(HG 355) JOLL, J. Europe since 1870. Cap. 12 e 13


The experience of the inflation in the years immediately after the war had left an atmosphere that another inflation was more than anyone could bear, and any alternative seemed preferable to facing once more the loss of their savings and the collapse of their standard of living.

The economic crisis, throughout 1930 and 1931, affected nearly every country in Europe. Of the major industrial countries France was the least affected and Germany the most. France, in a strong position because she had accumulated one of the largest stocks of gold. The French government, therefore, was able to block a proposal for tariff union between Germany and Austria in March 1931 – a desperate attempt to save the economic situation in both countries. French refused to loan to Germany unless Germany stopped construction of her new battleships. In June 1931 President Hoover propose a year´s moratorium on the payment of all reparations and inter-allied debts, and a year later, at a conference at Lausanne, the reparations clauses of the Treaty of Versailles were quietly abandoned, and to the annoyance of some Americans inter-Allied debts were also wiped out.

The objective dangers from 1930 on were obvious, and even more all-pervading was the atmosphere of fear: for the workers, fear of unemployment; for the middle classes,, fear of a renewed inflation on for the breakdown of law and order; for young people, fear of a future which seemed to have nothing to offer but frustration. The success of Hitler and of the National Socialist Party came to a large extend from Hitler´s ability to play on the fears felt by nearly all, and to exploit what has been called the POLITICS OF ANXIETY.

In Mein Kampf Hitler outlined what his policy was to be – total control of education, sterelisation of the unfit, conversion of trade unions into organs for representing occupational interests shich will increase the security of the national economy – this meant in practice the end of the unions role in negotiating better conditions for the workers. Hitler was equally explicit in spelling out his foreign political goals – the reversal of the Treaty of Versailles, rearmament and to ensure for the German people the land and soil to which they are eastwads and the securing of German Lebensraum (Karl Haushofer).

The Reichtag building in Berlin burnt down. Nazis were able to present themselves as the saviours of Germany from the Red peril. The result was a big increase in their vote and a big loss in that of the communists. Yet the Nazis still did not have an overall majority. Even though the Reichtag passed by 441 votes to 94 the ENABLING LAW giving full powers to the government.

In 1933 Hitler signed a Concordat with the Vatican while the Church gave up its political, social and professional organizations it was allowed to keep the right to run schools and to publish pastoral letters.

Pope Pius XI in 1937, two years before his death, of this encyclical to the Germans With Burning Anxiety, mit brennender Sorge, was followed by intensified persecution of individual Catholics. Few days after the pope published another encyclical, divini redemptoris, denouncing the pseudo-ideals of communism. His successor Pius XII had been for a long time the Papal Nuncio in Germany and combined deep feelings for the Germans with a deep sense of the power of the National Socialist state, and none of his pronoucemnets attempted the open condemnation expressed by Pius XI.

Gestapo= effective secret police.
Final solution = extermination of European Jewry
Nuremberg Laws = made mixed marriages between Jews and non-Jews punishable by imprisonment.

Hannah Arendt: Fascist parties were mass organizations of atomized isolated individuals, which fulfilled a desire for solidarity on the part of men and women left solitary, uprooted and alienated by the mass industrial society of the XX century.

International communist movement launched the idea of a POPULAR FRONT which should join communists, socialists and bourgeois liberal in a common effort to resist the spread of Fascism.

When one considers the purges in the Soviet Union in the 30´s, the deportation of whole peoples during the Second World War or the continuing use of concentration camps in Russia, the resemblances with Nazi Germany are obvious enough, just as there are many similarities in the techniques of indoctrination and control in all one-party states. For all Stalin´s tyrannical hunger for power, for all the empty repetition of Marxist-Leninist jargon in the Soviet Union, for all the suffering caused by the rigours of the Soviet economic system, Marxism remains one of the great European political doctrines and deserves an intellectual respect which it is impossible to give to any form of fascist ideology

Cap. 13 – HITLER´S WAR
1938 an improvised and not very well executed invasion of Austria began. There was no Austrian resistance and the Duce (Mussolini) accepted the whole thing in a very friendly manner.

Occupation of Czechoslovakia. Conference at Munich, attended by Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain and Daladier – but not by the Czechs. Corresponded to de desire of the people of Europe for peace at almost any cost. Duce offended at having been given no prior warning of the move against Czechoslovakia. The reaction in the rest of Europe to the occupation of Prague had been one of alarm and outrage.

Mussolini invaded Albania and signed a full-scale Alliance with Hitler

Chamberlain announced that Britain would give a military guarantee to Poland, Roumania and Greece. The british guarantee to Poland marked a reversal of British policy. For 20 years successive British governments had refused to accept any special responsibility for the stability of Eastern Europe, and the British sacrifice of Czechoslovakia at Munich had been quite consistent with this policy. Soon after the announcement of the British guarantee to Poland, the British and French started negotiations with the Russian government to try and establish a common front against Germany.

While the experiences of 1940-5 in some ways bound the countries of Western Europe more closely together, they emphasized the differences between Britain and Europe, and British links with the US and the Commonwealth.

In attacking the Soviet Uniion and in declaring war on the United States, Hitler made his two greatest mistakes.

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