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28 -- Part 8: World War and Revolution
Germany and the United States were obstacles to the new global order.
Plagued by Communist uprisings, re actionary plots, and popular disil usionment with losing the war, Germany's moderates faced an enormous chal enge.
If they were to establish a peaceful and democratic republic, they needed time and luck.
Understanding the treatment of Germany by the victorious Western Allies was needed to progress in this direction.
The United States reverted to prewar preferences for isolationism after rejecting the treaty.
Wilson made it clear that the United States would never join the League of Nations because he refused to compromise.
America turned away from Europe.
Great Britain refused to approve its defensive alliance with France because of global tensions and divisions.
The pursuit of real and lasting peace in the first half of the interwar years was difficult because the Versailles settlement had established a shaky truce.
The Treaty of Versailles was hated by Germany.
France was isolated and fearful.
There was no one who could predict the future of Russia.
The international economic situation was poor due to war debts and disrupted trade.
From 1925 to 1929, it appeared that peace and stability were within reach.
All Germans believed that the Treaty of Ver sailles represented a harsh dictated peace and should be revised or repudiated as soon as possible.
Great Britain and France disagreed over Germany.
The Treaty of Versailles was stressed by France by the end of 1919.
The war on the western front had been fought on French soil, and the expected costs of reconstruction, as wel as of repaying war debts to the United States, were staggering.
France would realize its goal of security if it were to hold Germany down indefinitely.
Germany was the second best market for Great Britain before and after the war.
The British were suspicious of France's army and the British and French were at odds over a League of Nations man dates in the Middle East.
Germany had to pay an enormous sum of 132 bil ion gold marks in annual instal ments of 2.5 bil lion gold marks.
The first payment was made by the Weimar Republic in 1921.
In 1922, the Weimar Republic was wracked by rapid inflation and political assassina tions and wanted to impose a three year moratorium on future payments.
The British were willing to take a break, but the French were not.
The most serious international crisis of the 1920s occurred in January 1923 when armies of France and Belgium occupied the Ruhr district.
The people of the Ruhr were ordered to stop working by the German government because of their patriotism.
The whole of Germany was sealed off by the French in order to prevent starvation.
The summer of 1923 saw a great test of wills between France and Germany.
French armies couldn't collect money from striking workers.
Germany's economy was crippled by the French occupation.
The German government started printing money.
German money rap lost its value as prices soared.
Middle-class people saw their savings wiped out.
Many Germans felt betrayed.
They blamed the Western governments, their own government, big business, Jews, and the Communists for their misfortune.
They were prepared for the radical right-wing lead ers, including Adolf Hitler and the new Nazi Party.
As the mark fell and political unrest grew throughout Germany, Gustav Stresemann became German chancellor in August 1923.
After five years of hostility and tension, Germany and France decided to try compromise and cooperation with the help of the British and Americans.
In 1924, an international committee of financial experts met.
The level of German economic prosperity was linked to the yearly reduction of the commission.
France and Britain would be able to repay large sums of money they owe to the United States and Germany would be able to get private loans from the United States.
It was complicated and risky, but it worked.
France and Britain were able to pay the United States in 1927 and 1928 because of U.S. loans.
The general economic settlement that the Americans played a part in was a part of the worldwide recovery of the late 1920s.
The political settlement was matched by the economic settlement.
European leaders met in Locarno in 1925.
The European powers entered into a number of defensive treaties to settle border disputes.
The "spirit of Locarno" gave Europeans a sense of security and stability.
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