Time Period 4: 1900 - present

General Timeline
General Maps

Map 1: East Asia & Pacific

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Map 2: Afro-Eurasia

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Course Content

World War 1:


Causes & Build-up of World War 1

Initial Nationalist Rivalries

  • Nations fought with each other for colonies and for dominance of trade
    • UK & Germany fought over greater industrial & naval power
    • France & Germany fought over Morocco
    • Nations manipulated propaganda to portray these patriotic themes
  • Austria-Hungary took over Balkans as Ottomans declined

    • Only Greece could gain independence, other Slavic nations in Balkans wanted independence

    • Russia wanted to weaken Austria-Hungary, so it allied with the Slavs in Balkans

  • Nations formed alliances to protect each other

    • Central Powers (Triple Alliance) was between Austria-Hungary & Germany, Italy later joined​

    • Allies (Triple Entente) was between France, Britain, Russia

    • If one nation was attacked, other allied nations would declare war on the attacker


Official Start of War

Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was visiting Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina province

Gavrilo Princip, member of Serbian independence terrorist group, shot Ferdinand

Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia after Serbia refused to allow Austria-Hungary to investigate the crime

Germany refused to respect Belgian neutrality, so Britain declared war on Germany

Germany declared war on Russia & its ally, France. Wanted to attack France through Belgium

Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary to protect the Slavs. Later declared war on Germany as it allied with Austria-Hungary

Initial War Plans & Schlieffen Plan

  • All nations were initially happy about war
    • Believed war would be a quick victory
    • Common saying: "the boys will be home by Christmas" (the war started in August)
    • Nations formed specific timetables of when to attack whom, assuming the war would be quick
  • Schlieffen Plan was German military plan

    • Would initially attack France through Belgium

    • Then would attack Russia after defeating France

    • This failed as beating France took long


Battles of World War 1

German Battle on Western Front (with France)

Germany tried attacking France (according to Schlieffen Plan)

France stopped Germany at River Marne

Battle was a stalemate for 4 years

Italy Joined Allies & Battle of Caporetto

Britain & France got Italy to join Allies in 1915, promised to give them Austria-Hungary if Allies won

Italy lost miserably at Battle of Caporetto (1917) against Austria-Hungary

Britain & France helped defend Italy from further invasion

German Battle on Eastern Front (with Russia)

Germany & Austria-Hungary invaded Balkans

Russia invaded Prussia to help Balkans

Germans invaded Russia, causing Russia to lose miserably

Trench Warfare & New Battle Techniques

  • Trench warfare was used on the Western Front
    • Soldiers would stay in dug-up trenches & occasionally come up and fire machine guns
    • No Man's land was between trenches, very deadly as opposing side would easily fire machine guns & kill you
    • Trenches were dirty as disease spread easily
    • Trench warfare caused endless stalemates as no one would advance forward from their trench
  • New weapons were developed

    • Barbed wire was used to guard & fence trenches 

    • Chemical weapons (poison/mustard gas) were used, caused harm to lungs & eyes of opponents

    • Airplanes were invented but mostly used during World War 2

    • Submarines were used by Germans to sink British boats


Home Front

  • Government needed maximum production of resources, so it took full control of economy
    • Imposed production quotas, wages, prices
    • Put government control in all private enterprise, abolished laissez-faire economics
    • Formed many unemployed people to work
  • Many women went to work as men were at battle

    • Some worked as police or postal services

    • Worked as physicians, nurses, communications clerks at battle

    • Some worked in munitions industries & were exposed to dangerous conditions

  • Nations manipulated propaganda to support war

    • Portrayed enemies as weaker​

    • Suppressed those who were against war effort


Japan's Entry into World War 1

Japan wanted to remove German ships from East Asian waters. Japan also wanted to annex German-controlled Jiaozhou peninsula

Germany refused to comply

Japan declared war on Germany, joined Allies in August 1914. Took over German-controlled islands in Pacific

Battle of Gallipoli (1915-1916)

Britain wanted to take over Ottoman-controlled Dardanelles strait to get easy access to Russia

Britain lost miserably after attacking Ottomans at Dardanelles

Britain tried again, this time attacked Gallipoli Peninsula. Used troops from British colonies

