Age of Anxiety Lecture

History M01B - Krister Swanson - Moorpark College

Basic overview of 20s & 30s

  • 1919-1925: sorting out WWI, flu, turmoil, GBís undependable, U.S. isolated, Gerís pissed, Frís scared
  • 1925-1929: hope for return to peace and prosperity (Locarno & Dawes, econ. recovery)
  • 1929-1939: econ. despair, turmoil, Hitler, and appeasement

Clash Over Reparations

  • 1923- Fr. (Poincare)ďGers. behind on reps.Ē
  • occupy Ruhr  Gers. strike  Fr. work mines & RRs (costly later)
  • Ger. pays, Fr. looks bad, inflation skyrockets
  • Fr. must soften stance

Post War France

  • decent economic recovery in Ď20s
  • weakened, fearful, and isolated
  • very cons. Chamber elected  security vs. Ger. aggression & Soviet Comm.
  • no direction for social policy (27 mins)
  • East Alliances (C, R, & Y) to go w/ enforcement of T of V
  • Ger. alienated,hooks up w/ USSR

Life in GB

  • Losing world dominance & markets
  • slow economy thru Ď20s (11% unem.), govít programs keep Std of Living up
  • Ger market big for GB
  • Keynes attacks T of V (very influential)
  • 1923- 1st Labour ministry (soc., non-rev., dem.)  end of Libs.
  • 1925- Cons return, gold std.  prices up  cut wages  general strike of 1926, unions back down to opposition
  • empire begins to fade (Can. & Aus.)
  • Gandhi on rise in India
  • Irish get home rule

Successor States (former A-H & Russian Empire)

  • supposed to self deter. & buffer
  • challenge: make democracy work & overcome backwards economy
  • constant threat of cons. takeover
  • dependant on foreign loans
  • nat. groups free to make trouble
  • continued struggles today
  • Poland struggles with class differences & conflicting economic interests, + too many political parties
  • Hungary starts w/ a Communist Dictatorship & things go downhill from there
  • Austrian economy struggles without ties to Germany Ė Christian Socialists tied to Nazis
  • Czechoslovakia only successful successor state (strong industrial base Ė cooperation b/n Czechs & Slovaks)


  • very nationalistic
  • favor Middle Class Ė play to their concern for order
  • anti-Semitic, anti-Communist
  • single party dictatorship
  • ďnothing exists outside the stateĒ Ė all efforts go to a more powerful state

Mussolini - Fascism in Italy

  • Plays off of perceived disrespect for Italy at Versailles
  • postwar turmoil, political division, fear of Communist revolution in Italy
  • Muss great opportunist - supports MC desire for order
  • 1921- Muss & 34 others elected  march on Rome Muss made PM
  • success due to impotent rivals, force of masses, & skill as politician
  • 1924- fascists have a majority, Muss starts killing opponents (Mateotti)
  • 1926- Mussolini can rule by decree
  • parallel structure of party and govít - fascists become only legal party
  • Relies on propaganda & cult of personality
  • 1929- Lateran Accords with RC Church give him respectability

Weimar Republic in Germany

  • must deal with T of V & constant attack from Right
  • Constitution: proportional representation, President may rule by decree & change chancellor & ministers
  • lack of support (govít servants all same from before, esp. in army)
  • Invasion of Ruhr creates unreal inflation
  • turmoil  desire for order 
  • Hitlerís rise, Nazis & Beer Hall Putsch in response
  • Streseman comes to power reconstructs republic vs. challenges from left(comm.) & right(Nazi)
  • Locarno Agreements & Dawes Plan help secure German borders and restructure reparations (brings in American Investment)
  • 1924-1929 time of general peace & prosperity

Disaster Strikes

  • Farming crisis due to debt, over-production & low crop prices  banks eat bad debts
  • 1928- Banks pull $$ out of Europe to put into U.S. stock market (skyrocketing)
  • 1929- U.S. stock market crashes

And thenÖDisaster Strikes

financial crisis (C & I)from T of V


crisis in production & distribution (farms & manufacturing)


lack of leadership & misguided policies from US or GB


Great Depression

Commodities (Prod & Dist)

