Terms in this set (51)

The Great Depression affected Europe in many ways because it began a decade of high unemployment rates, poverty, and lost opportunities for personal advancement and economic growth
The severity and length of the Great Depression have three interrelated causes: the financial crisis caused by the Great War and the Paris peace settlement; the global crisis in the production and distribution of goods, especially after 1929; the failure of western European and U.S. governments to respond appropriately to these conditions. European governments had an overriding fear of inflation, based on their recent experience and the example of Germany's uncontrolled inflation. The Allies, and particularly France, depended on payments from Germany to subsidize their economies and pay their own debts to the United States; the German economy, in turn, had become heavily dependent on U.S. private investment in the mid-1920s. When the U.S. stock market collapsed in 1929, U.S. loans to Europe dried up, and the German economy very nearly collapsed. Reparations were finally cancelled in 1933. Meanwhile, production and trade faced their own difficulties, including agricultural over-production, which caused raw-product prices to plummet; farmers could no longer afford to purchase industrial products, so the manufacture of consumer goods stagnated; this led to a reduction in demand for coal, iron, and textiles, crippling those industries as well. Economic theory in this period held that governments should cut spending in these circumstances, in order to avoid inflation. Governments did experiment with other forms of intervention, though, and these influenced the politics of the period..
The political responses to the Depression were very different in Great Britain and France, and yielded quite different results. In Britain, Ramsay MacDonald's coalition ministry, the National Government, was basically a sell-out by the Labour leader to the Conservative party. It produced impressive results: industrial production increased beyond 1929 levels by 1934, and the housing market boomed. Unemployment persisted, however, with nearly 1.5 million still unemployed in 1937. Most British citizens remained confident in their government, and radical politics of both the right and left held little appeal. In France, the Depression came later and lasted longer. Right-wing political groups grew, as did political bitterness, incivility and violence. A right-wing political demonstration in Paris in 1934 resulted in fourteen deaths and many injuries. A coalition ministry dealt with economic matters by decree. Leftist groups made alliances in the fact of right-wing threats, and formed the Popular Front in 1935. Socialist Leon Blum became premier of a Popular Front government in June, 1936. Blum instituted progressive labor policies and made other moves that alienated the banking and business communities, leading Blum to resign in June 1937. A Radical ministry came to power in 1938. In contrast to Britain, French industrial production did not regain 1929 levels until 1939. Also in contrast to the British experience, many French citizens had lost faith in the Republic itself, and in republican principles.
This second global conflict resulted from the rise of totalitarian, militaristic regimes in Germany, Italy, and Japan, a phenomenon stemming in part from the Great Depression that swept over the world in the early 1930s and from the conditions created by the peace settlements (1919-20) following World War I.

After World War I, defeated Germany, disappointed Italy, and ambitious Japan were anxious to regain or increase their power; all three eventually adopted forms of dictatorship (see National Socialism and fascism) that made the state supreme and called for expansion at the expense of neighboring countries. These three countries also set themselves up as champions against Communism, thus gaining at least partial tolerance of their early actions from the more conservative groups in the Western democracies. Also important was a desire for peace on the part of the democracies, which resulted in their military unpreparedness. Finally, the League of Nations, weakened from the start by the defection of the United States, was unable to promote disarmament (see Disarmament Conference); moreover, the long economic depression sharpened national rivalries, increased fear and distrust, and made the masses susceptible to the promises of demagogues.

The failure of the League to stop the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1931 was followed by a rising crescendo of treaty violations and acts of aggression. Adolf Hitler, when he rose to power (1933) in Germany, recreated the German army and prepared it for a war of conquest; in 1936 he remilitarized the Rhineland. Benito Mussolini conquered (1935-36) Ethiopia for Italy; and from 1936 to 1939 the Spanish civil war raged, with Germany and Italy helping the fascist forces of Francisco Franco to victory. In Mar., 1938, Germany annexed Austria, and in Sept., 1938, the British and French policy of appeasement toward the Axis reached its height with the sacrifice of much of Czechoslovakia to Germany in the Munich Pact.