Britain lost miserably. Led to weakened control over British colonies

Armenian Massacres

  • Armenians were last major non-Muslim group in Ottoman Empire
    • Armenians often complained about discrimination from local Ottoman princes
  • Ottomans believed Armenians would eventually declare independence, so they killed millions of Armenians

    • Known as Armenian genocide

    • Ottomans believed it to be a communal argument between Muslims & Christians


Losses of Ottoman Empire

  • Defended against British at Dardanelles & Gallipoli
  • Lost Caucasus to Russians

  • Lost Arab states to British
    • British allied with Arab states against Ottomans to declare independence


End of World War 1

March Revolution & Bolshevik Revolution in Russia

In Feb 1917, Russian peasants marched in Petrograd, wanted more food & land

Tsar Nicholas II abdicated (end of Romanovs)

Lenin's Bolshevik party took over government

Lenin created the Bolshevik party, a subgroup of Soviets. Led Bolshevik Rebellion (Nov 1917). Gained popular support through ideas of land distribution & withdrawal from war

Two provisional governments existed for 8 months: One supported war, the other (Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies) opposed war

Vladimir Ilych Lenin (Russian studying Marxism in Switzerland) was sent by Germans to Russia to convince them to withdraw from war

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918)

  • Signed between Russia & Germany
  • Removed Russia from World War 1
  • Germany gained 1/4 of Russia's population & many Russian territories

    • Poland, Ukraine, Baltics, Caucasus, Finland​

  • Gave Russia a chance to deal with internal problems

US Joins the War

  • Woodrow Wilson (US president, 1913-1921) initially opposed the war
  • US economy boomed as it exported munitions to Allies powers (Britain & France mostly)
    • US also gave loans to Allies​
    • Only made financial sense for Allies to win, so US joined the war to help the Allies (1917)
  • German submarines sank British ship Lusitania, killing 128 US citizens

    • This was one reason why US joined the war against Germany

  • US intervention was the only reason Allies won

End of the War

British imposed a naval blockade on Germany, preventing food from reaching there. There were many German protests for more food

France also had a protest among soldiers, but Germans didn't hear it due to censorship

Germany decided to give one last attack westward to France

Bulgaria, Ottomans, Austria-Hungary, and Germany surrendered to the Allies (1918)

France easily defended, Germany ran out of resources

Paris Settlement & Treaty of Versailles (1919)

  • Woodrow Wilson (US), Lloyd George (UK), George Clemenceau (France) led meeting at Paris
    • 28 nations were invited, none of Central Powers​
    • Meeting was in chaos due to conflicting views
    • Discussed how to punish Germany for the war
  • Wilson's 14 Points
    • Wilson previously drafted 14 Points, a document entailing potential post-war peace treaties
    • Suggested reduction in armaments production, equal naval trade, self-determination (independence) for some colonies, etc.
  • Eventually they passed Treaty of Versailles (1919)
    • Made Germany pay reparations for the war
    • Made Germany reduce armaments production
    • Restricted size of German military
    • Banned Germany from having air force & navy

Ataturk & Creation of Turkey

  • Treaty of Lausanne (1923) recognized end of Ottoman Empire & creation of Turkey
  • Mustafa Kemal, war hero during WW1, led Turkish state
    • Known as Ataturk ("father of the Turks")
    • Established government control over industries, leading to economic prosperity
    • Replaced Muslim government with a secular government

Mandate System

  • France & Britain believed newly independent Arab states couldn't govern themselves
  • France & Britain established protectorates (mandates) in Arab states
    • France protected Iraq & Palestine
    • Britain protected Lebanon & Syria
    • Intervened in their governmental affairs, helped them build their nations

League of Nations

  • Created in 1920
  • Association of nations similar to the UN
  • Sought to promote international collaboration to prevent massive wars
  • Paved way for creation of UN in 1945
  • Eventually failed
    • It was flawed as it relied on collective security (where nations protect each other)
    • Japan, USSR, Germany, & Italy left
    • US never joined

