THE INTER-WAR PERIOD 1924
In Germany, following Adolf Hitler’s arrest and charge for high treason in November 1923, a report by the Bavarian authorities in 1924 stated that his service in the Bavarian Army came about because of an administrative error. As an Austrian citizen he should have been returned to Austria. At the outbreak of the Great War Hitler was living in Munich and voluntarily enlisted in the Bavarian Army and, therefore, he was to allowed to keep his German citizenship. He was decorated for bravery and received the Black Wound Badge whilst serving on the Western Front.
Vladimir Lenin, the architect of the Bolshevik Revolution and the first leader of the Soviet Union, died on the 21st January 1924, of a brain haemorrhage at the age of 54. Upon Lenin’s death his body was embalmed and placed in a mausoleum in the Red Square just outside the Moscow Kremlin. Petrograd was renamed Leningrad in his honour. Fellow revolutionary Joseph Stalin succeeded him as leader of the Soviet Union.
On the 1st February 1924 Britain formally extended diplomatic recognition to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR or Soviet Union). However, Anglo-Soviet relationships during the 1920’s was marked with distrust.
The trial of Adolf Hitler began in February 1924 and was conducted before the special People’s Court in Munich and Alfred Rosenberg became temporary leader of the NSDAP. On the 1st April 1924, Hitler was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment at Landsberg Prison and received friendly treatment from the prison guards. He was allowed mail from supporters and regular visits by party comrades. While at Landsberg Hitler dictated most of the first volume of Mein Kampf (My Struggle) to his deputy Rudolf Hess. The book laid out Hitler’s plans for transforming German society into one based on race. The main theory centred on Aryan superiority and Jewish inferiority. Some passages implied genocide.
In Italy, general elections were held on the 6th April 1924. They were held under the Acerbo Law which was approved by Parliament in November 1923. This law stated that the party with the largest share of the votes would automatically receive two-thirds of the seats in Parliament providing they received over 25% of the vote. The Nationalists of Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Party used intimidating tactics, resulting in a landslide victory and subsequent two-thirds majority. This was the last free election in Italy until 1946.
In Italy on the 10th June 1924, the Unitary Socialist Party leader Giacomo Matteotti was kidnapped and assassinated by Fascist Blackshirts. Mussolini ordered a cover-up in order to avert a coup which could have swept Fascism away.
The Dawes Plan was a report accepted by the Allies and Germany on the 16th August 1924. On the initiative of the British and U.S. governments a committee of experts headed by American financier, Charles G. Dawes, produced a report on the question of German reparations under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The occupation of the Ruhr industrial area by France and Belgium contributed to the hyperinflation crisis in Germany. The plan provided for an end to the Allied occupation, and a staggered payment plan for Germany’s payment of war reparations. The plan proved to be unworkable as it was only in interim plan, and in 1929 the Young Plan was adopted to replace it.
On the 18th August 1924, France and Belgium began withdrawing their occupying troops from the Ruhr industrial area of Germany. Ten years after the August 1914 declaration of war, cultural demobilization was finally able to begin, alongside a move away from violence in international relations. The Lacarno Treaties of 1925 established redefined German borders.
Adolf Hitler was released from prison on the 20th December 1924 after he had been pardoned by the Bavarian Supreme Court despite the state prosecution’s objections. Including time spent on remand Hitler served just over one year in prison.
On the 31st December 1924, the Italian Blackshirt leaders met with Mussolini and gave him an ultimatum, crush the opposition or they would do so without him. Mussolini decided to drop all trappings of democracy.