Trauma and Change: 1902-1962

POLITICAL

Archduke Franz Ferdinand from Austria was Assassinated

June 1914

The assassination attempt gave the Austrian government an excuse to launch a retaliatory war against Serbia. The German government gives a blank check for Austria to start a war. This launches a cascade of events that marks the beginning of World War I.
Source: Chancellor Theobald Von Bethmann-Hollweg in Sources Reader, p. 403.

The Defeated Germany Signs the Peace Treaty of Versailles

June 28 1919

By 1919, the German army had been entirely demobilized. Moreover, the Allied naval blockade remained in place until Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles, ending World War I on June 28, 1919.
Source: Benjamin Sax and Dieter Kuntz in Sources Reader, p. 418.

A Postwar Economic Crisis Arises in Germany

1923

In response to the French occupation of the Ruhr in 1923, the German government ordered the people of the Ruhr to stop working. As the cost of supporting the striking workers increased beyond control, the government began printing money, which resulted in runaway inflation.
Source: Universal History Archive in Hyperinflation in Germany in Sources Reader, p. 428.

The Great Depression Occurs in Great Britain and Germany

1934

As the Great Depression took hold, unemployment and economic insecurity grew, European governments struggled to respond to the crisis. All European governments were unable to ameliorate the suffering of millions of their citizens.
Source: Sir Percy Malcolm Stewart in Parliament Addresses the Great Depression in Britain in Sources Reader, p. 430.

The Nuremberg Laws is Passed

1935

Anti-Semitism was never a mere aspect of Hitler’s political ideology; it was central to his vision of a new Germany. In Hitler’s view, the achievement of Germany’s national potential, its historical destiny, depended on the exclusion of the Jews from German life.
Source: U.S. Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression in Sources Reader, p. 450.

Britain Holds Freedom’s Last Line of Defense

1940

Germany held the deep-water ports along the English Channel crucial for an invasion, and lead the most feared air force in Europe. Facing these grim prospects, Churchill addressed the House of Commons to rally a nation against another war.
Source: Winston Churchill in Speech Before the House of Commons in Sources Reader, p. 448.

The United States Rebuilds Europe

June 5 1947

“When communist parties began to win elections in France and Italy, George Marshall used a speech to Harvard University’s graduating class to propose spending billions to rebuild Europe, an initiative he believed would curtail the appeal of communist parties..”
Source: George C. Marshal in “An American Plan to Rebuild a Shattered Europe” in Sources Reader, p. 456.

CULTURAL

The Autobiography “The Red Battle Flyer” is Written

1917

Baron Manfred von Richthofen was the most famous flying ace in Germany during World War I. In 1917, at the request and direction of military officials, Richthofen wrote a brief autobiography titled “The Red Battle Flyer.”
Source: Baron Manfred von Richthofen in “The Red Battle Flyer” in Sources Reader, p. 407.

“An Analysis of the Versailles Treaty” is Written

1920

British economist Jon Maynard Keynes warned Europe’s leaders that their actions would lead to economic disaster: he was right when the “the German economy collapsed, and again in 1929 with the U.S. stock market crashed and the ensuing Great Depression.”
Source: John Maynard Keynes in “The Economic Consequences of the Peace” in Sources Reader, p. 445.

Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kempf is Written

1924

While in prison for a failed 1923 coup attempt, Hitler dictated his autobiography, Mein Kempf (My Struggle), detailing his views on politics and society. Hitler argued that Germany would need stronger propaganda in the next world war.
Source: Adolf Hitler in Mein Kempf in Sources Reader, p. 427.

The Nuremberg Laws is Passed as Anti-Semitic Propaganda

1935

Anti-Semitism was never a mere aspect of Hitler’s political ideology; it was central to his vision of a new Germany. In Hitler’s view, the achievement of Germany’s national potential, its historical destiny, depended on the exclusion of the Jews from German life.
Source: U.S. Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression in Sources Reader, p. 450.

Winston Churchill Gives “Iron Curtain” Speech

March 5, 1946

Winston Churchill delivered his famous “iron curtain” speech to an audience in Fulton, Missouri. In it, Churchill described the division of Europe into rival camps, one free and democratic, and the other bound by the shackles of Soviet totalitarianism.
Source: Winston Churchill in Speech Before the Commons in Sources Reader, p. 448.

INDIVIDUAL & COLLECTIVE RIGHTS

Vladimir I. Lenin Advocates for the Rights of Working Class People

1902

Marx’s vision of revolutionary change was developed with industrialized countries of northern Europe in mind. It was the industrial working class that would create the revolution.
Source: Vladimir I. Lenin in What is to Be Done? in Sources Reader, p. 407.

Newspaper Common Cause is in Publication to Support Woman Suffrage

1909

Helena Swanwick, a German-born academic journalist edited the suffragist newspaper. As a feminist and a socialist, she regarded the war as an opportunity for women to improve their social, economic, and political status.
Source: Helena Swanwick in Common Cause in Sources Reader, p. 408.

Woodrow Wilson Writes the Fourteen Points to Support Democratic Rights

1918

Woodrow Wilson was ready to ask Congress for declaration of war against Germany. In his message to Congress, Wilson justified his request by linking the war to essential American political values. Those values were further elaborated in his “Fourteen Points,” Wilson’s plan for a postwar international order that would keep the peace and pave the way for the spread of democracy around the world.
Source: Woodrow Wilson in “Fourteen Points” in Sources Reader, p. 416.

Simone De Beauvoir Writes the Second Sex to Support Women Suffrage

1949

In twentieth-century Europe, women achieved many goals of the nineteenth century’s feminists, notably the rights to vote and to own property. Simone de Beauvoir was part of the generation of women who wanted full inclusion in society, but realized that suffrage, and property rights did not always translate to social equality.
Source: Simone De Beauvoir in Sources Reader, p. 471.

The Stalinist Gulag is Denounced

1962

The next Soviet leader, Nikita Kruschev denounced the gulags, which were “the terror and labor camps Stalin had created.” In this new period of increased critical freedom, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a previous victim of the regime, was permitted to publish an account of his life in the camps.
Source: Alexander Slzhenitsyn in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in Sources Reader, p. 459.