The Interwar period

Upheaval and conflict across the globe

The Interbellum or Interwar covered the period from the Armistice in 1918 to 1936 as the storm clouds of a second global conflict started to gather over Europe..  

It was a time of great change and upheaval as the world, and Europe in particular, struggled to recover from devastating effects of the First World War, in which millions had died and enormous destruction had occurred.

Some countries found much of their infrastructure wrecked and their economy in tatters - war is expensive after all.

A map of Europe in 1923.

United States Library of Congress

Prelude: The guns fall silent

In the final months of the First World War, the tide of the conflict shifted dramatically, marking the beginning of the end for the Central Powers and ultimately leading to the signing of the Armistice.

As the year 1918 progressed, a series of pivotal events unfolded, shaping the course of the war and setting the stage for its conclusion.

One of the most significant turning points came with the Allied Hundred Days Offensive, launched in August 1918.

This massive coordinated offensive, led primarily by British, French, and American forces, inflicted heavy losses on the German army and steadily pushed them back along the Western Front.

German prisoners of war during the First World War.

Imperial War Museum

..."Black Day of the German Army."..

The Allies achieved numerous decisive victories, including the Battle of Amiens in August, often described as the "Black Day of the German Army," due to the substantial German casualties and the significant territorial gains made by the Allies.

French cavalry cross a stream during the Battle of the Somme, 1916.

...further eroded Germany's position...

The momentum of the Allied advance continued to build throughout September and October, with a series of successful offensives that further weakened German defences and morale.

The Battle of Cambrai and the breaking of the Hindenburg Line were among the key milestones during this period, underscoring the relentless pressure exerted by the Allied forces.

Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, the collapse of the Central Powers' ally, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, further eroded Germany's position.

The disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian state led to a swift Allied advance into the Balkans and the eventual surrender of Austria-Hungary in early November 1918.

A German prisoner and a wounded British soldier lighting cigarettes at an advanced dressing station. Epehy, France, 1918. Colorised by Julius Colorization.

27 Stunning Photos of World War One in Color (

...a dramatic shift in the balance of power...

By early November, the situation for Germany had become increasingly untenable.

The exhaustion of its military resources, combined with internal unrest and the threat of revolution at home, forced German leaders to seek an end to the war.

Negotiations for an armistice began, culminating in the signing of the Armistice of Compiègne on the 11th November 1918, effectively ending hostilities on the Western Front.

The last few months of the ‘Great War’ witnessed a dramatic shift in the balance of power, as Allied offensives and internal turmoil within the Central Powers hastened the end of the conflict, bringing an end to one of the deadliest conflicts in human history.

Celebrations in the U.S. following the end of the First World War. - Soldiers and civilians waving the Union Jack and stars and stripes.

Menu: The interwar years: 1919 - 1936

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Wars, uprisings, revolution and a peace conference

The first year of peace after the blood letting of the Great War saw immense upheaval as the world, and Europe in particular, struggled to find a way back to normality. New nations now existed while old empires had disappeared.

And years of conflict had resulted in simmering resentments, traumatised populations, and a rise in nationalist ideas.

The occupation of Pressburg 

On New Years Day 1919, with the first day of the year barely a few hours old the Czechoslovak Legions took control of a substantial portion of the self-declared "free city" of Pressburg, which is known today as Bratislava.

This action solidified its integration into the newly formed First Czech Republic which had only come into existence the year before, springing up from the ashes of now dissolved Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The Czech Legion, a force composed of Czech and Slovak volunteers fighting during the First World War, played a pivotal role in occupying the self-proclaimed "free city" of Pressburg (now Bratislava) and integrating it into Czechoslovakia.

ironeurope: Image (

The Faisal–Weizmann agreement, signed on the 3rd January 1919, 

by Emir Faisal of the Kingdom of Hejaz and Chaim Weizmann of the Zionist Organization, marked a significant diplomatic milestone.

Signed just before the Paris Peace Conference, it aimed to showcase Arab support for Zionist plans in Palestine.

Despite being presented in English, which Faisal couldn't read, T.E. Lawrence explained its contents, and Faisal signed it, albeit with a caveat, indicating conditional approval.

This agreement, alongside a letter by Lawrence to a Zionist leader, was submitted to the Paris Peace Conference, albeit without Faisal's caveat.

T.E. Lawrence, the famous 'Lawrence of Arabia' photographed in 1917. Lawrence played a key role in the Faisal-Weizmann agreement.

T.E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia, ca. 1917. : r/Colorization (

Spartacist Uprising, 5th –12th January 1919

The German Revolution, spanning from October 1918 to August 1919, was a pivotal period marked by widespread social upheaval and political transformation in the aftermath of the First World War.

Triggered by Germany's military defeat and the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II, revolutionary fervor swept across the country, leading to the establishment of the Weimar Republic, Germany's first experiment with democracy.

Amidst the chaos of post-war Germany, various political factions vied for power, ranging from leftist socialist groups to right-wing nationalist movements.

The revolution witnessed a wave of strikes, protests, and uprisings, as ordinary Germans clamored for political change and economic stability.

Despite the hopes initially associated with the Weimar Republic, its early years were marred by challenges, including economic turmoil, political unrest, and the rise of extremist ideologies, setting the stage for the tumultuous events that would follow in the interwar period..

Leading up to the elections, German streets flooded with political posters, marking a new trend in political propaganda that would sustain itself for years to come. This one was designed by H. Richter, in 1920. The text reads: "3 Words: Undisturbed demobilization, construction of the republic, peace."

Vintage Delirium: July 2010 (

...a defining moment in the early stages of the Weimar Republic...

Amidst the chaos of the German Revolution, various socialist and communist factions vied for power, culminating in the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic and the Spartacist Uprising in Berlin. 

The Spartacist Uprising, occurring in January 1919, was a defining moment in the early stages of the Weimar Republic, marking a fierce clash between revolutionary left-wing forces and the newly formed government.

Germans stand guard with an armored car in front of the Chancellor’s Palace in Berlin during the German Revolution 13th May, 1919. The German Revolution marked a tumultuous period of political upheaval and social unrest following World War I. Sparked by discontent with the monarchy's handling of the war and exacerbated by economic hardship, it culminated in the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the establishment of the Weimar Republic.

Germans stand guard with an armored car in front of the Chancellor’s Palace in Berlin during the German Revolution 13 May, 1919. (Colorized By Me) : r/europe (

...mass strikes and armed rebellion....

The uprising was led by the Spartacus League, a radical socialist group primarily composed of members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) who opposed the party's moderate leadership.

Inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the Spartacists sought to establish a socialist state in Germany through mass strikes and armed rebellion.

The uprising began in Berlin, where thousands of workers and soldiers rallied under the leadership of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, prominent figures in the German socialist movement.

...hundreds of casualties on both sides...

January 1919: A barricade in Berlin during the Spartacists Uprising

The Spartacist Uprising in Berlin | History Today

They demanded an end to the war, the establishment of workers' councils, and the transfer of power from the SPD-led government to the revolutionary proletariat.

The government, led by the SPD and supported by the Freikorps, a right-wing paramilitary group, swiftly moved to crush the uprising. Violent street battles ensued, resulting in hundreds of casualties on both sides.

Despite initial gains, the Spartacist forces were outnumbered and outgunned, leading to their defeat within a matter of days.

The suppression of the Spartacist Uprising dealt a significant blow to the revolutionary left in Germany and solidified the dominance of the moderate Social Democratic government.

However, the uprising left a lasting legacy, inspiring future leftist movements and serving as a stark reminder of the deep divisions within German society in the tumultuous aftermath of the First World War.

The Khotyn Uprising, 7th January - 1st February 1919

The Khotyn Uprising marked a Ukrainian-led revolt in the recently annexed Bessarabia region by Romania. Centered in present-day Khotyn, Ukraine, it involved armed locals, Cossack deserters, Moldovans, and support from Bolsheviks and White Russians.

The uprising, part of the Ukrainian War of Independence, aimed to change the region's status, but faced division and eventual suppression by the Romanian Army.

The intervention led to significant casualties and expulsions.

Ukrainian protest in Kyiv, summer of 1917. Sign says “Long live a free Ukraine.” The Khotyn Uprising, was a Ukrainian-led revolt, part of the larger Ukranian War of Independence, in newly annexed Bessarabia by Romania, involved a range of forces and sought to alter the region's status.

The Ukrainian Revolution of 1917 and why it matters for historians of the Russian revolution(s) - Euromaidan Press

...setting the stage for further conflicts in the region...

Despite initial support, participants grew disillusioned with the lack of UNR action, aligning with various factions during the Russian Civil War and Ukrainian–Soviet War.

The uprising's aftermath solidified Bessarabia's incorporation into Greater Romania, deterring communist influence and setting the stage for further conflicts in the region.

Start of the Paris Peace Conference, 18th January 1919

The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 marked a pivotal moment in global diplomacy following the end of the First World War.

Held at the Palace of Versailles in France, the conference aimed to negotiate peace terms and establish a new international order in the aftermath of the devastating conflict.

Delegates at the Paris Peace Conference. The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 was a landmark event convened to negotiate peace terms and establish a new international order following the devastation of the First World War. Attended by representatives from over 30 nations, it resulted in the Treaty of Versailles and the establishment of the League of Nations.

The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 - History (

...imposed harsh terms on Germany...

Attended by representatives from over 30 nations, the conference focused on drafting peace treaties with the defeated Central Powers, particularly Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire.

The Treaty of Versailles, signed with Germany in June 1919, was the most significant outcome of the conference. It imposed harsh terms on Germany, including territorial losses, demilitarization, war guilt clauses, and heavy reparations payments, which fueled resentment and laid the groundwork for future conflicts.

...these treaties redrew the map of Europe...

Apart from the Treaty of Versailles, several other treaties were negotiated at the Paris Peace Conference, including the Treaty of Saint-Germain with Austria, the Treaty of Neuilly with Bulgaria, the Treaty of Trianon with Hungary, and the Treaty of Sèvres with the Ottoman Empire.

These treaties redrew the map of Europe, dismantled empires, and established new nation-states, albeit with varying degrees of success and controversy.

The Treaty of Versailles: French Premier Clemenceau addressing the German Delegates prior to delivering the peace treaty at the Trianon Palace Hotel, Versailles, France. 1919.

Treaty Of Versailles, 1919 #9 Photograph by Granger - Fine Art America

...conflicting national interests and power struggles...

US President Woodrow Wilson. His Fourteen Points outlined principles for post-war peace, advocating for self-determination and disarmament. He proposed the League of Nations to prevent future conflicts but faced opposition, particularly from the U.S. Senate, which ultimately led to America's non-membership.

JB Colorization

At the Paris Peace Conference, President Wilson's vision for a new world order based on his Fourteen Points stirred significant debate. Wilson advocated principles like self-determination, disarmament, and the creation of a League of Nations to uphold peace.

However, the practical implementation of these ideals faced numerous challenges. Many of Wilson's proposals were compromised or rejected due to conflicting national interests and power struggles among the Allied leaders.

The conference highlighted the complexities of post-war diplomacy, with negotiations often veering away from Wilson's idealistic vision toward pragmatic compromises shaped by geopolitical realities and the pursuit of national interests.

