The Great Depression and the Rise of Facism Flashcards Preview

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Why did the Great Depression occur?

Not just because of the American stock market crash and the failure of banks, the Great Depression stemmed from a lack of consumer demand, tariffs between America and Europe, and a decrease in agricultural production.


How was the perception of the 1920s different from the reality?

The 1920s are understood to be the Jazz Age under the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald. However, the world had really been devastated from war, and in many places it was a time of economic stagnation. Postwar recovery in Germany was dependent on American loans, which was in turn lent to the newly merging eastern nations at high interest rates. This led to what looked like financial gains in both the United States and Germany, but it was a false prosperity. The decline in available credit brought on by the collapse of the American stock market caused the veneer of prosperity to fade.


How did the Great Depression unfold?

The collapse of Vienna's most powerful bank, Credit-Anstalt, caused a series of banks to fail in Germany and eastern Europe. People withdrew their savings rapidly, depleting bank reserves who eventually could not return depositors' money. Banks stopped making loans and people tried saving money, decreasing demand for industrial goods. There was a corresponding decrease in employment.


How were problems in the Great Depression exacerbated by countries remaining on the gold standard?

By remaining on a fixed exchange rate between their currencies and gold, it prevented countries from using controlled inflation and therefore advanced monetary policy. It also generated the belief that the way to deal with an economic depression was to tighten the supply of money.


How did governments attempt to react to the Great Depression? Who argued against their fiscal policy?

Governments tried to reign in spending to balance their budgets, which only suppressed overall demand while also exposing unemployed workers to greater suffering. John Maynard Keynes dissented against this policy.


What did John Maynard Keynes say governments should do?

He said that governments could fix the lack of private sector demand by deficit spending, providing people with jobs and income to provide a spending recovery.


How did governments make the Depression worse?

Governments took misguided measures like raising tariff barriers to protect domestic manufacturing. It was first done by the United States, but soon followed by most countries in Europe, even Britain.


What were the effects of the Great Depression?

The economies of Europe and America operated at half of the level of three years ago. The depression hit America and Germany the hardest, where almost one third of the workforce was unemployed. In America, FDR was elected and implemented his New Deal, as it was a stable democracy. In Germany, a shaky democracy, the crisis resulted in the death of republican institutions and the triumph of fascism.


Why did fascism become popular?

As democracy appeared to be faltering, millions of people looked to fascism as a way to rebuild their shattered lives.


What is fascism?

The goal of fascism is to destroy the notion of the individual and push for a common community, with this community being one rooted in extreme nationalism and often mystical racial heritage, like Volkish ideology pursued by German fascists. Fascists were deeply antagonistic to the idea of parliamentary democracy, instead favoring the idea of a strong leader that represented the desires of the nation. They also hated socialism. They were against political emancipation of women, art, and hated Jews.


What was the fascist concept of the corporation?

It was an association of employers and workers within each industry that would iron out all contentious issues regarding production and wages.


What was the first state to develop a fascist government?



How did fascism emerge in Italy?

Fascism emerged out of a deep national dissatisfaction with its participation in WWI. Italy entered the War on the Entente side because it wanted to take Italian-speaking lands from Austria-Hungary, but their military campaign failed miserably. However, they stayed in the war and expected to be justly compensated; with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian state, they thought they should be entitled to more.


How did politics in Italy evolve after WWI?

The political system adopted proportional representation, which favored mass parties like Mussolini's Fascist movement. Italian politics also witnessed a series of factory occupations by workers who seemed to proceed the establishment of a Bolshevik state. Landowners and businessmen then began to turn against democratic politics, and they found their political solution in fascism.


Who was the founder of the the Italian fascists?

Benito Mussolini. He initially was a socialist, but became fascist after WWI.


How did Mussolini begin the fascist movement in Italy?

He founded the National Fascist Party after WWI. They formed paramilitary squads to fight leftist organizations, gaining the support of factory owners and landowners. The party began to gain members in parliament and emerge as a significant presence.


How did Mussolini gain power?

He marched with his black-shirted thugs (black shirts) on Rome to attempt to seize power. However, King Victor Emmanuel III named him Prime Minister.


