APEH: The Rise of Inter-War Dictators

Posted on April 27, 2020

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We’ve already covered one inter-war dictator in Joesph Stalin, who will become a temporary ally of the US in WWII – it’s a great example of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” It’s also a great example of why neither Hitler nor Stalin should be trusted, because they both completely exploited each other with the division of Poland in the lead-up to the war.

In the west, there are the Fascists – most specifically Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler as far as WWII is concerned. Spain had their own Fascist leader in Francisco Franco, who kept Spain out of the conflict, mostly because they were too exhausted from their own horrific civil war to participate.

Fascism is a word that gets thrown around a lot nowadays – usually at political figures that people don’t agree with. It gets tossed around so much that the real, and scary, meaning of the word gets lost. They were opposed to communism – the Communist Parties in their countries were the boogeymen – but they also incorporated socialist ideas of business control and social programs. They just spun them differently.

Their outward goal was to restore their countries to their former glory and to repair economies. To many individuals living within Italy and Germany at the time, they did – Hitler was notable for fixing the German economy and saving it from nightmare inflation. He also imposed drastic censorship of ideas opposed to his, controlled the media, and began spreading lies and enacting laws that, little by little, would lead to one of the greatest horrors that humanity has ever seen.

Please, along with this powerpoint (not the textbook’s) on Europe between the wars, view this Crash Course:

After you are done, please read “Two Views on Appeasement: George Kennan and A.J.P. Taylor” from this packet. Hitler, as he became more empowered within Germany, took many steps to very flagrantly violate the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. He wanted to see how far he could go before the rest of Europe said something – or at least said something forcefully. Turns out, he could go pretty far.

Please post questions or comments below.