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The Interwar Period: France

By Joshua Meier and Richard Choi
by

on 28 January 2014

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Transcript of The Interwar Period: France

Rise and Fall of Moderate Government
Political Change
Rise of Radicalism and Communism
shortly after the 1919 moderate election, radicalism arose
Georges Clemenceau (moderate liberal head of President Raymond Poincare’s cabinet) resigned on January 18, 1920
Cabinet became filled with socialist-leaning members
Socialism gained favor throughout the 1920s
crack began to form in the SFIO (the French Socialist Party)
more radical portion broke to form the French Communist Party (FCP).
Class disparity increased during this time
Rural poor turned to communism
Communists believed in anti-war and said they would unify the country while creating equality
Effective propaganda by the communist party turned it into the dominant party on the left

Specific Personalities
Turmoil Caused by Turmoil
Influencing Political Spheres
The Kids Take Action
Dozens of groups formed, catering for youth
The past: "Boring", "Sterile"
The Right: Let's change the future
Statistics:
Schools
Journal Articles
Political Associations
Economic Change
Destruction
Economic Change
Destruction Turns to Disaster
Dawes Plan (1924) and Young Plan (1930) planned to make it possible for Germany to pay reparations
not very successful
German government did not have the gold to back the reparation costs
1926: French government pinned franc to dollar (USD) and pound sterling (PS)
Bank of France accumulated vast amounts of foreign currency
came to own almost half of world’s foreign reserves of USD and PS
momentarily stabilized franc and free fall of the French economy
Fears of the collapse of the pound sterling arose
1928 the Bank of France (BOF) tried to liquidate all the PS that they owned
PS collapsed
Bank forced into bankruptcy
had to be saved by the French government
BOF essentially became nationalized by French government in 1929
BOF changed all of its remaining reserves from USD to Gold imposing a Gold standard
Contributed to the “global monetary contraction”
Caused the Great Depression in France and across the globe in 1930s