How did Mussolini consolidate political power?

He implemented a series of constitutional changes to make sure that his actions were not limited by democracy. While his grip on power was briefly shaken after he party was involved in the murder of a Socialist leader, Mussolini consolidated power by banning all non-Fascist political activity.


How did Mussolini conform to existing institutions?

He signed the Lateran Pact with the papacy, in which the papacy first recognized the Italian state. He then tried to implement the corporatist economic program that was to be the hallmark of the new Italy, but never lived up to the promise.


How did the failures of the Weimar government set the stage for the development of German fascism?

A government led by Herman Muller resigned over a crisis over unemployment insurance, which was beginning to be an unbearable burden. That government was replaced by one led by Paul von Hindenberg, who was a dedicated monarchist and installed an authoritarian government.


What policies Hindenburg pursued made the government more authoritarian?

Hindenburg selected Heinrich Bruning, the leader of a centrist Catholic party, as chancellor. He proposed an economic policy that increased political opposition on the left and right. Because he could not achieve a parliamentary majority, Bruning invoked Article 48, which allowed him to govern under presidential decree.


What action taken by Bruning allowed for the Nazi rise to power?

After briefly governing under presidential decree, he called for new elections, thinking the electorate would support him. Instead, the Communists and Nazis won large victories. The election transformed the Nazis from a tiny party with only twelve seats to a major force of 102 seats.


What did the Nazis stand for?

The Nazis denounced the Treaty of Versailles, and believed that the German army lost WWI because it was stabbed in the back by Jews, Communists, Weimar-Republicans, and big businesses. They provided coherent social support during the depression. Despite being against Bolshevism. they championed moderate socialist rhetoric, providing support in the form of soup kitchens and free beer. The Nazis inspired support by blaming the economy's problems on Communists and Socialists while stoking hatred for "Jewish" capitalism, all while telling Germans they were superior by virtue of being German.


Who was Hitler?

He was an Austrian who, while in Vienna, developed his virulent anti-Semitism. He volunteered to serve in the German army. After the war, he joined the National Socialist German Workers' Party, recently renamed from German Workers' Party, an extremist group that formed in the early days of the Weimar Republic.


What was Hitler's attempt to seize power? What was its result and what did it inspire?

He launched the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, believing it would cause revolts throughout Germany. However, he was imprisoned and in prison wrote Mein Kampf, which outlined his extremist views and his desire to overturn the Treaty of Versailles.


How were the Nazis different from a normal political party?

Like Mussolini's Fascists, the Nazis enlisted a corps of armed thugs to support political rallies and disrupt opposing groups' meetings. This increased political violence in Weimar, and street fighting soon became endemic in the streets of Berlin.


How did Hitler rise to power?

Bruning continued to govern under Article 48 when faced by a hostile Reichstag. He tried to implement his policy of austerity, but it deepened the economic crisis. Hindenburg removed Bruning, and in his place appointed Franz von Papen. After new elections in November of 1932, the Nazis became the largest party in the Reichstag, and in January of 1933 Hindenburg appointed Hitler chancellor.


How did Hitler consolidate power?

He framed the Communists as burning down the Reichstag, and convinced the Reichstag to give him emergency powers to defeat the Communist revolt against the state., which allowed him to eliminate almost all human rights. After new elections that the Nazis a wide victory, he followed the vote with the Enabling Act, which gave the party emergency powers to govern the state and combined the authority of the chancellor and the president into the fuhrer. Hitler then banned all political parties except for the Nazis, followed by an attack on trade unions.


How did Hitler consolidate power with military institutions?

He was highly concerned about the growing rise of the S.A. the Nazi political army. He organized the "Night of the Long Knives," where he murdered his ally Ernst Rohm. Following the attack on the S.A., the members of the German army swore loyalty to the new Germany and Hitler.


How did the Nazis maintain support for the Nazification of Germany?

The Nazis created a Ministry of Propaganda under the leadership of Joseph Goebbels, who inspired support for the Nazis using the relatively new technology of film and radio. They also created organizations such as the Hitler Youth, used to indoctrinate the young. The Nazis also created a ruthlessly efficient police apparatus to silence political opposition and intimidate dissenters.