Influenza Pandemic of 1918

  • Originated in Spain, spread via soldier movements during World War 1
  • Became a global pandemic right after WW1 in 1918, suddenly disappeared in mid-1919
  • Killed 20 million people in total
  • Worst pandemic in human history
  • Paved way for creation of UN in 1945
  • Eventually failed
    • It was flawed as it relied on collective security (where nations protect each other)
    • Japan, USSR, Germany, & Italy left
    • US never joined

Postwar Innovations & Great Depression:


Postwar Pessimism

  • European society declined after WW1, and many writers wrote about the decline
  • Europeans believed Christianity had abandoned them
    • ​Believed they didn't have infinite potential like the church said
    • Believed the church failed to protect them
  • Others attacked European progress

    • Originally believed people beneficially use nature, but now, people hated that nature was used to make poison gas & explosives 

    • Believed democracy was bad as well as it allowed incompetent people to have a voice


Postwar Innovations

  • Sigmund Freud created the psychoanalytical theory
    • Believed people get rid of everything they hate & instead dream about things they like​
    • His idea of dreams was used by other writers to talk about human behavior
  • Einstein created theory of special relativity
    • The space occupied by an object and the current time is relative to the viewer, not the same universally
  • Heisenberg created the uncertainty principle
    • Believed it was impossible to get exact value of velocity & position of an object
    • Believed all these measurements depended on the observer
    • This idea questioned the uncertainty of truth
  • New Innovations in art & architecture were made

    • Since photographs were invented, artists turned to abstract art as it can't be made with photos

    • Abstract art was often exotic & depicted dreams (like Freud's psychoanalytical theory)

    • Bauhaus was an architecture school in Germany that stressed function over beauty

      • Believed in designing simple glass buildings as opposed to large elegant buildings​

      • These ideas were used in most skyscrapers of Chicago & New York


Great Depression

Initial Economic Problems

  • Europeans had lots of loans from the US
    • Britain & France had to pay war loans to the US
    • Germany & Austria had to pay reparations to Britain & France
    • US loaned money to Germany & Austria to pay reparations
    • US investors stopped giving loans, which put a financial strain on Europe
  • There were unnecessary agricultural surpluses
    • Improved industrial processes required less raw materials
      • Reclaimed rubber could be used twice, threatening rubber industry of Malaya​
      • Oil usage undermined coal economy
      • Artificial nitrogen undermined Chile's nitrate
    • During WW1, European agricultural production was low, so everyone else produced more to supply to Europe, but after, everyone else didn't decrease production, causing surpluses
    • These surpluses led to a decrease in prices
    • Due to surpluses, government ordered the firing of workers to decrease production

Stock Market Crash of 1929

In 1929, people were buying stocks on margin. They'd buy stocks & sell them after making a slight profit

People believed stocks would go down in price, so they all sold all their stocks

On Black Thursday (10/24/1929), all prices plummeted significantly, stock market crashed. People lost their life savings

Economic Downfall Spreads

  • Many people were dismissed from work
    • People had less money due to stock market crash, causing less demand for products as less people could buy products
    • Less demand for products led to less workers needed, so workers were fired
    • More fired workers decreased demand further, and this cycle is endless
  • Other nations had economic problems due to the US
    • US banks issued loans to people to start small businesses
      • They canceled these loans as less people could pay them on time
    • German economy fell as it relied on US loans
    • Other European economies fell as they relied on Germany's economy
    • Japan's economy fell as it relied on US exports
    • Export oriented economies of Africa, Asia, Latin America declined after industrial economies declined
  • Nations imposed tariffs to protect domestic industries
    • International trade dropped 66%

Government Action in Great Depression

  • Initially, Great Depression intensified class differences further & created worse living conditions
    • Urban centers were crowded & dirty
    • Governments sometimes destroyed surplus crops to raise prices
  • John Maynard Keynes believed government should play active role
    • Believed it should lower interest rates to allow people to start small businesses
    • Believed in increasing money supply
    • Wanted government to undertake public works projects to create jobs
    • Basic belief was that the problem was less demand as opposed to more supply
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, initiated after World War 2, included Keynes's ideas

Socialism & Fascism:


Start of Russian Socialism

General Timeline

Russian Civil War

Lenin's War Communism (economic policy)

Lenin's New Economic Policy

Stalin's Great Purge

Stalin's First Five-Year Plan

Stalin takes over as dictator

Russian Civil War (1917-1922)