Despite initial enthusiasm for Wilson's ideas, the final outcome of the conference reflected a blend of idealism and pragmatism in shaping the post-war world order.

It underscored the difficulties of translating high-minded principles into concrete policies amid the complexities of international relations

The Monarchy of the North uprising, 19th January - 13th February 1919

The Monarchy of the North, also referred to as the Kingdom of Portugal, marked a tumultuous chapter in Portuguese history during the early months of 1919.

This uprising, predominantly situated in Porto, emerged as a staunch opposition to the First Portuguese Republic, advocating for a return to monarchist rule.

Led by the charismatic Henrique Mitchell de Paiva Couceiro, the movement endeavored to reinstate monarchy, albeit without the explicit backing of the deposed King Manuel II. Despite its fervent efforts, the Monarchy of the North faced significant challenges, encountering a lack of widespread popular support.

Ultimately, its aspirations were short-lived, as the movement swiftly succumbed to internal and external pressures, culminating in its collapse by February 13th.

This defeat led to the restoration of the republican regime in Northern Portugal, underscoring the enduring complexities of political transitions within the nation's historical narrative.

King Manuel II. The deposed Portugese monarch would not support the Monarchy of the North uprising.

Start of Irish War of Independence, 21st January 1919

Elsewhere, tensions exploded into violence with the start of the Irish War of Independence, spanning from 1919 to 1921, marked a pivotal moment in Irish history, characterized by a fierce struggle for independence from British rule.

Emerging from centuries of British colonialism and exploitation, Irish nationalists, led by groups like the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and political figures like Michael Collins and Éamon de Valera, sought to assert Ireland's sovereignty and establish a republic.

West Connemara IRA flying column in 1922. A 'flying column' was usually a compact, autonomous military ground force with swift mobility, typically encompassing various arms. Frequently improvised during operational maneuvers. The IRA, through guerrilla warfare tactics, challenged British rule in Ireland during the War of Independence, engaging in ambushes, sabotage, and intelligence operations. Their persistence and strategic maneuvers contributed significantly to Ireland's path towards independence from British control.

Crowley, John - Atlas of the Irish Revolution, New York University Press, New York, pg 601, ISBN 978-4798-3428—0

The conflict was marked by guerrilla warfare tactics employed by the IRA against British forces, including ambushes, assassinations, and acts of sabotage. 

The British response was harsh, characterized by reprisals, martial law, and the deployment of paramilitary forces such as the notorious Black and Tans and Auxiliaries.

...had profound social, political, and cultural consequences for Ireland...

Key events during the war included the Soloheadbeg ambush in January 1919, considered the opening salvo of the conflict, and the Anglo-Irish Treaty signed in December 1921, which ended the war but led to the partition of Ireland and the establishment of the Irish Free State in the south.

The war had profound social, political, and cultural consequences for Ireland, shaping its path towards independence and influencing its relations with Britain and Northern Ireland for generations to come. It also laid the groundwork for subsequent conflicts, including the Irish Civil War, which further divided the country.

Battle of George Square, 31st January 1919

The Battle of George Square, also known as "Bloody Friday" or "Black Friday," occurred in Glasgow, Scotland, on the 31st January 1919, following the First World War.

Striking workers clashed with the City of Glasgow Police, prompting the Sheriff of Lanarkshire to request military assistance. Government troops, backed by tanks, intervened, arresting strike leaders.

While no immediate fatalities were reported, one police constable succumbed to injuries sustained during the riot in the months that followed.

David Kirkwood being detained by police during 1919 Battle of George Square on 31 January 1919.

Battle of George Square - Wikipedia

Seattle General Strike, 6th - 12th February 1919  

The Seattle General Strike, a monumental event lasting from February 6 to 11, 1919, witnessed the unified action of 65,000 workers in Seattle, Washington, rallying behind shipyard workers striving for fair wages.

As the city's various unions, including members of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), joined the walk-out, tensions brewed between local grassroots movements and the national AFL, which opposed the shutdown.

This strike, viewed by local, state, and federal authorities, as well as the press and much of the public, as a radical affront to American norms and institutions, underscored the long-standing unease with socialist and communist ideologies in the United States.

The strike committee set up soup kitchens and distributed as many as 30,000 meals each day. In the photo, a woman serves a plate of food to a striking worker.

Seattle General Strike - Wikipedia

The demand for higher wages, coming on the heels of the First World War challenged the wartime wage controls, reflecting the growing discontent among workers. Seattle had experienced a surge in union membership from 1915 to 1918, buoyed by a wave of labor activism.

The echoes of the Russian Revolution of 1917 reverberated within some union circles, fueling aspirations for social change. However, critics, branding the strike as a product of Bolshevik influence and other "un-American" ideologies, framed it as the vanguard of the anti-left sentiment that pervaded the Red Scare of 1919 and 1920, highlighting the enduring tensions surrounding leftist movements in American society.

...characterized by fierce battles and shifting alliances...

Start of Polish-Soviet Civil War, 14th February 1919

Elsewhere, the Polish-Soviet War, spanning from February 1919 to March 1921, emerged from territorial disputes and conflicting ideologies following the First World War and the Russian Revolution.

Poland sought to reclaim territories lost to Russia in the 18th century and to prevent the spread of communism westward.

The conflict was characterized by fierce battles and shifting alliances, with Poland initially facing setbacks but ultimately achieving a decisive victory in the Battle of Warsaw in August 1920.

The war concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Riga in March 1921, which established Poland's eastern borders and solidified its independence while weakening Soviet expansionist ambitions in Europe.

The Polish-Soviet War left a lasting impact on both countries, shaping their geopolitical trajectories and influencing regional power dynamics in Eastern Europe.

Propagnda poster 'Be on Guard! ' by Dmitry Moor, depicting Leon Trotsky, with text beneath by Trotsky. Published in 1920 during the Polish-Soviet War.  

Soviet prisoners being escorted back to the Polish line during the Polish-Soviet Civil War. Note two French Army officers in the background. The Polish-Soviet Civil War (1919-1921) arose from territorial disputes and ideological differences. Poland fought against Soviet Russia, seeking to defend its newly regained independence and expand its borders. The conflict saw fierce battles, foreign intervention, and ultimately ended with Poland securing its sovereignty and influencing Eastern European geopolitics.

THE POLISH-SOVIET WAR, 1919-1921 | Imperial War Museums (

March 1st Movement, 1st March 1919

The March 1st Movement, a pivotal series of protests against Japanese colonial rule, began on the 1st March 1919, with the reading of the Korean Declaration of Independence in Tapgol Park, Seoul. It quickly spread, with over 2,000 protests and millions of participants.

Despite their peaceful nature, the protests faced violent suppression, resulting in thousands of deaths and arrests.

A copy of the Korean Declaration of Independence.

March 1st Movement - Wikipedia

...the movement revitalized the Korean independence movement...

Japanese authorities attempted to distort the narrative, denying the protests or labeling them as Bolshevik uprisings. Despite not immediately achieving liberation, the movement revitalized the Korean independence movement and led to the establishment of the Korean Provisional Government. It also influenced cultural policies and inspired similar movements globally, such as the Chinese May

Fourth Movement and Indian satyagraha protests. Celebrated annually since 1919, it holds national significance in South Korea, while its recognition varies in North Korea

Creation of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, 21st March – 1st August 1991

The Socialist Federative Republic of Councils in Hungary, often referred to as the Hungarian Soviet Republic due to early mistranslations, emerged briefly from the 21st March 1919, to the 1st August 1919, succeeding the First Hungarian Republic.

Despite its communist ideology, this state controlled only around 23% of Hungary's historic territory upon its establishment. Sándor Garbai served as the head of government, but the influence of Béla Kun, the foreign minister from the Party of Communists in Hungary, overshadowed him.

Béla Kun, the de facto leader of the Hungarian Soviet Republic.

Hungarian Soviet Republic - Wikipedia

Hindered by an economic blockade imposed by the Triple Entente, territorial disputes with neighboring countries, and internal social upheavals, the Soviet Republic faltered in achieving its objectives and was dissolved within a few months. Béla Kun emerged as its prominent figure, despite the initial dominance of radical Social Democrats within the new government.

The system centralized power in governing councils, purportedly acting on behalf of the working class

...rallying disaffected veterans, nationalists, and disillusioned workers...

Birth of Fascist Italy

Ominously. the formation of the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento, or Italian Combat Fasci, would serve as a crucial precursor to the eventual establishment of the National Fascist Party in Italy.

Founded by Benito Mussolini in Milan on 23rd March 1919, the Fasci aimed to capitalize on the disillusionment and social unrest prevalent in post-First World War Italy.

Mussolini, a former socialist, emerged as a charismatic leader, rallying disaffected veterans, nationalists, and disillusioned workers around a platform of nationalism, anti-communism, and anti-liberalism.

Benito Mussolini (centre) founded the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento in 1919, promoting nationalistic and authoritarian principles. It aimed to restore Italy's glory through aggressive expansionism and the suppression of socialism. Mussolini's leadership eventually led to the establishment of the Fascist regime, marking a significant chapter in Italian history.

...capitalizing on public dissatisfaction...

The Fasci advocated for the creation of a strong centralized state, the restoration of national pride, and the suppression of leftist movements through force if necessary.

Despite its modest beginnings, the Fasci rapidly gained popularity, capitalizing on public dissatisfaction with the ineffectual liberal government and the perceived threat of socialist revolution.

The Pinsk Massacre 

The Pinsk massacre, occurring on the 5th April 5, 1919, marked the tragic mass execution of thirty-five Jewish residents by the Polish Army.

Prompted by alleged warnings of a potential Bolshevik uprising from two Jewish soldiers, the Polish commander sought to instill fear among the Jewish population. This atrocity unfolded amidst the early stages of the Polish–Soviet War, following the Polish Army's capture of Pinsk.

A street in Pinsk, photographed in the years preceding the outbreak of the Second World War.

Welcome to the Pinsk Site (

The victims, who had convened in a Zionist center to discuss the allocation of American relief aid, were labeled participants in an "illegal gathering" by the Polish authorities. Acting on hearsay and without trial, the Polish officer-in-charge ordered their summary execution.

Although defended by high-ranking Polish military officials, this decision faced severe criticism from international public opinion, highlighting the brutality and injustice of the massacre.

Founding of the Bavarian Soviet Republic 

The Bavarian Soviet Republic, alternatively known as the Munich Soviet Republic in English, emerged as a short-lived socialist entity amidst the tumult of the German Revolution of 1918–1919. Taking the form of a workers' council republic, it embodied the aspirations of its proponents for a socialist state in Bavaria.

Established on the 6th & 7th April 1919 following the collapse of Kurt Eisner's government, the republic aimed to reshape the region's political landscape. However, its ambitions were swiftly quashed less than a month later by elements of the German Army and the paramilitary Freikorps. Notably, despite Adolf Hitler's purported support for the Bavarian Soviet Republic, several individuals involved in its overthrow later aligned with the Nazi Party.

The term "Räterepublik" encapsulates its essence, denoting a republic governed by councils or committees, echoing the meaning of the Russian word "soviet.

Death of Emiliano Zapata 

Emiliano Zapata Salazar, iconic Mexican revolutionary, was assassinated on the 10th April 1919. Zapata, renowned within Mexican history as a revolutionary luminary, emerged as a central protagonist during the tumultuous period of the Mexican Revolution spanning from 1910 to 1920.

