Chapter 35: An Age of Anxiety

Probing Cultural Frontiers
 The Great War destroyed much, including long-held
beliefs about the superiority of European culture.
 Building on innovations in science, psychology art and
architecture, changes in those fields reached true
revolution in the two decades following the war.
Probing Cultural Frontiers
 Postwar Pessimism
 “Lost Generation” – Term used to describe intellectuals
and literati (particularly American) who flocked to Paris
in the postwar years seeking to find some salve for their
 “A Farewell to Arms” – Ernest Hemmingway
 “All Quiet on the Western Front” – Erich Maria
Spoke about the meaningless suffering and ceaseless death
their generation experienced in the Great War.
Probing Cultural Frontiers
 Revolutions in Physics and Psychology
 Physics
Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity showed that there
was no single spatial and chronological framework for the
universe and thus it no longer made sense to speak of time
and space as absolutes
 Psychology
Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis
 Psychological disorders are the result of unconscious conflicts.
Probing Cultural Frontiers
 Experimentation in Art and Architecture
 Art began to focus on reality and freedom of expression.
 Architecture focused on functional design well suited
for the urban and industrial twentieth-century
Global Depression
 In 1929, despite postwar hopes for a return to normalcy
and prosperity, the world plunged into an economic
depression so long-lasting, so severe, and so global
that it has come to be called the Great Depression.
 Took over 10 years and another world war to bring the
world out of it.
Global Depression
 The Great Depression
 Booming 20s were only a façade
 Causes of G.D.
 Occurred in both industry and agriculture
 Led to decrease in prices
 Led to unemployment and failing farms
Availability of easy credit and poor mortgage lending practice
Unequal distribution of wealth
Stock Market Collapse
 October 29, 1929 – Market Collapse… Bank failures follow
 Global impact
 Agricultural economies of Latin America, Africa, and Asia hit very
 Germany and Japan also hit very hard
Global Depression
 Despair
 People were desperate to protect their jobs, homes,
savings, and futures.
When they failed, despair and depression set in.
 Poor began to resent the wealthy.
 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was symbolic of
the emotions and economics of the Great Depression.
Global Depression
 Economic Experimentation
 Governments initially responded to the Great Depression by
insisting that capitalism was a self-correcting system and the
depression would work itself out.
 When it became clear that that was not the case, new
methods were implemented
John Maynard Keynes (The General Theory of Employment,
Interest, and Money) proposed that governments should respond by
stimulating the economy by increasing money supply and funding
public works projects to create jobs.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
 The New Deal
 Paralleled Keynes’ theory
 Helped but WWII eventually ends the Depression.
Challenges to the Liberal Order
 Promise of a better tomorrow was the rallying cry for a
range of political voices across the world in the postWWI world.
 Marxists – Like Lenin and Stalin believed the death of
capitalism was inevitable and promised a new and
better system based on the rule of the working class.
 Fascists – Like Mussolini and Hitler found alternative
formulas for reconstruction through intense
nationalism, militarism, and devotion to a strong
Challenges to the Liberal Order
 Communism in Russia
 1917 – Russia withdraws from WWI due to Revolution
 1917-1920 – Russian Civil War
Reds (Lenin’s Bolsheviks) vs. Whites (dissident socialists and anti
Reds win and Lenin maintains rule through ruthless oppression of
Over ten Million killed in Civil War
 1924 – Lenin dies
 1924-1928 – Power struggle within the Bolsheviks results in Joseph
Stalin gaining full dictatorship in the Soviet Union
Implements extreme centralization of the Soviet economy
Implements Five-Year Plans to catch Soviet Union up with other
industrialized nations
Maintains rule through ruthless oppression of dissenters and opposition
Purges of 1935-1938
 Over 3 million killed and 8 million sent to labor camps
Challenges to the Liberal Order
 The Fascist Alternative
 Developed as a reaction to both communism and liberal
 1920s-1930s Italy and Germany fascist parties overthrew
existing parliamentary systems.
 Fascism
Dedication to perceived “lost traditions”
Promote veneration of the state
“Worship” a strong leader
Emphasize ultranationalism, ethnocentrism, and militarism
State, not the individual is the focus, and the individual must
always be subordinate to the needs and service of the state.
Challenges to the Liberal Order
 Italian Fascism
 Benito Mussolini – Fascist leader in Italy following WWI
Became prime minister in 1922
Used “Black Shirts” to calm all dissent
Eliminated all other political parties
Limited freedom of the press, outlawed free speech, curbed
free association, crushed labor unions, and outlawed labor
Envisioned returning Italy to the glory days of the Roman
Widespread state control of the economy and society
Formed close alliance with Hitler
Challenges to the Liberal Order
 German National Socialism
 Nationalist Socialist Party (Nazis)
 Adolf Hitler emerged as leader
Capitalized on fears as well as residual anger from the settlement of WWI
Identified Scapegoats – Jews and “other impure races”
Selected as Chancellor of Germany in 1932
 Overthrew Weimar Republic and outlawed all civil and constitutional
Suppressed, terrorized, and eventually outlawed all competing political parties
and factions, purged the judicial and civil service of any non-Nazis, and firmly
established a highly centralized state leaving little local or regional autonomy
 Eugenics
 Attempts to create and perpetuate a perfect “German Race”
 Anti-Semitism
 Nuremberg Laws (1935) – Deprived Jews of civil and citizenship rights
 Kristallnacht (1938) – “Night of Broken Glass,” a clear signal that conditions for
Jews in Germany were going to quickly deteriorate.

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