Category: Between World Wars

Aftermath of World War I

After World War I representatives of the victorious powers met in Paris to devise a peace settlement that would protect future generations from another such conflict. All agreed that a new framework or system was needed in international relations. Each power, however, had different views as to what that framework should be. From their compromises […]

Manchurian Incident

On Sept. 18, 1931, a small bomb exploded underneath a section of track on the South Manchuria Railroad. The Japanese Army, which under long-standing agreements policed the railroad, used this incident as a pretext for launching operations aimed at conquering all of Manchuria for Japan. The Chinese government, which had nominal sovereignty over the area, […]

Pre-war Economic Issues

In the meantime, a severe economic depression had developed. A crash of the New York stock market in October 1929 had been followed by a rapid decline in American production, employment, and foreign commerce. The repercussions were soon felt in all countries that traded with the United States and also in those where American funds […]

Rise of Hitler

By far the most ominous event of these depression years was the emergence of Hitler in Germany. A psychopathic personality, he rejected all conventional moral standards. In his book Mein Kampf (2 vols., 19251927, q.v.) and in later speeches he had disclosed his abhorrence of such concepts as equality and majority rule, his hatred of […]

Stresa Front

The French became increasingly apprehensive as evidence accumulated to indicate that Hitler planned much more formidable forces than those of which he had spoken in October and November 1933. On March 10, 1935, one of his officials disclosed that the projected German Air Force would be larger than the French. Six days later, Hitler himself […]

Anglo-German Naval Agreement

The so-called Stresa front was short lived. Some members of the British government reacted to the evidence of German rearmament by drawing the moral that the nation should detach itself and avoid such enforced involvement in war as that of 1914. Finding the German government full of protestations of goodwill for Britain, members of this […]

Italo-Ethiopian War

Although the British at Stresa had given Mussolini no assurances that they would acquiesce in his conquest of Ethiopia, their reticences had been so interpreted by him, and he was strengthened in this view when, in June 1935, Anthony Eden, minister for League of Nations affairs, came to Rome to suggest that Britain might cede […]

Hoare-Laval Plan

As Italian military operations continued, sentiment grew, especially in Britain, for more effective action. Between January and June 1935, a so-called Peace Ballot, a national referendum supported by the British League of Nations Union and allied groups, had yielded 6,784,368 votes endorsing the principle that, if one nation insisted on attacking another, the other nations […]

Rhineland Coup

[breadcrumb] An even more significant demonstration of this fact came before the ItaloEthiopian War was liquidated. Seeing the split within the Stresa front, Hitler decided to act in the Rhineland-to repudiate the articles of the Treaty of Versailles that declared that region permanently demilitarized. When he communicated this decision to his generals, they were appalled. […]