Born on August 8, 1879, his name became synonymous with the struggle for social justice and agrarian reform. Hailing from the state of Morelos, Zapata rose to prominence as the preeminent leader of the people's revolution in this region, galvanizing support among the disenfranchised rural population.

His impassioned advocacy for the rights of peasants and indigenous communities reverberated across Mexico, inspiring the formation of the Zapatista movement, which sought to address the entrenched socioeconomic inequalities plaguing the country.

Zapata's legacy endures as an emblem of resistance against oppression and a beacon of hope for marginalized groups striving for empowerment and equitable treatment within society.

Emiliano Zapata in 1914. Emiliano Zapata, Mexican revolutionary leader, championed agrarian reform and social justice during the tumultuous Mexican Revolution.

Emiliano Zapata4 - Emiliano Zapata - Wikipedia

The Amritsar Massacre 

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also referred to as the Amritsar massacre, unfolded on 13th April  1919, in British India's Punjab region.

During the Baishakhi fair, a peaceful assembly convened at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, protesting against the oppressive Rowlatt Act and the incarceration of pro-independence activists Saifuddin Kitchlew and Satyapal. Acting on orders, Brigadier General R. E. H. Dyer encircled the crowd with Gurkha and Sikh infantry regiments, sealing off the only exit and trapping the demonstrators. Ignoring pleas for mercy,

Dyer commanded his troops to open fire, unleashing a barrage of bullets upon the unarmed civilians, who attempted to escape in vain. The indiscriminate shooting continued until ammunition ran dry. Casualty estimates vary, with fatalities ranging from 379 to over 1,500, while more than 1,200 sustained injuries, including 192 severe cases.

Despite widespread condemnation, Britain has yet to formally apologize for the massacre, although expressing "deep regret" in 2019.

The Third Anglo-Afghan War breaks out

The Third Anglo-Afghan War erupted on May 6, 1919, when the Emirate of Afghanistan launched an invasion into British India, culminating in an armistice on August 8, 1919.

This conflict marked a pivotal moment in Afghan-British relations, with the subsequent signing of the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919. Under this treaty, Afghanistan secured control over its foreign affairs, marking a significant step towards national sovereignty. Moreover, the agreement saw the formal recognition of the Durand Line as the official border delineation between Afghanistan and British India.

The Treaty of Rawalpindi, signed on August 8, 1919, formalized these arrangements, cementing a temporary cessation of hostilities and outlining terms for future diplomatic relations between the two nations. This treaty not only delineated geopolitical boundaries but also symbolized a shifting power dynamic in the region, as Afghanistan asserted its autonomy and navigated its role in the broader geopolitical landscape of South Asia.

Greek landings at Smyrna 

The Greek landing at Smyrna, also known as the Occupation of İzmir, unfolded as a strategic military maneuver initiated by Greek forces on the 15th May 1919. This operation, sanctioned and overseen by the Allied powers, marked a pivotal moment in the complex geopolitical landscape of the post-First World War.

With the backing of the Allies, Greek troops landed in Smyrna and its environs, facilitated by the coordinated efforts of Allied forces, which directed their resources towards securing key locations and deploying warships to the Smyrna harbor.

However, the landing quickly escalated into a violent confrontation when a shot was fired on the Greek 1/38 Evzone Regiment, triggering significant unrest involving both Greek troops and citizens of Smyrna. This event catalyzed the onset of the three-year-long Greek Occupation of Smyrna and served as a potent catalyst for the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922), a protracted and bloody conflict that profoundly reshaped the political and social landscape of the region.

Mustafa Kemal (Pictured right), later known as Atatürk, led Turkey's War of Independence (1919-1923) against occupying Allied forces and Greek expansionism. Utilizing innovative strategies and rallying Turkish nationalists, he established a new republic, modernized the nation, and abolished the Ottoman monarchy, shaping Turkey's future as a secular democratic state.

The Franco-Turkish War - Southern Front of the Turkish War of Independence I THE GREAT WAR 1921 - CDA

Start of the Turkish War of Independence

The Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922 and the Turkish War of Independence of 1919-1922 are interconnected conflicts that unfolded within the broader context of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent reshaping of the region.

The Turkish War of Independence, which broke out on the 19th May 1919, and led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the Turkish National Movement, sought to repel foreign occupation forces and assert Turkish sovereignty over Anatolia and Thrace.

The aftermath of the Greco-Turkish war. The Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922 and the Turkish War of Independence of 1919-1922 were linked conflicts within the broader context of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Frédéric Gadmer

Jan 6 1923 Frédéric Gadmer takes these 99-year-old colour autochrome photos in the ruins of Ouchak ( Uşak ) Turkey (Albert-Kahn Museum: A 37 216 S) Result of the Greco-Turkish war (1919–1922) [800 × 593] : r/HistoryPorn (

...the beginning of a new era...

As part of this struggle, the Greco-Turkish War emerged when Greece sought to expand its territory into Anatolia, which was inhabited by a significant Turkish population.

Consequently, the Greco-Turkish War became a crucial theater within the larger Turkish War of Independence, as it posed a significant threat to the nascent Turkish state.

The successful defense against Greek advances played a pivotal role in solidifying Turkish resolve and ultimately securing independence, leading to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey on the 29th October 1923.

Thus, the link between these two conflicts lies in their shared goal of determining the future of Anatolia and shaping the trajectory of Turkish nationhood and statehood.

Atatürk's visionary reforms transformed Turkey into a secular, modern nation-state, marking the end of centuries-old imperial rule and the beginning of a new era of Turkish sovereignty and independence.

The Turkish War of Independence is celebrated as a defining moment in Turkish history, symbolizing the triumph of national will and resilience against formidable odds.

Propaganda poster of the Turkish National Movement. The Turkish National Movement, spurred by the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War, led the Turkish War of Independence, employing both political and military strategies to establish the modern Republic of Turkey.

Halâskârân-ı İslâm afiş - Turkish War of Independence - Wikipedia

Belgium grabs German East Africa 

On the 30th May 1919, Belgium's territorial influence expanded significantly through an agreement with the United Kingdom, later ratified by the League of Nations.

This agreement conferred upon Belgium the mandate to govern a portion of German East Africa, specifically the territories of Ruanda and Urundi, collectively known as Ruanda-Urundi. Under this mandate,

Belgium assumed administrative control over these regions, tasked with overseeing their development and governance.

The mandate system, established by the League of Nations as a mechanism for managing former colonial territories in the aftermath of the First World War, aimed to ensure stability and facilitate the transition to self-governance.

However, the implementation of these mandates often entailed complex challenges, including tensions between colonial powers and indigenous populations, as well as issues related to economic exploitation and cultural assimilation. Belgium's administration of Ruanda-Urundi would leave a lasting impact on the region, shaping its trajectory and influencing its political, social, and economic development in the decades to come.

German East African rupie provisional banknote issued in Dar es Salaam in 1915–17 Currency had to be printed locally due to a significant lack of provisions resulting from the ongoing naval blockade.

German East Africa - Wikipedia

Map Of German East Africa, from The Illustrated War News Published 1915. After the First World War German East Africa was partitioned among Allied powers. Tanganyika came under British control, while Rwanda and Burundi were placed under Belgian mandate, reshaping the region's geopolitical landscape.

Map Of German East Africa, Showing Drawing by Vintage Design Pics - Pixels

Tragedy at Sette Giugno 

On the 7th June 1919, Malta witnessed a pivotal moment in its history with the events that unfolded on Sette Giugno, or the Seventh of June.

This date marked a turning point in the island's struggle for self-determination and freedom from colonial rule. In response to mounting grievances and frustrations with British administration, the Maltese population erupted into protests and riots.

The British authorities, confronted with the unrest, responded with force, leading to a tragic loss of life as four individuals were fatally shot by British troops.

Sette Giugno not only galvanized a unified resistance against British rule but also underscored the deep-rooted desire of the Maltese people for independence and sovereignty.

This significant event serves as a poignant reminder of Malta's enduring quest for autonomy and remains commemorated annually as a national holiday, symbolizing the resilience and determination of its people in the face of adversity.

Scuttling of the German fleet at Scapa Flow 

Shortly after the conclusion of the First World War, a dramatic event unfolded at Scapa Flow, a British Royal Navy base nestled in the Orkney Islands of Scotland.

The Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet, interned at Scapa Flow under the terms of the Armistice while negotiations regarding the fate of the ships were underway, was scuttled by its sailors.

The decision to scuttle the fleet was driven by fears that the British might unilaterally seize the ships or that the German government might reject the Treaty of Versailles and reignite hostilities, potentially deploying the vessels against Germany.

The SMS Derfflinger sinks at Scapa Flow after being scuttled by her crew. 21 June 1919. The scuttling of the German fleet, orchestrated by Admiral von Reuter to prevent British seizure and treaty violations, symbolized the post-First World War disarmament challenges and international tensions.

Scuttling of the German fleet at Scapa Flow - Wikipedia

Led by Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, the scuttling took place on the 21st June 1919, with 52 of the 74 interned vessels succumbing to the depths. Although British guard ships managed to beach some of the ships, many sank irretrievably.

Over the subsequent two decades, efforts were made to salvage the wrecks, with several vessels towed away for scrapping. Today, the remaining wrecks serve as popular diving sites and are revered as a source of low-background steel.

This event, while localized in its occurrence, holds global significance as a poignant symbol of the post-war disarmament efforts and the profound consequences of the Treaty of Versailles on international maritime affairs.

The Treaty of Versailles is signed marking the official end of the First World War 

On the 28th June 1919, history turned a page with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, a monumental event that officially marked the end of the First World War.

Signed at the Palace of Versailles in France, this treaty not only brought an end to the devastating conflict that had engulfed the world but also laid the groundwork for the subsequent reconstruction of Europe and the establishment of a new international order.

The treaty, negotiated among the Allied powers and Germany, imposed severe penalties and territorial adjustments on the defeated Central Powers, particularly Germany. It aimed to redress the grievances of the victors, holding Germany accountable for the war's outbreak and resulting damages. However, the treaty's punitive terms, including substantial reparations payments and territorial losses, fueled resentment and sowed the seeds of future conflict.

The signing of the Treaty of Versailles thus stands as a pivotal moment in modern history, shaping the course of the 20th century and setting the stage for the complexities and challenges that would define the post-war era.

...the uprising successfully liberated much of the territory...

The end of the Greater Poland Uprising 

The Greater Poland Uprising of December 1918 - 28th June 1919 marked a pivotal moment in Poland's struggle for independence from foreign rule. With widespread support from the local population, Polish insurgents fought against German forces occupying the region of Greater Poland.

The uprising successfully liberated much of the territory and laid the groundwork for the establishment of an independent Polish state.

Polish Officers during the Greater Poland Uprising, 1919. The Greater Poland Uprising of 1918-1919 was a significant armed conflict in Poland, aiming to regain Polish territories from German rule after the First World War, contributing to Poland's independence.

Greater Polish uprising officers : r/uniformporn (

However, the conflict did not achieve all of its objectives, and the final resolution came through diplomatic negotiations rather than outright military victory.

