|The Turbulent 1910's (1911 - 1919)||The Roaring 1920s (1920 - 1929)||The Down Falling 1930s (1930 - 1939)|
The 1920s was the decade that started on January 1, 1920 and ended on December 31, 1929. It is sometimes referred to as the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age, when speaking about the United States, Canada or Australia. In Europe the decade is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Twenties" because of the economic boom following World War I.
- 1 Social Issues of the 1920's
- 2 Belarusian-Soviet War
- 3 The Imperial Commonwealth
- 4 Creation of the Soviet Union and Communist Mongolia
- 5 Rise of Fascism in Italy
- 6 The Pahlavi rise to power in Persia
- 7 The Chinese Civil War
- 8 Latin America's Situation
- 8.1 Mexican Civil War
- 8.2 Venezuela discovers Oil
- 8.3 Colombia and the United Fruit Company and other Events
- 8.4 Tacna War (Chile and Peru)
- 8.5 Brazilian Coffee Economic Crisis
- 9 Economy
Social Issues of the 1920's
The 1920s was the rise of a variety of social issues amidst a rapidly changing world. Conflicts arose concerning what was considered acceptable and respectable and what ought to be proscribed or made illegal. The conflict quickly coalesced into one largely between the liberal urban areas against the conservative rural areas.
Prohibition of Alcohol
During the 1920s the population in cities rapidly grew. Crime and political corruption became common and acceptable. Following a relatively conservative period following the First World War, a liberalism began to spread throughout urban areas during the years following 1925. Urban areas began to hold increasingly liberal views of sex, alcohol, drugs, and homosexuality. The view that women and minorities were entitled to equality became increasingly prevalent in urban areas, especially among the educated. For example, the actor William Haines, who was regularly named in newspapers and magazines as the #1 male box-office draw, openly lived in a gay relationship with his lover Jimmie Shields. Many people in rural areas became increasingly shocked at all the changes they saw occurring and many responded by becoming reactionary. The Volstead Act, a law meant to uphold the Eighteenth Amendment, was difficult due to lack of funding, short staffing and a disregard and disdain for a law that was deemed ridiculous. The fact that members of congress became drunk from toasts after passing the Eighteenth Amendment reveals that even those who were supposed to be setting an example did not take the law seriously. This lack of respect for the law enforcement eventually spread to other areas of culture, and many conservative members of the United States Congress criticized this lack of order as stemming from the rampant use of alcohol.
Disputes over human origin and the Scopes trial
It made for great oratory between eminent rivals, and it put the debate over teaching evolution on front pages across the country. But one thing the Scopes "monkey trial" of 1925 did not do was settle the contentious issue of evolution in the schools, which continues to incite strong passions and court actions to this day.
Narrowly, the trial was about challenging a newly passed Tennessee state law against teaching evolution or any other theory denying the biblical account of the creation of man. Broadly, the case reflected a collision of traditional views and values with more modern ones: It was a time of evangelism by figures such as Aimee Semple McPherson and Billy Sunday against forces, including jazz, sexual permissiveness, and racy Hollywood movies, which they thought were undermining the authority of the Bible and Christian morals in society.
John Scopes, the 24-year-old defendant, taught in the public high school in Dayton, Tenn., and included evolution in his curriculum. He agreed to be the focus of a test case attacking the new law, and was arrested for teaching evolution and tried with the American Civil Liberties Union backing his defense. His lawyer was the legendary Clarence Darrow, who, besides being a renowned defense attorney for labor and radical figures, was an avowed agnostic in religious matters.
The state's attorney was William Jennings Bryan, a Christian, pacifist, and former candidate for the U.S. presidency. He agreed to take the case because he believed that evolution theory led to dangerous social movements. And he believed the Bible should be interpreted literally.
