Benito Mussolini was born July 29th 1883.  Mussolini was the son of a blacksmith, and became a very rebellious little boy. Because of lack of resources and a desire to avoid service in the Military, Mussolini moved to Switzerland where he became an active Socialist, following in his fathers footsteps.  Later he returned to Italy and was kicked out of a socialist group for his support of World War I. After World War I he designed what is known as the Fascist Party, he wanted to take over the government.  Mussolini organized a march on Rome, but since the King was fearful, made Mussolini the Prime Minister.  Mussolini tried to fool everyone by telling people he had actually taken over the Government in a forceful manner, but this was not so.  In 1925 Mussolini declared himself Dictator of Italy.  He became pretty popular among the people for his economic strategies.  Mussolini was very power hungry and therefore invaded Ethiopia because of his success, Adolf Hitler took interest in Mussolini and the two signed a military alliance called “The Pact of Steel”, this alliance is what would bring Italy into a war no Italian wanted, and lead to Mussolini’s death.  In 1945 Mussolini was shot and killed, his body was hung in Milan Plaza, and his reign of 10 years came to an end (Benito Mussolini, 2015 & The Fully Biography of Benito Mussolini).


Benito Mussolini. (2015). The website. Retrieved May 01, 2015, from

The Full Biography of Benito Mussolini. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from (video is part of article)

Videos at bottom of article also used:

Whole video link:



Frankforter, A. Daniel, and W. M. Spellman. The West: A Narrative History. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009. Print.

 1929 Stock Market Crash: Marked a serious downturn in the U.S. economy. Until 1929, Europe was surviving economically in large part due to accessible loans from the U.S. As a result of the crash, the availability of funds from the U.S. dried up, drastically reducing international trade, and therefore grinding local economies to a halt. The 1929 crash was a result of overspeculation, as post-WWI euphoria led investors to overestimate stock and commodity values, and the crash occurred when the bubble finally burst.

Deflation: Due to the factors above, consumer spending was weak. When production capacities finally recovered, an excess of goods were manufactured, but with limited demand, prices fell excessively, creating a poor business and wage environment.

Capitalism/Liquidity: Due to reasons above, the conditions for investment were poor, resulting in money/gold hoarding. Western nations continued to maintain faith that a pure, free-market economy would eventually result in self-correction. But as the mid 1930s approached, there was no sign of the end. Without government intervention, there was insufficient liquidity in the system. Wthout liquidity, there was a lack of personal and business spending needed to drive a capitalistic economy. Socialistic economies, such as Communist Russia and Nazi Germany were unaffected by the Global Depression, but they depended on slave labor and heavy government subsidies, which proved to be unsustainable over the long term.

 Interest Rates: The newly-created U.S. Federal Reserve failed to drop interest rates in order to spur lending and investing in a deflationary environment.

global depression

global depressionGraphic Stock Market Crash

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This interview with Jack Mayer goes into detail on the Anti-Semitism that took place in Germany.  Mayer was born in Speyer Germany and was very young during his time, but is able to recall the anti-Semitism he experienced as a child.  He explains that he lived under the reign of Hitler for about 5 years before his family was able to come to America.  He goes into the fact that public schools were not longer an option for Jewish families, and that kids around his neighborhood who were not Jewish could no longer play with them.  He shares his experiences being beaten up by non-Jewish students.  Mayer recalls his fathers shoe store was also vandalized and Nazi parades would take place in the streets.  Jews were no longer allowed to do much of anything, the movies,  the library, swimming pools, etc, were off limits to the Jews.  Many laws were in place to keep Jewish people from doing much of anything, however, Mayer and his family were able to get out of Germany before things drastically took a turn for the worst.


Purnell, D. (2012). Jack Mayer Oral History Interview. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from

The Spanish Civil War was fought between 1936 and 1939. It was a conflict between the Republicans, of the Spanish Republic, and the Nationalists, who fought for the fascist General Franco.

The Nationalists were the military, landowners, and general upper class. They received help from fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The Republicans were the urban workers, agricultural laborers, and middle class. They also had a fair share of militant anarchists. The Republicans received help from the Soviet Union and many international volunteers, including many well known authors such as Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell.

The war was brutal and bloody with both sides massacring many people. The war was seen by some as a practice run for World War II.

One of the most famous images to come out of the war was Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, depicting the Nazi bombing of the Basque town of Guernica.

Franco eventually won, starting Spain’s 40 years as a dictatorship.



span cvi






In the aftermath of the First World War, the youths became known as the “lost generation”. Though the term is generally associated with a group of American expatriates in Paris, it has a relevance to most of the surviving young people of Europe.The generation had become aimless and disillusioned after witnessing the horrors of World War I. There was a mass loss of faith in traditional values and a shift to a more material, some would say frivolous, lifestyle.

Most commonly, the phrase “lost generation” is seen in relation to young writers who were in Paris in the 1920s, such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein. These authors are known for putting that era’s feelings of hopelessness and general skepticism into words.







The map of Europe changed a great deal both during and after the First World War. This map showcases some of those changes, particularly regarding the countries that were created after the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, the creation of the Baltic states caused by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, and the reestablishment of Poland.

Europe After WWI (shaded lost territories)                               




Map was found at:



The Great depression had a worldwide impact.  It is said to have started in 1929 with the Stock market Crash here in the United States (Frankforter & Spellmen, 2013, pp. 684).  The first chart in the link below shows some of the countries that were impacted by the Great Depression, and the dates of impact and recovery.  The second chart in the link below shows the fall in production during the great depression for some countries (Romer).

To give an idea of what times were like in some areas of  Europe during the Great Depression, one can read The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell,  Orwell wrote this non-fictional book during the 1930’s and captured some of the greatest economic woes during this time.  A quote from his book states:

“For supper there was the pale flabby Lancashire cheese and biscuits. The Bookers never called these biscuits biscuits. They always referred to them reverently as “’cream crackers”’. . .-thus glozing over the fact that there was only really cheese for supper” (1980, p.130).

Times were harsh, and people’s lives were being impacted around the world in much the same way described in the quote above.


Frankforter, A., & Spellman, W. (2013). The Troubled Interwar Years. In The West: A narrative history (3rd ed., pp. 679-705). Boston: Pearson.

Orwell, G. (1980). The Road to Wigan Pier. In George Orwell (pp. 123-231). London: Secker & Warburg/Octopus.

Romer, C. Great Depression: Economy. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from

 Above is a map created by Serbian geographer Jovan Cvijić. This shows the various political boundaries of the Balkans and the many different ethnicities that occupied them in 1914. This map was published in 1918. Below is a political cartoon by Leonard Raven-Hill entitled “Subject to Correction”. It depicts the Balkan Peace Conference in 1912 and its implications with the subsequently created political boundaries of the Balkans. I thought this paired nicely with the ethnographic map by Cvijić.





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