REVISION NOTES – THE INTER-WAR YEARS, 1919-1939 Key Question 1: Were the peace treaties of 1919-23 fair? The leaders of the great powers met at Versailles in 1919 to discuss the terms that were going to be imposed upon Germany. The aims of the leaders differed considerably. What were the aims and motives of the Big Three at Versailles? France The French Prime Minister, Georges Clemenceau, believed that Germany must be punished and made to pay for the cost of the War and for the humiliation suffered by France in the past. Clemenceau also wanted guarantees that it could never happen again. He wanted the Rhineland to be handed over to France and Alsace-Lorraine to be returned. He wanted to make Germany pay for all the damage caused by the War. Large areas of France had been destroyed in the wart. Everyone knew who to blame, and some French politicians wanted Germany to be totally destroyed. Great Britain Great Britain had not suffered the same degree of damage as France, but Britain had paid an enormous cost for victory however. In all the Great War cost £5.700,000 a day, some had been raised by increasing income tax from 6p to 30p, but most had been borrowed; now it all had to be paid back. The British people expected that Germany would be made to pay for the effects of the war. The Prime Minister David Lloyd George promised to, 'Squeeze Germany until the Pips Squeak'. But when Lloyd George got to Versailles he adopted a different approach. He did not want Germany to be punished too hard, but be allowed to recover. The USA The USA had not suffered any damage during the war, apart from some fires started by German agents to destroy goods going to Britain and France. American soldiers only arrived in Europe in spring 1918, so Woodrow Wilson arrived in Europe in December 1918 without any scores to settle with Germany. Wilson's main concern was to try to ensure that war could never break out again. So he came with his ‘Fourteen Points’ one of which suggested the setting up of a League of Nations. Wilson believed in 'Self-Determination'. This meant he wanted peoples to be able to run their own affairs. He objected to Italy taking over the Adriatic Coast. Italy The Italian Government did not join the war until 1915. Britain and France signed the secret Treaty of London, agreeing to Italy taking possession of the Adriatic coast of the Balkans as far south as Albania and also some the islands of the coast of Greece. Italy had suffered very badly during the War. 460,000 soldiers had been killed and the country was heavily in debt to the USA. To most Italians it seemed to have been a disaster. The Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando arrived at Versailles expecting the Allies to honour the promises that they had made in the Treaty of London. Japan Japan had supported the Allies throughout the war and expected some sort of reward. The Japanese wanted Manchuria, which was part of Northern China. The TREATY of VERSAILLES The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June. The German delegates had not been allowed to attend any of the meetings at Versailles, but had been shown the terms of the treaty in May. When they saw the terms, they were horrified. They had expected that the Treaty would be based upon Wilson's 'Fourteen Points', which recommended 'Self-Determination'. The German delegates considered restarting the war, but this was impossible. Land - Germany lost about 10% of her land. Alsace-Lorraine was given back to France. The Polish Corridor was created to give the new country of Poland a way out to the Baltic. This cut Germany into two. Germany also lost land to Belgium, Denmark and Czechoslovakia. Colonies - all German colonies were taken away and were handed to Britain and France to look after under League of Nations mandates until they were ready for independence. Armed forces - the German army was reduced to 100,000 men and conscription was banned, the navy was reduced to six ships and submarines were banned, the airforce was to be completely destroyed. The Rhineland - this was to be demilitarised, no soldiers or military equipment were to be kept within thirty miles of the east bank of the river. The Allies would occupy it for fifteen years. The Saar - this was to be occupied for fifteen years and France would be able to mine coal in it for those years. Reparations - Germany was to pay for the damage caused by the war, the full cost would be worked out by 1921; it eventually came to £6,600,000,000. This would be paid for the rest of the twentieth century. War Guilt - Germany was to accept the blame for the war, alone. Why did the victors not get everything they wanted? France was not allowed to occupy the Rhineland. - Lloyd George believed that this would only antagonise the Germans. Woodrow Wilson was not able to achieve freedom of the seas. - Lloyd George wanted to maintain Britain’s naval supremacy. Lloyd George was unable to achieve a moderate settlement. – Public opinion in Britain and French aims forced him to accept harsher terms for Germany than he would have liked. Italy was not given the Adriatic coast that had been promised at the Secret Treaty of London in 1915. - Woodrow Wilson would not agree to the creation of an Italian Empire. Japan was not allowed to occupy Manchuria; it was given the former German territories in China. The TREATY of SAINT-GERMAIN The Treaty of Saint-Germain was signed between the Allies and Austria on September 10 th 1919. The main terms were as follows. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was broken up, the Austrian Republic was regarded as representing the former empire. Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Yugoslavia were declared to be independent. Austria handed over Eastern Galicia, the Trentino, South Tirol, Trieste and Istria. The Austrian army was limited to 30,000 men and reparations were to be paid for thirty years. The Union of Austria and Germany was forbidden, except with the agreement of the Council of the League of Nations. The TREATY of TRIANON The Treaty of Trianon was signed between the Allies and Hungary on June 4th 1920. It was delayed by more than a year by a war between Hungary and its neighbours, which led to an invasion by Romania. The main terms of the Treaty were as follows. Hungary lost ¾ of its territory and 2/3 of its population. Slovakia was given to Czechoslovakia and Western Hungary was given to Austria. Croatia and Slavonia were given to Yugoslavia and Transylvania was given to Romania. The Hungarian army was to be limited to 35,000 men. The Hungarians agreed to pay part of the Austrian reparations The Hungarian government agreed to hand over war criminals. The TREATY of NEUILLY The Treaty of Neuilly was signed between the Allies and Bulgaria on November 27th 1919. Bulgaria lost some land to Yugoslavia and the Adriatic coast to Greece, but gained some from Turkey. Bulgaria had to pay reparations of £100,000,000. The Bulgarian army was limited to 20,000 men The TREATY of SEVRES The Treaty of Sevres was signed between the Allies and the Sultan of Turkey on August 10 th 1920. It had been delayed by war between Turkey and Greece and an invasion by Italy. The main terms were as follows. Arabia and Armenia became independent. Syria became a French mandate and