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Post WWI

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Mark Palmer

on 13 March 2015

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Transcript of Post WWI

Post WWI
Main Idea:
The peace settlements of WWI left many nations unhappy, and the League of Nations was weak and unable to deal with the problems that arose after the war. A brief period of prosperity in the early 1920's ended in 1929 with The Great Depression.
The economic collapse shook people's confidence in democracy and paved the way for fear and the rise of extremist parties offering solutions to the hardships many were enduring.
Collective Bargaining
Deficit Spending
The Dawes Plan
The Treaty of Locarno
The Weimar Republic
The New Deal
John Maynard Keynes
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
The Ruhr Valley
A Weak League of Nations
French Demands
Inflation in Germany
The Treaty of Locarno
The Great Depression
Great Britain
The United States
Wilson realized that the peace settlements included unwise provisions that could serve as new causes for conflict
Wilson had hoped that these issues could be addressed by the League of Nations

But the League of Nations wasn't very effective at maintaining the peace...
To Wilson's disappointment the U.S. Senate refused to approve the Treaty of Versaille
This meant that the United States would not be able to join the League of Nations

Without the United States, the League was automatically weakened
The powers that remained a part of the League would prove to be unable to agree to use force against agression...
Between 1919 and 1924 desire for French security led to strict enforcement of the Versailles Treaty by the French government

This began with the issue of reparations

Germany was to make payments for the damages of the war

In April of 1921 the Allied Reparations Commission determined that Germany owed 132 billion German marks (~33 Billion US$)

Germany was to pay these in annual installments of 2.5 billion marks
The New German Republic made it's first payment in 1921

By the next year however Germany was facing a financial crisis and announced that it was unable to pay any more reparations

Furious, France sent troops to occupy (Germany's chief industrial and mining center) in order to collect their reparations through the mines and factories
Germany responded to this French occupation by going on strike

The German government paid these workers mainly by printing more money, which resulted in hyperinflation...

Soon German marks became worthless
Reparations were reduced
The plan coordinated Germany's annual payments with their ability to pay
The Plan granted an initial loan of $200 million for German recovery
A brief period of European prosperity followed from 1924 - 1929
Along with this period of prosperity came European diplomacy
Gustav Stresemann
Aristide Briand
The Treaty of Locarno
Signed in 1925, the Treaty of Locarno guarenteed Germany's new borders with France and Belgium

Many viewed the treaty as a beginning of new European peace
Headlines on the New York TImes read: "Germany and France Ban War Forever"

This spirit of cooperation grew when Germany joined the League of Nations in 1926
The Brief period European prosperity that began in 1924 ended in an economic collapse known as The Great Depression
There were 2 main causes of the Great Depression:
A series of economic downturns
During the second half of the 1920's Prices for farm products, epecially wheat, fell rapidly due to overproduction
International financial crisis involving the U.S. stock market
Much of the period of European prosperity was built upon U.S. bank loans to Germany
Germany needed the loans to pay the reparations

During the 1920's the stock market was booming in the United States

But in October of 1929 the US Stock Market crashed and prices plunged

This caused a panic and U.S. investors withdrew from Germany and other European nations
This was the worst Depression Europe had ever experienced

1932 was the worst year of the Depression

in 1932 nearly 1 out of 4 British workers were unemployed

In Germany, roughly 30% of the workforce was unemployed (5.5 million Germans)

The unemployed and homeless filled the streets of Germany

Governments didn't know how to deal with the crisis
They lowered wages and raised tariffs to exclude foreign goods from home markets

This only worsened the crisis
Increased government activity in the economy

Renewed interest in Marxist ideas

Marx predicted that Capitalism would destroy itself through overproduction
This now seemed to be true to many

Communism thus became more popular, especially among workers and intellectuals

The Great Depression led masses of people to follow political leaders who offered simple solutions in return for dictatorial power

Democracy was on the defensive everywhere in the 1930's
in 1914 4.2 German marks = 1 US$
by the end of November in 1923 4.2 trillion marks = 1 US$

Both Germany and France were looking for a way out of the situation
The Dawes Plan
The Dawes Plan was created by an American banker

Under The Dawes Plan:
The Ruhr Valley
After the war ended so did Imperial Germany

In it's places was

The Weimar Republic was plagued by economic problems

Inflation (1922 -1923) families on fixed incomes saw their life savings disappear

After the period of relative prosperity (1924 - 1929) Germany was struck by the Great Depression

This paved the way for fear and the rise of extremist parties...
After the war France became the strongest power in Europe

But France too suffered from economic problems

France needed damaged territories rebuilt

Because of it's strong economy, France did not experience the effects of The Great Depression until 1932, France then suffered politically...
During a 19 month period between 1932 and 1933 France had 6 different cabinets formed during the political chaos

Finally in June 1936 a coalition of leftist parties - Communists, Socialists, and radicals - formed the Popular Front government

The Popular Front government started a program for workers that some called "the French New Deal"

This gave workers the rights to Collective Bargaining, a 40 hour workweek and 2 weeks paid vacation
Industries like coal, steel, and textiles declined after WWI leading to a rise in unemployment

2 million Britains were out of work in 1921...

Britain experienced limited prosperity from 1925 to 1929, but by 1929 Britain experienced the growing effects of the Great Depression

Britain's Labour party proved unable to deal with the economic problems and fell from power in 1931

A new conservative government came about, and claimed to have brought Britain out of the worst stages of the depression through traditional methods of balanced budgets and protective tariffs

Political leaders largely ignored the new ideas of British economist
John Maynard Keynes
The Weimar Republic
John Maynard Keynes authored the new book: "General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money" in 1936

Keynes condemned the old idea that in a free economy depressions should be left to resolve themselves

Keynes argued that unemployment came from a decline in demand, not overproduction

And that demand could be increased by putting people back to work building highways, and public buildings.

Keynes argued that if neccessary, governments should finance such products through
Deficit Spending
Aside from Germany no nation suffered as much from the Great Depression as the United States

By 1932 U.S. industrial production had fallen almost 50% from it's 1929 level

By 1933 there over 12 million unemployed

Under these circumstances, won a landslade victory in the presidential election of 1932

Roosevelt felt that capitalism had to be reformed to be saved

He pursued a policy of great government intervention in the economy, called

The New Deal included an increase of public works programs

The WPA (Works Progress Administration) est. 1935, employed 3 million people at it's peak

workers built bridges, roads, post offices and airports

The New Deal also created the U.S. welfare system and Social Security system

The Programs of the New Deal prevented social revolution in the U.S. but it didnt solve the unemployment problem

1938: U.S. unemployment stood at 10 million, only WWII and massive weapon production would bring U.S. workers back to full employment
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
The New Deal
The USA does NOT JOIN the league of nations :(
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