The weather was stiflingly hot and the rhetoric equally heated in this "trial of the century" attended by hundreds of reporters and others who crowded the Rhea County Courthouse in July 1925. Rather than the validity of the law under which Scopes was being charged, the authority of the Bible versus the soundness of Darwin's theory became the focus of the arguments.
"Millions of guesses strung together," is how Bryan characterized evolutionary theory, adding that the theory made man "indistinguishable among the mammals." Darrow, in his attacks, tried to poke holes in the Genesis story according to modern thinking, calling them "fool ideas that no intelligent Christian on earth believes."
The jury found Scopes guilty of violating the law and fined him $100. Bryan and the anti-evolutionists claimed victory, and the Tennessee law would stand for another 42 years. But Clarence Darrow and the ACLU had succeeded in publicizing scientific evidence for evolution, and the press reported that though Bryan had won the case, he had lost the argument.
The verdict did have a chilling effect on teaching evolution in the classroom, however, and not until the 1960s did it reappear in schoolbooks.
Isolationism, Immigration, and Communism
America's isolationist philosophy after the Second Mexican-American War gave rise to a xenophobic feeling across the nation. This was concentrated in rural areas and especially in the South where the Ku Klux Klan gained widespread support and sought to persecute immigrants and minorities in the 1920s. At the same time, communism was still a new philosophy in government, and much of the general American public held a hostile view toward it. The beginning of the 1920s saw the height and fall of First Red Scare as exemplified in the trials of Sacco and Vanzetti. This opposition to Communism was caused by the bloody terror of the Bolshevik Revolution.
The Belarusian–Soviet War (February 1919 – March 1921) was an armed conflict with Soviet Russia pitted against the Belarusian National Republic and the Ukrainian State, three states in post-World War I Europe. The war was the result of the belligerents' desire to expand their territories and their influence over them. Belarus, whose statehood had just been re-established by the Treaty of Brest-Livotsk, sought to secure territories it had lost at the time of partitions; the aim of the Soviet states was to control those same territories, which had been part of the Russian Empire until the turbulent events of World War I. The question of victory is not universally agreed on. The "White Ruthenians" claimed a successful defense of their state, while the Soviets claimed a repulse of the Belarusian eastward invasion of East Russia, which they viewed as a part of the foreign intervention in the Russian Civil War.
Post-war events created turmoil: the Russian Revolution of 1917; the crumbling of the Russian empire; the Russian Civil War; the Central Powers' victory in the eastern front; and the establishment of many new states in former Russia.
By 1919, the Belarusian forces had taken control of much of Western Belarus (in Russia). But as the Bolsheviks began to gain the upper hand in the Russian Civil War, they started to advance westward towards the disputed Ukrainian and Belarusian territories causing Ukrainian's forces to retreat to Podolia. By the end of 1919 a clear front had formed as Ukraine decided to ally with Belarus. Border skirmishes escalated into open warfare following Belarus's major incursion further east into Ukraine in April 1920. The Polish offensive was met by an initially successful Red Army counterattack. The Soviet operation threw the Belarusian forces back westward all the way to the Belrusian capital, Minsk, while Ukraine fled to Kiev. Meanwhile, western fears of Soviet troops arriving at the German frontiers increased the interest of Western powers in the war. In midsummer, the fall of Minsk seemed certain but in mid-August the tide had turned again as the Belarusian forces achieved an unexpected and decisive victory at the Battle of Minsk. In the wake of the Belarusian advance eastward, the Soviets sued for peace and the war ended with a ceasefire in October 1920. A formal peace treaty, the Peace of Brest, was signed on 18 March 1921, dividing the disputed territories between Belarus, Ukraine and Soviet Russia. The war largely determined the Soviet-Belarusian border for the period between the World Wars.
