The French Search for Security: An Elusive Goal

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Transcript The French Search for Security: An Elusive Goal

The Joyless Victors: Britain and France
Post-WWI Britain
Economic Confusion
– The economy was depressed throughout the
– By the end of 1921, two million were unemployed
and unemployment was 12%
– After 1922 government welfare was the normal
means of income for thousands of British families
– The Unemployment Insurance Acts for workers
– Construction of 200,000 subsidized housing units
for the poor
The Empire Crumbles
• Britain’s navy was decimated by the Germans
in WWI and its foreign trade had declined
• International competition eroded Britain’s
economic system even further
• Britain loses India and Egypt which gain their
independence in 1920s
• Most of Ireland gains its independence in
• Australia and Canada gain independence
The First Labour Government
• In 1923, the Labour Party will gain leadership
of the gov’t under Ramsey MacDonald
• The Labour Party was concerned about the
rights of workers and wanted the gradual
nationalization of major industries
• The Labour Party will lose power in 1924 to
the Conservatives and Stanley Baldwin
The General Strike of 1926
– In order to make their industry internationally
competitive, British management attempted to
cut wages.
– In 1926 coal miners went on strike, followed by
sympathetic workers in other industries.
– Baldwin refused to back down to demands of the
workers and broke the strike
Summary: Britain
• Labor unrest continued throughout the 1920s
• The Labour-Conservative gov’t passed a number of
pieces of social legislation to invoke the support of
the working masses
• Gov’t-funded pension Acts were passed for widows,
orphans, and the old age
• Britain will struggle through the 1920s, but will sink
even deeper into depression during the 1930s
Post-WWI France (1919-1929)
• France suffered enormous casualties in the
– Severe loss of its young population
– 25% of its manufacturing industries and
agriculture was destroyed
• France had to borrow money to fund the war
and relied on German reparations to maintain
the French economy
• When Germany was unable to pay
reparations, France’s economy plummeted
Political State of France
• France became extremely conservative after
WWIfear of revolution
• In January 1923 France occupied the German
Ruhr, as punishment for Germany’s defaulting
on reparations.
• Germany continued to slowly pay reparations
to France
• France experienced a slight surge in prosperity
until the depression of the 1930s
French Foreign Policy
• The main concern of France was establishing a
foreign policy to ensure a weak Germany
• Constructed the Maginot Line along its
eastern border which was a series of concrete
fortifications aimed at Germany
• Made treaties with Belgium, Poland, and
other Eastern European countries to contain
Summary: France
• A lot like Britain, France’s economy suffered
greatly due to the ravage of WWI.
• Ultimately, France became very conservative
during the 1920s and used the fear of future
conflict with Germany to build alliances with
other nations and the Maginot Line to protect
The French Search for Security:
An Elusive Goal
The French invasion of the German Ruhr (1923) began a crisis that brought strikes and rampant
inflation in Germany. Here French troops have commandeered a German locomotive during one
of the strikes.
What two disastrous encounters with
Germany proved that France could not
match the military machine of the
German Empire?
• Franco-Prussian War
• World War I
What post-WWI factors forced France
into demanding reparations from
• U.S. returned to isolationism
• Russians were ostracized
• Germans needed to be weakened to protect
Map 26–1 GERMANY’S WESTERN FRONTIER The FrenchBelgian-German border area between the two world wars was
sensitive. Despite efforts to restrain tensions, there were
persistent difficulties related to the Ruhr, Rhineland, Saar, and
Eupen-Malmédy regions that required strong defenses.
The Joyless Victors
I. Problems
II. Qualities of Labour Party
III. Qualities of Conservatives
IV. Ramsey MacDonald
V. Stanley Baldwin
VI. Loss of Colonies
I. Problems
II. Occupation of the Ruhr
III. Compromise with Gustav
IV. French political problesm
V. Maginot Line
VI. Locarno Pact and the
Kellogg-Briand Pact