Topics: World Wars: Interwar (1918-1939)

World Wars: Interwar (1918-1939)


The Interwar Period (1918–1939) is understood, within recent Western culture, to be the period between the end of the First World War and the beginning of the Second World War. This is also called the period between the wars or interbellum.



This period was marked by turmoil in much of the world, as Europe struggled to recover from the devastation of the First World War. In North America especially the first half of this period was one of considerable prosperity (the Roaring Twenties), but this changed dramatically with the onset of the Great Depression in 1929. It was at this time that the Weimar Republic in Germany gave way to two episodes of political and economic turmoil, the first culminated with the German hyperinflation of 1923 and the failed Beer Hall Putsch of that same year. The second convulsion, brought on by the worldwide depression, resulted in the rise of Nazism. In Asia, Japan became an ever more assertive power, especially with regards to China.



The interwar period was marked by a radical change in the international order, away from the balance of power that had dominated pre-World War I Europe. One main institution that was meant to bring stability was the League of Nations, which was created after the First World War with the intention of maintaining world security and peace and encouraging economic growth between member countries. The League was undermined by the bellicosity of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, the Soviet Union, and Mussolini's Italy, and by the non-participation of the United States, leading many to question its effectiveness and legitimacy.



A series of international crises strained the League to its limits, the earliest being the invasion of Manchuria by Japan and the Abyssinian crisis of 1935/36 in which Italy invaded Abyssinia, one of the only free African nations at that time. The League tried to enforce economic sanctions upon Italy, but to no avail. The incident highlighted French and British weakness, exemplified by their reluctance to alienate Italy and lose her as their ally. The limited actions taken by the Western powers pushed Mussolini's Italy towards alliance with Hitler's Germany anyway. The Abyssinian war showed Hitler how weak the League was and encouraged the remilitarization of the Rhineland in flagrant disregard of the Treaty of Versailles. This was the first in a series of provocative acts culminating in the invasion of Poland in September 1939 and the beginning of the Second World War.



Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interwar_period

World Wars: Interwar (1918-1939)
Political map of Europe between the years 1929 and 1939
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interwar_period