Reading the Great Depression Abroad

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Reading -- The Great Depression Abroad Dictators in Europe Overseas, Europeans faced the huge job of rebuilding their war-torn nations. Debts from World War I were still hurting European economies when the Great Depression hit. Nations took a variety of approaches to handling the economic disaster. For example, Great Britain raised tariffs and focused on increasing domestic production, which resulted in its government remaining relatively stable. Other countries, however, went through political
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  Reading -- The Great Depression Abroad Dictators in Europe Overseas, Europeans faced the huge job of rebuilding their war-torn nations. Debts from World War I werestill hurting European economies when the Great Depression hit. Nations took a variety of approaches tohandling the economic disaster. For example, Great Britain raised tariffs and focused on increasing domesticproduction, which resulted in its government remaining relatively stable. Other countries, however, wentthrough political turmoil, and several countries moved toward totalitarianism . In this political system, thegovernment controls every part of citizens' lives. In the late 1920s Soviet leader Joseph Stalin moved towarda more controlling government. He called for the rapid industrialization of the Soviet economy. Stalin alsoforced farmers and peasants to give up their land to work on collectives—large government-owned farms.Several million Soviets died as a result of Stalin's forced collectivization policy. But few people knew details of what Stalin and his supporters were doing. As a result, many foreigners were impressed by the Soviet Union'seconomic gains. The U.S. government, which had withheld official recognition since 1917, formally recognizedthe Soviet Union in November 1933.In Italy many people were bitter that their country had not received new territory in return for its helpduring World War I. Italians also suffered from economic difficulties after the war. They found a strong leaderin former journalist and soldier Benito Mussolini . In 1922 Mussolini and his followers threatened to march onRome. His supporters were known as Blackshirts , after the color of their uniforms. Soon after, the Italianking gave Mussolini temporary dictatorial powers. Mussolini ruled as dictator of Italy for more than 20 years.His government was based on the political idea of fascism, which calls for a strong government led by oneperson. In fascist systems, the state—or government—is seen as more important than individuals. Thus, afascist state will attempt to limit or destroy all opposition. In October 1935 Mussolini expanded Italy's territoryby invading the African nation of Ethiopia. Under Emperor Haile Selassie (HY-lee suh-LAS-ee), the Ethiopianforces fought bravely. However, they could not defend themselves against the better-equipped Italian army.Italy quickly conquered Ethiopia and made it a colony. The League of Nations responded with penalties but didnot have the power to enforce them. The United States remained neutral during the conflict.  Nazi Germany Many Germans felt particularly bitter about the outcome of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles requiredGermany to pay war reparations, which hurt its economy. Germans suffered deeply during the GreatDepression. Meanwhile, war veteran and politician Adolf Hitler rose to power. Hitler offered Germansscapegoats, or people to blame for their problems. Hitler blamed intellectuals, communists, and particularlyJews for Germany's defeat in World War I and its postwar problems. Hitler outlined his theories in Mein Kampf (My Struggle) , which he started writing while he was in prison for attempting to overthrow the Germangovernment. Mein Kampf  also presented Hitler's plan for Germany's rise to regional and world power.Hitler quickly gained a large following. In 1932 members of his National Socialist Party, or  Nazis , wonabout 37 percent of the vote in national elections. The next year, Hitler became the chancellor of Germany. Hesoon took absolute power, established the Third Reich, and promised to aggressively build a new Germanempire. Hitler also ordered the German government to stop making foreign-debt repayments.Hitler reduced Germany's unemployment, which increased his popularity. Between March 1933 and March1934, unemployment fell by more than 2 million. State spending helped many groups recover from the  depression. German farmers, for example, received guaranteed prices for their produce. The government alsofunded housing and highway construction projects. Hitler violated the Treaty of Versailles by rebuildingGermany's military and remilitarizing the Rhineland, a border region in western Germany.Hitler's plan included a campaign against Jews. The Nazis banned Jews and non-Nazis from governmentpositions and destroyed or seized their property. In September 1935 the government assigned Jews a lowerclass of citizenship. However, the German capital city, Berlin, still hosted the 1936 Olympic Games. During theOlympics the German government tried to hide evidence of its discrimination against Jews. After hosting theGames, the German government returned to its plan for world domination. In October 1936 Germany andItaly formed a military alliance, the Axis Powers .Later that year, Germany entered into an alliance withJapan.Germany made Jews leave all professions and kept them from studying in universities. Jews facedincreasing hardship and isolation, but many of them did not want to leave Germany. On November 9, 1938,Nazis went on a rampage called  Kristallnacht  , or the Night of Broken Glass. On Kristallnacht  , Nazi mobskilled more than 90 Jews and seriously injured hundreds more. The crowds destroyed some 7,500 Jewishbusinesses and 177 synagogues. Violence against Jews spread throughout Germany and Austria. After Kristallnacht  the Nazi persecution of Jews increased dramatically. Japan’s Military Expansion On the other side of the world, Japan also used military force to solve its economic problems. Japan'smilitary leaders wanted to seize new territories in order to gain control of additional natural resources. Theyhoped to reduce Japan's dependence on imports. In September 1931 Japan invaded Manchuria in northernChina. The League of Nations and the United States condemned the invasion, but neither wanted to go to war.By 1937 Japan occupied much of northern China. Japan also began a massive naval buildup, which violated itspledge given at the Washington Conference in the early 1920s.President Roosevelt tried to maintain a balance between stopping aggression and keeping the UnitedStates out of war. Many Americans favored a policy of isolationism. On December 12, 1937, Japan tested theU.S. commitment to isolationism. Japanese planes destroyed the Panay  , a U.S. gunboat, killing 2 people andwounding 30 others. President Roosevelt demanded an apology, payment for damages, and a guaranteeagainst future incidents. Japan's government agreed to the terms. The United States had avoided war for themoment.In the late 1930s Congress passed four Neutrality Acts to keep the country out of international conflicts.The first act prohibited the U.S. government from shipping arms to nations at war. Later neutrality actsextended the ban to include groups involved in civil wars. Although most Americans favored isolation, theinternational events of the 1930s were pushing the nation closer to war.
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