  • Lenin's army, the Red Army, executed all dissidents
    • Killed about 200,000 dissidents
    • Known as Red Terror Campaign
    • Even Killed Tsar Nicholas II & his entire family & all servants
  • Anti-Communist army, the White Army, lost to the Red army
    • Foreigners supported the Whites, which was negligible & didn't help much​
  • In the end, the Reds won, and 20 million died
    • More people died from disease & famine caused by the war​
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War Communism & New Economic Policy (NEP)

  • Lenin adopted War Communism in 1917
    • Had governmental control of everything
    • Forced peasants to give their produce to feed people in the cities
    • This led to many revolts
    • Agricultural & industrial production was down as people couldn't meet quotas & hated the policy
    • This was replaced in 1921
  • In 1921, Lenin started the New Economic Policy (NEP)
    • Allowed small enterprises to be privately owned
    • Allowed farmers to sell surplus crops at market (instead of government taking surpluses)
    • Still had government control of religious buildings, large industries, banks, etc.
    • Made technical schools to train engineers
    • Ended when Lenin died in 1924

Stalin's Economic Reforms & the Great Purge

  • Joseph Stalin became dictator in 1924 after Lenin's death
    • Known as "man of steel"
    • Known for ruthless tactics
  • Initiated First Five-Year Plan
    • Promoted heavy industry (steel, etc.) ​over consumer goods
    • Had collectivization of agriculture in which farmers live on shared farms
    • Had national centralization of economy
    • Eventually was successful
  • At his Congress meeting, he initiated the execution of all his dissidents, known as "Great Purge"
    • Ordered all dissidents to be executed or put in labor camps
    • From 1935-1939, 3 million Russians died

Italian Fascism

Definition of Fascism

  • Emphasizes nationalism & power in the nation
    • Believed in a strong ruler, ethnocentrism, militarism
    • Every individual was subordinate to the state
    • Emphasized chauvinism (extreme nationalism) & xenophobia (fear of foreigners)
    • Known for ruthless tactics
  • Different from socialism as it does not believe in having one social class

Mussolini & Italian Fascism

  • Benito Mussolini was the Italian Fascist 
    • His army was known as Blackshirts
    • Gained popularity as many Italians hated the current ineffective government & the economic turmoil it created
    • Elected many seats to Parliament, which gained his popularity
    • In 1922, Blackshirts marched in Rome, and King Victor Emmanuel III named Mussolini as Italian Prime Minister
  • Mussolini made radical changes to the Italian state
    • Known as Il Duce (the leader)
    • Ended basic freedoms (speech, press, etc.)
    • Imprisoned or exiled all dissidents
    • Established corporatism (government control of all business)
    • Issued anti-Semitic (anti-Jew) laws in 1938
    • Signed Pact of Steel with Hitler (leader of German Nazi state) in 1939

German Nazi State

Hitler & the Rise of the Nazi State

  • Adolf Hitler was the chair of National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis) in 1924
    • Used force to overthrow the existing Weimar Republic of Germany, but he was jailed in 1919
    • After he was released in 1924, he wanted to use peaceful tactics through popular votes to take power
  • Nazi Party appealed because Hitler stressed racial doctrines & promised to bring prosperity to Germany after Great Depression & Treaty of Versailles
    • Many hated the reparations Germany had to pay for WW1
    • Others hated that they lost their job during Great Depression
    • Hitler blamed these downfalls on the Jews and other racially inferior people
    • Became largest party in Parliament by 1930
    • Hitler was named chancellor of Germany in 1933
  • Nazis consolidated power ruthlessly
    • Imprisoned or killed dissidents
    • Eliminated basic freedoms
    • Took control of all governmental services (police, judicial court, etc.)

