The Interwar Years (1919-1938)Timeline


The treaty of Versailles is Signed

June 28, 1919

World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. Negotiated among the Allied powers with little participation by Germany, its 15 parts and 440 articles reassigned German boundaries and assigned liability for reparations. After strict enforcement for five years, the French assented to the modification of important provisions. Germany agreed to pay reparations under the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan, but those plans were cancelled in 1932, and Hitler’s rise to power and subsequent actions rendered moot the remaining terms of the treaty.

The Washington Conference is Held

Approx. November 1921

It began in the year 1921, the world's largest naval powers convened in Washington, D.C for a conference to dispute naval disarmament and ways to relieve increasing hostility in East Asia. In the wake of World War I, leaders in the international community sought to suppress the possibility of another war. Rising Japanese militarism and an international arms race deepened these concerns. As a result, policymakers worked to reduce the rising threat. Senator William E. Borah led a congressional effort to demand that the United States engage its two principal competitors in the naval arms race, Japan and the United Kingdom, in negotiations for disarmament.

The Beer Hall Putsch

November 9, 1923

The Beer Hall Putsch was a failed coup attempt by the Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler; along with General Quartiermeister Erich Ludendorff and other Kampfbund leaders; to seize power in Munich, Bavaria, during 9 November 1923. Approximately two thousand Nazis marched to the centre of Munich, where they confronted the police, which resulted in the death of 16 Nazis and four police officers.Hitler himself was not wounded during the clash, although he locked his left arm with the right arm of Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter who, when he was shot and killed, pulled Hitler to the pavement with him. Hitler escaped immediate arrest and was spirited off to safety in the countryside. After two days, Hitler was arrested and charged with treason.

The Cartel des Gauches wins the French Election

May 11, 1924

The Cartel des Gauches was the name of the govermental alliance between the Radical-Socialist Party and the socialist French Section of the Worker's international after World War I, which lasted until the end of Popular Front. The Cartel des gauches twice won general elections, in 1924 and in 1932. The first Cartel was led by Radical-Socialist Edouard Herriot, but the second was weakened by parliamentary instability. Following the 6th of February 1934 crisis, President of the Council Edouard Daladier had to resign, and a new Union Nationale coalition, led by conservative Gaston Doumergue, took power.

The Locarno Pacts are Signed

December 1, 1925

The Pact of Locarno, series of agreements whereby Germany, France, Belgium, Great Britain, and Italy mutually guaranteed peace in Western Europe. The treaties were initialed at Locarno, Switzerland, on October the 16th and signed in London December the 1st. The agreements consisted of a treaty of mutual guarantee between Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Italy; arbitration treaties between Germany and Belgium and between Germany and France; a note from the former Allies to Germany explaining the use of sanctions against a covenant-breaking state as outlined in article 16 of the League of Nations Covenant; arbitration treaties between Germany and Czechoslovakia and between Germany and Poland; and treaties of guarantee between France and Poland and between France and Czechoslovakia.

The Samuel Commission in England Releases Its Report on Coal Mining

Approx. March 1926

The 1926 general strike in the United Kingdom was a general strike that lasted 9 days, from 3 May 1926 to 12 May 1926. It was called by the General Council of the Trades Union Congress in an unsuccessful attempt to force the British government to act to prevent wage reduction and worsening conditions for 1.2 million locked-out coal miners. Some 1.7 million workers went out, especially in transport and heavy industry. The government was prepared and enlisted middle class volunteers to maintain essential services. There was little violence and the TUC gave up in defeat. In the long run, there was little impact on trade union activity or industrial relations. Keith Laybourn says that historians mostly agree that, "In no significant way could the General Strike be considered a turning point or watershed in British industrial history."

General Gyula Gombos Comes to Power in Hungary

Approx. 1932

Gyula Gömbös de Jákfa was a Hungarian military officer and politician, and served as Prime Minister of Hungary from 1 October 1932 until his death on 6 October 1936. In 1932, Horthy appointed Gömbös prime minister; Gömbös, in turn, acceded to Horthy's urging not to seek new elections. Upon taking office, Gömbös publicly recanted his previous opposition to Jews. The country's Jewish political leadership under Bela Szanto supported the appointment of Gömbös and his programs in exchange for Gömbös promising not to enact any racially motivated laws, and not to cause economic harm to the Jews through his general policies. These promises Gömbös kept. Gömbös also formed, with rather greater reluctance, an alliance with Germany. When Hitler became Chancellor, Gömbös was the first foreign head of government to visit the Nazi leader. Shortly after, Gömbös signed a major trade agreement with Germany, doing so in the hope of reducing Hungary's unemployment rate as the 1930s progressed. This amity, though, failed to endure. Not only did Hitler consider Gömbös to be far too pro-Jewish, but he made it clear to Gömbös that his support of Hungary had a price. While the German dictator voiced willingness to take Hungary's side in any effort that Hungary carried out to regain land from Czechoslovakia, he would not support Hungary against the territorial ambitions of either Romania or Yugoslavia. Unlike Mussolini, Hitler also resented Gömbös’ plans to expand the size and power of the Hungarian military.

Hitler is Appointed Chancellor of Germany

January 30, 1933

January 30th 1933 marked the beginning of the end of the Weimar Republic, with Adolf Hitler’s appointment as German chancellor. Hitler’s elevation to the chancellorship was hardly the glorious ascension to power he had dreamed of back in 1923. Rather than being swept into power on a wave of public support, or snatching control of the government with a bold and decisive move, Hitler instead became chancellor through a shadowy backroom deal. And there was little to suggest that Hitler’s political fate would be much different to the 14 men who preceded him as chancellor. But within two months the Nazi leader had killed off Weimar democracy, and set Germany on the road to authoritarian dictatorship.

The German Reichstag Passes the Enabling Act

March 23, 1933

The Enabling Act was a 1933 Weimar Constitution amendment that gave the German Cabinet – in effect, Chancellor Adolf Hitler – the power to enact laws without the involvement of the Reichstag. It passed in both the Reichstag and Reichsrat on 24 March 1933, and was signed by President Paul von Hindenburg later that day. The act stated that it was to last four years unless renewed by the Reichstag, which occurred twice. The Enabling Act gave Hitler plenary powers. It followed on the heels of the Reichstag Fire Decree, which abolished most civil liberties and transferred state powers to the Reich government. The combined effect of the two laws was to transform Hitler's government into a legal dictatorship.

The Spanish Civil War Ends

March 30, 1939

The Spanish Civil War widely known in Spain simply as The Civil War, took place from 1936 to 1939. The Republicans, who were loyal to the democratic, left-leaning and relatively urban Second Spanish Republic, in an alliance of convenience with the Anarchists, fought against the Nationalists, a Falangist, Carlist, Catholic, and largely aristocratic conservative group led by General Francisco Franco. The war has often been portrayed as a struggle between democracy and fascism, particularly due to the political climate and timing surrounding it, but it can more accurately be described as a struggle between leftist revolution and rightist counter-revolution similar to the Finnish Civil War and the wars fought over the formation of the Hungarian and Slovak Soviet republics. Ultimately, the Nationalists won, and Franco, who already ruled over Nationalist Spain, ruled over all of Spain for the next 36 years, from April 1939 until his death in November 1975.