KEY TOPICS Economic and political disorder in the aftermath of World War I
Financial collapse and depression in Europe
Britain and France face the Great Depression
Soviet Communist consolidation under Lenin
Stalin’s forced industrialism, agricultural collectivization, and purges in the Soviet Communist Party and army
Mussolini and the Fascist seizure of power in Italy
The Nazi seizure of power and the establishment of a police state and racial laws in Germany
The development of authoritarian governments in most of the successor states of the Habsburg Empire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. How did the Bolshevik revolution pose a challenge to the rest of Europe? Why did Lenin institute the New Economic Policy? Could the Russian Revolution have succeeded without Lenin? How did the Comintern affect Western socialist parties? How did Stalin overcome Trotsky and establish himself as head of the Soviet state? How did the Bolshevik revolution result in the split of the socialist parties in western Europe?
2. What was fascism? How and why did the fascists obtain power in Italy? To whom did they appeal? What were the differences between the fascist dictatorship of Mussolini and the communist dictatorship of Stalin? What was the status of women under these regimes?
3. Why did the Great Depression of the 1930s occur, and why was it more severe and longer-lasting than previous depressions?
4. How did Hitler’s economic policies differ from those Britain, Italy, and France used to confront the Depression? Why did some nations deal with the Great Depression more effectively than others?
5. Why was Czechoslovakia the only viable democracy in eastern Europe? What forces worked against democracy in the region?
6. Was the failure of the Weimar Republic in Germany inevitable? Between 1919 and 1929, what were the republic’s greatest strengths and weaknesses? Why did the Versailles Treaty loom so large in domestic German politics? What was the position of the Nazi Party in the late 1920s?