Summary of the 'interwar period' (1918-1939)

Summary of the 'interwar period' (1918-1939)

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Introduction to the interwar period

When we talk from the interwar period, we mainly talk about the 20 fundamental years that elapsed between the end of world war i and the start of World War II.

The World War I had quite serious effects for the European continent, considering that at least 10 million people died and at least twice that number were injured to varying degrees.

This war was devastating, considering that all the wars that occurred in the hundred years before it had only claimed a total of 4.5 million lives (approximately).

During the First World War (which at that time was not called "first", but was known as the "Big war”), The French took the average of a loss for every minute that passed.

We are talking about a destruction of such a degree, that of a whole generation, the most fortunate had to carry great psychological burdens, and this was already heavy enough to be able to lead a normal life.

Peace movements and fascist movements

Peace movements

During the period of period interwar, the peace movements were marked by the coexistence of radical pacifist positions, with the moderate orientation of the traditional peace organizations and the expansion of their social base in the working classes.

While radical pacifism was expressed in the mass movement "No more war", Organizational pacifism was maintained in the call for"League of Nations”Which found exceptional support in Great Britain.

The new peace organizations in France and England differed from the German peace movement in that in their judgment, the threat to world peace posed by right-wing dictatorships was imminent.

In France, the “Ligue internationale des Combattants de la Paix”(International League of Peace Warriors) emerged as the mouthpiece of comprehensive pacifism in the 1930s.

At the same time, the threat of war emanating from Nazi Germany decreased, which attacked French defense policy and demanded strict neutrality towards current military conflicts, a position that could well have led to the collaboration during the German occupation.

This attitude corresponded to the British «Peace Pledge Union'Which began to lose ground only after the obvious failure of the British appeasement policy.

With the beginning of national socialist government, the German peace movement was forced into exile or was exposed to persecution.

Fascist movements

The fascist movements originated in most of Europe during the interwar period, but only in exceptional cases were they able to exert great political influence or establish, as in Italy with Benito Mussolini or in Germany with Adolf Hitler, a regime of its own.

Most of these fascist parties never became mass movements, especially within the rural societies of Southeast and Eastern Europe.

Only the "Iron guardromanian and the Hungarian Karat Partial Society (“Flechas de la Cruz”), achieved temporarily significant popular support comparable to the PNF.

In Austria, competing fascist movements attracted sizable portions of the electorate, but were repressed (like the National Socialists) or absorbed into the Front Vaterlandische (Patriotic Front), controlled by the state.

In Britain, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, as well as Norway, fascist groups played a negligible role.

In Spain, the influential Phalanx was absorbed by the authoritarian government of Franco and integrated into the "FET and de las JONS” (Spanish Traditionalist Phalanx and the Unionist National Offensive Boards), losing its original momentum.

Similar developments prevailed in southeastern Europe, where parliamentary democracy was replaced by authoritarian regimes with different populist leanings.

Most of the fascist movements in the world interwar they remained splinter parties that opposed not only the left, but also the ruling conservative forces.

Thus, they could share power only with the support of the German occupiers.

Other ideologies of the interwar world

To these ideologies, we must add the growth of communism in countries such as China or the USSR, a movement that, together with socialism or to Marxism, would be extended once after the Second War, when the world would be divided into two blocks during the cold war.

In that period, several different ideological and social models will coexist, highlighting the soviet model, the Maoist model (which would affect much of Asia, especially Cambodia with the rise of pol pot), the North American model, or the European liberal model.

Life in the interwar period

In the middle of the period of interwar worldBoth the victorious Allies and the Axis Powers had to carry the gigantic national debts, which left the whole of Europe in a complicated position of financial insecurity.

In addition, if we talk about the physical plane, the European territory was also deeply devastated.

The cultural losses they were gigantic, where memories of empires were now ruins.

The soldiers who returned home, even if they were on the side that had been victorious, faced again not the glory of having won, but the terrible interwar world in which unemployment, hunger and despair reigned.

Social instability was the norm and internal political conflicts were increasing.

At the diplomatic level, World War I led to the creation of the Paris Peace Conference, where is highlights the famous Treaty of Versailles, in which the blocks of the territory of Eastern Europe were dismantled, thus drawing the limits for the new independent states.

These states were not economically viable since the destruction of the war had reached unsuspected levels.

In terms of economics, the Crisis of 29 ', also called Great Depression, which plunged the entire world into chaos due to the enormous crisis that was caused on Wall Street, from which the United States managed to get out thanks to the famous New Deal raised by the newly ascended to power Franklin D. Roosevelt, although its consequences were noticed until 1939.

It is also important to bear in mind that many of these countries were not used to leading an independent and democratic nation, so these changes (which surely many today will consider positive) were chaotic in the period interwar.

Many other factors came into play. For example, Germany was paralyzed for having become the main responsible as an aggressor of the conflict.

For the Treaty of Versailles and the actions taken by Great Britain, France and other allied countries, Germany ended up suffering a Great Depression marked by hunger, inflation and unemployment.

Dreaming of the return of glory to Germany and reacting bitterly against her foreign oppressors, the way was paved for Adolf hitler and the Nazi Party could seize power in Germany, with the promise of a future full of glory and European domination, which would end up leading the country to the so-called “war to end all wars"Which would cause the continent to fall back into a devastating conflict as was the Second War.

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