It was formed in 1919 after Britain lost most of its African possessions to the Germans and because of the Treaty of Munich in which Britain not only ceded the colonies mentioned above but gave independence to Canada, South Africa, Australia, Ireland, India, and a Muslim nation in the Muslim zones of India. To at least keep some control over its former colonies Britain decided to set up an international confederation in which the individual member states would be autonomous in all affairs except for Foreign Affairs and Defence. In the Balfour Declaration at the 1918 created Imperial Meeting of the same year, Britain and its dominions agreed they were "equal in status, except in their Foreign Affairs and Defence which Britain will be in charge, and united by common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Imperial Commonwealth of Nations". The Imperial Commonwealth also served to protect Britain's trading interests in it former colonies as it also functions as a free trade zone. Ireland and India would abandoned the Commonwealth in 1920.
Creation of the Soviet Union and Communist Mongolia
Creation of the Soviet Union
On December 29, 1922 a conference of plenipotentiary delegations from the Russian SFSR and the Turkestan SFRS approved the Treaty of Creation of the USSR and the Declaration of the Creation of the USSR, forming the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. These two documents were confirmed by the 1st Congress of Soviets of the USSR and signed by heads of delegations - Mikhail Kalinin, Mikha Tskhakaya, Mikhail Frunze and Grigory Petrovsky, Aleksandr Chervyakov respectively on December 30, 1922.
Mongolian People's Republic
The Republic of China was able to use the Russian Revolution and the ensuing civil war as a pretext to deploy troops in Outer Mongolia, and in 1919 the Mongolian government was forced to sign a treaty that abolished Mongolia's autonomy. It was under Chinese occupation that the Mongolian People's Party was founded and once again looked to the north, this time to the Soviet Union, for help. In the mean time, White Russian troops led by Roman Ungern von Sternberg had occupied Khuree in early March 1921, and a new theocratic government declared independence from China, on March 13. But The Outer Mongolian Revolution broke out in 1921 and Ungern von Sternberg and the remaining Chinese troops were driven out of Outer Mongolia in the following months, and on July 6, 1921, the Mongolian People's Party and Soviet troops took Khuree. The People's Party founded a new government, but kept the Bogd Khan as nominal head of state. In the following years though some violent power struggles, Soviet influence got ever stronger, and after the Bogd Khan's death, the Mongolian People's Republic was proclaimed on November 26, 1924.
Rise of Fascism in Italy
In 1914, Benito Mussolini was forced out of the Italian Socialist Party after calling for Italian intervention against Austria. Prior to World War I, Mussolini had opposed military conscription, protested Italy's occupation of Libya, and was the editor of the Socialist Party's official newspaper, Avanti!. Over time, he simply called for revolution, without mentioning class struggle. Mussolini's nationalism enabled him to raise funds from Ansaldo (an armaments firm) and other companies to create his own newspaper Il Popolo d'Italia to convince socialists and revolutionaries to support the war. France, Britain, and Russia, wanting to draw Italy to the Entente, helped finance the newspaper. This newspaper became Fascist Italy's officially-supported newspaper years later. During the war, Mussolini served in the Italian army and was wounded once during the war. The wound is widely believed to be the result of an accident in grenade practice, although he claimed to have been wounded in battle.
Following the end of the war and the Treaty of Versailles, in 1919, Mussolini created the Fasci di Combattimento or Combat League. It was originally dominated by patriotic socialist and syndicalist veterans who opposed the pacifist nature of the Italian Socialist Party. The Fascists initially had a platform far more inclined to the left, promising social revolution, proportional representation, women's suffrage, and dividing private property held by estates. On 15 April 1919, the Fascists made their debut in political violence, when a group of members from theFasci di Combattimento attacked the offices of Avanti! Recognizing the failures of the Fascists' initial revolutionary and left-leaning policy, Mussolini moved the organization away from the left and turned the revolutionary movement into an electoral movement in 1921 named the Partito Nazionale Fascista (National Fascist Party). The party copied the nationalist themes of D'Annunzio and rejected parliamentary democracy while still operating within to destroy it. Mussolini changed his original revolutionary policies, such as moving away from anti-clericalism to supporting the Catholic Church and abandoned his public opposition to the monarchy. Fascist support and violence began to grow in 1921 and Fascist-supporting army officers began taking arms and vehicles from the army to use in counterrevolutionary attacks on socialists.
