- Internationalism had been building in the 1920s.
- 1929, the world seemed a calmer place
- This was to change with the onset of a global economic depression
- The years 1929-34 have been described as ‘the hinge years’.
What went wrong at the start of the 30s?
(In a nutshell)
- A worldwide economic depression caused political instability
- Powerful dictatorships emerged in Europe and in the Far East
- The League of Nations failed
- Disarmament was never achieved
Main consequences of the global economic depression
- Countries moved towards economic nationalism:
- Protectionism (Putting tariffs on foreign imports)
- Rearmament -provided jobs and ensured a nation would not be left vulnerable to potential aggression.
Germany and the depression
- US loans called in - destabilized the German recovery.
- Democracy in Germany was fragile - depression made it worse - Germans saw it as weak and gave support to the NAZIS
- Hitler became Chancellor in January 1933 - embarked on a policy of aggressive nationalism.
Italy and the depression
- Mussolini had been in control since 1922 - his FASCISM was an aggressive political nationalism. e.g1923 Corfu.
- Mussolini wanted to restore Italian ‘Greatness’
Japan invades Manchuria, 1931 (Why?)
- Economic: Japanese exports hit by tariffs (USA & China). Population growing - could not afford to import required foodstuffs.
- Political: Japan had a hardline right-wing government - influenced heavily by the military which was encouraging an expansionist foreign policy.
What happened? Manchuria
- Japanese claim their railway in Manchuria was sabotaged by the Chinese.
- Japan invades and established a government in Manchuria.
- China appealed to the League of Nations.
- League investigates - Lytton commission.
- Japan declared an aggressor - ordered to leave. (42 votes to 1)
- Japan ignores the League - invades rest of China!
- Japan leaves the League.
Consequences of the Manchurian invasion?
- Internationalism undermined.
- League criticised - too slow and failed to apply sanctions
- League proved to be powerless in the face of a determined aggressor
League Disarmament Conference
- Organised for 1932
- Too much disagreement on how to implement disarmament
- German rearmament after 1933 - announces conscription in 1935!
- Europe begins rearming
- Disarmament in tatters
The mid to late 1930s - The context
- Described as the ‘dark valley’
- When Europe drifted into war
- Countries forming military alliances
- Rearmament taking place
- Countries abandoning internationalism for nationalism
- Britain and France indecisive
Italy invades Abyssinia
(Outline events - 5 marks)
- A dispute over the Wal-Wal oasis. (Excuse)
- Italy threatened to invade - Abyssinian leader, Haile Selassie appeals to the League
- League sends a commission - neither side blamed - suggest Italy receives some land.
- Mussolini rejects the proposal and invades Abyssinia (Violating Covenant)
- League imposes sanctions - but not oil (& Suez canal remains open to Italy.
- Britain & France broker a deal: Hoare-Laval Agreement (Italy to get 2/3rd of Abyssinia) Deal exposed and made the situation worse. (US increase oil sales to Italy!)
- Italy consolidates its position in Abyssinia - League has failed miserably.
Hitler’s main beliefs
- Anti-communism (Communism was a threat to Fascism)
- Militarism (A nation had to be ready for conflict
- Social Darwinism & Lebensraum (Germans as Aryans needed more land to ensure their future) ‘Blood and soil Policy’
Hitler’s main actions (1933 - 37)
1933 - Germany leaves the League disarmament Conference.
1934 - Attempts the Anschluss. (Fails - not ready yet).
1935 - Wins the Saar plebiscite (Propaganda victory for Fascism)
1935 - Openly declares German rearmament (Freedom to rearm rally, Berlin)
1936 - Remilitarises the Rhineland (Breaking the Treaty of Versailles)1936
1936 - Germany and Japan agree the Anti-Comintern Pact (Against communism)
1936 - Germany backs the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War
1937 - Italy joins anti-Comintern pact to create the Axis Alliance
Spanish Civil War, 1936
(Implications for peace?)
- A civil war (Republicans vs nationalists) with an international dimension
- USSR back the Republicans, Germany & Italy back the nationalists
- Called a dress rehearsal for WWII!
- GB and France stay out - Hitler assumes they will do the same in the face of future aggression
- An Anschluss was prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles.
- A strong Nazi party stirred up dissent in Austria - Hitler declared he was going to ‘restore order’ in Austria.
- Austrian Chancellor (Kurt Schussnigg) appealed to GB and France - no support
- Hitler marched troops into Austrai (March 1938)
- A plebiscite was held - 99% support from Austrians.
- The problem: 3.5 million Germans living in the Sudeten region of Western Czechoslovakia.
- Same as in Austria - used Nazis in the Sudetenland to stir up dissent and threatened to restore order.
- Crisis talks held:
- 15 September - Hitler suggest ‘part’s of the Sudetenland would be fine
- 22 September - Hitler demands ALL of Czechoslovakia
- 29 September - MUNICH (GB, FR, Italy & Germany - Germany handed the Sudetenland in return for a promise there would be no more demands.
End of Appeasement
- October 1938 Hitler moves German troops into the Sudetenland.
- March 1939 he occupies the rest of Czechoslovakia.
- Britain and France make a pledge to Poland - if Hitler invades they would declare war on Germany.
- Hitler, to avoid a war on two fronts - makes a deal with Stalin (The Nazi-Soviet Pact, August 1939)
Final Steps to War
- 1st September - Hitler invades Poland - Germany implements ‘blitzkrieg’.
- 2nd September, Britain, and France honour their pledge and declare war on Germany