Lenny Ambrosini , our History teacher, asked us to write an essay about how far the 1920s was a won decade.
How far was the 1920s a won decade?
The 1920s was a decade which had lots of drastic changes due to the end of WW1. Both Europe and USA were trying to recover from their poor economical state. USA isolated which caused the boom, state of mind and more. Europe, instead, try to unify (but were against Germany) and created The League of Nations. They both had some positive things and some negative.
On the one hand, the 1920s was a won decade for USA. Firstly, they decide to isolate which helped them concentrate more on themselves and improve their economical state faster and more efficiently. Isolation helped the consuming and producing of national products. Secondly, there was the economic boom which was caused by the decrease of taxes. Before Americans could only afford necessary things (except citizens which were rich) due to the high taxation. As they didn’t have to worry anymore they started spending their money on entertainment, radios, transportation and more. Thirdly, the industrialization was one of the main causes for the boom. With new machinery came lower prices, more production and better quality. The industrial strength and the new industries were developing new inventions; the most popular was the car. Also, lots of people were starting to move from rural areas to the city for more job opportunities and a better lifestyle. Lastly, women had much more social and political rights. They didn’t need a chaperone for dates, they could smoke in public, and their clothes weren’t so restrictive along other things.
Nevertheless, the changes weren’t all positive. Firstly, as they isolated and created tariffs their international sales decreased a lot. When the war was happening, Europe was their main importers because they couldn’t produce much while at war. So when WW1 was over, European countries started producing again, created tariffs against USA and were too poor to import products or food from other countries. That was a big problem, especially for farmers because when the war was going they had to expand their lands and the people who were buying before stopped. That caused overproduction because they couldn’t sell it all nationally. So the food they couldn’t sell they had to throw away and they lost a lot of money. Secondly, in the 1920s there was alcohol prohibition. That created a lot violence, delinquency and corruption. It was very unsafe. Illegal alcohol was more popular than ever. People were so desperate that they tried to make it themselves and normally died because of the lack of experience. Thirdly, although women were getting more freedom and rights, there was lots of intolerance and prejudice. As more immigrants and black people arrived in USA, there were groups like the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) a movement created by white people, which used violence to intimidate black people. Also, there was the Red Scare which was when Americans were afraid that immigrants (espescially Europeans) would change the government into communist.
On the other hand, the glory of the 1920´s for Europe was the League of Nations. Firstly, the conflicts were solved. Upper Silesia along with the Aaland Islands were both cases in which countries accepted the Leagues decision and war was avoided. In other cases, like Bulgaria and Corfu, the League of Nations decision was unfair and not accepted, but they were partly successful because war was dodged. Secondly, the League created mandates and helped newly formed countries develop. Thirdly, there were successful committees created by the League of Nations that contributed in the improvement of: Slavery, Transport Commissions, the Refugees, Health and more.
However, there were also negative aspects. Firstly, in the case of the Geneva Protocol, Vilna and more were some examples of unresolved conflict which in fact weakened it. Secondly, disarmament didn´t work as it was planned. It was unfair since Germany had to reduce her army, warships and submarines and the other countries never did disarm. Thirdly, as USA never joined the League they didn’t have financial support.
In conclusion, although it did have its negative aspects, it was a won decade for the amount of improvement they did throughout the 1920s.