Military Change
Carnage and Defense
Military Change
Statistics
9
October 29, 1914
Turkey entered World War I
Turkey was on the side of the Central Powers, and it gave help to a German naval bombardment of Russia.
10
November 2, 1914
Russia declared war on Turkey
It's because of the help given by Turkey to the German attack of Russia.
11
November 5, 1914
Britain and France declared
war on Turkey
12
late 1914
Early stages of the war
The German advance through Belgium to France did not go as smoothly as the Germans had hoped. The Belgians put up a good fight destroying railway lines to slow the transport of German supplies.
Despite a French counter-attack that saw the deaths of many French men on the battlefields at Ardennes, the Germans continued to march into France. They were eventually halted by the allies at the river Marne.
British troops had advanced from the northern coast of France to the Belgian town of Mons. Although they initially held off the Germans, they were soon forced to retreat. The British lost a huge number of men at the first battle of Ypres.
By Christmas, all hopes that the war would be over had gone and the holiday saw men of both sides digging themselves into the trenches of the Western Front.
13
December 1914
Zeppelins/Blimps
Zeppelins first appeared around the English Coast.
14
May 7, 1915
Lusitania sunk
There were outraged protests from the United States against the German U-boat campaign, since the Lusitania, which had many American passengers aboard, sank. In response to this, the Germans then moderated their U-boat campaign.
15
May 23, 1915
Italy entered war on the side of the Allies
16
April 2, 1915
Second Battle of Ypres
Poison gas was used for the first time during this battle. The gas, fired by the Germans claimed many British casualties.
17
February 1915
Zeppelin bombing
Zeppelin airships dropped bombs on Yarmouth.
18
February 1915
Dardenelles
The Russians appealed for help from Britain and France to beat off an attack by the Turkish. The British navy responded by attacking Turkish forts in the Dardenelles.
19
April - August 1915
Dardenelles/ Gallipoli
Despite the loss of several ships to mines, the British successfully landed a number of marines in the Gallipoli region of the Dardenelles. Unfortunately the success was not followed up and the mission was a failure.
20
After February 1915
Winston Churchill resigns
Winston Churchill, critical of the Dardenelles campaign, resigned his post as First Lord of the Admiralty. He rejoined the army as a battalion commander.
21
April 1915
Zeppelins
The use of airships by the Germans increased. Zeppelins began attacking London. They were also used for naval reconnaissance, to attack London and smaller balloons were used for reconnaissance along the Western Front. They were only stopped when the introduction of aeroplanes shot them down.
22
Early 1916
Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill served in Belgium as lieutenant colonel of the Royal Scots Fusiliers.
23
April 1916
Romania entered the war
Romania joined the war on the side of the Allies. But within a few months was occupied by Germans and Austrians.
24
May 31 - June 1 1916
Battle of Jutland
This was the only truly large-scale naval battle of the war. German forces, confined to port by a British naval blockade, came out in the hope of splitting the British fleet and destroying it ship by ship.
However, the British admiral, Beatty, aware that the German tactics were the same as those used by Nelson at Trafalgar, sent a smaller force to lure the German's into the range of Admiral Jellicoe's main fleet. Although Beatty's idea worked, the exchange of fire was brief and the German's withdrew.
The British and German naval forces met again but the battle was inconclusive. The German ships did a great deal of damage to British ships before once again withdrawing and the British Admiral Jellicoe decided not to give chase.
Although British losses were heavier than the German, the battle had alarmed both the Kaiser and the German Admiral Scheer and they decided to keep their fleet consigned to harbour for the remainder of the war.
25
November 28, 1916
First Aeroplane raid
The first German air raid on London took place. The Germans hoped that by making raids on London and the South East, the British Air Force would be forced into protecting the home front rather than attacking the German air force.
26
December 1916
Lloyd George became Prime Minister
Lloyd George became Prime Minister of the war time coalition. His war cabinet, unlike that of his predecessor, met every day. However, there was considerable disagreement among the members of the Cabinet, especially between Lloyd George and his war secretary, Sir Douglas Haig. Lloyd George suspected Haig of squandering life needlessly and was suspicious of his demands for more men and freedom of action in the field.
27
February 21 - November 1916
Battle of Verdun
The Germans mounted an attack on the French at Verdun designed to 'bleed the French dry'. Although the fighting continued for nine months, the battle was inconclusive. Casualties were enormous on both sides with the Germans losing 430,000 men and the French 540,000.
28
July 1 - November 1916
Battle of the Somme
The battle was preceded by a week long artillery bombardment of the German line which was supposed to destroy the barbed wire defences placed along the German line but only actually succeeded in making no mans land a mess of mud and craters. The five month long battle saw the deaths of 420,000 British soldiers (60,000 on the first day), 200,000 French soldiers and 500,000 German soldiers all for a total land gain of just 25 miles.
29
1917
New war commander
Lloyd George, who had never trusted his war minister's ability to direct the war, persuaded the Cabinet to appoint the French General Nivelle as supreme war commander over Haig's head. Haig was assured that the appointment was for one operation only and that if he felt the British army was being misused by the Frenchman he could appeal to the British government.
30
The operation commanded by the French General, Nivelle, went wrong and caused the loss of many French soldiers. Haig protested to the British government and advocated trying his own scheme for a breakthrough. At the resulting battle of Passchendale, Haig broke his promise to call off the battle if the first stage failed because he did not want to lose face with the government.
July - November 1917
Western front Passchendale
31
1917
Churchill Minister of Munitions
Following the heavy defeat at Passchendale, Lloyd George decided
that he wanted Churchill in the Cabinet. Churchill was duly appointed
Minister of Munitions.
WW1: Battle of Tannenberg
Sinking of the Lusitania
WW1: Poison Gas Attacks
Battle of Gallipoli
Zeppelin Bombing in London
WW1: Battle of Jutland
Aeroplanes used in World War I
The Hell of Verdun 1916
WW1:Battle of Somme
32
1917
Reinforcements
sent to Italy
The Italians had lost many men trying to hold the line between Italy and the Central Powers. British and French reinforcements were sent to hold the line.
33
Early 1917
German U-boat
Campaign
In Germany, orders were given to step up the U-boat campaign. All allied or neutral ships were to be sunk on sight and in one month almost a million tons of shipping was sunk. Neutral countries became reluctant to ship goods to Britain and Lloyd George ordered all ships carrying provisions to Britain to be given a convoy.
German U-boats Attack
34
April 6, 1917
USA declared war on Germany
The United States of America declared war on Germany in response to the sinking, by German U boats, of US ships.
Work Cited
36
December 1917
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Following the successful revolution by the Bolsheviks, the Russians signed an Armistice with Germany at Brest-Litovsk. The terms of the treaty were harsh: Russia had to surrender Poland, the Ukraine and other regions. They had to stop all Socialist propaganda directed at Germany and pay 300 million roubles for the repatriation of Russian prisoners.
37
April 1918
Royal Air Force formed
The Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service were merged to form the Royal Air Force.
38
Battle of Amiens
August 8-11, 1918
Battle of Amiens
The British general, Haig, ordered the attack of the German sector at Amiens. At the same time the news came through that the allies had broken through from Salonika and forced Bulgaria to sue for peace.
39
mid October
1918
Allies recover France and Belgium
The allies had taken almost all of German-occupied France and part of Belgium.
40
October 30, 1918
Armistice with Turkey
The allies had successfully pushed the Turkish army back and the Turks were forced to ask for an armistice. The terms of the armistice treaty allowed the allies access to the Dardenelles.
41
Early November 1918
Hindenburg line collapsed
By the beginning of November the allies had pushed the Germans back beyond the Hindenburg line.
42
November 9, 1918
Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated
43
November 11, 1918
Armistice signed
At 11 am, in the French town of Redonthes, the Armistice was signed
bringing the war to an end.
World War I
(1914-1918)
Ended
French General Nivelle
Political Change
1910s to 1920s: liberal leaning moderate government became popular
1919: hard-line socialists only won 2 seats of 240
moderate republican and liberal groups won 218 seats
hard-line right only won 20 seats
Little headway was made in economic and physical recovery of France

