1920s

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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
EstablishmentsDisestablishments

The 1920s was a decade that began on January 1, 1920 and ended on December 31, 1929. In North America, it is frequently referred to as the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age, while in Europe the period is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Age Twenties"[1] because of the economic boom following World War I. French speakers refer to the period as the "années folles" ("Crazy Years"),[2] emphasizing the era's social, artistic, and cultural dynamism.

The economic prosperity experienced by many countries during the 1920s (especially the United States) was similar in nature to that experienced in the 1950s and 1990s. Each period of prospertiy was the result of a paradigm shift in global affairs. These shifts in th 1920s, 1950s, and 1990s, occurred as the result of the conclusion of World War I and Spanish flu, World War II, and the Cold War, respectively.

The 1920s saw foreign oil companies begin operations throughout South America. Venezuela became the world's second largest oil producing nation.[3]

Prosperity in the 1920s was not ubiquitous, however. The German Weimar Republic experienced a severe economic downturn as a result of the enormous debts it agreed to repay as part of the Treaty of Versailles. The economic crisis that resulted led to a devaluation of the Mark in 1923 and to severe economic problems. The economic hardships experienced by Germans during this period resulted in an environment conducive to the rise of the Nazi Party.

The 1920s were also characterized by the rise of radical political movements, especially in regions that were once part of empires. Communism spread as a consequence of the the October Revolution and the Bolsheviks' victory in the Russian Civil War. Fear of the spread of Communism led to the emergence of Far Right political movements and Fascism in Europe. Economic problems contributed to the emergence of dictators in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, to include 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 is generally viewed as a harbinger of the end of 1920s prosperity in North America and Europe.

Social history[edit]

Main article: Roaring Twenties

The Roaring Twenties brought about several novel and highly visible social and cultural trends. These trends, made possible by sustained economic prosperity, were most visible in major cities like New York, Chicago, Paris, Berlin and London. "Normalcy" returned to politics in the wake of hyper-emotional patriotism during World War I, jazz blossomed, and Art Deco peaked. For women, knee-length skirts and dresses became socially acceptable, as did bobbed hair with a marcel wave. The women who pioneered these trends were frequently referred to as flappers.[4]

The era saw the large-scale adoption of automobiles, telephones, motion pictures and electricity, unprecedented industrial growth, accelerated consumer demand and aspirations, and significant changes in lifestyle and culture. The media began to focus on celebrities, especially sports heroes and movie stars. Large baseball stadiums were built in major U.S. cities, in addition to palatial cinemas. The decade also saw the advent of television, albeit on a very limited scale.[5]

In most Western countries women gained the right to vote. The 1920s also marked the start of urban migration in the United States. By the end of the decade, the population in urban areas surpassed that of the population in rural areas.

War, peace and politics[edit]

Wars[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.

Europe[edit]

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).

Asia[edit]

Africa[edit]

Economics[edit]

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

Technology[edit]

Robert Goddard and his rocket, 1926

Popular culture[edit]

Film[edit]

Main article: 1920s in film

Music[edit]

Radio[edit]

  • 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]

Arts[edit]

Literature[edit]

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

Architecture[edit]

Bauhaus College in Dessau

Sports highlights[edit]

1920
1921
1923
1924
1925
  • May 28: French Open invites non-French tennis athletes for the first time
  • Germany and Belgium in first handball international tournament.
1926
1927
1928
1929

Miscellaneous trends[edit]

People[edit]

World leaders[edit]

Politics[edit]

Science[edit]

Literature[edit]

Entertainers[edit]

Musicians[edit]

Film makers[edit]

Main article: 1920s in film

Artists[edit]

Architects[edit]

See also: Bauhaus

Sports figures[edit]

See also[edit]

Timeline[edit]

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

1920192119221923192419251926192719281929

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paul Sann, The Lawless Decade Retrieved 2009-09-03
  2. ^ Andrew Lamb (2000). 150 Years of Popular Musical Theatre. Yale U.P. p. 195. 
  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. ^ Price, S (1999). "What made the twenties roar?" 131 (10). pp. 3–18. 
  5. ^ http://www.birth-of-tv.org/birth/assetView.do?asset=BIRTHOFTELEV19001___1109662224816
  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. 

Bibliography[edit]

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