Detailed Timeline of European History


 Detailed Timeline of
European History


Inter-War (1919-39)

<< Inter-War Status: Each Country
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World War II (1939-45)

Inter-War Economy &
Government for Each Country (1919 – 1939)


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Inter-War Period
(1919 – 1939)

Albania

Economy: Suffered badly from the Global Depression.
Government: Democratic republic (1919-28); Replaced by
constitutional monarchy (1928-39); Government collapsed upon Italy
invasion and occupation in 1939.


Austria

Economy: Suffered effects of global depression, but not as bad as
Germany, as it was spared the obligation to pay war reparations by
Allies.
Government: Struggling democratic republic from 1918-34, then
Fascist/Authoritarian regime gained power from 1934-38, before being
annexed into Nazi Germany in 1938.

(Continued Below)



Belgium

Economy: Since Belgium was invaded by Germany in WWI (neutrality
violated), it was especially devastated. Germany never paid the war
reparations owed, further devastating economy.
Government: Constitutional monarchy (democracy), since 1831
Overseas Empire: Belgian Congo – Large part of central Africa


Bulgaria

Economy: Suffered badly from Global Depression.
Government: Kingdom


Czechoslovakia

Economy: Gained most of Austrian’s industry in the break-up of
the Austria-Hungary Empire at the conclusion of WWI, along with part of
Hungary’s. Therefore, became one of the world’s most industrialized
nations at its onset. Did not suffer as badly economically as most new
democracies throughout Europe.
Government: Democratic Republic from 1918 (when founded) until
Nazi invasion/occupation in 1938-39.


Denmark

Economy: Similar experience to most of its neighbors. Profited
during WWI, due to neutrality, and ability to supply both sides in the
war. Global depression had typical effects, but recovered a little more
quickly than most by following the UK & Sweden in abandoning the gold
standard early on, allowing for flexibility with their currency to
better manage their economy.
Government: Constitutional monarchy since 1901.


Estonia

Economy: Suffered badly during Global Depression.
Government: 1918 – Democratic republic when declared independence
from Russia. Lasts until the 1940 Soviet occupation, becoming part of
USSR after WWII.


Finland

Economy: Did not suffer economically to the extent of the rest of
Europe. Vast forests gave rise to a major timber industry, something
high in demand during the interwar period. However, like everyone else,
Finland still suffered economically during the global depression.
Government: Democratic republic since 1917, upon declaring
independence from Russia during Russian Civil War.


France

Economy: France’s economy suffered greatly during this period.
Not only encountering the global depression that struck most of Europe,
but France was especially devastated, since the western front of WWI was
fought inside its borders. Plus, France depended on Germany, and with
Germany in perhaps the worst shape of any economy, France was pulled
down almost as far.
Government: Republic (democracy), since 1870
Overseas Empire: Most of NW Africa, Madagascar, Vietnam, Syria,
Lebanon

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Germany

Economy: Coming off its loss in WWI, with the resulting sanctions
and reparations, the German economy was in absolute shambles. This may
have actually been a cause or compounding factor in the global
depression, especially as it related to Europe, since Germany was a
central cog in the larger European economy. Other states had especially
grown to depend on Germany’s industrialization capability, as it had
become the leading industrial nation in Europe. The German economy sunk
so low, that it paved the way for a fanatical nationalist like Hitler to
gain public support, especially with the radical economic reforms he
proposed, promising economic relief to all Germans. The German currency
had dropped so far, it was cheaper to use as fodder in furnaces than the
wood it could purchase. The Nazi recovery was based on heavy subsidies
for German peoples and businesses, and especially its rebuilt military
in the 1930s. It was also dependent upon the forced slave labor
(slavery) of non-Germans within German borders, and in regions conquered
by Germany in the late 1930s. As a result, the German economy recovered
more rapidly during the 30s than most other economies. After WWI,
Germany no longer had gold or representative currency (backed by gold or
silver) in reserve, as it spent it all during the war. Therefore, it
printed its “fiat” currency (Papiermark) to make war reparation
payments, making it essentially useless. German citizens had to take
wheelbarrow loads of cash to pay for groceries. This eventually forced
Germany to replace it with the Reichsmark, which was pegged to the gold
standard. It remained in place until after WWII, so abandoning the gold
standard was not part of Germany’s recovery as it was with most other
nations. Instead, the exploitation of the Nazi regime was the main
cause, more effective (although morally reprehensible) than the welfare
economies incorporated by most other nations.
Government: Republic (democracy, est. 1919 after WWI) until Nazi
Party gained power in 1933 – then fascist/authoritarian
Added Territories: Annexed Austria in 1938, approved by nearly
100% of Austrians. Annexed and conquered most of Czechoslovakia in
1938-39, before WWII.


