World War I and Fascism
The first world war left many of the European nations weakened economically, as it has taken place on their soil. Also, there were significant changes taking place geopolitically as the losers in the war lost their colonies in Africa and Asia (Raw, 2016). America was relatively untouched by the conflict, though it participated in it assisting the allies. After the war, in the 1920s, many people emigrated from the poor eastern European countries to the United States seeking better lives. The influx of the Europeans into America had the effect of draining the Eastern Europe nations of their intellectuals, as they were the first ones to go. This left the populations in the eastern Europe vulnerable to fascist leaders who went on to lead them into communism.
The immigrants, being poor, had to clamor for the same jobs as the minorities in the United States. The African Americans in the US were still not fully emancipated from economic disenfranchising, and were still under the Jim Crow separatist laws. The 1930s were defined by the great depression that lasted between 1929 and 1939 (Keene, 2015). The economic downturn caused unemployment for almost half of the population of the nation. The heaven that the immigrants had come to turned out hell for them. Industrial output was at an all-time low, and half of the banks were closed (Keene, 2015). The industrial high that had been enjoyed in the previous decades came to naught. The great depression in America to a degree vindicated the fascist who held capitalism in contempt and helped lay foundations for fascist regimes in eastern Europe, Germany and Russia.
Keene, J. (2015). A ‘brutalizing’ war? the USA after the first world war. Journal of Contemporary History, 50(1), 78.
Raw, L. (2016). First world war: Still no end in sight. The Journal of American Culture, 39(1), 96-97.