Mesopotamia and Palestine became British mandates. Smyrna was to be controlled by Greece for five years and then have a referendum to decide its future. Rhodes and the Dodecanese Islands were given to Italy. Thrace and all other Turkish islands in the Aegean were given to Greece Britain gained Cyprus. The Straits became international and the territory on either side was demilitarised. The Allies would be allowed to station troops in Turkey to ensure that the treaty was obeyed. However, the Treaty was not recognised by the new Turkish government of Mustafa Kemal, which seized power after a revolution. The TREATY of LAUSANNE A new Treaty of Lausanne was signed on July 24th 1923. In the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey recovered some territory from Greece, but gave up all claims to non-Turkish territory lost at the end of the war. All claims for reparations from Turkey were dropped. What was the immediate impact of the peace treaty on Germany? In November 1918 Germany had surrendered unconditionally. This meant that they had no right to take part in any of the discussions at the peace conference. They simply had to accept whatever the Allies decided. Germany had suffered worse than any of the other major countries, except possibly for Russia. Two million German soldiers had been killed and the German economy had been ruined by the blockade set up by the Allies. Why was the Weimar Republic weak? Conditions in Germany in the winter of 1918/19 were very bad. In January 1919 there was an attempted revolution by the Spartacists, who were communist. This was only put down by the Frei Korps, gangs of ex-soldiers, who roamed the streets of Berlin in uniform. The politicians who had signed the Armistice were called the November Criminals by Hitler, who joined the German Workers Party, a small extreme group in Bavaria, in 1919. The government became very unpopular and from 1919 onwards there was increasing violence and large numbers of murders. Many soldiers did not believe that the army had actually been defeated, as Germany had surrendered before it had been invaded. Some wanted to fight on, but the odds against Germany had been very long indeed, with Britain, France and the USA all on the other side. When they returned home they were treated like heroes. Most people had expected that that the Treaty would not be too severe so that Germany would be able to recover. They believed that Germany would be treated according to the terms of the Fourteen Points. The terms of the Treaty were much harsher than anyone had anticipated. The Weimar Constitution was based upon proportional representation. This meant that it was very difficult for one party to gain an overall majority in the Reichstag, the lower house of the German parliament. The Allies hoped that this would prevent a strong government coming to power. In fact it meant that all German governments were weak and were unable to take decisions. How did the reparations payments affect Germany? The final bill was presented on 1 May 1921 and was fixed at £6,600,000,000. To be paid over thirty years. Germany was also to pay for the cost of the armies of occupation and had to agree to the sale of German property in the Allied countries. Germany was to hand over all merchant ships of over 1600 tonnes, half of those between 800 and 1600 tonnes and one quarter of her fishing fleet. She was also to build 200,000 tonnes of shipping for the Allies in each of the next five years. Large quantities of coal were to be handed over to France, Belgium and Italy for the next ten years. What was the reaction to the peace settlement in France? The French were unhappy with the terms of the Versailles Treaty and wanted Germany to be punished more severely. French politicians saw reparations as a way of increasing the severity of the treaty. The new German government made its first reparations payment in 1922, but in December announced that it would not be able to make further payments. In January 1923, the Germans stopped coal shipments. The Allied Reparations Commission declared Germany in default and on January 11th. The French and Belgian governments retaliated by sending troops into the Ruhr. They intended to force the Germans to hand over coal and iron ore in place of the payments. The German workers in the Ruhr went on strike and the Weimar government called for passive resistance to the French and Belgians and paid strike pay to workers by printing paper currency. This led to hyperinflation in Germany. The French attempted to set up a separatist movement in then Rhineland, but then cut off the Ruhr from the rest of Germany and brought in their own workers to work in the coalmines. Violence broke out and a number of French soldiers were killed. What were the results of the occupation of the Ruhr? Inflation in Germany reached ridiculous proportions as the government printed money to pay the strikers. Eventually 62 factories were working around the clock to keep up with demand. The Weimar government became more popular for the first time. Its support for the strikers swung popular opinion behind it. Gustav Stresemann came to power and immediately tackled hyperinflation. Hitler's attempt to seize power in Munich in November (the Beer Hall Putsch) came too late and was a complete flop. Stresemann managed to persuade the French to leave the Ruhr in 1925, after promising to restart Reparation payments. In April 1924 the Dawes Plan was agreed. Why was the Dawes Plan introduced? Passive resistance was called off by Gustav Stresemann in September 1923. France was beginning to be affected by inflation and Stanley Baldwin the British prime minister asked US banks to support Germany. Reparation payments were set at 1,000,000,000 gold marks per year, increasing to 2,500,000,000. In return Germany received a loan of 800,000,000 gold marks. What was the reaction to the peace settlement in the USA? Many people thought that the Versailles Treaty was too severe and blamed Woodrow Wilson for staying in Europe for too long. The Treaty of Versailles was never ratified by Congress and the USA adopted a policy of isolation. Treaty of Versailles – Past Paper Questions Political Cartoon Question – this is worth 6 marks and always has the same wording: What is the message of the cartoon? Use details from the cartoon and your own knowledge to explain your answer. You MUST ensure that you say what you see in the image and relate the image to your own knowledge, e.g. “Clemenceau is stood at the front, which shows that as one of the Big Three, he got his way more than the others did, mainly because he represented the French, who suffered the worst in the war and so were in charge of the demands against Germany.” Then you must explain what the cartoonist thinks about the event, e.g. “the small naked child weeping in the corner represents the ‘Class of 1940’, which is a prediction of the cartoonist where he believes that the terms of peace as quoted in the cartoon will result in ‘future cannon fodder’, the belief that these terms are so harsh that they will lead to another World War.” A British cartoon published in 1919 after A German cartoon of 1921 about the Peace Conference. the Treaty of Versailles. It shows a ‘Tiger’ was the nickname of Clemenceau. five-headed monster (the