Treaty of Versailles: France regained Alsace-Lorraine as well as...
lands along the Rhine and some of Germany’s African territories
multiple territories from the former Ottoman Empire
Much destruction in French lands from trench warfare
Industrial areas had been razed
France’s entire northeast quadrant was annihilated
Estimated 7% of the entire population dead or incapacitated
>1000 miles of canals, 7,000,000 acres of land, 50% of roads in the region, 3,000 miles of railroads, and 220,000 houses destroyed
Reparations were to be paid by Germany
Germany had difficult paying
estimated cost of the destruction: 55 billion francs at their 1913 value
125% of France’s 1913 national income
Unemployment followed
They were easily swept up in radical communist ideas of complete equality and full employment for everyone

>1.3 million military fatalities and >4.6 million wounded
France suffered the second highest Allied losses, after Russia
Developed a purely defensive strategy
mainly the Maginot Line:
line of concrete fortifications, obstacles, and weapons installations constructed on Franco-German border during the 1930s
Maginot line was a response to France's experience in World War I
Similar line of defenses, called Alpine Line, faced Italy
New technology:
France created the first supercharged aircraft engine
However, France's air force had been neglected since the end of WWI
France's seemingly impregnable defenses were circumvented by the German's blitzkrieg

All of the statistics shown here show France's military weakness.
France was devoted to mainly defending itself
The rise of communism caused anti-militarism, anti-conservatism, and pro-nationalization of industry.
Sources:

Pinkney, David H.
Nationalization of Key Industries and Credit in France After the Liberation
. 3rd ed. Vol. 62. The Academy of Political Science, 1947. JSTOR. The Academy of Political Science. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/2144295?seq=2>.

"Socialist Party, France - History of Socialist Party, France | Encyclopedia.com: Dictionary of Contemporary World History."
Encyclopedia - Online Dictionary
. <http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O46-SocialistPartyFrance.html>.