In 1920, Giolitti had come back as Prime Minister in an attempt to solve Italy's deadlock. One year later, Giolitti's government had already become unstable, and a growing socialist opposition further endangered his government. Giolitti believed that the Fascists could be toned down and used to protect the state from the socialists. He decided to include Fascists on his electoral list for the 1921 elections. In the elections, the Fascists did not make large gains, but Giolitti's government failed to gather a large enough coalition to govern and offered the Fascists placements in his government. The Fascists rejected Giolitti's offers and joined with socialists in bringing down his government. A number of descendants of those who had served Garibaldi's revolutionaries during unification were won over to Mussolini's nationalist revolutionary ideals. His advocacy of corporatism and futurism had attracted advocates of the "third way". But most importantly he had won over politicians in Italy like Facta and Giolitti who did not condemn him for his Blackshirts' mistreatment of socialists.
In October 1922, Mussolini took advantage of a general strike by workers in Italy, and announced his demands to the Italian government to give the Fascist Party political power or face a coup. With no immediate response, a small number of Fascists began a long trek across Italy to Rome which was called the March on Rome, claiming to Italians that Fascists were intending to restore law and order. Mussolini himself did not participate until the very end of the march, with d'Annunzio at being hailed as leader of the march until it was learned he had been pushed out of a window and severely wounded in a failed assassination attempt, depriving him of the possibility of leading an actual coup d'état orchestrated by an organization originally founded by himself. The Fascists, under the leadership of Mussolini demanded Prime Minister Luigi Facta's resignation and that Mussolini be named Prime Minister. Although the Italian Army was far better armed than the Fascist paramilitaries, the Italian government under King Victor Emmanuel III faced a political crisis. The King was forced to choose which of the two rival movements in Italy would form the government: Mussolini's Fascists, or the anti-monarchist Italian Socialist Party. He selected the Fascists.
On October 28, 1922, Victor Emmanuel III selected Mussolini to become Italian Prime Minister, allowing Mussolini and the Fascist Party to pursue their political ambitions as long as they supported the monarchy and its interests. Mussolini was a very young political leader (at the age of 39) compared to other Italian prime ministers and world leaders at the time. Mussolini was called Il Duce, or "The Leader" by his supporters, an unofficial title that was commonly used to describe Mussolini's position during the Fascist era. A personality cult was developed that portrayed him as the nation's saviour which was aided by the personal popularity he held with Italians already which would remain strong until Italy faced continuous military defeats in World War II.
Upon taking power, Mussolini formed a legislative coalition with nationalists, liberals, and populists. However goodwill by the Fascists towards parliamentary democracy faded quickly: Mussolini's coalition passed the electoral Acerbo Law of 1923, which gave two thirds of the seats in parliament to the party or coalition that achieved 25% of the vote. The Fascist Party used violence and intimidation to achieve the 25% threshold in the 1924 election, and became the ruling political party of Italy.
Following the election, Socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti was assassinated after calling for an annulment of the elections because of the irregularities. Following the assassination, the Socialists walked out of parliament, allowing Mussolini to pass more authoritarian laws. In 1925, Mussolini accepted responsibility for the Fascist violence in 1924, and promised that dissenters would be dealt with harshly. Before the speech, Blackshirts smashed opposition presses and beat up several of Mussolini's opponents. This event is considered the onset of undisguised Fascist dictatorship in Italy, though it would be 1928 before the Fascist Party was formally declared the only legal party in the nation.
Over the next four years, Mussolini eliminated nearly all checks and balances on his power. In 1926, he passed a law that declared he was responsible only to the king and made him the sole person able to determine Parliament's agenda. Local autonomy was swept away, and appointed podestas replaced communal mayors and councils. Soon after all other parties were banned in 1928, parliamentary elections were replaced by plebiscites in which the Grand Council nominated a single list of candidates.
