The changing map of Europe in the 1920s The Treaty of Versailles was eventually signed in June 1919. It dealt with Germany and created the nation of Poland from Russian and German land. The Polish Corridor divided Germany in two.
The Other Treaties Separate treaties were signed with Austria and Hungary. The Treaty of St Germain (1919) dealt with Austria. It created the new nation of Czechoslovakia. Land was also taken from Germany to form Czechoslovakia.
Czechoslovakia The creation of Czechoslovakia from German territory will cause problems in the future. The areas in red indicate where the population of Czechoslovakia were ethnic Germans.
New decade, New directions. After the Treaty negotiations had been completed and the League of Nations had been formed the world’s most powerful nations will go in very different directions.
Great Britain Germany’s navy had been severely weakened by Versailles. It had also lost its colonies. Britain focused on managing its vast empire. Many British felt that the final terms of Versailles were too harsh. A British official and famous economist warned that the Treaty of Versailles was “The framework of future problems”.
France The French were worried that Germany would ignore the Treaty of Versailles and rearm. As Britain lost interest in Europe the French signed a series of defence alliances: Belgium (1920) Poland (1921) Czechoslovakia (1924) They also increased the level of military spending significantly.
Germany Germans had been horrified by the Treaty of Versailles. When the reparations bill was set at 6,600 Million Pounds in 1921 Germans were outraged. Many people blamed the problems facing Germany after World War One on the Treaty of Versailles – and the Big Three.
The United States The United States chose not to join the League of Nations. It adopted a policy of ‘Isolationism’ (not getting involved with the affairs of other countries). Many Americans did not want to get dragged into Europe’s wars. Others did not trust Britain and France and felt they would use American soldiers to expand their own empires. A large number of Americans came from Germany ancestry and felt angry about Versailles.
The United States’ concerns
The Worlds’ concerns
The Jazz Age in America America had been left undamaged by World War One. The United States was an immensely wealthy country and had benefited from the war. While European nations had been fighting the USA had dramatically increased its exports around the world. The impact of the war on Germany meant that the USA became the new world leader in the production of chemicals and other industrial products.
The Jazz Age in America The American government had even been able to lend France and Britain the money they needed to fight World War One. Britain and France planned to pay this back with some of the Reparations money from Germany
The Jazz Age in America New methods of factory production made it cheaper to make everything from cars to radios to telephones. The American economy boomed, creating an immense amount of wealth and a huge of range of exciting new products. Although this did not actually create a large number of new jobs most Americans felt they were living through golden times.
The Jazz Age in America Number of millionaires 1914: 7,000 1928: 35,000 Number of Model T Fords produced: 1900: 4000 1929: 4.8 million. Average worker’s annual wage 1919: $1,158 1927: $1,304.
Most white Americans felt that they had something to celebrate. Fashions, dances and popular bands changed at a whirlwind pace. Talking motion pictures arrived in 1927 and astounded audiences. Dancehalls spilled out into the streets in the major cities. Jazz musicians from the southern states headed to Chicago, New York and Kansas to play to the crowds. The Jazz Age had begun.
Black Americans still suffered due to segregation and prejudice. As immigrants left war-torn Europe looking for opportunity they encountered hatred and prejudice. The group most targeted for discrimination and abuse were African Americans – especially in the south. Membership of organisations like the Ku Klux Klan soared. The 1920s was also known as the AGE OF INTOLERANCE
The Prohibition Era. Between 1920 and 1933 it was illegal to make or sell alcohol in the United States. The Prohibition movement (which wanted alcohol banned) claimed that drinking led to families breaking up, violence, madness and even communism. During the war drinking was seen as unpatriotic (partly because many of the large breweries were owned by German companies).
The Gangster Era. In the major cities gangsters supplied alcohol illegally, often having fierce turf wars to control territory. Al Capone is suspected of killing at least 300 men so he could gain control of Chicago’s illegal alcohol trade. He was a hugely popular figure in Chicago and was famous for his generosity (often giving $100 tips to waiters or giving away cars to guests at parties). Corrupt officials (including Mayors, Police Chiefs and FBI agents) made it possible for organised crime to make over $2 billion….
1923: Germany stops payments The German government had borrowed money from industry to pay for the war. The German government was unwilling to raise taxes to pay the reparations (you can imagine how the German people would have reacted to that!!!) In 1921 Germany paid the first instalment of 50 million pounds in gold, wood and coal. In 1922 nothing was paid. Germany claimed that the payment would cripple their economy.
If you were France what would you do? France had borrowed heavily from the United States. Of the ‘Big Three’ it had been devastated the most. What do you think France should do? Invade Germany by itself. Go to the League of Nations to resolve the issue and agree to accept their decision. Ask Britain to take action with France. Ask the United States to write off the money France owed it – after all the USA was a very wealthy nation. Ignore it and hope that reparations payments will start again when Germany recovers.
What France did. The Ruhr was a major industrial area of Germany. It contained a wealth of resources like coal and steel. It produced a lot of machinery and industrial equipment.
Invasion of the Ruhr. The French sent troops into the Ruhr. They warned Germany that they would occupy the territory until reparations were paid. In the meantime they would take the value of the reparations in coal, steel, tractors and any other equipment they needed.
The German response The German workers went on strike and refused to work. Germans in the Ruhr hated how they were harassed by French officers. For example, many described being forced to walk in the gutters so the French troops would not have to share a pavement with them. Cartoonists and newspapers condemned the French.
1923: Hyperinflation The Ruhr made a lot of Germany products. Without the Ruhr the government was unable to cover the costs of running a country. The German government ‘solved’ this problem by simply printing more money. This just reduced the value of money (making it worthless). Businesses raised the prices of products so they could get enough of the now worthless currency to cover their expenses. This lead to a rapid increase in prices – HYPERINFLATION.
1923: Hyperinflation Imagine buying a $1.00 soft drink in Germany Jan 1923 (RUHR invaded) $1 July 1923 $69.65 Nov 1923 $260 682 226
How was this resolved?THE DAWES PLAN (1924) General Dawes (US Politician) His plan: Lent money to Germany to help them pay reparations. Gave Germany longer to pay. WHY DID AMERICA CARE?
A GREAT BIG MONEY-GO-ROUNDTHE DAWES PLAN (1924) Because the money lent to Germany would eventually get paid back to America!
This was also supported by theTHE YOUNG PLAN (1929) The YOUNG PLAN (developed by an American banker). Reduced the reparations amount from 6,600 million pounds to 2000 million pounds. Germany had until 1988 to pay it back!
The real reason France left the RuhrTHE LOCARNO PACT(1925) Germany, France, Belgium, Britain and Italy signed it. Germany agreed to accept its western border with France and Belgium as final. Fireworks and Church bells went off in France. French troops left the Ruhr. Germany was allowed to join the League of Nations in 1926.
Evaluate the 1920s Which do you feel is the MOST accurate statement? By the end of the 1920s a second World War is: Less likely. More likely. Write down ONE point to support you point of view.