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20th Century History


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Kaiser Wilhelm II
Last German Emperor, King of Prussia. Inherited unified Germany crafted by Otto Von Bismark, PM for Wilhelm I. Victoria's grandson. Bragged that didn't care to read Germany's constitution. Military had direct access to KWII.
economic liberalism
Policy of non-intervention by government in economy. Pre-Depression standard initiated by Adam Smith. Failed to stop depression anywhere. Only gov't reaction is to balance budget, cut spending and devalue currency, which made Depression worse.
Benito Mussolini
"Il Duce" (the Leader), Fascist leader of Italy post WWI. Opportunist who came to power by legal machinations. Ultimately (ostensibly) reported to Italian Monarch. Predated Hitler and was his initial role-model, but roles reversed over time.
race equality clause
Proposed by Japanese delegate Prince for League of Nations charter. Resisted by GB, so rejected out-of-hand by Woodrow Wilson.
New Economic Policy
New Russian Economic Policy of 1921 in response to shambles of economy after "victory" vs White Russians. Kept industry nationalized, but opened agriculture. This was reversed by the 1st of Stalin's 5-year plans in 1928.
Smoot-Hawley Tariff
Exorbitant U.S. import tariff enacted to protect domestic jobs after stock market crash. Against advice of council of economists, WW says OK, and it deepens and spreads Depression worldwide due to retaliation.
Ramsay MacDonald
Relatively ineffectual British Labor Party PM post-WWI. Founded and built Labor Party, but kicked-out in the end. No real reforms other than rent controlled housing. Gave limited self-government to India. Pacifist seen as "father of appeasement".
Dr. Fritz Haber
German Jewish scientist. Developed nitrogen fixing from air thereby enabling Germany's armament and fertilizer industries to be independent of Chile and not throttled by loss of seaports. Also developed poison gas as a weapon of war. Seriously conflicted fellow. Wife suicided. Would have stayed with Germany thru both wars, but forced out by Nazis in WWII.
Lead of Achibe's "Things Fall Apart". Represents inflexible response to changes wrought by Colonialism.
Leopold II
Belgian King and sole proprietor of the unmitigated horror of the "Congo Free State", aka the Belgian Congo. Extracted ivory and rubber using slavery. Millions died.
Germany's annexation of Austria in 1938. After political pressure, Austria was to have a referrendum, and the day before the German Army moved in to ensure that the vote went well. Political reaction was mild, with Austrian religious leaders even offering congratulations at first. Part of a series of re-aquisitions culminating in the invasion of Poland and the start of WWII.
V.I. Lenin
Polyglot lawyer. First Soviet Premier, laid groundwork for but didn't really want Josef Stalin. Started Bolshevik (majority vs Menshevik minority) Revolution in Russia when sent back by Germans to agitate Russia to drop-out of WWI after 1917 overthrow of Tzar. Employed warped Marxism since not starting with workers in a democracy. Was seriously opposed by western world - "White Russians".
trench warfare
The state into which WWI bogged-down after Germany's delayed entry into France thru Belgium. Tremendous fatalities and little movement of lines. Even technical innovations like gas and tanks didn't make big differences. Lasted 3 years.
Schlieffen Plan
German General Schlieffen's two-front plan for fast victory in WWI. Northern sweep into France thru neutral Belgium, but Belgium resisted, bogged them down, and French stopped them outside of Paris in 1st Battle of Marne, leading to trench warfare.
Sun Yat-sen
First President of Republic of China, credited with role in overthrow of Ch'ing Dynasty of 2000 years.
Sykes-Picot Agreement
Secret 1916 agreement between France and GBR to partition the Middle East. Outlined borders of what would become Palestine. Predated Balfour Declaration by 18 months.
Germans intended to bleed the French white with an attack here during WWI. Epitome of waste. Nearly half a million French and same number of Germans died, and gains were lost within weeks.
Site in India of a massacre of Sikhs by the British in 1919. Violent revolution was brewing and a Sikh holiday brought thousands into Amritsar who did not know about martial law. Gen. Dyer ordered them fired upon killing hundreds. Precipitated self-rule by India.
Leon Trotsky
Lenin's right-hand and co-revolutionary. Head of Red Army and founder of Politburo. Own brand of Marxism called Trotskyism is still extant. Was a threat to Stalin, so isolated and had to run. Finally assassinated in Mexico City.