When Germany occupied (Mar., 1939) all of Czechoslovakia, and when Italy seized (Apr., 1939) Albania, Great Britain and France abandoned their policy of appeasement and set about creating an "antiaggression" front, which included alliances with Turkey, Greece, Romania, and Poland, and speeding rearmament. Germany and Italy signed (May, 1939) a full military alliance, and after the Soviet-German nonaggression pact (Aug., 1939) removed German fear of a possible two-front war, Germany was ready to launch an attack on Poland.
At the start of the 1930s Stalin launched a wave of radical economic policies, which completely overhauled the industrial and agricultural face of the Soviet Union. This came to be known as the 'Great Turn' as Russia turned away from the near-capitalist New Economic Policy. The NEP had been implemented by Lenin in order to ensure the survival of the Communist state following seven years of war and had rebuilt Soviet production to its 1913 levels. However, Russia still lagged far behind the West, and the NEP was felt by Stalin and the majority of the Communist party, not only to be compromising Communist ideals, but also not delivering sufficient economic performance, as well as not creating the envisaged Socialist society. It was therefore felt necessary to increase the pace of industrialisation in order to catch up with the West.
Stalin sought to rapidly transform the Soviet Union from a predominantly agricultural country into a modern industrial power. He and other leaders argued that by becoming a strong centrally planned industrial power, the country could protect itself militarily from hostile outside intervention and economically from the booms and slumps characteristic of capitalism.
Collectivisation in the Soviet Union was a policy pursued under Stalin between 1928 and 1940 with the 3 Five-Year Plans. The goal of this policy was to consolidate individual land and labour into collective farms. The Soviet leadership was confident that the replacement of individual peasant farms by kolkhozy would immediately increase the food supply for urban populations, the supply of raw materials for processing industry, and agricultural exports. Collectivization was thus regarded as the solution to the crisis of agricultural distribution that had developed since 1927. This problem became more acute as the Soviet Union pressed ahead with its ambitious industrialization program.
Already in the early 1940s over 90% of agricultural land was "collectivized" as rural households entered collective farms with their land, livestock, and other assets. The sweeping collectivization often involved tremendous human and social costs in terms of the economy. Very few consumer goods were produced.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies. The revolt began as a student demonstration which attracted thousands as it marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building. One student entered a building in an attempt to broadcast its demands and was detained. When the demonstrators outside demanded his release, they were fired upon by the State Security Police from within the building. The news spread quickly and disorder and violence erupted throughout the capital. The revolt spread quickly across Hungary, and the government fell. The people demanded political changes and declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. However, after announcing a willingness to negotiate a withdrawal of Soviet forces, the Politburo changed its mind and moved to crush the revolution and fighting started again.
The Suez Crisis was fought by France, Britain, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to both Egypt and Israel, and then began to bomb Cairo. In a short time, and despite Israeli and British denials, considerable evidence showed that the two attacks were planned in collusion, with France as the instigator, Britain as a belated partner, and Israel as the willing trigger. The attack followed the President of Egypt Gamel Abdel Nasser's decision of 26 July 1956 to nationalize the Suez Canal and the aims of the attack were primarily to regain Western control of the canal and precipitate the fall of Nasser from power, whose policies were viewed as potentially threatening the strategic interests of the three nations. However, pressure from the US & the USSR at the UN eventually led to Britain and France failing in their political and strategic aims of controlling the canal and removing Nasser from power.
They symbolized a shift in the autonomy of the Old European powers b/c the old governments could no longer do whatever they wanted to without fear of retaliation from either the civilians in a form or rebellion or from the Western allies who kept a close eye on their activities.
(from outline) Dissent was directed at communism and dissatisfaction and economic issues in Hungary created a tense situation. Nagy declared Hungary free in November 1956 and promised free elections. However, the Soviet Union attacked Budapest later that month and Kadar replaced Nagy.
evoked a "New Thinking" about world affairs and the balance of power leading to new arms limitation treaties and greater autonomy for Communist regimes in Eastern Europe.
Primary goal was to revive the Soviet economy through perestoika (restructuring), which was introduced in an attempt to create a dependable and effective mechanism for accelerating economic and social progress through the development of democracy, socialist self-government, encourage of initiative & creative endeavor, and improved order and respect for the individual. He also introduced in 1988 the concept of glasnost (openness), which gave new freedoms to the Soviet people, including greater freedom of speech. The press became far less controlled, and thousands of political prisoners and many dissidents were released. He called for a new soviet parliament in 1988 as 1 of his political reforms. Gorbachev launched radical reforms meant to reduce party control of the government apparatus. He proposed a new executive in the form of a presidential system, as well as a new legislative element and led to the first free election in the Soviet Union since 1917.
In contrast to his controversial domestic reforms, Gorbachev was largely hailed in the West for his 'New Thinking' in foreign affairs. During his tenure, he sought to improve relations and trade with the West by reducing Cold War tensions. He established close relationships with several Western leaders & proposed that the Soviets and Americans both cut their nuclear arsenals in half, and later proposed that all nuclear forces be disposed of by year 2000.