  • better methods  best grain supply ever & lowest ag. prices
  • higher industrial wages raise prices of industrial goods
  • farmers canít pay debts
  • glut of goods (sugar, coffee, etc.)  lower demand for Eur goods
  • all of these  high unemployment

Government Response

  • Govít fear of inflation  cut spending  less demand
  • mass electorate  govít interference (price & wage controls)
  • Govít interference gets worse as you move east

Britain††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† France

Natíl Govít

raise taxes

cut ins. benefits

off gold std.

10% tariff

1st to rebound

no political change

Radical coalition vs. Croix de Feu

Popular Front (L)

Blumís reform (French ND)

Typical Cons. backlash

Background on Hitler

  • Vienna, frustrated artist, Xian Soc.
  • Austrian Army during WWI
  • then Munich, joins Nazis who want
  • repudiation of T of V
  • Austria united with Germany
  • exclusion of Jews
  • conduct of all for benefit of state (start of fascism)

Beer Hall Putsch

  • Nazis build private army: SA (Roehm) intimidate opponents
  • Turmoil after occupation of Ruhr  attempt take over (putsch)
  • Hitler arrested, jailed, writes Mein Kampf

Nazis Rise to Power

  • 1929- lack of U.S. investment weakens Germany  divisions in coalition govít
  • unemployment up to 3.75m, manyjoin SA
  • 1928- Nazis: 12 seats in Reichstag, 107 in 1930, 230 in 1932
  • use terror, rallies, & clash between opponents to build support
  • manipulate nationalism & economic despair
  • 1932- Hitler runs for Pres. vs. Hindenberg
  • Cons. (Hind) fear Left influence , in 1/33 Hitler made Chancellor, believe heíll hold off left
  • German Elections, 1928-32

Consolidation of Nazi Power

  • goals: full legal authority, elimination of all Nazi opposition
  • 2/27/33- Reichstag Fire  Nazis claim threat  Arrest all Communists & make their activities illegal
  • 3/23/33- Enabling Act  no limits on Hitlerís power
  • 6/34- Hitler has Roehm & other rivals assassinated
  • 8/2/34- Hindenberg dies, Hitler combines offices of President & Chancellor

Police State

  • old state banned, other parties illegal
  • SS-elite protective force (Himmler)
  • Carry out Anti-Semitic program:
  • Ď33- excluded from Civ. Service
  • Ď35- Nuremberg Laws remove Citizenship (intermar, profs, etc.)
  • 11/38- Kristallnacht
  • Ď41- start of death camps, etc.

Nazi Economics & Other Programs

  • success vs. Great Depression gives credibility
  • private enterprise OK, but...
  • all major economic decisions made with goals of state in mind
  • massive public works, start of 1935- renounce Treaty of Versailles, start rearm & military buildup
  • unions & strikes illegal
  • Nazi Youth

Soviet Economic Resurgence

  • 1927- push for rapid ind. (NEP?)
  • 400% production boost by 1940
  • emphasize iron, steel, coal, electricity, farm equipment & RRs
  • raise capital by exporting grain
  • Five Year Plans set goals for production, organize entire economy to meet goals (like one big factory) = total govítcontrolof economy

Collectivization of Agriculture

  • All agriculture brought under state control
  • Kulaks (prosperous peasants) resist, carry out sabotage
  • Govít moves to eliminate kulaks, production initially falls  starvation
  • 1938- 90% of land collectivized, govít controls food supply
  • shortages persist, exports pay for industrialization
  • 10m killed, many more to gulag or Siberia
  • Foreign Reaction is positive (no idea of cost)

The Purges

  • reversal on Comintern & collectivization creates opposition
  • 12/1/34- Stalin has Kirov killed then goes for ďvengeanceĒ against those
  • 1936-38: Show Trials (full of wacky confessions) for Trotsky sympathizers & those plotting against Lenin
  • millions killed/removed from party replaced with new young faces loyal only to Stalin