Europe & US after World War 1

Europe & US after World War 1

by Devender

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There was a period of 20 years between First World War and the second and during this time, whole world witnessed tremendous changes. Even, the world noticed one major economic crisis during this period. It affected almost everyone around the world and mostly the advanced capitalist countries in the west. During this period, people in Asia & Africa started rising against the colonial powers.

  • Europe between the World Wars:
  • The First World War caused a lot of miseries which helped in political developments in many countries. Revolutions happened in many countries of Europe inspired by the Russian Revolution. Many movements in different parts of Europe occurred for better living conditions. Revolution in Germany forced Emperor to fled away from Germany and it became a republic.

  • Rise of Communist and socialists occur in almost every country of Europe during this period
  • However, in a few years Socialists were defeated and dictatorial governments came to power
  • These dictatorial governments suppressed socialist movements and destroyed democracy
  • The rise of dictatorial governments had adverse effect on whole world

The most dangerous thing that happened during this period was the emergence of Fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany which led to the Second World War.

Developments in France and Britain

The only two major countries of Europe that did not face fascism were France and Britain but both countries faced economic crisis after the first world war.

  • Britain:
  • The workers movement made great advances but in 1929, Britain got seriously affected by the economic crisis.

  • National government was formed in 1931
  • It consisted of the conservative, the labour and the liberal parties
  • This government took some steps to overcome economic crisis
  • The unemployment situation still remained very serious
  • After the victory of fascism in Germany, a fascist movement started in Britain also but it was soon supressed and Britain remained a republic country.

  • France:
  • The government was under the influence of big bankers and industrialists for long time. It hoped that by making the use of German areas that came under France after the Treaty of Versailles, France can become economically strong.

  • These hopes remained hopes and never became reality
  • France could not attain political stability
  • Many governments came and went
  • The situation got worse after the economic crisis
  • Corruption was rising and a fascist movement started, there was violence everywhere
  • A government was formed in 1936 to face the threat of fascism and anti-democratic forces
  • This government consisted of Socialist, radical socialists and communists
  • This government was called Popular Front government and it lasted for nearly 2 years
  • Many important economic reforms took place during this time

Therefore, France and Britain were able to remain democratic countries however their foreign policies were not strong to maintain democracy in other countries of Europe and preventing the war. Even these countries faced major problems like the economic crisis.

Emergence of United States as the strongest Power

One of most important features of the period after first world war was the emergence of USA in the world while decline in the supremacy of Europe.

  • At the end of the war, USA became the world's richest and most powerful country in the world
  • USA played a major role in framing the peace treaties
  • The US economy grew stronger while the economy of European countries shrank during the war
  • It made tremendous industrial progress
  • US started to make huge investments in Europe

US gave huge loans to the allied powers during the war and to Germany after the war for payment of war damages. So, US made a lot of money from World War I, its military industries gained the most from the war and even after the war.

The time between the war end and year 1929, was the most beneficial for US.

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