Boswell, Laird.
Rural communism in France
, 1920-1939. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1998. Pg. 32
Sources:

"Socialist Party, France - History of Socialist Party, France | Encyclopedia.com: Dictionary of Contemporary World History." Encyclopedia - Online Dictionary | Encyclopedia.com: Get facts, articles, pictures, video. Web. 01 Dec. 2009. <http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O46-SocialistPartyFrance.html>.

Boswell, Laird.
Rural Communism in France
, 1920-1939. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1998.

"Communist Party of France History Archive."
Marxists Internet Archive.
<http://marxists.anu.edu.au/history/international/comintern/sections/france/index.htm>
Source:
"The Western Front 1914 - 1918."
The War Times Journal
. The War Times Journal, United States National Archives and the United States Signal Corps.
<http://www.richthofen.com/ww1sum/>.

Hautcoeur, Pierre-Cyrille. "Was the Great War a Watershed? The economics of World War One in France." Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, 2003. pg. 19
The statistics above show the weakness of France's manufacturing output and thus its dependence on imports as well as its weak economic state
Sources:

China’s dollar trap? Lessons from France’s 1920s sterling trap. | vox - Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists." Front Page | vox.
<http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/3490>.

Pinkney, David H. Nationalization of Key Industries and Credit in France After the Liberation. 3rd ed. Vol. 62. The Academy of Political Science, 1947. JSTOR. The Academy of Political Science. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/2144295?seq=2>.
Sources:

Richard Brooks (editor), Atlas of World Military History. p. 101.

Chelminski, Rudolph (June 1997). "The Maginot Line". Smithsonian: 90–100.
The European Essentials:
Analyzing France Between the World Wars
Politics
Government
Economics
Foreign Policy
Case Studies
Immediately after WWI: Rightist National Bloc
Paul Deschanel defeated former Premier Clemenceau for the presidency
Deschanel later quit...
was found naked in public fountain
Aristide Briand became Premier...later driven from power
Raymond Poincare (previously President) took over as Premier

Raymond Poincare driven out too
Meanwhile currencies lost their value...the Left took over...taxes were lowered
"I don't like being double-crossed. Lloyd George has deceived me. He made me the finest promises, and now he breaks them. "


Sources:

"Interwar France".
SilvaPages: IB History
. <http://ibatpv.org/projects/france/interwar/default.htm>.

Poincare, Raymond. "14 March 1919".
Diary Entries
. Archive quoted on <http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRgeorge.htm>.
Foreign Policy
A Transforming Landscape
Understanding foreign policy: The emergence of nation-states:
Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania
An opportunity for power: Multipolarity
Germany lost its extensive colonial empire to Britain, the self-governing dominions, and France
Political Cartoon: A rich and powerful nation. Scared of war. (1932)
Sources:

Paul Kennedy

Rollin Kirby. "America Looks at Neighbors".
The New York World Telegram
. 1932.
The Three Leaders...no longer leading
Germany --> DEFEATED
Russia --> COLLAPSED IN REVOLUTION
USA --> RETREATED
So who's next in line?
France and Britain
Foreign Policy
So What did France do?
The French were afraid...A German resurgence could occur at any time
France needed to brace itself
The "Search for Security"
Political Cartoon: Punch Magazine, 1920.
Sources:

Kennedy, Paul M. "The Coming of a Bipolar World and the Crisis of the 'Middle Powers' Part II: 1919-1942." The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000. New York: Vintage, 1989. 275-343. Print.