Allies) and Germany on the ground. Treaty of Versailles – Past Paper Questions A cartoon published in a British newspaper, May 1919. It is commenting on the Paris Peace Conference. Gas was a common anaesthetic used by dentists at the time. What is the message of the cartoon? Use the source and your own knowledge to explain your answer. Treaty of Versailles – Past Paper Questions Description Question – this is worth 4 marks and only expects a quick description of an event, place or person. You will get one mark for each piece of description so four bullet points will do. Descriptions of Versailles – The only description questions that come up about Versailles seem to be on either the aims of the Big Three or about the Terms of the Treaty. These are some examples: What did Lloyd George hope to achieve from the Treaty of Versailles? What did President Wilson hope to achieve at the Paris Peace Conference? What did Clemenceau hope to achieve from the Treaty of Versailles? What was the reparations settlement demanded by the Allies in the Treaty of Versailles? What military restrictions did the Treaty of Versailles impose on Germany? What land did Germany lose in the Treaty of Versailles? Explanation Question – this is worth 6 marks and requires you to answer a question which asks you why something happened. In order to answer a why question effectively you need to be able to describe the background information and use words like because, therefore, as a result of, this led to in order to explain as clearly as possible. Explanation of Versailles – The only explanation questions that come up about Versailles seem to be on the way Germany was treated, the reasons why the Big Three wanted the type of Treaty they went in for and the effects of Versailles on Germany. These are some examples: Explain why the Allies punished Germany in the Treaty of Versailles. Explain why Germany was made to pay reparations. Explain why the ‘Big Three’ disagreed over how to treat Germany. Explain why Clemenceau wanted the Treaty of Versailles to punish Germany severely. Explain why President Wilson did not get everything he wanted from the Treaty of Versailles. Explain what Wilson hoped to achieve at the Paris Peace Conference. Explain why the terms of the Treaty of Versailles caused so much bitterness in Germany. Explain why the Germans were shocked when the terms of the Treaty of Versailles were announced in May 1919. Treaty of Versailles – Past Paper Questions Judgement Question – This is the most difficult question and is worth 10 marks. It requires you to describe and explain more than one event or reasons for an event and, crucially, give YOUR VIEW on which one you think is the most important and explain why you think this. Sometimes they appear in the style of a quote and you need to judge whether or not you agree with it and say why you think this. Occasionally a judgement question will give you three points to discuss, you must talk about all three and decide which one is the most important. If a question suggests a reason for something, think about what reasons are not included in the question and write about them as well. E.g. ‘The most important reason why Germany hated the Treaty of Versailles was the loss of territory.’ Do you agree with this statement? In the case of this question you need to describe which territories Germany lost and explain why this would upset them (e.g. Saar region – losing coal mining land and therefore a loss of income) but then also explain other things that would have led to them hating Versailles also such as the military restrictions and reparations. Judgement of Versailles – The only judgement questions that come up about Versailles seem to be on how fair the treaty was, how satisfied the Big Three were at the terms and which term brought the greatest resentment to the people of Germany. These are some examples: How far did Clemenceau, Lloyd George and Wilson share the same aims in the peace negotiations of 1919? Explain your answer. ‘Germany was treated fairly at Versailles.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. ‘The most important reason why Germany hated the Treaty of Versailles was the loss of territory.’ Do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. How far was Clemenceau satisfied with the Treaty of Versailles? Explain your answer. How satisfied were the Allied leaders with the Treaty of Versailles? Explain your answer. How successful was the Treaty of Versailles up to the end of 1923? Explain your answer. The following were all equally important reasons why Germany was dissatisfied with the Treaty: o The reduction in armed forces; o The loss of territory; o The imposing war guilt and reparations. How far do you agree with this statement? Explain you answer referring only to the above points. REVISION NOTES – THE INTER-WAR YEARS, 1919-1939 Key Question 2: To what extent was the League of Nations a success? What were the aims of the League? The League of Nations was the Fourteenth Point of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points. The League was an attempt to create an international organisation that would be able to prevent wars in the future. The League adopted the principle of 'Collective Security'. This was an attempt to unite the nations of the world in a joint guarantee of peace. Membership of the League Membership of the League was open to all countries, providing they signed the Covenant of the League; this was the set of rules that members had to agree to accept. However, some countries were not allowed to join. Germany was not allowed to join and nor was Russia. This immediately meant that two of the most important countries of the world were banned. In fact both of these countries did join later. Germany was admitted in 1926 and the USSR, as it became known in 1924, joined in 1934. The Structure and Organisation of the League The Council met three times a year. There were four permanent members, Britain, France, Italy and Japan (Germany became the fifth in 1926). They took most of the important decisions. The Assembly had representatives of all the members and it meant once a year. Decisions in the Council and the Assembly had to be unanimous. The Permanent Court of Justice was set up in The Hague to settle disputes between countries, but both sides had to agree to take a dispute to the Court; so many issues never reached it. The Council of Ambassadors often took decisions, because the Council and Assembly only met occasionally. Covenant was the agreement which members had to sign. It was a set of rules, which included not using force to settle a disagreement with another country. The League could use two types of sanctions to punish a country, which broke the Covenant. Economic Sanctions banned trade; Military Sanctions meant a declaration of war by each member. However, there was no provision for a League army, so individual countries had to declare war on members that had broken the Covenant. The Secretary-General was in charge of the administration of the League. The first holder of the office was Sir Eric Drummond, who was British. Strengths and weaknesses of the League Successes of the League The League itself was a success, as nothing like it had ever existed before. After the First World War there was a genuine