to pay off their loans.
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