"The League of Nations Bridge was Designed by The President of the U.S.A.".
Punch Magazine
. 10 December 1920.
Specific Treaties at this point in time:
1. Lost special Anglo-American military guarantee
2. US Senate Rejected Treat of Versailles
Need to create substitutes:
Encouraged formation of bloc of states in Eastern Europe ("Little Entente of 1921")
Large army and air force to plummet Germans
Locarno Treaty of 1925 --> Britain provided a military guarantee of France's borders
"Russia had withdrawn; Austria-Hungary had vanished.
Only France and Italy remained, both inferior in manpower
and still more in economic resources, both exhausted by the war." -- Unbalanced distribution of international power could allow Germany to grow out of control. (Taylor, 1996).
A.J.P Taylor. "The Origins of the Second World War". New York: Simon and Schuster. 1 April 1996.
Case Study: Spanish Civil War --> A Reaction to the Nazi Threat
Germany: Don't fret. They'll stop.
France: PANIC!!!
Well, it's either the Nazis or the Soviets.
But we can try channeling the Germans eastward!
But what really happened? Inactivity. The bad feeling of WWI put a break on the action.

WWII is rising: "You know my opinion of Franco... We ought to keep these Red Spaniards on the back burner... One of these days we'll be able to make use of them.." (Hitler)
Quoted in Albert Speer's diary entry for 26 December 1950 recalling a conversation with Hitler in January 1943 (Albert Speer, Spandau: The Secret Diary (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2000), p. 167.)
They really NEEDED to learn the lesson: The Munich Conference
September 28-29, 1938
Great Britain, France, Italy
Adolf Hitler had demanded the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia
Conclusion: Okay, no problem.
Chamberlain's announcement in Britain:
"[We have achieved] peace in our time."


...just a year later, Czechoslovakia no longer existed.
Yad Vashem. "Munich Conference". Shoah Resource Center, The International School for Holocaust Studies.

"Hitler Appeased at Munich".
On This Day
. Featured on the History Channel.
A.J.P Taylor. "The Origins of the Second World War". New York: Simon and Schuster. 1 April 1996.

Albert Speer, Spandau: The Secret Diary (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2000), p. 167.

Boswell, Laird. Rural Communism in France, 1920-1939. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1998.

Chelminski, Rudolph (June 1997). "The Maginot Line". Smithsonian: 90–100.

China’s dollar trap? Lessons from France’s 1920s sterling trap. | vox - Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists." Front Page | vox.
<http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/3490>.

"Communist Party of France History Archive." Marxists Internet Archive. <http://marxists.anu.edu.au/history/international/comintern/sections/france/index.htm>

Hautcoeur, Pierre-Cyrille. "Was the Great War a Watershed? The economics of World War One in France." Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, 2003. pg. 19

"Hitler Appeased at Munich". On This Day. Featured on the History Channel.

"Interwar France". SilvaPages: IB History. <http://ibatpv.org/projects/france/interwar/default.htm>.

"The League of Nations Bridge was Designed by The President of the U.S.A.". Punch Magazine. 10 December 1920.

Pinkney, David H. Nationalization of Key Industries and Credit in France After the Liberation. 3rd ed. Vol. 62. The Academy of Political Science, 1947. JSTOR. The Academy of Political Science. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/2144295?seq=2>.

Poincare, Raymond. "14 March 1919". Diary Entries. Archive quoted on <http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRgeorge.htm>.

Richard Brooks (editor), Atlas of World Military History. p. 101.

Rollin Kirby. "America Looks at Neighbors". The New York World Telegram. 1932.

"Socialist Party, France - History of Socialist Party, France | Encyclopedia.com: Dictionary of Contemporary World History." Encyclopedia - Online Dictionary. <http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O46-SocialistPartyFrance.html>.

"Socialist Party, France - History of Socialist Party, France | Encyclopedia.com: Dictionary of Contemporary World History." Encyclopedia - Online Dictionary | Encyclopedia.com: Get facts, articles, pictures, video. Web. 01 Dec. 2009. <http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O46-SocialistPartyFrance.html>.

"The Western Front 1914 - 1918." The War Times Journal. The War Times Journal, United States National Archives and the United States Signal Corps.
<http://www.richthofen.com/ww1sum/>.

Yad Vashem. "Munich Conference". Shoah Resource Center, The International School for Holocaust Studies.





Kalman, Samuel. The Extreme Right in Interwar France: The Faisceau and the Croix De Feu. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2008. Print.

Finally, six Premiers took office; each staying only several weeks. The budget impasse dragged on.
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