What impact did the Great Depression have on international relations in the 1930s?
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What impact did the Great Depression have on international relations in the 1930s? Introduction In the early 1920s the Great Depression hit. The chaos caused by the First World War was the main reason for the Great Depression. The USA had lent large amounts of money to other countries to help with their damages from the war. The loans that the USA made helped the countries to recover trade. Many countries tried to protect their industries by putting taxes on imports. In 1930 USA the biggest trading nation in the world also raised their taxes. This made the world trade suffer badly as it made it difficult to sell goods to America. World trade was already very difficult so when the Wall Street Crash hit there was a worldwide economic slump. The American stock market was centered on Wall Street in New York. American banks wanted all the money lent out repaid back to them. Banks and factories closed and soon all the countries had loss of imports and exports. The Depression. Germany was affected the most by the Great Depression.
The leader of Italy Mussolini wanted to distract the attention from economic problems by enlarging the Italian empire in Africa. Italy had lost over 40% of its imports because of the Wall Street Crash and 30% of its exports. Mussolini wanted to fight in a war and create a giant empire. Mussolini wanted to gain coal, iron and steel. He also felt that he needed to invade Abyssinia as revenge for there defeat in 1896. Abyssinia was an independent country and was part of the league. The league was meant to protect Abyssinia in any problems. In 1935 Italy invaded Abyssinia using tanks, poison gas, bombs and flamethrowers whereas Abyssinia had troops armed with spears and out-dated rifles. As a result of this invasion Italy left the league and allied with Germany. This weakened the league. People started to undermine the league. This was a loss to the league because Italy was one of the biggest countries in the league. Japan suffered a lot of economic problems. There silk export trade was destroyed and 50% of Japans industry closed.
During the depression Britain concentrated on economic problems at home and they delayed rearming as they thought it would harm its economy. Britain's unemployment rose from 1.20 million to 2.80 million. Britain didn't respond when Japan invaded Manchuria as parts of there empire e.g. Hong Kong, Singapore and India could be at risk. France has internal political problems, which made them delay rearmament and become isolated. France came across the same problems as all the other countries. Loss of jobs, homes and the country became desperate. France had no money or army and problems from Italy lead to the collapse of the league because Britain and France couldn't do anything. Conclusion. The league helped settle some disputes. It helped improve international communications, people's living but the league never achieved its main aim which was to prevent wars. Without the USA the league could not stop Japan and Britain and France could have stopped Italy if they had acted quickly but they were to scared of invasion. The league did not help to stop the aggression because they did not believe it was in there best interest. Self-interest is one of the main reasons why the league failed.
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