The uprising had a significant effect on the decisions in Versailles that granted Poland not only the area won by the insurrectionists but also major cities with a significant German population like Bydgoszcz (Bromberg), Leszno (Lissa) and Rawicz (Rawitsch), as well as the lands of the Polish Corridor, which were also part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth before the First Partition of Poland in 1772 and connected Poland to the Baltic Sea.

The signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919 formally recognized the end of the uprising and confirmed the return of Greater Poland to Polish control, providing a significant boost to Polish aspirations for statehood.

Poland by 1920. New territories gained, including a narrow 'corridor' to the Baltic Sea. This 'Polish Corridor' would become a key target for Adolf Hitler in the build up to the Second World War.

Maps of Warsaw Institute | Warsaw Institute

Start of the Chicago Race Riots 

The Chicago race riot of 1919 stands as a dark chapter in American history, marking a violent clash between white and black communities in the city. Spanning from the 27th July to the 3rd August, this tumultuous period of racial conflict on the South Side of Chicago resulted in the loss of 38 lives, with 23 black and 15 white individuals tragically perishing.

The toll of injuries attributed to the confrontations stood at 537, disproportionately affecting black residents, who also bore the brunt of the economic devastation, with between 1,000 and 2,000 mostly black households losing their homes. This riot, amidst a backdrop of simmering racial tensions and widespread racial discrimination, was emblematic of the broader state of race relations in the United States during the early 20th century.

Occurring during the "Red Summer" of 1919, a period characterized by heightened racial and labor violence across the country, the Chicago race riot was among the most severe incidents of its kind, underscoring the urgent need for social and racial justice reform.

White men and boys standing in front of a vandalized house during the Chicago Race Riots of 1919. The riots were fueled by racial tensions and economic disparities, exacerbated by a history of segregation and discrimination.

The Silesian Uprising: A bilingual Polish propaganda poster: Vote for Poland and you will be free.

The Silesian Uprisings (1919-1921), Explained! | What were the Silesian Uprisings? (

The start of the Silesian Uprisings

The Silesian Uprisings comprised three distinct revolts spanning from the 16th August 1919 to July 1921 in Upper Silesia, then under the jurisdiction of the Weimar Republic.

Polish and Polish-Silesian insurgents, advocating for the region's integration into the newly established Polish Republic, clashed with German law enforcement and paramilitary units determined to maintain it within the nascent German state post-First World War

Ultimately, the territory was partitioned between Poland and Germany. These uprisings remain commemorated in contemporary Poland as emblematic of Polish nationalistic aspirations.

Freidrich Ebert; The first president of the Weimar Republic

On the 21st August 1919, Friedrich Ebert ascended to the position of the first President of Germany, marking a pivotal moment in the country's history under the newly established Weimar Constitution. Ebert's presidency symbolized the transition from the tumultuous aftermath of World War I to the fragile beginnings of the Weimar Republic.

As the head of state, Ebert faced immense challenges, including political instability, economic turmoil, and social unrest. Despite these obstacles, he navigated the nascent republic through its formative years, striving to foster stability and unity amidst a fractured political landscape.

Ebert's presidency laid the groundwork for the Weimar Republic's democratic experiment, shaping its trajectory and setting the stage for the complex political dynamics that would define interwar Germany.

International cooperation, a right-wing coup and a ban on booze

Start of Prohibition, 17th January 1920

Magazine advert from 1919 urging drinkers to stock up before prohibition legislation is enacted.

PROHIBITION IN USA Magazine advert from 1919 urging drinkers to stock up before legislation is enacted Stock Photo - Alamy

The implementation of Prohibition in the United States, marked by the ratification of the 18th Amendment on the 17th January 1920, heralded a significant shift in the nation's social and legal landscape.

Prohibition aimed to address the perceived societal harms wrought by alcohol abuse by outlawing the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages.

Yet, despite its noble intentions, Prohibition yielded a host of unintended consequences that profoundly impacted American society.

One of the most notable repercussions of Prohibition was the emergence of organized crime syndicates that capitalized on the lucrative black market for alcohol.

Speakeasies, clandestine establishments where alcohol was illicitly served, proliferated in response to the demand for alcohol, undermining the effectiveness of the law and fostering a culture of rebellion.

...widespread defiance of the law....

The widespread flouting of Prohibition laws underscored the growing public resistance to the ban on alcohol.

As the negative consequences of Prohibition became increasingly apparent, public sentiment shifted, and calls for repeal grew louder. This mounting discontent culminated in the ratification of the 21st Amendment in 1933, which repealed the 18th Amendment and brought an end to Prohibition.

The repeal of Prohibition marked the conclusion of a tumultuous era characterized by social upheaval, organized crime, and widespread defiance of the law, highlighting the complexities of implementing sweeping social reforms.

New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach (right) watches as agents pour liquor into a sewer following a raid during the height of Prohibition. Prohibition, enforced in the United States from 1920 to 1933, banned the production, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. Intended to reduce crime and social issues, it instead led to a rise in organized crime, speakeasies, and bootlegging. It was eventually repealed due to widespread noncompliance and its adverse effects.

Amazing Colorized Photos of American Prohibition From the 1920s and 1930s ~ Vintage Everyday

Birth of the League of Nations, 10th January 1920.

The League of Nations, established on the 10th January, 1920, emerged as a pioneering attempt to foster global cooperation and prevent future conflicts following the devastation of the First World War.

Conceived under the auspices of the Treaty of Versailles, the League aimed to provide a platform for diplomatic negotiation, arbitration, and collective security among member states.

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, it comprised representatives from various nations committed to promoting peace and resolving disputes through peaceful means.

While the League undertook humanitarian efforts, addressed territorial disputes, and facilitated economic cooperation, its effectiveness was hampered by the absence of key global powers like the United States and the Soviet Union.

The Japanese Invasion of Manchuria in 1931. The League of Nations, founded after the First World War to promote peace and cooperation, faced numerous challenges and failures. It lacked enforcement mechanisms and failed to prevent aggressions by Japan, Italy, and Germany. Its inability to address conflicts effectively led to its ultimate demise and the outbreak of the Second World War.

Japanese Troops In Manchuria #1 Photograph by Underwood Archives - Fine Art America

Additionally, the League faced challenges in enforcing its decisions, as evidenced by its failure to prevent the outbreak of the Second World War.

Nevertheless, the League laid the groundwork for future international organizations like the United Nations, contributing to the development of diplomatic norms and institutions aimed at fostering global stability and cooperation.

A political cartoon from 1920 showing a partisan battle between Woodrow Wilson (left) and US Senator Henry Cabot Lodge (right). The U.S. Senate's rejection of the Treaty of Versailles and refusal to join the League of Nations weakened the organization's effectiveness by depriving it of American participation and support.

The Ohio State University

Why Did the League of Nations Ultimately Fail? (

On February 2nd, a significant moment in the Estonian War of Independence occurred with the signing of the Tartu Peace Treaty. This pivotal agreement brought an end to the hostilities between Estonia and the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, marking a crucial milestone in the quest for Estonian independence.

The treaty not only concluded the armed conflict but also formally recognized the sovereignty and independence of both the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic.

By acknowledging Estonia's autonomy, the Tartu Peace Treaty affirmed the nation's right to self-determination and paved the way for its integration into the community of independent nations.

This historic event solidified Estonia's status as a sovereign state and laid the foundation for its development as a modern democratic nation.

The signing of the Tartu Peace Treaty remains a defining moment in Estonian history, symbolizing the culmination of years of struggle and sacrifice in the pursuit of freedom and self-governance.

Estonian soldiers during the Estonian War of Independence. The conflict, culminating in the signing of the Tartu Peace Treaty on February 2, 1920, solidified Estonia's sovereignty and ended its struggle against Soviet Russia.

Estonia celebrates the independence day (

On the 24th February, 1920, Adolf Hitler unveiled his National Socialist Program during a meeting of the German Workers' Party (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) in Munich.

This program outlined the foundational principles and objectives of what would later become the Nazi Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei).

Hitler's presentation marked a significant turning point in the party's ideology and direction, as the adoption of the National Socialist Program represented a radical shift towards extreme nationalism, anti-Semitism, and authoritarianism.

The program advocated for the establishment of a unified German state, the exclusion of non-Germans from citizenship rights, the abolition of the Treaty of Versailles, the implementation of policies to benefit German workers, and the promotion of anti-Semitic measures.

Published: November 21, 1922
Copyright © The New York Times

98786796.pdf (

Adolf Hitler, circa 1922. In the 1920s, Adolf Hitler rose to prominence as the leader of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party). He espoused nationalist and anti-Semitic ideologies, laying the groundwork for his future actions.

Imagno/Getty Images

...ambitions of seizing power and reshaping German society...

By embracing these extremist ideologies, Hitler sought to appeal to disaffected Germans disillusioned by the economic and political turmoil of the post-First World War era.

The renaming of the party to the Nazi Party signaled its transformation into a vehicle for Hitler's ambitions of seizing power and reshaping German society according to his totalitarian vision.

This pivotal moment laid the groundwork for the rise of Nazism and the catastrophic events that would unfold in the years to come, including the Second World War and the Holocaust.

These colour photos show the liberation of Dachau. The first of the thousands of concentration camps that sprang up across Germany after the Nazis rose to power. Established in March 1933, just two months after Hitler became Chancellor, Dachau was built to house political prisoners and by the end of the year around 4,800 mainly communists, social democrats and union officials, had been incarcerated there. Over the years that followed, the number of inmates was swelled as other 'undesirables', such as homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gypsies, criminals and of course Jews were sent there.

The colour of darkness: Vivid pictures of first Nazi concentration camps give chilling insight into the dawn of the Holocaust | Daily Mail Online

...restoring order amidst internal strife and external pressures...

On the 1st of March 1920, Hungarian Admiral and statesman Miklós Horthy assumed the position of Regent of Hungary, marking a significant shift in the country's political landscape.

As Regent, Horthy wielded considerable power and influence, guiding Hungary through a period of political upheaval and economic reconstruction in the aftermath of the First World War and the Treaty of Trianon. His leadership played a crucial role in stabilizing the country and restoring order amidst internal strife and external pressures.

Horthy's tenure as Regent saw the implementation of conservative policies aimed at preserving traditional Hungarian values and interests, including the promotion of national identity and the protection of ethnic Hungarian communities beyond Hungary's borders.

However, his authoritarian rule also witnessed the suppression of political opposition and the restriction of civil liberties.

Miklós Horthy, a Hungarian admiral and statesman, served as the Regent of Hungary from the 1st March 1920, playing a significant role in shaping the country's political trajectory during the tumultuous interwar period.

...grappled with the rise of fascist ideologies...

Despite these challenges, Horthy's leadership provided a sense of stability and continuity during a tumultuous period in Hungarian history.

His influence extended into the 1930s, shaping Hungary's trajectory as it navigated the complex geopolitical landscape of interwar Europe and grappled with the rise of fascist ideologies.

Ultimately, Horthy's legacy remains a subject of debate, with assessments of his tenure reflecting the complexities of Hungary's interwar experience.

Regent Miklós Horthy entering Kassa (Kosice) riding a white horse in 1938.

Remembering Regent Miklós Horthy — A Short Portrait of Hungary’s Interwar Leader | Hungarian Conservative

...the coup aimed to overthrow the democratically elected government...

