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The Great Depression

What was Easter Rising?

-The Easter Rising was a rebellion that took place in Ireland during Easter week in 1916.
-Many felt that Ireland was being exploited due to lack of representation in parliament.
-Two men were responsible for planning the uprising: Tom Clarke and Sean MacDermott
-The Rising was mounted by Irish Republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing the Irish Republic at a time when the British Empire was heavily engaged in the First World War

Who was involved?

-Members of the Irish Volunteers—led by schoolteacher Padraig (Patrick) Pearse, joined by the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly, along with 200 members of the Irish republican women's paramilitary organization—seized key locations in -Dublin and proclaimed the Irish Republic independent of Britain.
Pearse and Connolly were responsible were responsible for military organization.
-The Rising was suppressed after seven days of fighting, and its leaders were court-martialed and executed, but it succeeded in bringing physical force republicanism back to the forefront of Irish politics
-In the 1918 General Election, the last all-island election held in Ireland, to the British Parliament, Republicans won 73 seats out of 105.

Establishment of Irish Republic

-This came less than two years after the Rising. In January 1919, the elected members of Sinn Féin who were not still in prison at the time, including survivors of the Rising, convened the First Dáil and established the Irish Republic.
-The British Government refused to accept the legitimacy of the newly declared nation, leading to the Irish War of Independence.

What was Sinn Féin?

-A left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland.
-The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves"
-Sinn Féin was founded on 28 November 1905 by Arthur Griffith.
-In 1914, Sinn Féin members, including Griffith, joined the anti-Redmond Irish Volunteers, which was referred to by Redmonites and others as the "Sinn Féin Volunteers".
-Although Griffith himself did not take part in the Easter Rising of 1916, many Sinn Féin members, who were also members of both the Volunteers and the Irish Republican Brotherhood, did.
-After the Rising, republicans came together under the banner of Sinn Féin.
-The party committed itself for the first time to the establishment of an Irish Republic.

What was Britain like after the war?

-The British government had a great deal of difficulty in adjusting to post-war politics
-Immediately after World War I, workers in many key industries began to strike, demanding higher wages, better working conditions, and shorter hours now that the war was ended.
-Britain suffered from a case of political confusion in the years following the First World War.
-Britain had been widely successful economically and politically, always seemingly a step ahead of the other nations of the world.
-After WWI Britain was forced to rebuild just like the other nations of Europe.
-Britain responded to its newfound problems by dividing sharply between those who favored the solutions of the far left and those who favored the solutions of the far right.
-The Left includes: progressives, social liberals, social democrats, socialists, communists, and anarchists.
-The Right includes: conservatives, reactionaries, capitalists, monarchists, nationalists, and fascists.

Wat was the Conservative Party like?

-The Conservative Party favored a fairly closed, powerful central government .
-It would concern itself primarily with maintaining laissez-faire economics as if nothing had happened.
-It focused on allowing economic cycles to bring back prosperity.
-Conservatives focused on allowing economic cycles to bring back prosperity
-This attitude was constantly challenged and forced to modify itself by the Labor party and Britain's workers.

Why did workers strike?

-They made their goals clear with strikes early on, but lack of organization, and the necessity of working, due to hard times, gave them little to bargain with.
-Despite the absence of broad gains, the Labor party's pressure did push the Conservative government to institute social programs, and steps were taken early on toward the construction of a social safety net, most notably with the passage of the Unemployment Insurance Act of 1920.

What was Britain's government like post-war?

-The left failed to become a significant force in British politics for a number of reasons.
-The early strikes demonstrated that while the spirit of socialism was in the air, the leftists themselves were hopelessly divided among themselves based upon differing degrees of leftism, ranging from moderate socialism to communism.

What was communism like in Britain?

-In 1921, the Communist Party in Britain contained only 5,000 members, and hardly posed a threat to the establishment.
-By 1929, the leftist forces had combined their strength in a more organized fashion, and had long abandoned radical socialism and decided to work within the capitalist system to regulate and control it.

What was the Great Depression?

-The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding WWII.
-The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s.
-The depression originated in the U.S., starting with the fall in stock prices that began around September 4, 1929 and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929 (known as Black Tuesday). From there, it quickly spread to almost every country in the world.
-The Great Depression had devastating effects in virtually every country, rich and poor.
-Personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped, while international trade plunged by more than 50%.
-Unemployment in the U.S. rose to 25%, and in some countries rose as high as 33%.
-Cities all around the world were hit hard, especially those dependent on heavy industry. Construction was virtually halted in many countries. Farming and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by approximately 60%.
-Some economies started to recover by the mid-1930s. In many countries, the negative effects of the Great Depression lasted until the start of World War II
-Prior to the Great Depression, governments traditionally took little or no action in times of business downturn, relying instead on impersonal market forces to achieve the necessary economic correction.

