THE INTER-WAR PERIOD 1929
In Moscow on the 9th February 1929 the Litvinov Protocol was signed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union), Poland, Estonia, Romania and Latvia. Named after the chief Soviet diplomat, Maxim Litvinov, the treaty provided for the immediate implementation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact by the signatories, thereby formally denouncing aggressive warfare as part of national foreign policy. The protocol was registered with the League of Nations, ready for the immediate entry into force of the Treaty of Paris of 27th August 1928.
The Lateran Treaty was signed in Rome on the 11th February 1929, between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See (Vatican City), which settled the “Roman Question” and normalised relations between the Vatican and Italy. The Italian parliament ratified the treaty on the 7th June 1929.
Herbert Hoover became the 31st President of the United States on the 4th March 1929. The Great Depression was the central issue of his presidency starting with the Wall Street Crash of October 1929. There were occasional upswings but more frequent downswings until the economy verged on disaster in 1931-33 along with most of the industrial world. Upon taking office Hoover believed it would not be too long before poverty was banished from the United States. Having seen the fruits of prosperity brought about by technological progress, many shared Hoover’s optimism and the already strong stock market climbed even higher on Hoover’s inaugaration. But within months of his taking office, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 occurred, and the worldwide economy began to spiral downward into the Great Depression.
In Rome on the 7th June 1929, the Italian parliament ratified the Lateran Treaty making the Vatican City an independent sovereign state. The government, led by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, agreed to give the Roman Catholic Church financial compensation for the loss of the Papal States.
The Kellogg-Briand Pact came into effect on the 24th July 1929. The pact had been signed by all the major countries in Paris on the 27th August 1928 where they renounced the use of war and called for peaceful settlements of any future disputes. As a practical matter the Kellogg-Briand Pact did not live up to all of its aims. It did not end war or stop the rise of militarism and was unable to keep the international peace in the following years owing to its lack of influence on foreign policy. It had erased the distinction between war and peace because, in future, the signatories began to wage war without declaring.
The Geneva Convention (1929) was signed in Geneva on the 27th July 1929. The Hague Regulations of 1899 and 1907, concerning the treatment of prisoners of war, revealed deficiencies during the Great War. Some of the deficiencies were partly overcome by special agreements made between opposing forces in Berne in 1917 and 1918. The International Red Cross Conference of 1921, submitted their draft proposals to the Geneva Convention of 1929, expressing concern over the treatment of prisoners of war. These proposals were accepted and completed the Hague Regulations and entered into force on the 19th June 1931.
In Paris on the 31st August 1929 the Young Plan was finalised during the renegotiation Germany’s Great War repatriation payments. A new committee, chaired by the American Owen Young, met to revise the Dawes Plan of 1924. The plan reduced the amount due from Germany to $26,350,000,000 (United States) to be paid over a 58.5 years, which was accepted with minor changes and went into effect on the 1st September 1930.
When the stock market on Wall Street in the United States crashed on the 29th October 1929 the Great Depression began. The impact on the industrial world was dire. In Germany millions were thrown out of work and several major banks collapsed. Adolf Hitler and the NSDAP prepared to take advantage of the emergency to gain support for their party. They promised to repudiate the Treaty of Versailles, strengthen the economy and provide jobs.