Friday, January 17, 2014

How the Years Between the World Wars Created the Modern World

Mises Daily: Friday, January 17, 2014 by T. Hunt Tooley
From a historical standpoint, the period between the two world wars resonates powerfully in many directions. “See you in 20 years,” the diplomats said to each other as they left the Paris Peace Conference, and war did indeed break out 20 years and a few weeks after the Versailles Treaty was signed in 1919. The interwar period would be highly interesting if for no other reason.
But other significant historical trends — many of them only indirectly related to the war itself — were in process as well. European imperialism, admittedly influenced by the strains of global war, was developing its first real fissures. The intellectual movement associated with Modernism accelerated. The electronic media emerged rapidly — the BBC started radio broadcasts in 1921! Einstein got the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921. The great Max Weber died in 1920. Freudian terminology — think “Oedipus Complex” or “displacement activity” — were becoming household terms, at least in educated circles. Dress hemlines shot upward. Jazz altered popular music radically. Movies got sound and color!
After a short burst of showcase “democracy” in postwar Europe, totalitarian regimes and functional dictatorships seemed to be the wave of the future……To Read More…..

My Take -Interesting article, but he doesn't really explain why all this happened and there are interesting points we can glean from this. Although it seems like ancient history to most people, this just wasn't all that long ago. I knew people who fought in WWI, and the last veteran of that war died in 2012, and the last American to serve died in 2011. He was 110 years old.
I do wish more people read more history, especially The Guns of August to see how stupidly the ruling classes dealt with the issues of their day. It might make you think twice about the people running the government now….actually….it would absolutely make you realize how stupid these people are.
The ruling classes in Europe, including the Ottoman Empire, planned for a war, believed it was coming, and yet didn't want the war because they knew if it lasted more that six months it would bankrupt Europe. It lasted four years, it did bankrupt Europe, and killed or wounded over 37 million people, both military and civilian.
WWI was the most significant event of the 20th century, not the Beetles, as one young person told me 40 years ago. The war started in 1914 and by the time it ended in 1918 the ground work was laid for every social upheaval we are experiencing now, including the Muslim terrorist problems, the hippy movement, central planning by an 'elite' ruling class, all the economic crises we've faced for the last 100 years, the breakdown of traditional values, and the takeover of much of the world by genocidal maniacs like Stalin, Hitler and eventually the greatest genocidal monster of them all - Mao Tse Tung.
As historians say - everything changed after WWI.
All the traditional institutions that impacted people’s thinking and actions were marginalized, including the churches. The upper classes were always given special privileges because society believed they were better equipped, and better educated to run everything. WWI and the following economic depression convinced everyone that anybody could screw things up that badly - and perhaps not as badly if they weren't from the upper classes. This was especially true because the casualties during the war were unprecedented, even though the losses among the officer class were higher.
Great Britain lost a half million young men in the first six months of the war attempting to wear out machine guns with young men’s bodies, and in the beginning English officers led charges armed with swagger sticks. The French military believed their philosophy of “√©lan” - charging with vigor, enthusiasm and style - would carry the field so devastated French forces that at one point the French almost mutinied all along the line – a line that stretched for hundreds of miles.
One more thing! The Armistice signed on November 1918 didn't end the war, it merely ended the fighting. Six months elapsed between the armistice and the Treaty of Versailles, which officially ended the war. Winter months! The allies continued the blockade and embargo of Germany during that time. As a result Germany couldn't import enough food to feed the civilian population. Thousands starved to death. That left such an indelible impression on the Germans and more easily gave rise to Hitlerism and his nationalist cause, and the inevitable start of WWII.
World War II was nothing more than an aftermath of WWI. The twenty years in between was a false peace, and everything that has occurred since then is part of a new false peace. We are still living with the consequences of Kaiser Wilhelm's decison to throw Europe into the crucible of WWI.


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