Meanwhile, the Kapp Putsch, also known as the Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch, unfolded in a volatile Germany in March 1920, marking a significant challenge to the fragile Weimar Republic.

Led by right-wing nationalist forces, including Wolfgang Kapp and General Walther von Lüttwitz, the coup aimed to overthrow the democratically elected government and establish a new authoritarian regime.

The Brigade Erhardt in Berlin during the Kapp Putsch. The Kapp Putsch was a 1920 attempted coup in Weimar Germany, led by Wolfgang Kapp and Freikorps, aiming to overthrow the government. It collapsed due to civilian resistance, strike actions, and lack of military support.

Revolutionary History: 100th Anniversary of the Kapp Putsch in Germany - China Worker

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H25109

The putschists sought to capitalize on public discontent with the Treaty of Versailles and economic instability.

Despite initial success in capturing Berlin and installing a new government, the coup ultimately collapsed due to lack of popular support and resistance from organized labor, leading to the failure of the uprising within days.

The Kapp Putsch highlighted the vulnerability of the Weimar Republic to extremist threats and underscored the ongoing political turmoil and polarization in post-war Germany.

General Mannerheim was a prominent Finnish military leader and statesman, known for his role in the Finnish Civil War and his contributions to shaping Finland's development in the interwar period.

On April 3rd, a failed assassination plot targeted General Mannerheim, a prominent military leader and statesman in Finland.

The attempt, which ultimately proved unsuccessful, underscored the political tensions and instability prevalent in Finland during this period.

General Mannerheim, known for his leadership during the Finnish Civil War and his subsequent role in shaping the country's development, was a key figure in Finnish politics.

The failed assassination highlighted the challenges facing Finland as it navigated internal divisions and external pressures in the aftermath of the First World War and the Russian Revolution.

Despite the attempt on his life, General Mannerheim continued to play a crucial role in Finnish affairs, contributing to the country's eventual stability and emergence as an independent nation in the tumultuous landscape of interwar Europe.

Spanish Flu Epidemic 1918-20. An pneumonia porch at the U. S. Army Camp Hospital in Aix-les-Bains, France, during the Spanish Flu epidemic. Most flu deaths were of healthy young adults, who died from bacterial pneumonia, a secondary infection caused by the influenza.

Spanish Flu Epidemic 1918-19. An Photograph by Everett - Fine Art America

...infected a third of the world's population...

The Spanish flu pandemic, which emerged in 1918 and ravaged populations worldwide, began to wane by April 1920.

While exact figures vary, it's estimated to have infected a third of the world's population and caused tens of millions of deaths. Improved hygiene practices, quarantine measures, and the development of some immunity within affected populations contributed to its eventual decline.

Although sporadic outbreaks continued for years afterward, the devastating impact of the pandemic gradually diminished, allowing societies to recover and rebuild in its aftermath.

The Wall Street Bombing, 16th September 1920

The Wall Street bombing, a harrowing act of terrorism, rocked Wall Street at precisely 12:01 pm on Thursday, September 16, 1920.

The detonation claimed the lives of 30 individuals instantly, with an additional 10 succumbing to their injuries in the aftermath. The devastating impact reverberated further with 143 individuals sustaining severe injuries, while the total count of wounded soared into the hundreds.

Despite extensive investigations, the perpetrators behind this heinous attack were never definitively identified. However, both contemporary investigators and modern historians widely attribute the bombing to the Galleanists, a radical group known for their extremist views and previous involvement in a string of bombings in the preceding year.

This tragic event, shrouded in mystery, occurred against the backdrop of the Red Scare, a period of heightened anti-leftist sentiment in the United States, intensifying fears and suspicions surrounding radical political movements and acts of violence.

Soldiers and police hold back onlookers following the bombing of Wall Street on September 16, 1920. The  bombing, a devastating act of terrorism, killed 30 people and injured hundreds, its perpetrators believed to be Galleanists.

19 Vintage Photos That Capture the Wall Street Bombing in New York City on September 16, 1920 ~ Vintage Everyday

Naval disarmament, peace in Ireland and financial meltdown in Germany

The Washington Naval Conference of 1921-1922 was a significant international diplomatic event aimed at addressing naval disarmament and promoting peace among major naval powers.

Hosted by the United States, the conference brought together representatives from the United States, Britain, Japan, France, and Italy to discuss naval limitations and reduce the potential for an arms race.

The conference resulted in several important agreements, including the Five-Power Treaty, which established limits on the tonnage and number of battleships for each participating country, and the Four-Power Treaty, which aimed to preserve the status quo in the Pacific.

Three Austrian dreadnought battleships, 1917. The development of powerful warships, particularly dreadnoughts, heightened tensions among major naval powers, prompting the Washington Naval Conference of 1921-1922. The conference aimed to curb naval arms race by imposing limitations on naval construction, seeking to prevent further escalation and maintain stability in international relations.

Three Austrian dreadnought battleships, 1917 [1934 x 1282] [Colorized] : r/MilitaryPorn ( cooperation and arms control...

A pro-treaty poster. The Irish Treaty negotiations led to the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, marking a compromise between pro- and anti-treaty factions amidst ongoing political turmoil.

Additionally, the Nine-Power Treaty reaffirmed the Open Door Policy in China, ensuring equal trading rights for all nations.

The Washington Naval Conference marked a significant step towards international cooperation and arms control, laying the groundwork for future disarmament efforts and diplomatic initiatives aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the post-First World War era.

After years of bloodshed, the Irish Treaty negotiations, held in 1921, marked a pivotal moment in Irish history, leading to the establishment of the Irish Free State.

Represented by leaders such as Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith, the Irish delegation negotiated with British representatives, seeking independence while facing the specter of partition.

The resulting treaty, though contentious, granted Ireland self-governance within the British Commonwealth, laying the foundation for the eventual creation of the Irish Republic.

Some of the last British troops to leave the Irish Free State in 1922. The Irish Free State was formed in 1922 following the Anglo-Irish Treaty, ending British rule in most of Ireland. It established self-governance but retained ties to the British Commonwealth.

1922 – The last British troops leave the Irish Free State. (

...leading to a collapse of savings, widespread poverty, and social upheaval...

Hyperinflation in Germany during the early 1920s was a catastrophic economic phenomenon characterized by rapidly rising prices and devaluation of the currency.

Triggered by the economic turmoil following the First World War and exacerbated by government policies such as printing excessive amounts of money to finance war reparations, hyperinflation eroded the value of the German mark, leading to a collapse of savings, widespread poverty, and social upheaval.

Daily life became increasingly challenging as people struggled to afford basic necessities, and the middle class was particularly hard-hit.

...devastating impact...

While hyperinflation ended with the introduction of the Rentenmark and later the Reichsmark, its devastating impact left a lasting scar on the German economy and society, contributing to political instability and social unrest, and ultimately paving the way for the rise of extremist ideologies.

A shopkeeper stuffs excess cash into a tea chest next to his register, 1922. Hyperinflation in Germany during the early 1920s saw the currency's value rapidly decline, leading to astronomical price increases and economic chaos, ultimately undermining confidence in the government and contributing to social instability.

Historical Photos of Germany in the Era of Hyperinflation in the Early 1920s ~ Vintage Everyday

Civil war, assassination and the birth of a communist empire

The year 1922 marked a pivotal moment in Irish history with the formation of the Irish Free State and the intensification of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) conflict.

Following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921, which established the Irish Free State as a self-governing dominion within the British Commonwealth, political divisions emerged among Irish nationalists.

While pro-treaty forces, led by Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith, supported the treaty and formed the Provisional Government, anti-treaty Republicans, including Eamon de Valera, rejected the agreement, fearing it fell short of full independence. The split led to the outbreak of the Irish Civil War in June 1922 between pro and anti-treaty factions.

The IRA, previously unified in its fight against British rule, now found itself divided, with former comrades-turned-opponents engaged in a bitter conflict.

The violence and political turmoil that ensued deeply divided Irish society and left a lasting impact on the nascent Irish Free State, shaping its political landscape for years to come.

Michael Collins, a key figure in the Irish War of Independence, played a pivotal role in negotiating the Anglo-Irish Treaty. While he saw it as a stepping stone to independence, he acknowledged its contentious compromises.

Irish revolutionary Michael Collins in 1916. Colourised. (639 x 768) : r/HistoryPorn (

Soldiers posing outside the Royal Hotel in Limerick during thr Irish Civil War. The bitter conflict erupted in 1922 between pro-treaty forces, supporting the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the newly formed Irish Free State, and anti-treaty Republicans, opposing compromises with Britain, resulting in a divisive conflict over Ireland's future.

John O'Byrne

Stunning restored images reveal true colours of Irish Civil War, which began 100-years-ago | The Irish Post

...effectively legitimizing the Fascist movement...

Mussolini's March on Rome, which took place in October 1922, marked a pivotal moment in Italian history.

Thousands of Fascist supporters, emboldened by Benito Mussolini's charismatic leadership, marched on the capital to demand governmental reforms and an end to political instability.

Despite initially hesitant authorities, King Victor Emmanuel III eventually invited Mussolini to form a new government, effectively legitimizing the Fascist movement and paving the way for Mussolini's rise to power as Prime Minister.

This event solidified Mussolini's grip on Italy and set the stage for the establishment of a totalitarian regime that would dramatically reshape the country's political landscape.

Mussolini's March on Rome in 1922 was a pivotal moment in Italian history, where Fascist Blackshirts seized power, prompting King Victor Emmanuel III to appoint Mussolini as Prime Minister, marking the ascent of Fascism.

akg-images London (

The Formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 was a transformative event that reshaped the geopolitical landscape of the 20th century.

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent civil war, the Bolsheviks emerged victorious under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin.

In December 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was officially established, bringing together several former Russian territories under a centralized communist government.

...a new era of ideological confrontation...

This union marked the consolidation of Bolshevik power and the implementation of Lenin's vision of a socialist state.

The creation of the USSR not only solidified communist control over vast territories but also signaled the beginning of a new era of ideological confrontation between communism and capitalism on the global stage.

Troops manning barricades in Petrograd, Russia during the Russian Revolution in 1917.  The  revolution toppled the Tsarist autocracy, leading to the establishment of a Bolshevik government. This event sparked a civil war between the Bolsheviks and their opponents, culminating in the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922.

Revolutionary Colourised Images Show The Bolshevik Uprising in Early 20th Century Russia | Media Drum World

...a significant blow to the fragile democratic government...

The assassination of Walter Rathenau in 1922 sent shockwaves throughout Germany and beyond.

As the Foreign Minister of the Weimar Republic and a prominent Jewish industrialist, Rathenau was a polarizing figure in the post-war political landscape.

His assassination by right-wing extremists highlighted the growing political instability and violence plaguing Germany during the tumultuous years of the Weimar era.

Rathenau's death was not only a personal tragedy but also a significant blow to the fragile democratic government, fueling fears of further extremism and undermining confidence in the Weimar Republic's ability to maintain law and order.

The murder of Rathenau underscored the deep divisions within German society and served as a stark reminder of the challenges facing the young democracy as it struggled to establish itself amidst economic hardship, social unrest, and political turmoil.

Walter Rathenau, a prominent Jewish German statesman, was assassinated in 1922 by right-wing extremists who opposed his liberal policies and perceived Jewish influence. His death shocked Germany and highlighted the rising political violence of the time.