desire for peace. The League was successful in the 1920s in settling disputes between countries like Finland and Sweden over the Aaland Islands and Greece and Bulgaria over a border dispute. It also did very good work in an attempt to stamp out the slave trade and in tackling diseases. In the 1920s the League had the support of most major countries and was successful in settling a series of minor disputes. The League was also important in tackling a number of international problems. It took charge of the returning refugees and prisoners of war to their own countries after the Great War. About 400,000 were returned safely. The ILO (International Labour Organisation) set hours of work and tried to establish trade union rights on an international basis. The Mandates Commission was responsible for looking after former German colonies; these were mostly handed over to Britain and France to govern and prepare for independence. The League’s agencies also tackled the slave trade, which was still widespread in parts of Africa. The World Health Organisation (WHO) tried to prevent epidemic diseases such as cholera, typhoid and malaria. It is all too easy to overlook the successes of the League and only concentrate on its failings. The League kept disarmament at the forefront of the international agenda, but was unable to arrange a conference until 1932. Problems faced by the League Russia was not allowed to join after the Communist Revolution in 1917. Germany was not allowed to join, but did become a member in 1926. The USA did not join, even though the League was Woodrow Wilson's idea. Congress voted against membership. In fact the USA would probably have made little difference. In the 1920s and 1930s US armed forces were very weak. Italy, a Permanent Member of the Council, broke the Covenant in 1923 when Mussolini occupied Corfu, which was owned by Greece. In August 1923 five Italian surveyors were mapping the Greek-Albanian border for the League of Nations. They were shot and killed on the Greek side of the border and Mussolini, the Italian Prime Minister, demanded compensation from the Greeks. When the Greek government ignored the demand, Mussolini ordered the Italian navy to bombard and then occupy the Greek island of Corfu. Italy was a Permanent Member of the Council of the League. Eventually the League backed Mussolini and forced the Greeks to pay compensation to the League. Then Mussolini had to withdraw his forces from the island. Britain and France then decided that compensation should be paid by Greece to Italy, rather than to the League as was originally decided. The Corfu incident suggested that major powers could afford to ignore the Covenant when it suited them. The Corfu incident suggested that major powers could afford to ignore the Covenant when it suited them. The League came to be seen as a club for the victors of the First World War and was mostly European. Its headquarters were in Geneva. It appeared to give even more influence to Europe. It was a mistake to appoint Sir Eric Drummond as the Secretary-General. He was a representative of one of the Permanent Members of the Council and this made countries outside Europe believe that the League was pro-European. The League had no army; it had to rely on member countries declaring war on countries which broke the Covenant. Often the great powers acted without the consent of the League. The Locarno Pacts and the Kellog-Briand Pact were both arranged without the League’s involvement. The Council and the Assembly met very rarely, consequently, decisions were often taken by the Council of Ambassadors; this allowed Britain and France to dominate the League. Support for the League in terms of membership varied considerable. Many countries came and went and in some areas of the world, such as South America, it had little impact. How far did weaknesses in the League make failure inevitable? The Corfu incident showed that major powers would break the Covenant when it suited them. It also suggested that Britain and France were prepared to compromise when their interests were involved. The lack of an army meant that military sanctions were virtually impossible. Disputes could be settled if they were in Europe and members were prepared to refer them to the League, but what if disputes were in remote areas of the world? Most of the major powers in the League were in Europe. The absence of major powers such as the USA and the Soviet Union undoubtedly weakened the League. However, the real reason for the weakness of the League was the depression from 1929. The delay in organising the Disarmament Conference made the League look indecisive. How far did the Depression make the work of the League more difficult? In October 1929 the Wall Street Crash plunged the world into crisis and then Depression. How did it affect the work of the League of Nations? It destroyed the relative prosperity of the 1920s. In Germany it wiped out the recovery that had taken place since 1924. This created massive unemployment and poverty, which in turn led to desperation and despair. This led to increased support for extremist parties, who used violence and adopted aggressive policies. In Japan, Italy and Germany, militarism became more influential. Japanese expansion into Manchuria and China Why did Japan invade Manchuria and China? In the 1920s, however, there was a revival of traditional Japanese ideas. Why did Japan become more militarist in the 1920s and 1930s? Japan failed to gain the land that she was expecting at the Treaty of Versailles. The Washington Naval Agreement of 1922 made Japan an inferior partner. The population began to grow rapidly and Japan needed more land and raw materials. The price of rice fell and exports of silk were affected by the Depression. Manchuria had vast resources of coal and iron that Japan lacked. In 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria, which was a province of China, claiming that they were acting in self-defence. It claimed that a railway had been blown up at Mukden on 18th September. In 1932 the Japanese set up the puppet state of Manchukuo, with the last emperor of China, P’u-i as its head. How did the League of Nations react to the Japanese actions? The League of Nations set up a Commission of Inquiry under the Earl of Lytton to investigate. In October the Lytton Commission reported that there was no evidence that the Japanese had acted in self-defence and recommended that Manchuria should be an autonomous region under Chinese control. The Japanese ignored the report and the condemnation from the League and resigned in 1933. The Japanese action was a major blow to the League of Nations, not only because it failed to act effectively, but also because Japan was a Permanent Member of the Council. Why was the League unable to do anything about Manchuria? The lack of an army meant that countries had to be persuaded to declare war on Japan. Manchuria was remote and military action would be very difficult. There was very little sympathy for China and some support for Japan, which seemed to be trying to restore law and order. In reality there was very little that the League could have done. What effects did the League's actions have upon Japan? The failure to condemn Japan led to the government falling under the