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Irish Civil War Prohibition in the United States Women's suffrage Babe Ruth Spirit of St. Louis Chinese Civil War March on Rome 1929 stock market crash
From left, clockwise: Third Tipperary Brigade Flying Column No. 2 under Sean Hogan during the Irish Civil War; Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol in accordance to the 18th amendment, which made alcoholic beverages illegal throughout the entire decade; In 1927, Charles Lindbergh embarks on the first nonstop flight from New York to Paris on the Spirit of St. Louis; A crowd gathering on Wall Street after the 1929 stock market crash, which led to the Great Depression; Benito Mussolini and Fascist Blackshirts during the March on Rome in 1922; the People's Liberation Army attacking government defensive positions in Shandong, during the Chinese Civil War; The Women's suffrage campaign leads to the ratification of the 19th amendment in the United States and numerous countries granting women the right to vote and be elected; Babe Ruth becomes the most iconic baseball player of the time.
Millennium: 2nd millennium
Centuries: 19th century20th century21st century
Decades: 1890s 1900s 1910s1920s1930s 1940s 1950s
Years: 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
Categories: BirthsDeathsArchitecture

The 1920s was a decade that began on January 1, 1920 and ended on December 31, 1929. It is sometimes referred to as the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age, when speaking about the United States and Canada. In Europe the decade is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Age Twenties"[1] because of the economic boom following World War I.

Since the end of the 20th century, the economic strength during the 1920s has drawn close comparison with the 1950s and 1990s, especially in the United States of America. These three decades are regarded as periods of economic prosperity, which lasted throughout most of each decade.[citation needed] Each of the three decades followed a paradigm shift in global affairs (World War I and Spanish flu in the 1910s, World War II in the 1940s, and the end of the Cold War at the beginning of the 1990s). The 1920s marked the first time in the United States that the population in the cities surpassed the population of rural areas. This was due to rapid urbanization starting in the 1920s.

The decade saw the advent of television albeit on a very limited scale. [2]

However, not all countries enjoyed this prosperity. The Weimar Republic, like many other European countries, had to face a severe economic downturn in the opening years of the decade, because of the enormous debt caused by the war as well as the Treaty of Versailles. Such a crisis would culminate with a devaluation of the Mark in 1923, eventually leading to severe economic problems and, in the long term, favour the rise of the Nazi Party.

The 1920s were characterized by the rise of radical political movements, especially in regions that were once part of empires. Communism began attracting larger amounts of support following the success of the October Revolution and the Bolsheviks' determination to win the subsequent Russian Civil War. To move the backward economy of Russia towards a more developed economy in which socialism would become possible, the Bolsheviks adopted a policy of mixed economics, from 1921 to 1928, and also created the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics at the end of 1922. The 1920s also experienced the rise of the far right and fascism in Europe and elsewhere, being perceived as a solution to prevent the spread of Communism. The knotty economic problems also favoured the rise of dictators in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, such as Józef Piłsudski in the Second Polish Republic and Peter and Alexander Karađorđević in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The devastating Wall Street Crash in October 1929 drew a line under the prosperous 1920s.

In the 1920s foreign oil companies operated throughout South America. Venezuela, for instance, became the second world oil producer.[3]

Social history[edit]

Main article: Roaring Twenties

The Roaring Twenties is a term characterizing new highly visible social and cultural trends. They were most visible in major cities, especially New York, Chicago, Paris, Berlin and London, and took place in an age of sustained economic prosperity. French speakers called it the "années folles" ("Crazy Years"),[4] emphasizing the era's social, artistic, and cultural dynamism. "Normalcy" returned to politics in the wake of hyper-emotional patriotism during World War I, jazz blossomed, and Art Deco peaked. Towards the end of 1921, standard fashion was skirts or dresses that reached knee length, and bobbed hair with a marcel wave. Women involved in these actions were known as flappers.[5] The flapper redefined modern womanhood. Economically, the era saw the large-scale diffusion and use of automobiles, telephones, motion pictures and electricity, unprecedented industrial growth, accelerated consumer demand and aspirations, and significant changes in lifestyle and culture. The media focused on celebrities, especially sports heroes and movie stars, as cities rooted for their home teams and filled the new palatial cinemas and gigantic stadiums. In most major countries women were given the right to vote for the first time.

War, peace and politics[edit]


Internal conflicts[edit]

Major political changes[edit]

  • The rise of Communism following World War I.

Decolonization and independence[edit]

International issues[edit]

See also Social issues of the 1920s
  • Rise of radical political movements such as communism and fascism, amid the economic and political turmoil after World War I and after the stock market crash
  • Kellogg–Briand Pact to end war
  • Women's suffrage movement continues to make gains as women obtain full voting rights in New Zealand (1893), the Grand Duchy of Finland (1906), Denmark (1915), the United Kingdom in 1918 (women over 30) and in 1928 (full enfranchisement), and in the United States in 1920; women begin to enter the workplace in larger numbers.

United States[edit]

Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol.


This Cruzcampo Beer Truck was photographed in the 1920s in Spain (left side of the photograph).
This Cruzcampo Beer Truck was photographed in the 1920s in Spain (right side of the photograph).




Crowd gathering after the Wall Street Crash of 1929
Dow Jones Industrial, 1928–1930


Robert Goddard and his rocket, 1926

Popular culture[edit]


Main article: 1920s in film



  • First commercial radio stations in the U.S., 8MK (WWJ) in Detroit and (KDKA 1020 AM) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, go on the air on August 27, 1920.
  • Both stations broadcast the election results between Harding and Cox in early November. The first station to receive a commercial license is WBZ, then in Springfield MA, in mid-September 1921. While there are only a few radio stations in 1920–21, by 1922 the radio craze is sweeping the country.
  • 1922: The BBC begins radio broadcasting in the United Kingdom
  • On August 27, 1920, regular wireless broadcasts for entertainment began in Argentina for the first time, by the group around Enrique Susini Telemachus, and failed to spark telegraphy.[clarification needed]



First edition of Erich Maria Remarque's book "All Quiet on the Western Front", January 1929
First edition of Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf", July 1925


Bauhaus College in Dessau

Sports highlights[edit]

  • May 28: French Open invites non-French tennis athletes for the first time
  • Germany and Belgium in first handball international tournament.

Miscellaneous trends[edit]


World leaders[edit]






Film makers[edit]

Main article: 1920s in film



See also: Bauhaus

Sports figures[edit]

See also[edit]


The following articles contain brief timelines listing the most prominent events of the decade:



  1. ^ Paul Sann, The Lawless Decade Retrieved 2009-09-03
  2. ^ http://www.birth-of-tv.org/birth/assetView.do?asset=BIRTHOFTELEV19001___1109662224816
  3. ^ Wilkins, Mira (1974). "Multinational Oil Companies in South America in the 1920s: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru". The Business History Review 48 (3): 414–446. doi:10.2307/3112955. 
  4. ^ Andrew Lamb (2000). 150 Years of Popular Musical Theatre. Yale U.P. p. 195. 
  5. ^ Price, S (1999). "What made the twenties roar?" 131 (10). pp. 3–18. 
  6. ^ "The Ku Klux Klan, a brief biography". The African American Registry. Retrieved July 19, 2012.  and Lay, Shawn. "Ku Klux Klan in the Twentieth Century". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Coker College. 
  7. ^ African History Timeline
  8. ^ "Inflation and CPI Consumer Price Index 1920-1929". Inflation Data. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 


  • Robert Sobel The Great Bull Market: Wall Street in the 1920s. (1968)