Long March
Exile to NW China for Mao Zedong and his co-revolutionaries after an ass-wuppin' by Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalist army. Tremendous attrition on march, but core remained intact. Being there was claim-to-fame for future politicos.
American public's greatest desire and therefore the campaign promise of post WWI, pre-Depression presidents.
Closed (not trading) economic system. Sold as self-reliance. Usually a precursor of war, as in "If goods don't cross the borders, sooner or later soldiers will."
Sole N. African country to avoid being a European colony. Surprised the world by stopping Italy's invasive force in late 1800s. Occupied by Italy in early WWII.
Il Duce
"The Leader", aka Mussolini during WWII. Lots can be said.
Prince Saionji
The last genro, or elder statesman/advisor to the emperor. Led 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Was in ill-health so not active participant. Proposed Racial Equality Clause in League of Nations charter. Got shot down by UK then US because of Australia.
Paul's schoolmaster who pumped them all up with rhetoric about patriotism and glory and sent them off to war. Made a poor soldier himself. Epitome of hollow nationalism.
Political system in which sectors of industry have legislative power. Workers and management alike participate, although usually the workers lose-out. Used by Italian Fascists up to WWII.
Balfour Declaration
1917 letter from Foreign Minister Balfour of UK to Lord Rothschild to provide to Zionist Movement. Indicated UK's intentions to support a Jewish presence in Palestine. Contradicted private discussions with Palestinians. Would have been offered by Imperial Germany, but alignment with Ottoman Empire which controlled Palestine made that awkward. In response to Russia leaving war and high Jewish component to Bolsheviks.
mandate territories
Descriptive of disposition of extra-territorial holdings of countries defeated in WWI, specifically Imperial Germany and the Ottoman Empire. Mandatory powers had responsibility to the people of the territory and the League of Nations. Broken into multiple categories. Reported on annually. All eventually became independent and self-governing.
unequal treaties
Descriptive of relationships between imperialist European states and less developed states in the era of colonialism.
Gallipoli campaign
ANZAC vs Turks in ugly terrain. Horrible loss of life. Mustafa Kemal (future founder of modern Turkey) led Turks to stop advance, leading to stand-off. Turks lost as many people, but held territory.
Emmeline Pankhurst
Big name in women's suffrage in UK post WWI.
Capitol of Bosnia, part of Austro-Hungarian empire in which Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a terrorist backed by the neighboring kingdom of Serbia. A-H's demands were not all met, so declared war. Russia wouldn't stand by this time so Nicholas II mobilized (then regretted it), and WWI began.
Nicholas II
Last Tzar of Russia. Wavering helped start WWI. Taking personal hand in war led to (warranted) blame for loss. Abdicated to a provisional government, which floundered around and was revolted against successfully by Lenin's Bolsheviks. "White Russian" core gets European backing and tries to de-volt. Lenin has Romanov family killed to prevent involvement.
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Heinous conciliatory treaty required by Germany of revolutionary government of Russia to exit WWI. Funny thing is condition of later Central Powers surrender was renunciation of Brest-Litovsk!
socialism in one country
Lenin's explanation for massive industrialization as a part of the revolution. The rest of the world had not joined the revolution of socialism yet, so Russia would have to implement "socialism in one country."
Treaty of Sevres
Product of post-WWI Paris Peace Conference. Imposed on Ottoman Empire.
ISI - Import Substitution Industrialization
Economic policy for developing nations that they should locally produce whatever finished goods they have been importing in order to grow and improve their economy. Grew out of Great Depression to limit external vulnerability, but somewhat isolationist since propped-up with protective tariffs. By limiting competition, only served to protect poor quality domestic manufacturers, e.g. Brasilian arms and Russian TVs.
Economic theory that given a constant volume of international trade, the winner is the one with the most capital, expressed, frequently, in terms of gold reserves. Encourages high exports and low imports, and unfortunately, government protectionism and tariffs. Standard philosophy from 16th and 18th century during rise of Nation-State.
Keynesian Economics
To do
Adam Smith
Original progenitor of laissez-faire economics. Wrote "Wealth of Nations", in which he argued that a free market was self-balancing. Did not, however, trust businessmen, so opposed monopolies. His theories supplanted Merchantilism. Approaches did not work so well during Great Depression, however. Moral philosopher.

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