control of the army. Politicians who stood up to the armed forces were sometimes murdered. The country began a period of territorial expansion on the mainland. From 1932, more of China was occupied by the Japanese army. In July 1937 the Japanese army invaded northern China. The following month, two Japanese sailors were killed at a Chinese aerodrome in Shanghai. This led to the landing of an army, which captured and then forced its way inland. The Japanese airforce was used to bomb Chinese cities into submission. Within a year Nanking, the capital, Tsingtao, Canton and Hankow had all been taken. Britain and the USA gave large loans to the Guomingdang government of China. The Japanese government began to demand that Britain and the other western Countries should give up supporting China and co-operate with Japan in establishing a ‘new order’ in the Far East. The Japanese government intended to set up a ‘Greater South East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere’. In fact this was to be nothing more than a Japanese Empire, intended to provide living space for Japan’s growing population and to enable Japan to acquire the raw materials which she desperately needed, the most crucial of which was oil. Events in Italy In October 1922 Benito Mussolini became prime minister of Italy. From 1925 he ruled as a virtual dictator. Mussolini began a series of 'battles' to try and tackle Italy's economic problems, autostrada (motorways) were built, land reclaimed and public buildings constructed. From 1929 many of Mussolini's plans began to go wrong. He rarely followed ideas through and lacked determination. His policy of increasing the value of the lira, the Italian currency, meant that Italian exports became more expensive. By the mid-1930s Italy was suffering very badly from the effects of the Depression and Mussolini was becoming very unpopular. His solution was to begin an aggressive foreign policy. Italy had been denied territory in the Balkans in 1919, Mussolini’s solution was to extend the Italian Empire in East Africa. The Italian conquest of Abyssinia On 3 October 1935, the Italian armed forces invaded the African state of Abyssinia (now called Ethiopia). At first the Italians faced considerable opposition, as the Abyssinians avoided a pitched battle and retreated slowly. In early 1936, however, the Italians began to use poison gas and, along with their air power, this led to the collapse of the Abyssinian forces. In May 1936 the capital Addis Ababa was occupied and the Emperor Haile Selassie fled to Britain. Abyssinia was annexed to Italy and the King of Italy became Emperor of Abyssinia. Why did Italy invade Abyssinia? Italy had invaded Abyssinia in 1895, but had been humiliatingly defeated by the Abyssinian army at the battle of Aduwa (Adowa). The 1935 invasion was revenge. Mussolini wanted an African empire to fulfil his aims to revive the Ancient Roman Empire. Mussolini also wanted to divert public opinion in Italy away from the failures of his domestic policies, which were making him increasingly unpopular. Why was the invasion of Abyssinia important? Italy was a Permanent Member of the Council of the League of Nations. The invasion deliberately broke the Covenant and severely weakened the authority of the League. How did the League react to the invasion of Abyssinia? Sanctions were applied to Italy, including an arms embargo, banning Italian imports and all financial dealings, but oil was not included. Mussolini later admitted that that was the one thing that would have forced him to withdraw. In June 1936 Haile Selassie addressed the Assembly of the League of Nations. Throughout he was heckled by Italian journalists, who whistled to try to stop him being heard. His speech had no effect. Why did the League not take effective action? In 1935 Britain and France tried to arrange a compromise solution to the crisis, the Hoare-Laval Pact. This would have allowed Mussolini to retain control of most of Abyssinia. The Pact had to be dropped as a result of hostile public opinion. This and the refusal to add oil to the sanctions made Britain and France, and the League of Nations, appear to be weak. Both Britain and France were alarmed at events in Germany and wanted to keep Mussolini on their side against Hitler. The three nations had already formed the Stresa Front in 1934. Britain and France did not want Mussolini to resign from the League of Nations. The actions of Britain and France over Abyssinia did great harm to the League's reputation. Why did the League fail over Manchuria and Abyssinia? Both countries were invaded by major powers who were Permanent Members of the Council; there was very little appetite for military action against either. If Permanent Members broke the Covenant, there seemed to be little point in the League. Both invasions were in remote areas; it would have been very difficult to mount military campaigns. In Manchuria, the League acted very slowly, the Lytton Commission took nine months to produce a report. In the case of Abyssinia, Britain and France tried to do a deal with Mussolini in the Hoare-Laval pact; when this became public, the moral authority of the League disappeared. Britain and France attempted to keep Mussolini ‘onside’ by preventing oil being added to the economic sanctions. Britain also refused to close the Suez Canal; that would have paralyzed Mussolini League of Nations – Past Paper Questions Political Cartoon Question – this is worth 6 marks and always has the same wording: What is the message of the cartoon? Use details from the cartoon and your own knowledge to explain your answer. You MUST ensure that you say what you see in the image and relate the image to your own knowledge, e.g. “The USA is represented by Uncle Sam who is relaxing by a bridge representing the League of Nations, this shows that the USA was not a member and didn’t want to join in..” Then you must explain what the cartoonist thinks about the event, e.g. “the keystone which Uncle Sam is leaning up against suggests that without the USA being a part of the League (the bridge) then it would be very unsteady and essentially in danger of collapse. The cartoonist is here making a prediction about the eventual collapse of the League and blaming it on membership problems which plagued it right from the start.” A British cartoon published in 1920. The figure in the top hat represents the USA A British cartoon about the League of Nations published in 1933 the person kneeling on the right represents a British government official League of Nations – Past Paper Questions A British cartoon about the League of Nations published in 1931. A British cartoon published in August 1935. It shows British and French politicians on roller skates. The dog represents Mussolini. League of Nations – Past Paper Questions Description Question – this is worth 4 marks and only expects a quick description of an event, place or person. You will get one mark for each piece of description so four bullet points will do. Descriptions of League – The only description questions that come up about the League seem to be on the aims, structure or early successes of the League. These are some examples: What were the main aims of the League of Nations? What methods did the League of Nations plan to use to prevent