Rathenau (

Troops on the move, Aegean invasion and an attempted coup

With a new year barely starting, simmering tensions exploded with the start of the Ruhr Crisis, which stemmed from Germany's inability to meet its reparation payments following the First World War.

This prompted French and Belgian troops to occupy the industrial Ruhr region in Germany, in January 1923.

This occupation was met with passive resistance from the German government and workers, leading to a significant economic downturn as production stalled and inflation skyrocketed.

The crisis exacerbated political instability in Germany and strained relations between Germany and the Allied powers, ultimately contributing to the hyperinflation crisis and further weakening the Weimar Republic.

A 1923 German poster showing the Ruhr: ‘Beware of the dog, the beast has spikes’

The Ruhr occupation (

Elsewhere, the Treaty of Lausanne, signed on the 24th July 1923, officially ended the state of war between the Allied powers and the Ottoman Empire, effectively replacing the earlier Treaty of Sèvres.

This treaty recognized the sovereignty of the Republic of Turkey and its borders, ensuring the territorial integrity of modern-day Turkey.

It also addressed issues related to the status of minorities, providing for their protection and granting them certain rights.

...killed by unknown assailants...

The treaty marked a significant milestone in the post-First World War era, bringing stability to the region and establishing diplomatic relations between Turkey and the international community.

The following month, the Corfu Incident occurred in August. when an Italian general and his staff were killed by unknown assailants on the Greek island of Corfu. Italy accused Greece of orchestrating the attack and demanded reparations.

When Greece refused, Italy bombarded and occupied the Greek island of Corfu. The incident strained relations between Italy and Greece and led to diplomatic tensions in Europe.

Italian soldiers land in Corfu. In 1923, the Corfu Incident unfolded when Italian dictator Benito Mussolini ordered the bombardment of the Greek island of Corfu in response to the murder of an Italian diplomat.

Σαν σήμερα το 1923 οι Ιταλοί βομβαρδίζουν και αποβιβάζονται στην Κέρκυρα | Λευκαδίτικα Νέα - Lefkada News (

The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch, was a failed coup attempt led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party on the 8th & 9th of November 1923, in Munich, Germany.

Seeking to overthrow the Weimar Republic and establish a nationalist government, Hitler and his supporters stormed a beer hall where a political rally was taking place.

Despite initial success in seizing government buildings, the coup was quickly suppressed by police and the army.

...solidified his leadership within the Nazi Party...

Hitler was arrested and later tried for treason, during which he used the trial as a platform to gain publicity for his nationalist and anti-Semitic views.

Although the Beer Hall Putsch itself was a failure, it marked the beginning of Hitler's rise to power, as it solidified his leadership within the Nazi Party and laid the groundwork for future attempts to seize control of the German government.

Defendants in the Beer Hall Putsch trial, 1923.

A new Greece, a proud empire and political scheming

The Treaty of Rome in 1924 marked a significant diplomatic milestone in post-First World  War Europe.

Signed between Italy and Yugoslavia, the treaty aimed to resolve territorial disputes arising from the war. It delineated the border between the two nations, particularly addressing contentious regions such as Fiume (modern-day Rijeka).

The agreement, brokered with the assistance of Britain and France, helped alleviate tensions in the region and fostered a semblance of stability during a tumultuous period of political and territorial realignment

...a significant shift in Greece's political landscape...

The formation of the Second Hellenic Republic occurred in 1924, following the end of the Greco-Turkish War and the abdication of King Constantine I.

The republic was established after a national referendum voted in favor of abolishing the monarchy. This marked a significant shift in Greece's political landscape, ushering in a period of republican governance.

The Greek capital, Athens, in the 1920's. In 1924, Greece abolished its monarchy and established the Second Hellenic Republic, marking a shift towards republican governance after years of political instability.

Downtown Athens 1920s : r/europe (

...sparked outrage and international condemnation...

The British Empire Exhibition which ran from 1924 was a grand showcase of the vast territorial holdings and cultural diversity of the British Empire, held at Wembley Park in London.

It aimed to celebrate the empire's achievements, foster imperial unity, and promote trade.

The exhibition featured pavilions from various imperial territories, displaying their products, arts, and cultures.

It attracted millions of visitors, highlighting the enduring influence and global reach of the British Empire.

Giacomo Matteotti, an Italian Socialist leader and vocal critic of Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime, was kidnapped and murdered in June 1924.

His death sparked outrage and international condemnation, revealing the brutality and impunity of Mussolini's government.

Matteotti's assassination deepened political tensions in Italy and undermined the legitimacy of the Fascist regime both domestically and abroad.

In 1924, Italian socialist politician Giacomo Matteotti was assassinated, sparking a political crisis in Italy. His murder was attributed to Fascist squads, leading to widespread condemnation and international outrage.

Giacomo Matteotti • – The Great Danish

A poster advertising the British Empire Exhibition of 1924, which showcased the achievements of the British Empire, promoting colonial products and fostering imperial pride.

British Empire Exhibition 1924 Wembley Park April-October | Barnebys

...a pivotal moment in India's struggle...

Subhas Chandra Bose was an Indian nationalist leader who played a prominent role in the struggle for India's independence from British rule.

The 1924 Kohat riots, occurring in the British Indian district of Kohat, were a significant eruption of communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.

Triggered by tensions over religious processions, the riots escalated into widespread clashes, resulting in loss of life and property damage.

The British authorities struggled to contain the violence, highlighting the simmering communal tensions in colonial India.

In 1924, the arrest of Subhas Chandra Bose marked a pivotal moment in India's struggle for independence from British colonial rule.

Bose, a prominent nationalist leader, was apprehended by British authorities for his involvement in anti-government activities.

His arrest galvanized support for the independence movement and elevated Bose's status as a symbol of resistance against British oppression.

Despite his incarceration, Bose's fervent advocacy for Indian self-rule continued to inspire millions across the country.

A street in Urga, Mongolia, in the 1920's. The Mongolian People's Republic was established in 1924, marking Mongolia's transition from a theocratic monarchy to a socialist state aligned with the Soviet Union. 

12 Incredible Color Photos of Mongolia in the early 20th Century Taken by Stefan Passe ~ Vintage Everyday

...aimed to establish an authoritarian regime...

The formation of the Mongolian People's Republic in 1924 signaled a significant shift in Mongolia's political landscape. Under Soviet influence, Mongolia transitioned from a monarchy to a socialist state, aligning itself ideologically with the Bolsheviks in neighboring Russia.

The establishment of the People's Republic marked the end of centuries of Qing dynasty rule and paved the way for Mongolia's integration into the Soviet sphere of influence during the early 20th century.

In December 1924, Estonia faced a tumultuous period when a group of right-wing extremists attempted to overthrow the government in what is now known as the Estonian coup attempt.

Led by members of the nationalist Vaps Movement, the coup aimed to establish an authoritarian regime and suppress leftist influence in the country.

However, the attempt was swiftly thwarted by loyalist forces, and the Estonian government successfully maintained its democratic structure.

The coup attempt highlighted the political divisions within Estonian society and underscored the challenges of transitioning to stable governance in the aftermath of World War I and the Estonian War of Independence.

Jaan Anvelt, looking exactly like the sort of person who would launch an uprising in Estonia. In 1924, Anvelt, a Bolshevik leader, led an unsuccessful coup in Estonia aimed at establishing a socialist regime. The coup was swiftly suppressed by Estonian forces, thwarting Anvelt's ambitions.

Although he escaped the aftermath of the failed coup by fleeing to Russia, he could later die at the hands of the NKVD during one of Joseph Stalins 'Purges'.

Jaan Anvelt 1925 - 1924 Estonian coup attempt - Wikipedia

Map of Estonia in 1920. Estonia's relationship with the Soviet Union until the 1920s was characterized by Russian imperial control, followed by a brief period of independence after the Russian Revolution, and subsequent Soviet attempts to regain control.

mapsontheweb: Map of Estonia in 1920. Estonia looks like a fantasy kingdom map - Tumblr Pics

Treaties, racism and the horror of the Holocaust

The Locarno Treaties, signed in 1925, were a series of agreements aimed at easing tensions in Europe after the First World War.

These treaties, negotiated among Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, and the United Kingdom, sought to secure the post-war territorial settlements and promote mutual respect for existing borders.

One of the key provisions of the Locarno Treaties was the Rhineland Pact, which guaranteed the demilitarization of the Rhineland region, easing fears of German aggression.

...unable to prevent the outbreak of conflict...

Additionally, the treaties provided for arbitration to resolve disputes, fostering a spirit of diplomacy and cooperation among European powers.

The Locarno Treaties were seen as a significant step towards maintaining peace and stability in Europe, although they ultimately proved unable to prevent the outbreak of conflict in the years that followed.

Autochrome of the Belgian delegation at the Locarno Treaties conference taken by Roger Dumas on the 7th October 1925. Left to right: Henri Rolin, Joseph de Ruelle, Emile Vandervelde, Pierre van Zuylen and Ferdinand du Chastel

On the 8th of August, the Ku Klux Klan, a notorious fraternal organization infamous for its racist ideologies and activities, showcased its widespread influence with a massive parade in Washington, D.C.

An estimated 30,000 to 35,000 participants marched proudly through the streets, boldly displaying the Klan's presence and the extent of its support base.

This event underscored the deep-seated racial tensions and systemic discrimination prevalent in American society during that time, highlighting the Klan's significant role in perpetuating such injustices.

Member of the KKK in Southern California in the 1920's. During the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan experienced a resurgence, becoming a significant force in American society. With millions of members, it promoted racist ideologies and conducted public demonstrations, including a large parade in Washington, D.C.

From the Archives: Ku Klux Klan images from 1920s Southern California - Los Angeles Times (

The German–Polish customs war unfolded as a political and economic confrontation between the Second Polish Republic and the Weimar Republic, commencing in June 1925 and concluding officially in March 1934.

Initiated by the expiration of Poland's favored trade status with Germany, the conflict intensified when Berlin opted to heighten customs duties, significantly impacting Poland's coal industry, a crucial export to Germany.

In retaliation, Warsaw reciprocated by increasing tariffs on German products. Germany's strategic objective in the conflict was twofold: to destabilize Poland's economy and extract political concessions, including territorial claims against Poland.

...the ethical compromises and moral atrocities of the Holocaust...

In 1925, the German chemical conglomerate IG Farben was formed through the merger of several major chemical companies.

Initially celebrated for its innovations and economic prowess, IG Farben would later become deeply entangled with the Nazi regime.

During the Second World War, the company played a crucial role in the German war effort, producing synthetic rubber, fuel, and other essential materials for the military.

However, its most notorious association would be with the operation of several concentration camps, including Auschwitz. IG Farben utilized forced labour from these camps, exploiting prisoners in its factories under brutal conditions.

This collaboration between industry and the Nazi regime epitomized the ethical compromises and moral atrocities of the Holocaust, tarnishing IG Farben's legacy forever.

After the war, the company was dissolved, and some of its top executives faced prosecution for their involvement in war crimes.

IG Farben facilities in Germany, 1932. In the 1920s and 1930s, IG Farben grew into one of the largest chemical conglomerates globally, dominating industries such as pharmaceuticals and chemicals. Its success was fueled by innovative research, aggressive expansion, and close collaboration with the Nazi regime, leading to substantial profits and influence.

