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1930 1931 1932 1933 1934

1935 1936 1937 1938 1939

1910s 1920s - 1930s - 1940s 1950s
20th century

In Western Europe, Australia and the United States, more progressive reforms occurred as opposed to the extreme measures sought elsewhere. Roosevelt's New Deal attempted to use government spending to combat large-scale unemployment and severely negative growth. In Europe, multiple countries turn to non-democratic and nationalist governments such as in Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, and Spain. Many countries in Europe rebel against the unnatural borders imposed by the Treaty of Versailles including as Germany, Hungary, Italy, and the Soviet Union, who sought expanding their territories in this decade. In Africa, the last non-colonized country, Ethiopia is occupied by Italian military forces. Entities in the British Empire experience an increase in power being decentralized by the United Kingdom to them in 1931 with the Statute of Westminster, while Mohandas Gandhi continues his peaceful protests to demand independence for India from British colonial rule. East Asia has a number of major conflicts, including civil war in China between communists and nationalists,and occupation of Manchuria by Japanas part of war between China and Japan.

International issues





  • The Spanish monarchy abdicates and Spain becomes a Socialistrepublic in 1931.
  • Adolf Hitler and the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party) rise to power in Germany in 1933.
  • In the Soviet Union, agricultural collectivization and rapid industrialization take place.[1]
  • Austrian chancellor Engelbert Dolfuss is assassinated in 1934 by Austrian National Socialist radicals. Germany and Italy nearly clash over the issue of Austrian independence despite close ideological similarities of the Italian Fascist and GermanNational Socialist regimes.
  • King Alexander of Yugoslavia is assassinated in 1934 by a radical Macedonian nationalist.
  • Anglo-German naval agreement is signed in 1935, removing the Treaty Versailles' level of limitation on the size of the German navy, allowing Germany to build a larger navy
  • Spanish Civil War occurs from 1936 to 1939. Germany and Italy back anti-communist nationalist forces of Francisco Franco. The Soviet Union backs the left-wing republican faction in the war. The war ends in April 1939 with Franco's nationalist forces defeating the republican forces. Franco becomes president-for-life of Spain.
  • Éamon de Valera introduces a new constitution for the Irish Free State in 1937, effectively ending its status as a British Dominion.
  • The "Great Purge" of "Old Bolsheviks" from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union takes place from 1937 to 1938, as ordered by Soviet Union leader Josef Stalin, resulting in hundreds of thousands of people being killed.
  • Germany and Italy pursue territorial expansionist agendas. Germany demands the reunification of Austria and other ethnically German-populated territories in Europe with the Fatherland. From 1935 to 1936, Germany receives the Saar, remilitarizes the Rhineland. Italy initially opposes Germany's aims on Austria but the two countries resolve their differences in 1936 in the aftermath of Italy's diplomatic isolation after its invasion of Ethiopia which only Germany supported. Germany and Italy improve relations by forming an alliance against communism in 1936 with the signing of the Anti-Comintern Pact. Germany annexes Austria and then the Sudetenland after negotiations which resulted in the Munich Agreement in 1938. Italy invades and annexes Albania in 1939 and Germany receives the Meuse territory from Latvia, occupies Sudetenland(ethnic German region in Czechoslovakia), and finally declares war on Poland which results in the outbreak of World War II.



Many technological advances occurred in the 1930s, including:


  • The Great Depression occurred during the 1930s.
  • Economic interventionist policies increase in popularity as a result of the Great Depression in both authoritarian and democratic countries. In the western world, Keynesianism replaces classical economic theory.
  • Rapid industrialization takes place in the Soviet Union.

Literature and Art

Popular culture

  • Radio becomes dominant mass media in industrial nations.
  • First intercontinental commercial airline flights.
  • Amelia Earhart receives major attention in the 1930s as the first woman pilot to conduct major air flights. Her dissappearance for unknown reasons in 1937 while on flight prompted search efforts which failed.
  • Height of the Art Deco movement in North America and western Europe.
  • Major international media attention follows Mohandas Gandhi's peaceful resistance movement against British colonial rule in India.
  • The U.S. film The Wizard of Oz is the first colour film and is enormously popular.
  • "Swing" music starts becoming popular (from 1935 onward). It gradually replaces the sweet form of Jazz that had been popular for the first half of the decade.
  • Triumph of the Will - Leni Riefenstahl's ground-breaking film is released to wide praise.
  • The 1937 World's Fair in Paris, France displays the growing political tensions in Europe. The pavilions of the rival countries of National Socialist Germany and the Soviet Union face each other. Germany at the time was internationally condemned for its air forces bombing of the Basque town of Guernica in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, which Spanish artist Pablo Picasso depicted in his masterpiece painting Guernica at the World Fair, which was a surrealist depiction of the horror of the bombing.




World leaders


  1. A. L. Unger (January 1969). "Stalin's Renewal of the Leading Stratum: A Note on the Great Purge". Soviet Studies 20 (3): 321–330. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.