The Interwar Years

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The Treaty of Versailles is Signed

June 28, 1919

The Treaty of Versailles ends World War One and imposes heavy reparations payments on Germany.

The First Meeting of the League of Nations

November 1920

The Assembly of the League of Nations meets for the first time in Geneva, Switzerland. The US is notably absent, the Senate having voted against joining the League in November 1919.

The Washington Conference is Held

November 1921

The United States convenes the Washington Conference, attended by Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, China, Japan, and Portugal. The Conference results in a naval armaments treaty that sets a ratio for tonnage of capital ships (over 10,000 tons, with guns bigger than eight inches) for Great Britain, the US, Japan, France, and Italy.

Benito Mussolini is Made Italian Premier

October 30, 1922

King Victor Emmanuel declares Mussolini premier in an attempt to head off violent conflict between the Fascists and the Communists.

The Beer Hall Putsch

November 9, 1923

Adolf Hitler and General Ludendorf, a World War One hero, lead a small contingent of followers in a harmless, comical attempt at rebellion, for which Hitler is imprisoned for two years.

Vladimir Lenin Dies

January 21, 1924

Lenin's death leaves some question as to who will be his successor. Joseph Stalin eventually beats out Leon Trotsky to take control of the Soviet government.

The Cartel des Gauches wins the French Election

May 11, 1924

The Cartel displaces the ruling Bloc National, in a marked victory for the left, but proves unable to govern effectively.

The German Chamber of Deputies Accepts the Dawes Plan

August 27, 1924

The Dawes Plan restructures the schedule of German reparations payments so as to reduce the amount of annual payments, and grants Germany a large loan.

The Locarno Pacts are Signed

December 1, 1925

The Locarno Pacts are signed in efforts to stabilize relations with Germany and its neighbors. The pacts usher in a period of peace and prosperity.

The Samuel Commission in England Releases Its Report on Coal Mining

March 1926

The Samuel Commission, under the Conservative government, releases a report which advises wage cuts for miners. The Triple Alliance responds by striking, which is emulated by many other industries in England to protest he Conservative government's policies.

The Spanish Monarchy is Overthrown and The Republic Is Born

April 14, 1931

A provisional government is established to take Spain from monarchy to republicanism.

The final League of Nations Disarmament Conference is Held

February 1932 - July 1932

The last major League of Nations-sponsored disarmament conference meets from February to July 1932 at Geneva, with 60 nations in attendance, including the United States. However, this conference, like it's predecessors, fails to secure any agreement, and organized disarmament remains an unaccomplished goal.

1,140,000 Communist Party Members are Expelled by Stalin

1933 - 1934

Stalin's Central Purge Commission, created in 1933, publicly investigates and tries many party members for treason as Stalin seeks to rid the party of opposition.

Hitler is Appointed Chancellor of Germany

January 30, 1933

In an attempt to reel in the chaos of the German government, President Paul von Hindenburg declares Hitler chancellor, the first major step in Hitler's ascent to dictatorship.

The German Reichstag Passes the Enabling Act

March 23, 1933

The Enabling Act gives Hitler the power to issue decrees with the status of law.

Joseph Pilsudski Becomes Virtual Dictator in Poland

1936

Pilsudski maintains this position until his death in May 1935

Leon Blum's Popular Front Government Comes to Power in France

June 3, 1936

The Popular Front, a leftist party, institutes social legislation and allows wide public participation in the government, but ultimately fails to curtail the depreciating economy.

The Spanish Nationalists Begin the Spanish Civil War

July 17, 1936

Generals Goded, Mola, and Francisco Franco lead troops in rebellion against the republic, sparking the Spanish Civil War.

Spanish Nationalists Bomb Guernica

April 25, 1937

The small northern town of Guernica is bombed, and civilians are gunned down as they flee the scene. In this brutal massacre 1500 die and 800 are wounded, but the military targets in the town remain intact.

The Munich Pact is Signed

September 18, 1938

Britain and France appease Hitler by signing the Munich Pact, which grants Hitler control of the Czech Sudetenland.

The Spanish Civil War Ends

March 30, 1939

Madrid falls to Francisco Franco's forces, effectively ending the Spanish Civil War. Franco's oppressive dictatorship begins.

Britain and France Declare War on Germany

September 3, 1939

In response to Hitler's continued aggression in Eastern Europe, Britain and France go to war with Germany in an attempt to stop Hitler's bid for global hegemony.