'Hinge Years' - Depression, the 1930s and the Drift to War Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in 'Hinge Years' - Depression, the 1930s and the Drift to War Deck (18)
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General Context

  • 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



Appeasement 1937-38


  • 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.




Appeasement 1937-38

(The Sudetenland)

  • 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