Hitler's Views on Race

  • Believed in "racial purity" & wanted no "biological outsiders"
    • Encouraged women to give more births
    • Banned abortions for racially pure, mandated abortions for racially inferior
    • Issued awards for mothers with most children
    • Overall, this movement failed as the German population was declining
    • After he was released in 1924, he wanted to use peaceful tactics through popular votes to take power
    • Cared about eugenics & the quality of children: killed all "mentally ill" & "racial aliens"
  • Anti-Semitism was a key feature of the Nazi Party
    • Wanted to eliminate all Jews
    • Passed Nuremberg Laws in 1935 to persecute Jews in German society
    • Wanted to remove Jews from high-paying businesses like banks & expropriate their wealth
    • During Kristallnacht (night of broken glass), Germans attacked thousands of Jew-owned stores, synagogues, etc.
    • Hundreds of thousands of Jews left Germany after this persecution

Compare & Contrast: Socialism vs Fascism

Both ideologies believe in a strong ruler, extreme nationalism and fear of foreigners, and both suppress civil liberties like freedom of speech & press. Also, both somewhat abolish private property & private enterprises. However, in socialism, everyone is equal below the state, and all property & business is state-owned. In Fascism, there are distinct social classes of people, all of which are subservient to the state, and private property is abolished to a lesser degree, where often only large private enterprises are state-owned.  

Asian & African States' Paths to Autonomy During Interwar Period


Indian Independence Movement

Indian National Congress & British Resentment

  • Council of Indians meant to collaborate with British
    • Originally collaborated with British when founded in 1885
    • During WW1, as food supplies were low, it started resenting the British
    • All India Muslim League, a group of Muslims in India, was founded in 1906
  • Started resenting British after WW1 & upon hearing ideas about independence
    • Many Indians were educated in Europe, where they learned ideas about personal freedom from the Enlightenment, contradicting imperialism
    • Heard about Wilson's 14 Points & the idea of self determination
    • Muslims wanted separation from Hindus as they feared repression from Hindus
  • Mohandas K. Gandhi sought to bring Indian Independence & improve rights of Indians
    • Studied law in London & practiced it in South Africa
    • Expanded Indian National Congress, appealed to Indians because of his spiritual approach
    • Spoke an Indian language that many could understand
    • Hated the caste system
    • Led peaceful protests against British, boycotted British goods & schools, etc.

India Act & Its Failure

  • British proposed the Government of India Act (1935)
    • Allowed Indians to have their own self-governing legislatures, still under British control
    • Failed as 600 local Indian princes refused to accept the sovereignty of the legislature
  • Many poor people & Muslims resented British rule & the India Act
    • Poor people were hard hit in Great Depression, British did nothing about it
    • Many Muslim tenants had Hindu landlords & hated the religious oppression
    • Muslims feared that India Act was Hindu domination, no better than British domination
    • Muhammad Ali Jinnah, leader of Muslim League, wanted a separate Muslim state called Pakistan ("land of the pure")

Civil War in China

Problems with Qing State

  • In 1911, a revolution forced two-year-old Puyi to abdicate the throne as China was deteriorating
  • Opium trade was harming China
  • Many local provinces emerged, ruled by Qing warlords
  • Foreigners forced China to sign unequal treaties, leading to deterioration of society

Creation of a Communist Party & Republic

  • In 1912, Sun Yatsen created a Chinese Republic
    • Didn't believe in rule of proletariat, but wanted Chinese nationalism
    • Created Guomindang, or Nationalist People's Party
    • Believed in a democratic republican government, national unification, no foreigner rights
    • Jiang Jeishi took over after Sun Yatsen died
  • Mao Zedong led the Chinese Communist Party (founded in 1921)
    • Formed after May Fourth protests of 1919 where students protested foreign involvement
    • Inspired by Lenin & Marxist thought
    • Wanted more rights for women: End of divorce, foot binding, & arranged marriages

Chinese Civil War (1927-1949)

Jiang Jeishi (Guomindang) led campaign called Northern Expedition (1927), brought all of China under his rule, made Nanjing his capital

Communists retreated to Southeast China to reorganize troops & resources

Communists led Long March to Yan'an in Northwest China. Inspired many people to join CCP


retreated to Taiwan

Communists took over all of China by 1949. Mao Zedong emerged as leader, combined Marxist & Leninist thought into Marxist-Leninism or Maoism

Japanese Imperialism in Interwar Period

Japan Enhances its Importance

  • Japan became a major imperial power & signed treaties to improve relations with other nations
    • Joined League of Nations as one of the "big five" powers
    • Signed Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928), an international agreement to renounce war
    • Signed treaties with other East Asian nations
  • Japan's munitions industry boomed during WW1 but fell during Great Depression
  • Many workers protested & led strikes, eventually murdering Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi
  • Easily retook Manchuria in 1931 from China due to internal Chinese problems

