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European History


Interwar Politics

Post-World War I treaties leave problems unsettled

  • Four empires collapse: German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian, Ottoman; new countries established from old empires: Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland

  • Creation of Yugoslavia combines Serbia with former Austro-Hungarian territories of Croatia, Slovenia, and others

  • Border wars continue in Eastern Europe

  • New countries supposedly created along ethnic lines, but many contain discontented ethnic minorities

  • Eastern European countries try to modernize, educate, collect taxes, but are hampered by political division

  • 1920s–1930s: Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania become dictatorships; Czechoslovakia remains democratic

Economic problems make capitalism appear weak

  • Industry, productivity, and consumption down due to war

  • 1923: France occupies Ruhr region of Germany demanding reparations payments; causes rampant inflation

  • 1929:Great Depression begins

League of Nations: International organization meant to arbitrate between nations to prevent future war

  • Given no military power to enforce decisions

  • Germany initially not allowed to participate

  • 1922: Germany and USSR meet at Rapallo, make economic and strategic agreements

  • 1925:Locarno Agreements: Spirit of reconciliation among Germany, Britain, France; all want fresh start

  • 1928:Kellogg-Briand Pact: European powers, Japan, and U.S. renounce war

France: Conservatism in 1920s, political instability in 1930s

  • 1934: Right-wing anti-parliamentary riots

  • 1936: Leftist Popular Front government under Léon Blum gives first paid vacations

Britain: Class tension and troubled victory

  • 1916: Irish nationalist uprising

  • 1921: Creation of Irish Free State leads to two-year civil war

  • 1924: First Labour Party government forms

  • 1926: Two-week general strike fails

  • 1931:National Government, a coalition of parties, tries to deal with economic depression