future wars? What was the structure of the League of Nations? What were the functions of the Assembly and of the Council of the League of Nations? What were the successes of the League of Nations in the 1920s? Describe how the League of Nations tried to improve living and working conditions around the world in the 1920s. Explanation Question – this is worth 6 marks and requires you to answer a question which asks you why something happened. In order to answer a why question effectively you need to be able to describe the background information and use words like because, therefore, as a result of, this led to in order to explain as clearly as possible. Explanation of League – The only explanation questions that come up about the League seem to be its structure, the agencies, membership, successes and failures. These are some examples: Explain why the structure of the League of Nations made it weak. Explain why the agencies of the League of Nations were successful. Explain why some major nations were not members of the League when it was first set up. Explain how the League of Nations achieved some successes in the 1920s. Explain how the League of Nations tried to solve social problems during the 1920s and 1930s. Explain why the League of Nations failed to deal successfully with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. League of Nations – Past Paper Questions Judgement Question – This is the most difficult question and is worth 10 marks. It requires you to describe and explain more than one event or reasons for an event and, crucially, give YOUR VIEW on which one you think is the most important and explain why you think this. Sometimes they appear in the style of a quote and you need to judge whether or not you agree with it and say why you think this. Occasionally a judgement question will give you three points to discuss, you must talk about all three and decide which one is the most important. If a question suggests a reason for something, think about what reasons are not included in the question and write about them as well. E.g. ‘The Manchurian Crisis of 1931 was the main cause of the failure of the League of Nations.’ How far do you agree with this statement? In the case of this question you need to describe what happened in the Manchurian Crisis, explain how the League failed to deal with this and suggest how this led to its collapse, but also explain other things that would have led to its failure such as Abyssinia and the Great Depression. Judgement of League – The only judgement questions that come up about the League seem to be on the weaknesses of the League, its successes and the reasons for its collapse. These are some examples: ‘The most important reason why the League was weak was that it made decisions very slowly.’ Do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. How successful was the League of Nations at keeping peace in the 1920s and 1930s? Explain your answer. ‘The Manchurian Crisis of 1931 was the main cause of the failure of the League of Nations.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. ‘The Abyssinian Crisis destroyed the League of Nations.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. How far was the League of Nations a complete failure? Explain your answer. How far can the failure of the League of Nations in the 1930s be blamed on the Great Depression? The following were all equally important reasons for the lack of success of the League of Nations as a peace-keeping organisation: o The weakness of its organisation; o The lack of an army; o The economic depression of the 1930s. How far do you agree with this statement? Explain you answer referring only to the above points. REVISION NOTES – THE INTER-WAR YEARS, 1919-1939 Key Question 3: Why had international peace collapsed by 1939? What were the long-term consequences of the peace treaties of 1919-1923? Germans resented the loss of territory and the demilitarisation of the Rhineland. Extremists, like Hitler, were able to play on people's fears and humiliation. It created weak coalition governments in the Weimar Republic, which were unable to cope with the Depression. It created a feeling that Germany had been treated too harshly, leading to appeasement. Japan resented the failure to gain land in Manchuria. Italy was denied the territory promised in the secret Treaty of London. Both Japan and Italy retaliated by seizing land in 1931 and 1935. What were the consequences of the failures of the League in the 1930s? The failure of the League to act in 1931 and 1935 led to the creation of the Axis. The dictators of Germany, Italy and Japan gradually formed an alliance that the League was unable to act against. How far was Hitler’s foreign policy to blame for the outbreak of war in 1939? In 1933, Adolf Hitler ordered the German delegates to walk out of a Disarmament Conference organised by the League of Nations. He stated that Germany was prepared to disarm if other nations did so as well. He then left the League immediately afterwards. In January 1935, the people of the Saar, an area that had been administered by the League of Nations since 1920, voted by 477,000 to 48,000 to rejoin Germany. This was a massive propaganda victory for Hitler and a reversal of the Treaty of Versailles. Rearmament In 1935, Hitler began rearmament. Conscription was reintroduced and the army, navy and airforce were all built up. All members of the German armed forces had to swear an oath of allegiance to Hitler personally. The Anglo-German Naval Treaty This was an agreement that allowed Germany to build a navy up to 35% the size of Britain's. This broke the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and encouraged Hitler to go even further. The Rhineland The Rhineland had been demilitarised under the Treaty of Versailles. The Allies were to occupy the area for fifteen years, or for longer if necessary. Allied troops were withdrawn from the Rhineland in 1935. The following year, Hitler reoccupied it. On 7 March 1936, Germany denounced the Locarno Pacts and reoccupied the Rhineland. The crisis over the Italian invasion of Abyssinia influenced Britain not to interfere. Hitler later commented: 'The forty-eight hours after the march into the Rhineland were the most nerve-racking of my life. If the French had opposed us we would have had to withdraw. Our forces were not strong enough even to put up a moderate resistance.’ The reoccupation of the Rhineland convinced Hitler that Britain and France were unlikely to act against further aggression Why was Hitler able to get away with the reoccupation of the Rhineland? Britain and France were concentrating on the Italian invasion of Abyssinia. Britain refused to act; one politician said that it was only Hitler going into his own backyard. The Anschluss Anschluss meant the union of Germany and Austria, which had been specifically banned by the Treaty of Versailles. Why did Hitler want to unite Germany and Austria? Hitler had been born in the town of Braunau-am-Inn in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was not technically a German citizen, even though he had lived in Germany since 1913. Hitler wanted to destroy the Treaty of Versailles, which he regarded as a humiliation for Germany. This would be one way of achieving his aim. Hitler wanted to create a Greater Germany, which would include all German-speaking peoples. Austria was an obvious step. The first attempt at Anschluss took place in July 1934 After Hitler became chancellor there was increasing Nazi agitation in Austria, until the Nazi Party was dissolved in June. In February 1934, the chancellor of Austria, Engelbert Dollfuss, ordered attacks on the Austrian Socialist Party, which was then dissolved. From April 1934 Dollfuss began to rule as a dictator. On 25 July Nazis entered the radio station in Vienna and forced the staff to announce that Dollfuss had resigned. They then entered the chancellery and shot and killed Dollfuss. The murderers were quickly arrested by the Austrian armed forces, and Italy and Yugoslavia moved forces to the Austrian border to prevent German intervention. Between 1934 and 1938 relations between Austria and Germany deteriorated. In 1937, Mussolini also informed the new Austrian chancellor, Kurt Schussnigg, that Italy would not help Austria in the future. A second crisis over Anschluss developed in 1938 February 12 - Schussnigg met Hitler and agreed to appoint some Nazi ministers to the Austrian Cabinet. Arthur Seyss-Inquart became Minister for the Interior. March 1 - Unrest broke out in parts of Austria caused by Nazis. Soon the whole country was in chaos. March 11 - Hitler sent an ultimatum demanding the resignation of Schussnigg. German troops were massed on the border. Schussnigg gave in and Seyss-Inquart became chancellor. March 13 - Austria and Germany were united. April 10 - A Plebiscite was held which gave a 99.75 % majority in favour of Anschluss. Austria was immediately incorporated into the German Reich. The speed at which these events took place made reactions by Britain and France difficult. The two countries protested, but did little more, especially as Mussolini refused to join in the protests or any possible actions. The Anschluss meant that Germany now surrounded Czechoslovakia on three sides. Czechoslovakia 1938 On September 12 1938 Hitler demanded self-government for the German speaking Czechs in the Sudetenland. The British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, had been expecting Hitler to try to seize the Sudetenland for some time. He had already decided that, as soon as it happened, he would go to meet Hitler face to face and settle the matter. Chamberlain called this Plan Z. On September 15 Neville Chamberlain flew to meet Hitler at Berchtesgaden and agreed to his demands. He returned to Britain and persuaded Edouard Daladier the French prime minister of the need to support him. The Czech government was informed of Chamberlain's decision, but was not invited to the discussions. On 22 September Chamberlain returned to meet Hitler at Bad Godesberg. But Hitler now had new demands. Hitler told Chamberlain that the Sudetenland must be handed over to Germany immediately and that Polish and Hungarian claims for Czech territory must also be met. Chamberlain returned to London. He believed that war was inevitable. Evacuation began in London and 1,000,000 volunteers were called for by the government. But at the last moment war was avoided, the Italian dictator Mussolini suggested a four power conference. The four powers, Germany, Italy, Britain and France, met at Munich on 28 September 1938. They agreed to let Hitler have the Sudetenland. Hitler and Chamberlain signed an agreement that Britain and Germany would never go to war again. This was Appeasement. Was the policy of appeasement justified? Appeasement was the belief that the Dictators could be pacified if their demands were met. With the benefit of hindsight, Appeasement was a serious mistake. It failed completely, and, in fact, merely encouraged the Dictators to make even more demands. Changing Attitudes towards Hitler With hindsight it is obvious that Hitler was very dangerous indeed, but in the 1930s some people saw things differently. There was a strong view that the Treaty of Versailles had been too harsh and that, therefore, it was not unreasonable to allow Hitler to break some of the terms. Britain had already allowed Germany to build more warships because the reduction of the German forces in 1919 was thought to be too severe. Hitler was also admired by some people for the way that he had rebuilt Germany after 1933. Unemployment was cut from 6,000,000 to 500,000 and industrial production rose dramatically. This was in comparison to events in Britain where the government seemed to be doing very little. Until the late 1930s the worst aspects of the Nazi rule were not made public. The Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936 were used as giant propaganda exercise. Visits to Germany were organised for groups of ex-servicemen from Britain where they were introduced to Hitler. He explained how reasonable his demands were. Fears of War In the 1930s more and more attention was paid to what future war would be like. People became more and more convinced that bombing would be highly dangerous. Added to this was the fear of poison gas, which had been used for the first time during the First World War. Bombers, high explosive and poison gas meant that the war would affect people in Britain far more than ever before. Rearmament Many people saw the RAF as Britain’s main defence and by the mid-1930s the RAF had few modern planes. This was seen by many people as a strong argument for avoiding war at all costs. Britain needed time to build up her defences against Germany. Memories of the First World War Probably the most important reasons for Appeasement were the British people’s memories of the Great War, as it was known until the Second World War. What had made these memories all the more vivid was the fact that in 1914 the war had been greeted with great enthusiasm. By 1918, however, there were very few people who did not view the war with horror. Why did French governments support Appeasement? French governments were more inclined to oppose Hitler in 1936-38, but were afraid to do so without support from Britain. France was dominated by the Popular Front, a left wing coalition, until 1938. This supported the policy of non-aggression. Most French governments were coalitions, which made firm action difficult. Events in 1939 In March 1939, Hitler occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia. This was a clear violation of the Munich Agreement and showed that Hitler was not just aiming to unite all German speakers in a Greater Germany. April 1939 Britain made defensive alliances with Romania and Poland. These meant that if either country was attacked Britain would go to war to defend them June – August 1939 France, Britain and the Soviet Union discussed an alliance against Hitler. August 1939 Germany and the USSR signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact. How important was the Nazi-Soviet Pact? On the face of it the Nazi-Soviet Pact was a simple non-aggression pact between the two countries. They both agreed not to attack the other. But the Hitler and Stalin had been bitter enemies and the agreement astounded politicians throughout Europe. It was clearly the prelude to something dramatic. In fact there were a number of secret clauses that were not public. The Soviet Union agreed not to interfere when Germany attacked Poland and also would allow Hitler a free hand in Western Europe. In return, Germany would allow the Soviet Union to occupy eastern Poland and would not interfere if Stalin occupied the Baltic States and Finland. It was, therefore, a cold-blooded and calculated agreement to interfere in the lives of helpless and innocent people. 