POST-WAR CRISIS (1918-1923)

Characteristics of the economic crisis in Europe:

  • High levels of debt, loans  from the USA intended to pay for the cost of war.

  • A shortage of products, an increase in prices.

Germany was severely affected in the crisis and also pay war reparations.

The hyperinflations It caused considerable internal political instability in the country, the occupation of the Ruhr by France and Belgium as well as misery for the general populace.

In 1923, France decided to occupy the richest and most industrialised are of Germany, the Ruhr. In Germany worse as industrial production fell and prices rose excessively.


At the end of the war, women, didn’t accept the re-establishment of their traditional social role. The suffragist movement (was a groups of women who demanded the right to vote) continued to protest against the Inequality between men and women, to participate in political and economic life.
In the USA and Europe, the mobilisation of women was supported and established International Women’s Day.
After 1911, this became a day for reflection and protest in favour of women’s rights.
The main aim of the Suffragists was to be allowed to vote:

– Russia, Great Britain, Poland, the Netherlands and Austria in 1918
– Germany and Belgium in 1919
– Czechoslovakia and the USA in 1920.

The United States and Japan were the first countries to recover from the crisis, because industries had not been devastated by war.
In 1924, the United States applied the Dawes Plan in Germany. This was a series of
economic measures which involved toans and American investment in German industry. The Dawes Plan also revised and reduced war reparations payments. France agreed to abandon the occupied areas of the Ruhr in August 1925.

From 1925 on, Germany’s economy pay reparations to the victorious European countries, were able to pay back their loans.
The United States also helped other European countries. As a result, by the mid-1920s, the world economy began to recover and grew steadily. Known as the ‘roaring twenties’.
Society changed; the suffering of the war years had passed and life was focused on enjoyment. These years were characterised by new forms of


Was a military conflict that took place between 1939 and 945. The war involved all the European countries, Japan, USA, China and the European colonies in North America, Asia and Oceania.


  • Nationalist discontent: Germany and Italy were unhappy, because the treaty of Versailles had obliged Germany to give up territory to Poland and Czechoslovakia. And Italy was unhappy because it hadn’t been given the territories it watend in the Mediterranean.

  • Economic protectionism: European governments adopted protectionist policies to reduce imports. These measures forced countries to find new markets for their products.

  • Expansionist policies: Germany, Italy and Japan wanted to expand their territories in order to acquire more raw materials and to satisfy the territorial demands.

  • Appeasement policies: Great Britain supported a policy of appeasement towards Germany and Italy. The territorial expansion of these countries was tolerated.


  • Japan expanded its territories in Asia.

  • – 1931: Japan occupied Manchuria

  • -1933-1938: Japan occupied the north of China

  • Italy increased its territories in Africa and Europe

  • -1935: Italy invaded Abyssinia

  • -1939: Italy occupied Albania

  • Germany progressively occupied the neighbouring territories

  • -1935: the Saar was reincorporated as the result of a plebiscite

  • -1936:Germany occupied the Rhineland

  • -1938: Germany carried out a peaceful annexation of Austria, where six million Germans lived.Sudetenland was also annexed, Czechoslovakia protested, but Hitler called the Munich Conference; the European powers in attendance accepted the annexation in exchange for Hitler’s promise to make no more territorial claims in Europe.

  • -1939: Germany occupied  Czechoslovakia


  • 1936:

  • Germany and Italy signed a pact.

  • Germany signed the Anti-Comintern pact with Japan.

  • 1939:

  • Germany signed a non-agression pact with the USSR

  • 1940:

  • The alliance between these countries (Germany,Italy,Japan) was known as Berlin-Rome-TokyoAxis

The Allies:

  • 1939:

  • Great Britain, faced with the impossibility of stooping German and Italian expansion, and signed a pact of mutual support with France

  • Germany attempted to annex Danzig

  • Great Britain, France and Poland also signed a defence agreement

  • 1 September Germany invaded Poland.

  • In support of Poland, France and Great Britain declared war against Germany.

