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Millennium: 2nd millennium
Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century
Decades: 1890s 1900s 1910s - 1920s - 1930s 1940s 1950s
Years: 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
Categories: Births - Deaths - Architecture
Establishments - Disestablishments

The 1920s is sometimes referred to as the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age, when speaking about the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom. In Europe the decade is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Twenties". Since the closing of the 20th century, the economic strength during the 1920s has drawn close associations with the 1950s and 1990s, especially in the United States. These three decades are regarded as periods of economic prosperity, which lasted throughout almost the entire decades following a tremendous event that occurred in the previous decade (World War I and Spanish flu in the 1910s, World War II in the 1940s, and the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s).

However, not all countries enjoyed this prosperity. The Weimar Republic, like many other European countries, had to face a severe economic downturn in the opening years of the decade, because of the enormous debt caused by the war as well as the Treaty of Versailles. Such a crisis would culminate with a devaluation of the Mark in 1923, eventually leading to severe economic problems and, in the long term, favour the rise of the Nazi Party.

Additionally, the decade was characterized by the rise of radical political movements, especially in regions that were once part of empires. Communism began attracting large numbers of followers following the success of the October Revolution and the Bolsheviks' determination to win the subsequent Russian Civil War. The Bolsheviks would eventually adopt a policy of mixed economics, from 1921 to 1928, and also give birth to the USSR, at the end of 1922. The twenties marked the first time in America that the population in the cities surpassed the population of rural areas. This was due to rapid urbanization starting in the 1920s.

The 1920s also experienced the rise of the far-right and fascism in Europe and elsewhere, being perceived as a solution to prevent the spread of Communism. The knotty economic problems also favoured the rise of dictatorships in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, such as Józef Piłsudski in Poland and Peter and Alexander Karađorđević of Yugoslavia. The Stock Market collapsed during October 1929 (see Black Tuesday) and drew a line under the prosperous 1920s.


[edit] Technology

  • John Logie Baird invents the first working mechanical television system (1925). In 1928 he invents and demonstrates the first color television.
  • Warner Brothers produces the first movie with a soundtrack Don Juan in 1926, followed by the first Part-Talkie The Jazz Singer in 1927, the first All-Talking movie Lights of New York in 1928 and the first All-Color All-Talking movie On with the Show 1929.
  • Charles Lindbergh becomes the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean (May 20-May 21, 1927)
  • Karl Ferdinand Braun invented the modern electronic cathode ray tube in 1897. The CRT became a commercial product in 1922.
  • Record companies (such as Victor, Brunswick and Columbia) introduce an electrical recording process on their phonograph records in 1925 (that had been developed by Western Electric), resulting in a more life-like sound.
  • Robert Goddard makes the first flight of a liquid-fueled rocket in 1926.

[edit] International Issues

See also Social issues of the 1920s
  • Rise of radical political movements amid the economic and political turmoil after World War I and after the stock market crash such as communism and fascism.
  • Kellogg-Briand Pact to end war.
  • Women are given the right to vote in multiple countries in the 1920s.
  • Stock market crash of 1929 devastates economies across the world and marks the beginning of the Great Depression.

[edit] Africa

[edit] Americas

  • Prohibition of alcohol occurs in the United States. Organized crime related to the illegal sale of alcohol booms, such as by Chicago mob leader Al Capone.
  • The major sport was baseball and the most famous player was Babe Ruth.

[edit] Asia

[edit] Europe

Vladimir Lenin in 1920.
  • Polish-Soviet war.
  • Major armed conflict in Ireland including Irish War of Independence (1919-1921) resulting in Ireland becoming an independent country in 1922 followed by the Irish Civil War (1922-23)
  • The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (a.k.a. the Soviet Union) is created in 1922.
  • Benito Mussolini of the National Fascist Party became Italy's Prime Minister, shortly thereafter creating the world's first fascist government. The Fascist regime establishes a totalitarian state led by Mussolini as a dictator. The Fascist regime restores good relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Italy with the Lateran Pact which creates Vatican City. The Fascist regime pursues an expansionist agenda in Europe such as by raiding the Greek island of Corfu in 1923, pressuring Albania to submit to becoming a de facto Italian protectorate in the mid-1920s, and threatening Yugoslavia with war until the Yugoslav government agrees to allow Italians to freely immigrate into Dalmatia (a region of Yugoslavia claimed by Italian nationalists) with the Treaty of Nettuno.
  • Germany suffers from economic crisis in the early 1920s and hyperinflation of currency in 1923. French military forces briefly occupy the industrial Ruhr region in Germany from 1923 to 1924 after Germany failed to be able to pay its reparations payments. The recently-formed fringe National Socialist German Workers' Party (a.k.a. Nazi Party) led by Adolf Hitler attempts a coup against the Bavarian and German governments in the Beer Hall Putsch which fails, resulting in Hitler being briefly imprisoned for one year in prison where he writes Mein Kampf.

[edit] Economics

[edit] Literature and Arts

[edit] Culture and religion

  • Prohibition — legal attempt to end consumption of alcohol in Canada, the USA, Norway and Finland
    Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol.
KKK in the 1920s. Photo from The Good Citizen 1923

[edit] People

[edit] World leaders

[edit] Entertainers

[edit] Sports figures

[edit] Styles

  • Robert Sobel The Great Bull Market: Wall Street in the 1920s. (1968)

[edit] References

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