Greece

Economy: Suffered similar effects as a result of the Global
Depression like everyone else, but comparatively less.
Government: Monarchy until 1923, when death to king gave
republicans opportunity to establish a democratic republic to replace.
Monarchy reinstituted in 1935 after more than a decade of turbulence as
a democracy.


Hungary

Economy: Suffered the severe effects of the Great Depression, but
a 1932 trade agreement with Germany helped bring them out of it.
However, it made Hungary reliant on Germany. As a result, it would be
drawn into WWII on the side of the Axis Powers.
Government: Democratic republic, but by the 1930s, Hungary became
closely bound with Germany. Therefore, it became more authoritarian,
including the practice of state-sponsored anti-Semitism. Germany awarded
Hungary a swathe of territory along the south of Czechoslovakia in
1938-39, as the Nazis partitioned the country for itself and its close
ally.

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Ireland

Economy: Upon becoming an independent nation in 1922, Ireland
struggled mightily to develop a reliable economy. It tried
protectionism, which failed, due to the lack of diversity in resources
and industry. Entered economic war with UK (each imposing tariffs on
goods from the other), but this further injured the Irish economy. Would
struggle along until the 1960s.
Government: Republic (democracy – no monarch), Republic
officially established in 1937, but essentially a Republic since
independence in 1922 (owed allegiance to Crown of UK until 1937 in law
but not in practice).


Italy

Economy: An underdeveloped nation going into WWI. Unlike Germany,
led by a powerful and developed Prussia, Italy was a conglomeration of
weak, fairly backwards regions, so it did not industrialize or progress
like Germany. Its economy was weak after WWI, suffering all sorts of
problems, due to its internal situation (under-industrialized) and the
general economic troubles of the time in Europe. This gave rise to
Mussolini’s National Fascist Party which took control over the
government in 1922. The Fascists did little to improve the situation,
and extreme protectionism in the 30s worsened the Italian economy, which
was not very self-sufficient. However, this did not prevent Italy from
aggressively pursuing its own overseas empire in Africa and Albania, as
struggles and humiliations (economic troubles, lagging behind most other
European powers, withheld territories promised for joining Allies during
WWI, defeat to Ethiopians in Africa) gave rise to increasingly fervent
nationalism, sparking ambition to create an empire reminiscent to the
Roman Empire.
Government: Constitutional monarchy (democracy, since 1861
unification) until 1922, when National Fascist Party assumed control
Overseas Empire: Libya (N Africa), East Africa (Italian
Somaliland – horn of Africa), parts of Croatian coast, Albania


Latvia

Economy: Suffered badly during Global Depression.
Government: 1918 – Democratic republic with after declaring
independence from Russia. Lasts until the 1940 Soviet occupation,
becoming part of USSR after WWII.


Lithuania

Economy: Suffered badly from the Global Depression.
Government: 1922 – Democratic republic with declared independence
from Russia. Overthrown by military dictatorship in 1926, which lasted
until Soviet occupation in 1939.


Netherlands

Economy: Experienced same pattern as most of Europe. Brief
economic improvement (in part due to massive rebuilding projects by
governments, euphoria that war had ended), then severe depression (war
debts weighing on system, gold standard, lack of spending as people
hoard what little money they might have, low demand for goods). The
Netherlands were slow to lift the gold standard (disallowing flexibility
with currency), helping to cause the depression to stick longer there
than most nations. Netherlands was especially dependent on international
trade, both through exports and shipping services. International trade
was especially slow after WWI, as local economies were devastated, and
protectionism was a common ploy by governments.
Government: Constitutional monarch (democracy), since 1848
Overseas Empire: Indonesia

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Norway

Economy: Hit by the Global Depression more harshly than most
other nations, because its most important trade partners were sorely
inflicted. In which case, Norway was strongly dependent on international
trade. It recovered more quickly by abandoning the gold standard sooner
than most other nations.
Government: Constitutional monarchy since 1905, upon gaining
independence from Sweden.


