THE INTER- WAR PERIOD 1920
Set up on the 10th January 1920, the Free City of Danzig was a self-governing city-state and a port on the Baltic Sea. Danzig was under the protection of the League of Nations with special rights reserved for Poland, as it was the only port in the Polish Corridor. The Free City was occupied and annexed by Nazi Germany in 1939 when it ceased to exist. After Germany’s defeat in 1945 Danzig was occupied and annexed by Poland under the Polish name of Gdansk.
On the 21st January 1920, the Paris Peace Conference came to an end with the inaugural General Assembly of the League of Nations. Although one of the victors of the Great War, the United States of America never joined the League.
On the 13th March 1920 the failed Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch attempted to overthrow the Weimar Republic and establish a German right-wing government. Wolfgang Kapp and Walther von Lüttwitz led the coup which took place in Berlin and was supported by parts of the military. Their argument being that the brave efforts of the undefeated German military had been “stabbed-in-the-back” by civilians at home. The government was forced to flee the city for Munich, then called upon the German citizens to join a general strike. Most civil servants refused to cooperate with Kapp and his allies, who in the meantime had set up an intermediate government in Berlin. However, the majority of the working class participated in the general strike. With the country paralysed, Kapp and Lüttwitz were unable to govern in Berlin, as all communications were by courier between the loyal military units. When proclamations asking the workers to return to work, and promises of new elections were ignored, the putsch collapsed on the 17th March 1920. Using passports supplied by supporters in the police Kapp fled to Sweden and Lüttwitz fled to Hungary in April 1920.
Adolf Hitler was discharged from the army on the 31st March 1920 and began working full-time for the NSDAP. The party headquarters was in Munich, which was a hotbed of anti-government German nationalists determined to crush Marxism and undermine the Weirmar Republic.
The 1920 Iraqi Revolt started in May 1920 with mass demonstrations against the British occupation of Iraq. The revolt gained momentum when it spread to the largely tribal Shia regions of the middle and lower Euphrates. Sunni and Shia religious communities together with tribal urban masses and Iraqi officers in Syria cooperated in the revolution. The object of the revolution was for the creation of an Arab government and independence from. British rule. Although the revolt achieved some initial success, the revolt was largely over by the end of October 1920 after the British had forced the rebels to surrender when the rebels had run out of supplies and funding.
Hungary signed the Treaty of Trianon with the Allied Powers in Paris on the 4th June 1920. The Allies dictated the terms of the treaty which was forced on Hungary rather than negotiated. The Hungarian delegation had no option but to accept the terms and signed the treaty under protest, which was registered with the League of Nations on the 24th August 1920.
In Paris on the 10th August 1920, Turkey signed the Treaty of Sèvres with the Allied Powers. The United States did not sign as they had never declared war on Turkey. The terms imposed on Turkey were equally as harsh as the Treaty of Versailles was on Germany in 1919. The treaty portioned the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish armed forces were reduced in size. Greece did not accept the borders as drawn up in the treaty and did not sign. The Treaty of Sèvres was annulled in the course of the Turkish War of Independence and the parties signed and ratified the superseding Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
On the 20th October 1920, a Polish mutiny led by Lucjan Zeligowski (known as Zeligowski’s Mutiny) was a Polish military operation resulting in the creation of the Republic of Central Lithuania. Without the official support from the Polish state, Jozef Pilsudski the Polish Chief of State, ordered the operation. The region of Vilnius was captured and annexed by Poland.
In America on the 2nd November 1920, Franklin D. Roosevelt was defeated for the office of Vice President by Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge. This was the first election in America since the end of the Great War in 1918. Democratic President Woodrow Wilson had hoped for a third term in office but party leaders were unwilling to re-nominate the unpopular president. Wilson was unpopular in the USA as he had failed to keep America out of the Great War. The wartime boom had collapsed and politicians were arguing over the various peace treaties and the question of America’s entry into the League of Nations. James M. Cox was the Democratic nominee for the presidency with Roosevelt as his running mate for Vice President. Cox was defeated by Republican Warren G. Harding as the 34th President of the USA. Coolidge would take over as president when Harding died in 1923, and Roosevelt would later win the 1932 presidential election.