The result of Mussolini's takeover of the government was the creation of a diarchy in Italy, with Mussolini wielding enormous political powers as the effective ruler of Italy, while the King remained a figurehead. He did, however, still have the right to dismiss the prime minister, albeit only on the advice of the Grand Council—at least in theory, the only check on Mussolini's power.
The Pahlavi rise to power in Persia
In 1921, Reza Khan, an officer in Iran's Persian Cossack Brigade, used his troops to support a successful coup against the government of the Qajar dynasty. Within four years he had established himself as the most powerful person in the country by suppressing rebellions and establishing order. In 1925, a specially convened assembly deposed Ahmad Shah Qajar, the last ruler of the Qajar dynasty, and named Reza Khan, who earlier had adopted the surname Pahlavi, as the new shah.
Reza Shah had ambitious plans for modernizing Iran. These plans included developing large-scale industries, implementing major infrastructure projects, building a cross-country railroad system, establishing a national public education system, reforming the judiciary, and improving health care. He believed a strong, centralized government managed by educated personnel could carry out his plans.
The Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang (KMT or Chinese Nationalist Party), the governing party of the Republic of China and the Communist Party of China (CPC). The war began in April 1927, amidst the Northern Expedition. The war represented an ideological split between the Western-supported (later Japanese supporter) Nationalist KMT, and the Soviet-supported Communist CPC. In mainland China today, the war is more commonly known as the "War of Liberation".
The civil war continued intermittently until the Second Sino-Japanese War interrupted it, resulting in the two parties forming a Second United Front. Japan's campaign was victorious in 1945, marking the end of World War II, and China's full-scale civil war resumed in 1946. After a further four years, 1950 saw a cessation of major military hostilities—with the newly founded Republic of China in Nanjing controlling mainland China (except Uyghuristan, Manchukuo, and Tibet), and the Communist forces collapsing. To this day, since no armistice or peace treaty has ever been signed, there is controversy as to whether the Civil War has legally ended, today, although extremely uncommon some remaining communist guerrillas thrive in China.
Latin America's Situation
Mexican Civil War
After the Second Mexican American War, Mexico plunged to chaos and violence, after the loss of three states, and the American establishment as President of Venustiano Carranza.
Following the resignation of Huerta and a brief reactionary interlude, Carranza was elected president in 1917. Carranza promulgated a new constitution on February 5, 1918. The Mexican Constitution of 1918 still governs Mexico. Carranza was assassinated in 1919 during an internal feud among his former supporters over who would replace him as president. The revolutionary leaders had many different objectives; revolutionary figures varied from liberals to radicals such as Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. As a consequence, it proved impossible to reach agreement on how to organize the government that emerged from the triumphant first phase of the revolution. This standoff over political principles lead quickly to a struggle for control of the government, a violent conflict that lasted more than 15 years. Although this period is usually referred to as part of the Mexican Revolution, it might also be termed a civil war.
In 1920, Álvaro Obregón, one of Carranza's allies who had plotted against him, became president. His government managed to accommodate all elements of Mexican society except the most reactionary clergy and landlords; as a result, he was able to successfully catalyze social liberalization, particularly in curbing the role of the Catholic Church, improving education, and taking steps toward instituting women's civil rights.
While the Mexican Revolution may have subsided after 1922, armed struggle continued. The most widespread conflict was the fight between those favoring separation of Church and State and those favoring supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church. This fight developed into an armed uprising by supporters of the Church--"la Guerra Cristera."
It is estimated that between 1920 and 1928, 900,000 people died.