What was the Depression like in Britain?

-Britain, whose economy had relied on trading, faced serious economic problems.
-40% of its merchant fleets had been destroyed by German submarines in the war, making it difficult to export goods.
-Other countries imposed high tariffs on imports to protect their own industries, but this hurt Britain's economy. Britain's old and outdated factories, machines, and mines also hurt its industries.

What was the Depression like in Germany?

-Germany was also hit hard by the aftermath of the war.
-In an attempt to find money to pay its $33 billion debt in reparations, Germany printed an abundance of paper money.
-This led to severe inflation. In 1923, the value of German money dropped so significantly that one had to fill a wheelbarrow with cash simply to buy a loaf of bread.

Who was Franklin D. Roosevelt?

-In the United States, economic distress led to the election of the Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt to the presidency in late 1932.
-Roosevelt introduced a number of major changes in the structure of the American economy, using increased government regulation and massive public-works projects to promote a recovery.
-But despite this active intervention, mass unemployment and economic stagnation continued, though on a somewhat reduced scale, with about 15 percent of the work force still unemployed in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II.
-After that, unemployment dropped rapidly as American factories were flooded with orders from overseas for armaments and munitions.
-The depression ended completely soon after the United States' entry into World War II in 1941.

What caused the Great Depression?

-At least in part, the Great Depression was caused by underlying weaknesses and imbalances within the U.S. economy
-They had been obscured by the boom psychology and speculative euphoria of the 1920s.
-The Depression exposed those weaknesses, as it did the inability of the nation's political and financial institutions to cope with the vicious downward economic cycle that had set in by 1930.

What actions took place to stop the Depression?

-Prior to the Great Depression, governments traditionally took little or no action in times of business downturn, relying instead on impersonal market forces to achieve the necessary economic correction.
-But market forces alone proved unable to achieve the desired recovery in the early years of the Great Depression, and this painful discovery eventually inspired some fundamental changes in the United States' economic structure.

What was the Impact of the Depression?

-One response to the Depression was fascism and militarism--a response found in Germany, Italy, and Japan.
-In Germany, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party promised to restore the country's economy and to rebuild its military.
-After becoming chancellor in 1932, Hitler outlawed labor unions, restructured German industry into a series of cartels, and after 1935, instituted a massive program of military rearmament that ended high unemployment.

What is Fascism?

A political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

How did Fascism effect Germany?

In Germany, economic distress directly contributed to Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933. The Nazis' public-works projects and their rapid expansion of munitions production ended the Depression there by 1936.

Who was Benito Mussolini?

In Italy, fascism arose even before the Depression's onset under the leadership of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

How did Fascism effect Germany?

-In Japan, militarists seized control of the government during the 1930s.
-In an effort to relieve the Depression, Japanese military officers conquered Manchuria, a region rich in raw materials, and coastal China in 1937.

What was Totalitarian Communism?

-Another response to the Depression was totalitarian communism.
-In the Soviet Union, the Great Depression helped solidify Joseph Stalin's grip on power.
-In 1928 Stalin instituted a planned economy. His first Five Year Plan called for rapid industrialization and "collectivization" of small peasant farms under government control.

What was it like in Soviet Russia at the time?

-To crush opposition to his program, which required peasant farmers to give their products to the government at low prices, Stalin exiled millions of peasant to labor camps in Siberia, and instituted a program of terror called the Great Purge.
-Historians estimate that as many as 20 million Soviets died during the 1930s as a result of famine and deliberate killings.

What was Welfare Capitalism?

-A final response to the Depression was welfare capitalism, which could be found in countries including Canada, Great Britain, and France.
-Under welfare capitalism, government assumed ultimate responsibility for promoting a reasonably fair distribution of wealth and power and for providing security against the risks of bankruptcy, unemployment and destitution.

What was the overall effect of the Depression

-Compared to other industrialized countries, the economic decline brought on by the Depression was steeper and more protracted in the United States.
-The unemployment rate rose higher and remained higher longer than in any other western society.
-European countries significantly reduced unemployment by 1936. However, the American jobless rate still exceeded 17 percent as late as 1939, when World War II began in Europe.
-It did not drop below 14 percent until 1941.

Conclusion

-The Depression strengthened the federal presence in American life, producing such innovations as national old age pensions, unemployment compensation, aid to dependent children, public housing, federally subsidized school lunches, insured bank deposits, the minimum wage, and stock market regulation.
-It altered labor relations, producing a revived labor movement and a national labor policy protective of collective bargaining.
-It transformed the farm economy by introducing federal price supports and rural electrification.
-Above all, the Great Depression produced a fundamental transformation in public attitudes. It led Americans to view the federal government as the ultimate protector of public well-being.

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