Post WWI Europe and America
World War I had a negative impact in Europe because it caused the death of almost 10 million people. These deaths were called the lost generation because nearly an entire generation of young men was wiped out it only a few short years. Since a lot of these deaths were French, France wanted to take revenge on Germany by making them pay reparations. The countries that signed the Treaty of Versailles decided that 35 billion dollars would be enough to cover the damages and that Germany would pay in yearly increments of 2.2 billion dollars. Germany made the first payment, but failed to pay the following year so France invaded Germany and took over mine that would allow them to take their own money in precious metal from the mine. This hurt both Germany and France because it led to more death. In Germany before the war there was 4 marks to one dollar and at the end it was 4.2 trillion marks to one dollar. This meant that it would take barrels of money to pay for a single loaf of bread. All over Europe there was poverty and starvation.
The Great Depression affected almost every country in Europe, but it had the worst effect on the United States. In America over 10 million Americans were out of a job. President Hoover tried to solve this crisis by giving over 2.5 million Americans jobs as construction workers on government buildings. A lot of other countries tried to help their economy with stimulus packages such as those used by the United States. In America the Great Depression was ended Franklin D. Roosevelt who served four terms in office. He ended the depression with the New Deal. The new deal was a stimulus package that gave permanent jobs to millions of Americans. These jobs included construction workers, and other government employees. The New Deal also created social security which would give retired Americans money each month. The New Deal also created Welfare and other unemployment benefits.
There was a retreat from democracy in Europe after World War I because democracy was blamed for the war. People feared that if they had a say in government they would vote for the wrong choice and therefore wanted one leader to make their decisions. This led to a new political movement called totalitarianism which is similar to absolutism, but with more power given to the leaders. The leader of a totalitarian state decide where the people work, what religion they practice, where they live, what they eat, and every other aspect of the lives of their people. Totalitarian leaders gain and keep power with a combination of fear tactics, propaganda, and convincing their people that their lives are better with them as leaders. Three main totalitarian leaders were Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini who ruled Germany, Russia, and Italy respectively. Hitler used Nazism to gain power in Germany, Mussolini used Fascism to gain power in Italy, and Stalin used Communism to gain power in Russia.
New technology led to mass culture and mass media in the interwar years. The first piece of technology was the radio which was made possible by the discovery of wireless airwaves by Marconi in the late nineteenth century, although the first transmission to a large audience was no until 1920. This new technology allowed for masses of people to listen to the same thing at the same time, and by the 1930s millions of radios had been sold to citizens of all countries. Another new technology was the invention of cinema which allowed people to watch movies, but also to have a favorite actor or actress by which to adore or scrutinize. These new form of mass media allowed people such as Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin to talk to masses of people and spread their propaganda to the masses.