Venezuela discovers Oil
It did not take much geological expertise to know that Venezuela had large petroleum deposits, because the petroleum oozed out from seeps all over the country and an asphalt lake had formed naturally. Venezuelans themselves had tried to extract oil for a small hand-pumped refinery early in the 20th century. As the word spread internationally of Venezuela’s oil potential two things happened: representatives of large foreign companies came to the country and started lobbying for rights of exploration and exploitation and Gómez established the concessionary system. Venezuela had inherited from Spain the law that the ground surface—presumably, as deep as a plow or a water well went—could belong to individuals but everything under the soil was state property. Thus, Gómez began to grant huge concessions to family and friends. Any one who was close to Gómez eventually would become rich in one way or another. Gómez himself accumulated immense expanses of grasslands for cattle-raising, which had been his original occupation and was a life-long passion. The Venezuelan concessionaires leased or sold their holdings to the highest foreign bidders. Gómez, who didn’t trust industrial workers or unions, refused to allow the oil companies to build refineries on Venezuelan soil, so these were built them in the Dutch islands of Aruba and Curaçao. The one in Aruba was for a time the second largest in the world, after the one in Abadan, Iran. Although the Venezuelan oil boom started around 1918, the year when oil first figured as an export commodity, it took off when an oil well called Barroso blew a 200-foot (60 m) spout that threw up an average of the equivalent to 100,000 barrels a day. It took five days to bring the flow under control. After that, there was no looking back. By 1927, oil was Venezuela’s most valuable export and by 1929 Venezuela exported more oil than any other country in the world.
The Generation of 1928
With the name of the 28 Generation group is known to college students who starred in the Caracas carnival of 1928 a movement of academic and student led to a confrontation with the regime of Juan Vicente Gómez. The acts consisted of:
- Parade from the Central University of Venezuela to the National Cemetery in honor of the heroes of Independence.
- Coronation of Queen Beatrix of the students (Peña Beatriz Arreaza), Teatro Municipal de Caracas.
- Youth concert, a theater capital.
- Concentration of youth in La Pastora.
- Preparation of a calf not performed due to the developments.
This political activity that began in 1928 with protests and political speeches full of libertarian ideas led to hundreds of students to the jail of the Rotunda and the castle of Puerto Cabello. Shortly after the release of students, there is a rapprochement between some of these Juan José Palacios, Francisco Lazaro Rivas, Fidel Rontondaro and Germain Tortosa, among others, young army officers, among whom was the son of Eleazar López Contreras with the purpose of planning a coup to be executed on 7 April 1928, but was revealed before it occurs. In order to obtain the release of detained colleagues in the wake of the attempted revolt of April 7, a group of students drawn in October 1928, a document addressed to Juan Vicente Gómez where it asks him to reconsider his tough action . However, Gomez not only ignores their demands but sends captured, being conducted amid public protests with about 200 students Araira colonies, where they built a road segment, which should meet labor.
Colombia and the United Fruit Company and other Events
The Dance of Millions (1922)
By the year 1922, President Pedro Nel Ospina receives from U.S. $ 25'000 .000 dollars in compensation for the Panama Canal. At this time increases the coffee boom which was income to the country.
Kemmerer mission (1922)
It was originated Edwin Walter Kemmerer, who was a financier and economist, known as "Money Doctor". Professor of Economics at American universities, Cornell and Princeton, this, he developed an intense, fruit of his deep knowledge of monetary policy, especially regarding the problem of inflation as economic advisor and individual governments of countries around the world, especially Latin America. He died in 1945 at the age of 70 years ...
- Developed the Bank of the Republic of Colombia, the Banking and the Comptroller General of the Republic (Colombia).
- Let organize the country's budget.
- Raise new taxes and public savings.
- Created the Ciric and Crafts.
The Slaughter of the Banana (1928)
In 1928 Marsh was in the "Slaughter of the Banana", when the army had an order to shoot to the United Fruit Company workers who were protesting to get changes in working conditions for banana production, such as better pay and conditions health.This fact is reflected in One Hundred Years of Solitude by Garcia Marquez and was a fact that he tried to hide from the Colombian government.