Japanese Conquest of Manchuria & Mukden Incident (1931)

Japanese led conquest of Manchuria in 1931. Named it Manchukuo. Bombed part of Manchurian railway near Mukden

Japanese blamed China for railway bombing, pretext for war with China

Jiang Jeishi (leader of Guomindang) opposed the Japanese agression in Manchuria

Japan refused to comply & left the League of Nations (1933)

League of Nations told Japan to stop

Jeishi told League of Nations to tell Japan to stop conquering Manchuria

Africa During the Interwar Period

Africa's Involvement in the War

  • Many battles were fought in Africa itself
    • British & French often attacked German colonies in Africa
    • French sought to retake Cameroon from Germans
  • Many Africans participated in the war
    • Many served as soldiers, representing their colonizer
    • English & French had mandatory conscription for young adult men
    • Others would help transport supplies for soldiers
    • Over 1 million Africans participated, over 150,000 Africans died
  • As many Europeans left Africa to join the war, Africans could protest against colonization
    • Many Africans didn't want to participate in the war
    • Europeans successfully put down all revolts

African Colonial Economy

  • Europeans built lots of infrastructure, including railroads, telegraph lines, and roads in Africa
    • Made communication, transportation, and governance easier
    • Africans paid for this with taxes & labor
    • French sought to retake Cameroon from Germans
  • Most Africans were cash crop farmers as they had to pay taxes to Europeans with their income
    • Specialized in 1-2 crops
    • Mostly white settlers (in South Africa) dominated this industry
    • Mining enterprises also hired men from rural areas
  • Forced labor was commonly used
    • Many railways were built with forced labor
    • About 15,000 forced laborers died each year of overwork

African Nationalism

  • Many Africans were inspired by European ideals of freedom & independence
    • Inspired by Woodrow Wilson's idea of self-determination
    • Many Africans studied in Europe & were inspired by Enlightenment ideals of freedom
  • African nationalists differed in their views on nationalism
    • Some believed in nationalism based on ethnicity
    • Others believed in pan-African nationalism (all of Africa as one nation)
    • Some believed in using existing colonial boundaries for nationalism
    • After WW2, these nationalist movements turned into actual independence movements

Latin America During the Interwar Period:


University Protests in Latin America

  • Many university students gained new ideas about governance & Marxist thought
    • Great Depression inspired peasants to fight for more rights
    • Wanted more power for peasants & indigenous people
    • Wanted peasants to cooperate with middle class
    • Peru had lots of communist & Marxist movements
  • Diego Rivera depicted political scenario of Latin America in his paintings 
    • Commissioned to paint about history of Mexico in Mexican public buildings
    • Painted a depiction of US Neocolonialism in Latin America at Rockefeller Center (NY)

US Economic Policy Toward Latin America

  • US invested a lot in Latin American enterprises, known as "dollar diplomacy"
    • Allowed US to diplomatically control many Latin American firms
    • Latin Americans hated this
    • Due to strong US involvement, Latin American economy fell during Great Depression
    • Brazilian President, Getulio Dornelles Vargas, reformed Brazilian economy by promoting industrialization & implementing social welfare
    • US invested in the Chiquita banana, and made it part of United Fruit Company
    • US hired Carmen Miranda (Latin American origin) to sing & help advertise Chiquita banana
  • US later initiated the "Good Neighbor" policy
    • Would train local police forces in Latin America to protect US investments

US Involvement in Nicaragua in Interwar Period

Civil War broke out in Nicaragua regarding involvement of US Marines, which were intended to protect US investments in Nicaragua

Augusto Cesar Sandino led the opposition movement to US marines

US Marines agreed to leave & created the National Guard (Guardia Nacional) in Nicaragua to protect US investments

Anastasio Somoza then succeeded Juan Sacasa as next Nicaraguan president

Augusto Sandino wanted to end the civil war, but Guardia Nacional murdered him

US put Juan Sacasa as Nicaraguan President & Anastasio Somoza as leader of Guardia Nacional. Both supported US intervention

What is neocolonialism?