Poland

Economy: As a nation essentially starting from scratch after
gaining independence from Russia, it’s economic struggles were daunting.
It was new, with little infrastructure, and devastated by WWI. It then
had to fight in the Polish-Soviet War to ensure independence and
territorial integrity, all compounded by the Global Depression. Although
Poland made some economic headway before the Nazi German invasion which
started WWII in 1939, it largely suffered economically.
Government: 1918 – Democratic republic (upon independence from
Russia), ending in 1939, with Nazi/Soviet invasions and partitions.


Portugal

Economy: During turbulent First Republic, political and economic
chaos ensued. Lost all credit worthiness as a government, but continued
to print money to keep up with expenses, resulting in severe devaluation
of currency and hyperinflation. Dictator Salazar stabilized the economy,
balancing the budget and ending fiscally irresponsible actions, such as
unchecked borrowing and inflationary financing.
Government: Republic in chaos until 1932, when it become
dictatorship under Salazar who stabilized the government and economy.

Overseas Empire: African territories, including Mozambique and
Angola, settlements in SE Asia and India


Romania

Economy: Suffered badly from Global Depression.
Government: Kingdom


Spain

Economy: Like many other European nations, Spain resorted to
protectionism (heavy tariffs to give local manufacturers/producers the
advantage). Spain was large enough and diversified enough to benefit
from this, but the benefit was minor. Civil war in the 1930s had a
damaging effect on the economy. Consequently, as most other nations
began to rise out of the depression in the late 30s, Spain remained
mired in it. It’s economic problems were further compounded as other
states outcasted Spain due to its new dictatorial regime, and
cooperation with the Nazis and Mussolini. Therefore, the Spanish economy
was in dire straights as WWII approached.
Government: Monarchy until 1936. Overthrown and replaced with a
dictatorship friendly to the Nazi regime.
Overseas Empire: A few NW African territories


Sweden

Economy: Economically outperformed most of Europe. Profited from
WWI, as it had developed into an industrial power, and was able to
supply goods to much of Europe, where manufacturing had been interrupted
due to the war.
Government: Constitutional monarchy since 1772.


(Continued Below)

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Switzerland

Economy: Did not benefit economically during WWI as some other
neutral nations did, since it was highly dependent on international
business with other European nations. It was not very industrialized,
since it lacked natural resources needed for industrialization, and
mountainous terrain made it costly to lay railroads. In which case, it
was not able to capitalize on WWI by producing war-related goods.
Instead, it focused in niche categories, such as chocolate, cheese,
specialty clothes, etc., products which did not have much of a market
when all of its surrounding trade partners were at war. So Switzerland
suffered harsh economic conditions.
Government: Federal State (democracy), since 1848


Turkey

Economy: Turkey quickly integrated itself into the world economy
after becoming a democratic republic in 1923, becoming an important
international commercial center between Europe and Asia. Its
connectivity into the world economy backfired with the onset of the
Global Depression, as it suffered tremendously by being so reliant on
the global economy. It learned from its Soviet neighbor, and
nationalized much of its economy and industry. This helped Turkey to
recover from the ill effects of the Global Dpression more quickly than
its European neighbors.
Government: Established as a democratic republic in 1923,
following the Turkish War of Independence. Utilized socialistic policies
to recover from the Global Depression.


United Kingdom

Economy: Economically devastated by WWI. Estimated that it lost ¼
of its wealth fighting the war. Most European nations were similarly
affected, reducing UK exports since buying power throughout all of
Europe (UK’s most important export markets) was down significantly.
Welfare helped trigger a slow improvement, but recovery was accelerated
with massive rearmament as it became evident that Germany was becoming a
grave threat once again, significantly stimulating the economy.
Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Democratic). English
parliament traces back to 13th century, growing in power relative to the
monarch ever since. At this point, monarch’s powers are very limited.

Overseas Empire: Canada, several Caribbean colonies, India,
Australia, substantial African colonies, several SE Asia & Pacific,
Middle East, Baghdad (Iraq).


USSR (Soviet Union)
Economy: Avoided effects from the Global Depression.
Unemployment, and growth all remained stable. Outside these numbers,
there were millions adversely affected by having personal property taken
away, as the Soviet Union nationalized personal assets and lands. Also,
millions of dissenters of the communist regime were sent to the Gulags
(slave labor camps), which also bolstered the economy, at the great
expense of individual rights.
Government: Communist/Socialist (USSR – Union of Socialist Soviet
Republics). Included the Belarus SSR, Ukraine SSR and Moldova SSR.


Yugoslavia

Economy: Suffered badly from Global Depression.
Government: Kingdom

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