During the War of the Pacific, Chilean forces occupied great part of the south territory of Peru, including Tacna. The hostilities between both countries ended with the sign of the Treaty of Ancón in 1984, which between things established that the provinces of Tacna and Arica would stay under chilean control for 10 years, after which a plebiscite would be realized to decide the fate of both territories. However, this referendum never took place.
During more than 30 years, the governments of Peru and Chile tried several negotiations to solve the matter, without achieving much success. At the same time, Chile initiate a process for Chilenizar the provinces of Tacna and Arica, and in this way to gain the support of the population.
In addition, nationalistic groups arose in Peru and Chile that they started causing many violence in the dispute territories, complicating the negotiations.
However, the situation started worsening in the middle of the 20s, when Peru governed by the President Augusto Leguía, began to suffer an economic crisis that mean an increase in the popular dissatisfaction. It, added to the pressures to the Peruvian government not to lose the territorial dispute, prevented it from reaching with Chile a definitive compromise.
For other side, Chile also experience a crisis in his political system, but this, only lasted one year, and it managed to be overcome thanks to the promulgation of a new constitution and the arrival to the government of a candidacy agreed by all the political sectors.
For 1928, after the last attempts of mediation, the government of Leguía come to the determination that to declare the war to Chile was the only way of solving the dispute and take out to Peru of the increasing crisis that was experimenting.
Brazilian Coffee Economic Crisis
The Great Depression of 1929 caused problems for the Republic because of falling international demand for Brazilian coffee, and the absence of bank loans in the U.S. and Europe that could sustain the country's economy. Given all these difficulties, the presidential election of 1930 caused serious disturbances when President Washington Luís (former governor of Sao Paulo) withdrew to nominate the governor of Minas Gerais and preferred successor support in succession to another Paulista Júlio Prestes, designated oficales candidate in the March 1930 elections, the opposition united around Getúlio Vargas, first showing a breakdown between Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais and the state elite emerging other competing for power: the Rio Grande do Sul who joined around the opponent Vargas.
Great Depression of 1929
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. 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. It was the longest, most widespread, and deepest depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how far the world's economy can decline. 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 ½ to ⅔. 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%. Facing plummeting demand with few alternate sources of jobs, areas dependent on primary sector industries such as cash cropping, mining and logging suffered the most.
Some economies started to recover by the mid-1930s. However, in many countries the negative effects of the Great Depression lasted until the start of World War II.
New Economic Policy
The New Economic Policy (NEP) was an economic policy proposed by Vladimir Lenin to prevent the Russian economy from collapsing. Allowing some private ventures, the NEP allowed small businesses or shops, for instance, to reopen for private profit while the state continued to control banks, foreign trade, and large industries.
The laws sanctioned the coexistence of private and public sectors, which were incorporated in the NEP, which on the other hand was a state oriented "mixed economy".
Rather than repossess all goods produced, the Soviet government took only a small percentage of goods. This left the peasants with a marketable surplus which could be sold privately.
The state, after starting to use the NEP, moved away from Communist ideals and started the modernizing of the economy, but this time, with a more free-minded way of doing things. The Soviet stopped upholding the idea of nationalizing certain parts of industries. Some kinds of abroad investments were expected by the Soviet Union under the NEP, in order to fund industrial and developmental projects.
The move towards modernization rested on one main issue, transforming the Soviet Union into a modern industrialized society, but to do so the Soviet Union had to reshape its preexisting structures, namely its agricultural system and the class structure that surrounded it.
The NEP was primarily a new agricultural policy. The Bolsheviks’ attitude towards village life was dismal. The old way of village life was reminiscent of the Tsarist Russia that had supposedly been thrown out with the October Revolution. With the NEP, which sought to repudiate the “old ways,” methods were put in place which promoted the pursuit by peasants of their self-interests. However, the state only allowed private landholdings because the idea of collectivized farming had met with much opposition.