  • 1941:

  • USA joined the war following an attack by Japan

  • The USSR also joined the war when it was invaded by Germany, breaking the pact of nonaggression it have signed two years ago.


The war broke out simultaneously in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

It developed  in different phases and on different fronts.

First phase: Axis offensives in Europe, Africa and Asia 1939-1942

In Europe, Germany won various victories due to the strategy of blitzkrieg or lightningwar, which were rapid, successive attacks on the enemy front. The elements of surprise and the combination of air attacks and land attacks gave the Germans a decisive advantage.

In Europe, the offensives were considerable:

  • 1940: After the invasion of Poland, German forces occupied Denmark and Norway to the north, and the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France to the west.

  • Battle of Britain, hitler’s strategy was to bomb the major cities in Britain in order to destroy British military resources and allow him to invade the country, but the German air force was defeated by the British air force.

  • 1941:

  • Hitler ordered the invasion of the USSR

  • The attack broke the non-aggression pact that Germany had signed with the USSR.

  • Hitler’s objective: occupy Moscow and to obtain control of the wheat in the Ukraine and the oil wells in Caucasus.

  • Stalin responded by joining the Allies. The Soviet forces adopted a scorched earth policy.

  • In Southern Europe, the Germans conquered Greece and Crete and the Axis was joined by Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Bulgaria, which allowed them to continue their offensive against the USSR.

1940: In africa, the italians attacked the British protectorate of Egypt from Libya.

They were helped  by the German army, teh Afrika Korps, led by Field ,Marshal Rommel.

Afrika Korps used Panzer tanks and Stuka planes effectively and managed to defeat the British army.

Objective : Gain control of the Suez Canal in order to control the Mediterranean.

In Asia and the Pacific, in 1941:

The Japanese invaded the French colonies in Indochina and began their expansion in the Pacific.

The United States  announced an embargo on steel and petroleum exports to Japan in an attempt to stop its expansion.

Japan responded with a surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The United States declared war on Japan and joined the war on the side of the Allies

Second phase: defeat of the Axis in Africa (1942-1943)

There was a radical change in the balance of power, the Axis suffered its first major defeats.

In this phase, the war in Africa ended due to the military collaboration between Great Britain and the United States.

In 1942 German and Italian  Britain and the United States troops continued to march towards Cairo and the Suez Canal.

General Montgomery, who was in charge of the British army, launched a counterattack at the Battle of El Alamein in November 1942.

British victory was possible due to the large numbers of soldiers brought from British colonies in India and Australia and the participation of American troops.

Germans and Italians were defeated in 1943. The Axis lost its position in Africa and this allowed the Allies to attack southern Italy from there.

The Americans landed in Morocco and Algeria and advanced towards Tunisia where the Germans and Italians were defeated in 1943

Axis lost position in Africa and this allowed the Allies to attack southern Italy from there.

Allied advances in Europe (1942-1945)

After 1942, the Axis are made to retreat so the Allies won the war.

The battle of the Atlantic (1942-1943): the Germans intensified their naval war to stop supplies reaching the Allied forces and isolate Great Britian.

The battle of Stalingrad (1942-1943): Germans occupied the city but the Soviet army surrounded the German forces, during a very cold winter. Germans retreat from the USSR.

The Conference of Tehran (1943): The representatives of GBritian, The US, and the USSR agreed to open a new front in France, and made the Germans to retreat as far as Paris.

In 1944 the Allies advanced towards Germany from three fronts. In 1945 allied troops entered in Berlin.

Third phase: final Allied advances in Asia and the Pacific 1942-1945

In Asia and the Pacific, the aircrafts and American submarines put an end to the Japanese control.

In the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway in 1942, the Japanese were defeated and lost control of some the Pacific Islands.

In 1944, the naval Battle of the Philippine Sea took place, North Americans destroyed most of the Japanese aircrafts.

At the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa (1945) the Japanese tried to stop the Americans but they defeated them again.

To put and end, the United States president authorised the dropping of atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a resolt the Second World War ended.