From Public Relations Photo Section, Office Chief of Counsel for War Crimes Nurnberg, Germany, APO 696-A, US Army - No. OMT-VI-E-4

Newly-arrived Jewish inmates at Auschwitz-Birkenau are forced by SS officers into two queues — one destined for the gas chambers. IG Farben, formed in 1925, was a conglomerate of chemical companies that played a significant role in Nazi Germany's war effort. It supplied chemicals used in gas chambers at Auschwitz and other concentration camps, facilitating the genocide of millions during the Holocaust.

Extraordinary newly colorized images of Auschwitz are only known record of the notorious camp | Daily Mail Online

"Mein Kampf," Adolf Hitler's autobiographical manifesto, was published in two volumes, in 1925 and 1926, respectively.

It outlines Hitler's political ideology, including his anti-Semitic beliefs, expansionist ambitions, and racial theories.

Divided into two volumes, "Mein Kampf" details Hitler's worldview, including his anti-Semitic beliefs, expansionist ambitions, and racial theories.

...a chilling reminder...

It serves as a window into the mind of one of history's most infamous figures, providing insights into the origins of Nazi ideology and the driving forces behind Hitler's quest for power.

Despite its rambling and often disjointed narrative, "Mein Kampf" remains a chilling reminder of the dangers of extremism and the consequences of unchecked hatred and intolerance.

Title page of the first edition of "Mein Kampf" featuring a bust of Hitler. "Mein Kampf," written by Adolf Hitler, outlines his political ideology and plans for Germany. It was published in 1925-1926 and became influential in Nazi propaganda.

Bust (T.Bl. von Hitler's Mein Kampf 1925) - Image Archive (

Coups, coups and more coups

On the 4th of April 1926, Theodoros Pangalos, a Greek military officer known for his authoritarian tendencies, secured an overwhelming victory in the presidential election, garnering an astonishing 93.3% of the vote.

His ascendancy to power marked a significant consolidation of authority, paving the way for a period of dictatorial rule characterized by suppression of political opposition and centralized control.

The Treaty of Berlin signed on 24 April 1926, marked a significant diplomatic milestone in Europe's post-First World War landscape.

Signed between Germany and the Soviet Union, it aimed to normalize relations between the two countries and foster economic cooperation.

The treaty also included provisions for disarmament and non-aggression, reflecting a desire to mitigate tensions and promote stability in the region.

However, the treaty's effectiveness was limited by the underlying geopolitical rivalries and ideological differences between the signatories, foreshadowing the challenges that would continue to shape European politics in the interwar period.

A haughty looking Theodoros Pangalos in 1925, shortly after launching a successful coup in Greece. He declared a state of emergency on 3 January 1926 and assumed dictatorial powers. In April 1926, he orchestrated a fraudulent presidential election, securing his own victory. Economically, Pangalos pursued a controversial strategy, ordering the devaluation of currency by physically cutting paper notes in half. Unsurprisingly he didn't last long in power and was soon overthrown in another coup on the 19th August 1926.

Theodoros Pangalos - Wikipedia

...characterized by guerrilla warfare and foreign intervention...

The Nicaraguan Civil War of 1926–1927 erupted as a result of political instability and power struggles between conservative and liberal factions in Nicaragua.

The conflict primarily involved the forces of conservative President Adolfo Díaz and liberal rebel leader Augusto César Sandino.

It was characterized by guerrilla warfare and foreign intervention, with the United States providing support to Díaz's government.

The war ended inconclusively with the signing of the Espino Negro Treaty, which granted amnesty to the rebels but failed to address the underlying political tensions in Nicaragua.

Greece in 1920. During this period, Greece experienced political instability marked by frequent changes in government and military coups. The country struggled with economic challenges and territorial disputes, while authoritarian leaders like Theodoros Pangalos attempted to consolidate power through rigged elections and repressive measures.

Greece in 1920 (

...widespread disruption and confrontations between workers and authorities...

A government produced poster during the National Strike in 1926. The government's response to the 1926 general strike was confrontational, with Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin labeling it as a challenge to the constitutional government, leading to increased tensions.

1926 general strike photo gallery |

The General Strike from the 4th to the 12th of May 1926 in the United Kingdom, was a significant event in British labour history.

Triggered by wage cuts and worsening working conditions, over 1.7 million workers across various industries walked out in solidarity with coal miners facing reduced pay and longer hours.

Lasting nine days, the strike paralyzed key sectors of the economy, leading to widespread disruption and confrontations between workers and authorities.

Despite initially strong public support, the government's refusal to negotiate and the gradual return to work weakened the strike's effectiveness.

The event highlighted underlying tensions between labor and management, while also exposing divisions within the labor movement itself, ultimately ending without achieving its objectives but leaving a lasting impact on industrial relations in Britain.

 Strikers picket at the docks during the General Strike. During the 1926 general strike in the UK, strikers paralyzed key industries, including coal mining and transportation, demanding better working conditions and wages. They organized mass protests and demonstrations to assert their demands.

1926 general strike photo gallery |

...mounting political discord and tensions...

Meanwhile, the May Coup of 1926, unfolding from May 12 to May 14, unfolded in Poland, a country experiencing profound political upheaval.

Spearheaded by Marshal Józef Piłsudski, the coup emerged amid mounting political discord and tensions between the government and the military.

With the objective of restoring stability and asserting control, Piłsudski's forces orchestrated a swift seizure of power, effecting a significant shift in the country's leadership.

The aftermath of the coup saw the installation of a new government, signalling the ascent of a more authoritarian regime in Poland.

This coup d'état not only reshaped the political landscape but also set the tone for subsequent developments, shaping the trajectory of Poland's governance and society for years to come.

The May Coup of 1926 in Poland, orchestrated by Marshal Józef Piłsudski, sought to address political strife and instability, leading to a change in government and the establishment of a more authoritarian regime.  Piłsudski and fellow officers during the coup on Poniatowski Bridge in Warsaw. Left to right: ppłk Kazimierz Stamirowski, por. Marian Żebrowski, gen. Gustaw Orlicz-Dreszer, Józef Piłsudski, mjr Włodzimierz Jaroszewicz, por. Michał Galiński

Marian Fuks (1884-1935) - Światowid, June 1926 (1981-03-44). Tygodnik Solidarność (4): 9. Marian Fuks. Pierwszy reporter II RP, Dom Spotkań z Historią, Warszawa 2017 (okładka/cover)

...the suppression of dissenting voices...

The 28 May 1926 coup in Portugal, also referred to as the May 28 Revolution, heralded a dramatic shift in the country's political landscape.

Orchestrated by General Gomes da Costa and a faction of disgruntled military officers, the coup aimed to address perceived inefficiencies and instabilities within the democratic First Portuguese Republic.

Fueled by economic hardship, social unrest, and discontent with political corruption, the coup swiftly toppled the republican government, ushering in a new era of authoritarian rule.

The military takeover paved the way for the rise of the Estado Novo regime, a corporatist dictatorship led by António de Oliveira Salazar.

Under Salazar's leadership, Portugal experienced significant political repression, centralized control, and the suppression of dissenting voices, marking a departure from the democratic ideals of the previous republic.

Gomes da Costa on the balcony of the Coimbra Civil Government, acclaimed by people, June 1926. The 28 May 1926 coup in Portugal, known as the May 28 Revolution, led by General Gomes da Costa, overthrew the democratic First Portuguese Republic, paving the way for a military dictatorship. da Cosat did not last long in power, being himself removed by another coup, to be replaced by Óscar Carmona a month later.

28 May 1926 coup d'état - Wikipedia

...a milestone in Lebanon's quest for autonomy and sovereignty...

In the Middle East, on the 1st September 1926, Lebanon, under the French Mandate, underwent a historic transformation as it embraced its inaugural constitution, symbolizing a shift towards self-governance and the establishment of a republic.

The adoption of the constitution represented a milestone in Lebanon's quest for autonomy and sovereignty amid the challenges of French colonial dominance.

With Charles Debbas assuming the presidency, Lebanon embarked on a journey towards greater political independence and the assertion of its national identity.

1935 population map of the French mandate in Syria and Lebanon. On the 1st September 1926, Lebanon began its transition from a French Mandate to an independent republic with the adoption of its first constitution. Charles Debbas became president, marking a significant move towards autonomy.

Map prepared by the Bureau of Topographic French troops in the Lebanon. - La cartothèque de l'Ifpo (Institut français du Proche-Orient) opportunity to regain international standing...

On the 8th September 1926, the Weimar Republic, Germany's fledgling democratic government, took a significant step towards international integration and diplomatic normalization by becoming a member of the League of Nations.

This move signified Germany's commitment to participating in the global community and adhering to principles of collective security and cooperation. For the Weimar Republic, joining the League of Nations represented an opportunity to regain international standing and overcome the legacy of the First World War.

By engaging with the League, Germany sought to demonstrate its willingness to contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability in Europe and beyond.

However, the inclusion of Germany in the League also reflected the organization's evolving role in facilitating reconciliation and dialogue among former adversaries, aiming to prevent future conflicts through diplomatic means.

Despite the challenges and tensions inherent in Germany's integration into the League of Nations, its membership marked a crucial step towards the normalization of relations with the international community and the pursuit of peaceful coexistence in the aftermath of the Great War

"Peace, freedom prosperity, vote for the Republic" German Republican Reich Federation poster, 1920s. During this period, the Weimar Republic experienced a period of relative stability and economic prosperity, known as the "Golden Years," characterized by cultural innovation, political reforms, and social freedoms.

"Peace, freedom prosperity, vote for the Republic" German Republican Reich Federation poster, 1920s. : r/PropagandaPosters (

A cultured and vibrant street scene in Berlin, 1920s. In September 1926, Weimar Germany's entry into the League of Nations signified a diplomatic step towards international cooperation and normalization after the First World War.

Old Germany - Berlin Street Life, 1920s (

...a "home for the Jewish people"...

The original 1917 letter from Balfour.

Balfour Declaration - Wikipedia

The Balfour Declaration of November 1926 was a significant milestone in the evolution of British constitutional law and the status of the British Dominions within the British Empire.

Named after Arthur Balfour, (Foreign secretary under David Lloyd George, he issued the original Balfour Declaration of 1917 which supported a "home for the Jewish people" in Palestine) .the Declaration affirmed the autonomy and equality of the self-governing Dominions—Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Newfoundland (later replaced by Canada)—within the British Empire.

It declared that these Dominions were "autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs."

...further solidified Dominion autonomy...

This assertion marked a departure from the earlier concept of imperial unity, recognizing the Dominions as independent states while still acknowledging their allegiance to the British Crown.

The Balfour Declaration paved the way for the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which further solidified Dominion autonomy by granting them legislative independence and constitutional equality with Britain.

Overall, the Balfour Declaration represented a pivotal moment in the constitutional development of the British Empire, affirming the principle of self-government for its Dominions and laying the groundwork for their eventual path to full sovereignty.

Foreign secretary in the Lloyd George ministry, he issued the Balfour Declaration of 1917 on behalf of the cabinet, which supported a "home for the Jewish people" in Palestine. The Balfour Declaration of 1926 was named after him.