25 August 1939 Britain responded by signing a formal alliance with Poland. 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland. 2 September 1939 The British Government sent an ultimatum to Germany demanding that all forces should be withdrawn from Poland or war would be declared. This was ignored. 3 September 1939 Britain declared war on Germany. Causes of the Second World War – Past Paper Questions Political Cartoon Question – this is worth 6 marks and always has the same wording: What is the message of the cartoon? Use details from the cartoon and your own knowledge to explain your answer. You MUST ensure that you say what you see in the image and relate the image to your own knowledge, e.g. “A large soldier is leaning on lots of small unarmed men who are knocking each other over. The large soldier represents Germany and their strong army as they are beginning to crush the rest of Europe in Hitler’s attempt to gain lebensraum.” Then you must explain what the cartoonist thinks about the event, e.g. “The fact that a British man is stood at the back looking indifferent to the events suggests that the cartoonist believes that the British are being naïve towards the current crisis. That and the fact that he is holding a basket full of eggs, suggesting that perhaps Britain has all its eggs in one basket – akin to the notion that Britain is only trying one thing – appeasement, which is clearly not preventing all the people in the line from being pushed over.” A British cartoon, about the British attitude to German aggression, published in 1938. (Britain is saying: “Why should we take a stand about someone pushing someone else when it’s all so far away…”) A British cartoon published in October 1938. Its caption reads “Europe can look forward to a Christmas of peace”, says Hitler. The words on the sack mean ‘Germany above all others’. Causes of the Second World War – Past Paper Questions British cartoon about the reoccupation of the Rhineland, published in 1936. ‘Pax Germanica’ means ‘Peace German Style’ A British cartoon commenting on the crisis over Czechoslovakia in 1938. The man in the picture is Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister. Causes of the Second World War – Past Paper Questions A British cartoon entitled ‘Still Hope’, published in 1938. The person represents Chamberlain flying to Germany. A cartoon published in a British newspaper, 30 September 1938. It is commenting on a meeting in Munich of Hitler, Chamberlain, Daladier and Mussolini. Stalin is shown in the doorway. Causes of the Second World War – Past Paper Questions Description Question – this is worth 4 marks and only expects a quick description of an event, place or person. You will get one mark for each piece of description so four bullet points will do. Descriptions of causes of war – The only description questions that come up about the causes of war seem to be on Hitler’s foreign policy and the Munich Conference. These are some examples: What were the main aims of Hitler’s foreign policy? Describe the events in the Rhineland in 1936. In what ways did Hitler increase the strength of Germany’s armed forces in the 1930s? What was agreed at the Munich Conference in 1938? Explanation Question – this is worth 6 marks and requires you to answer a question which asks you why something happened. In order to answer a why question effectively you need to be able to describe the background information and use words like because, therefore, as a result of, this led to in order to explain as clearly as possible. Explanation of causes of war – The only explanation questions that come up about the causes of the war seem to be on the policy of appeasement, the take over of Czechoslovakia and the Nazi-Soviet Pact. These are some examples: Explain why Britain followed a policy of appeasement. Explain why Hitler wanted to unite Germany and Austria. Explain why Hitler wanted to take over Czechoslovakia. Explain why Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact in 1939. Causes of the Second World War – Past Paper Questions Judgement Question – This is the most difficult question and is worth 10 marks. It requires you to describe and explain more than one event or reasons for an event and, crucially, give YOUR VIEW on which one you think is the most important and explain why you think this. Sometimes they appear in the style of a quote and you need to judge whether or not you agree with it and say why you think this. Occasionally a judgement question will give you three points to discuss, you must talk about all three and decide which one is the most important. If a question suggests a reason for something, think about what reasons are not included in the question and write about them as well. E.g. How far was the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 responsible for causing war in Europe? Explain your answer. In the case of this question you need to describe the Nazi-Soviet Pact (e.g. the joint invasion and division of Poland between Germany and the USSR) but then also explain how it led to war, such as it ensured that Britain would declare war on Germany because they gave them to ultimatum to withdraw from Poland given this was a term discussed at the Munich Conference in October 1938, that Hitler should not take any more territory. Then don’t forget to discuss other reasons, such as the policy of appeasement and the weaknesses of the League of Nations which gave Hitler the confidence to invade and assimilate other nations into the Third Reich. Of course if you want to get into real depth you could consider that without the harshness of Versailles and the Great Depression the German people would not have desired revenge or been in the political turmoil that they found themselves in when they were willing to elect an extremist into office. Judgement of causes of war – The only judgement questions that come up about the causes of the war seem to be on what started the war. The different possible causes formed the focal point of this – you should know what you believe started the war before you go into the exam. Remember there is no one right reason, it’s up to you to decide but you must make it clear why you think this. These are some examples: How far was the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 responsible for causing war in Europe? Explain your answer. Did the policy of appeasement during the 1930s make war with Germany more or less likely? Explain your answer. How far was the Treaty of Versailles responsible for the outbreak of war in 1939? Explain your answer. The following were all equally important reasons for the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939: o The aggressive nationalism of Germany, Italy and Japan; o The weakness of the League of Nations; o The policy of appeasement. How far do you agree with this statement? Explain you answer referring only to the above points.
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