Arthur Balfour - Wikipedia

A 1920 map of Lithuania. In the 1926 Lithuanian coup d'état, Antanas Smetona, backed by the military, overthrew President Kazys Grinius, establishing an authoritarian regime. This marked a shift from democracy to authoritarian rule in Lithuania's political landscape.

Maps1919-28 (

...the military seized power, dissolving the parliament...

Antanas Smetona and his party were major beneficiaries of the coup. In 1926, Lithuanian military officers, led by Smetona, overthrew President Kazys Grinius, citing dissatisfaction with the government's policies and economic instability.

Antanas Smetona - Wikipedia

The 1926 Lithuanian coup d'état, also known as the December coup, marked a significant political upheaval in Lithuania.

Led by a group of military officers, including Antanas Smetona and Augustinas Voldemaras, the coup aimed to overthrow the democratically elected government of President Kazys Grinius.

The coup was fueled by dissatisfaction with the government's policies, economic instability, and concerns about the growing influence of left-wing and communist movements.

On 17th December 1926, the military seized power, dissolving the parliament and establishing a provisional government with Smetona as its leader.

This marked the beginning of a period of authoritarian rule in Lithuania, characterized by the suppression of political opposition and the consolidation of power by Smetona's regime.

The coup had far-reaching consequences for Lithuanian politics, shaping the country's trajectory for years to come and setting the stage for the establishment of a more centralized and authoritarian government under Smetona's leadership.

An act of parliament, civil war and an uprising in July

The Chinese Civil War of 1927 marked a pivotal moment in the struggle between the Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for control over China.

Following the Northern Expedition against warlords, tensions between the KMT and CCP erupted into open conflict in Shanghai and other major cities.

The KMT, led by Chiang Kai-shek, launched a violent crackdown known as the April 12 Incident, targeting communists and their sympathizers.

The ensuing clashes led to the expulsion of the CCP from urban areas and the suppression of communist uprisings across the country.

The conflict shattered the fragile alliance between the KMT and CCP, setting the stage for decades of intermittent warfare and political turmoil that would shape China's modern history.

The events of 1927 marked a significant setback for the CCP, forcing it to retreat to rural strongholds and adopt guerrilla tactics, while the KMT consolidated its control over urban centers and established the nationalist government in Nanjing.

Chinese Communist soldier Dong Cunrui in the People's Liberation Army during the Chinese Civil War who blew himself up in order to destroy a Kuomintang bunker guarding an approach to an important bridge in Longhua County.

NRA troops firing artillery at Communist forces. In 1927, the Chinese Civil War intensified as the Kuomintang (KMT) launched a violent campaign against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), resulting in the suppression of communist activities and the expulsion of communists from urban areas.

Chinese Civil War - Wikipedia

...rampant rioting and looting...

The Nanking Incident of March 1927 unfolded amidst the tumultuous events of the Northern Expedition, as the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) seized control of Nanjing (then spelled 'Nanking').

Foreign warships intervened, bombarding the city to safeguard foreign residents from rampant rioting and looting. Royal Navy and United States Navy vessels were among those involved, with Dutch forces also deployed for rescue missions.

Notably, both Nationalist and Communist soldiers within the NRA were implicated in the unrest, contributing to the plundering of foreign-owned assets in Nanjing.

River gunboats BEE and GNAT. During the Nanking Incident of March 1927, foreign warships, including vessels from the Royal Navy and the United States Navy, used gunboats to bombard the city to protect foreign residents from rioting and looting.

THE NANKING INCIDENT 1927 | Imperial War Museums (

...underscoring the unity and sovereignty of the British Empire...

1919 The British Empire And Allies 'Glorious Triumph' Poster. During the 1920s, the British Empire underwent a transition towards the Commonwealth, marking a shift from colonial domination to a looser association of independent states.

1919 The British Empire And Allies Glorious Triumph Poster | Historical Images of Melbourne - HotPress

The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act of 1927, enacted in the United Kingdom, altered the official title of the British monarch and updated the terminology used for parliamentary purposes.

This legislation reflected a broader cultural and political shift, affirming the evolving nature of the British monarchy and its relationship with the parliamentary system.

Specifically, the Act formally recognized the monarch as the sovereign of the United Kingdom and its dominions, underscoring the unity and sovereignty of the British Empire.

Additionally, it emphasized the constitutional role of the British Parliament by aligning the official titles with parliamentary practice and tradition.

The Act symbolized a modernization of royal titles in accordance with the changing dynamics of governance in the 20th century, while also reinforcing the enduring link between the Crown and the legislative authority of Parliament.

A map of the British Empire (coloured red) in 1920. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act of 1927 altered the titles of the British monarch, removing reference to the British Empire. This signaled a shift towards recognizing the evolving nature of the Commonwealth nations within the Empire.

The British Empire (1920) : r/MapPorn (

...leading to a breakdown in diplomatic relations...

On the 12th May, British authorities conducted a raid on the premises of the Soviet trade delegation and the All Russian Co-operative Society (ARCOS) in London.

Known as ‘The ARCOS raid’, the perpetrators were in search of classified documents purportedly stolen from the War Office.

This action violated the terms of the 1921 trade agreement with Russia, which granted diplomatic immunity to official trade representatives of the USSR.

Tensions between the two nations had been escalating since the election of Stanley Baldwin's Conservative government in 1924.

The ARCOS raid intensified this strain, leading to a breakdown in diplomatic relations and heightened fears of potential conflict between Britain and the Soviet Union.

British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin's Conservative government oversaw the ARCOS raid in May 1927, breaching the 1921 trade agreement with Russia. This event heightened tensions and eventually led to the breakdown of diplomatic relations between Britain and the Soviet Union.

...escalated into violent clashes between demonstrators and the police...

The July Revolt of 1927 in Austria, also known as the July Uprising or July Rebellion, was a significant event in the country's history.

It was a revolt against the Christian Social government led by Chancellor Ignaz Seipel and the Social Democratic Party.

Tensions were already high in the country due to ongoing economic grievances, particularly among workers and the urban poor, who were suffering from high unemployment and inflation.

The uprising began with the exoneration of three nationalist paramilitary individuals accused of murdering two members of the social democratic Republikanischer Schutzbund.

It escalated when police opened fire on the enraged crowd, resulting in 89 protester fatalities and the death of five officers. 

...escalated into violent clashes...

Additionally, over 600 demonstrators and approximately 600 police officers sustained injuries.

Despite initial successes, the revolt was eventually suppressed by the government, leading to arrests and crackdowns on leftist organizations.

The July Revolt highlighted the deep social and political divisions in Austria during the interwar period and contributed to the polarization of Austrian politics between conservative and socialist factions.

The Palace of Justice in Vienna, Austria ablaze during the July Revolt in 1927. The revolt was marked by intense labor strikes and street demonstrations. The uprising, rooted in socio-economic grievances, posed a significant challenge to the stability of the Austrian government.

...a period of authoritarian rule characterized by centralized control and widespread repression...

In November 1927, a significant power struggle within the Soviet Communist Party culminated in the expulsion of Leon Trotsky, a prominent Bolshevik leader and key figure in the Russian Revolution.

With Trotsky's expulsion, Joseph Stalin solidified his grip on power, emerging as the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union.

This event marked a pivotal moment in Soviet history, as Stalin's ascendancy ushered in a period of authoritarian rule characterized by centralized control and widespread repression.

Trotsky's expulsion reflected deep divisions within the party leadership and set the stage for the consolidation of Stalin's authoritarian regime, which would have profound and far-reaching consequences for the Soviet Union and the world.

Joseph Stalin, rising to power after Lenin's death, orchestrated the expulsion of Leon Trotsky from the Communist Party, solidifying his own control over the Soviet Union.

Soviet Union: The Red Giant in color (

Leon Trotsky, a prominent Bolshevik revolutionary and theorist, played a key role in the Russian Revolution but was later expelled from the Communist Party by Joseph Stalin.

Intellectual, General and Commissar: Leon Trotsky in Colorized Images (

Birth of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, 8th February 1935

The Commonwealth of the Philippines, known in Spanish as Mancomunidad de Filipinas and in Tagalog as Komonwelt ng Pilipinas, constituted an unincorporated territory and commonwealth of the United States spanning from 1935 to 1946.

This entity was instituted in the aftermath of the Tydings–McDuffie Act, aimed at supplanting the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands. Functioning as a transitional administration, it paved the way for the eventual attainment of full Philippine independence.

Despite this trajectory toward autonomy, the Commonwealth's foreign affairs remained under the purview of the United States, underscoring the lingering influence and oversight of its former colonial power.

During its existence, the Commonwealth navigated a complex terrain of political, economic, and social dynamics, shaping the groundwork for the Philippines' emergence as a sovereign nation upon the conclusion of its tenure in 1946.

A map of the Philippines in 1935.

Commonwealth of the Philippines - Wikipedia

The stormclouds gather

In the years leading up to and including 1936, the world experienced significant political and economic developments that profoundly shaped the course of history. Emerging from the aftermath of the First World War, the international landscape was marked by a complex interplay of shifting power dynamics, economic challenges, and the rise of totalitarian regimes.

The aftermath of the First World War left Europe in a state of upheaval. The Treaty of Versailles, signed in 1919, imposed harsh penalties on Germany, including territorial losses, reparations payments, and military restrictions.

These punitive measures fueled resentment and economic instability in Germany, contributing to the rise of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party. In Italy, Benito Mussolini capitalized on social unrest to establish a fascist regime, consolidating power under the National Fascist Party and promoting nationalist and authoritarian policies.

The 1920s witnessed economic prosperity in many parts of the world, but also saw the emergence of underlying vulnerabilities. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 triggered the Great Depression, sending shockwaves throughout the global economy. The ensuing economic downturn led to widespread unemployment, poverty, and social unrest, providing fertile ground for the rise of extremist ideologies and populist movements.

In the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin's consolidation of power transformed the country into a totalitarian state. Stalin's policy of collectivization aimed to modernize agriculture and industrialize the economy but resulted in widespread famine and the repression of dissent through purges and political repression.

In Asia, Japan's aggressive expansionism and militarization posed a growing threat to regional stability. The invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and subsequent expansionist policies signalled Japan's ambition to establish a dominant presence in East Asia, leading to tensions with neighboring countries and eventual conflict.

The Spanish Civil War, which began in 1936, emerged as a crucial battleground between democracy and fascism. The conflict pitted the Republican government, supported by left-wing factions and international volunteers, against General Francisco Franco's Nationalist forces, backed by fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

The war, while initially a domestic conflict, quickly became a proxy war between competing ideological forces, foreshadowing the broader struggle between democracy and fascism that would define the coming decade. The international response to the Spanish Civil War highlighted the divisions within the international community and the failure to prevent the spread of authoritarianism and aggression.

Amidst these geopolitical tensions, the League of Nations struggled to maintain international peace and security. The organization's efforts to mediate disputes and prevent aggression were hampered by the reluctance of major powers to intervene decisively and the rise of aggressive nationalist regimes.

Against this backdrop, the world stood on the brink of a new era of global conflict. The escalating tensions, territorial ambitions, and ideological fervor of the major powers laid the groundwork for the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

The lessons learned from the tumultuous period leading up to 1936 underscored the importance of collective action, diplomacy, and the defense of democratic values in preserving peace and stability in the face of unprecedented challenges.

Further reading