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Irish War of IndependenceProhibition in the United StatesWomen's suffrageBabe RuthSpirit of St. LouisChinese Civil WarMarch on Rome1929 stock market crash
From left, clockwise: Third Tipperary Brigade Flying Column No. 2 under Seán Hogan during the Irish War of Independence; Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol in accordance to the 18th amendment, which made alcoholic beverages illegal in the United States throughout the entire decade; In 1927, Charles Lindbergh embarks on the first solo 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 numerous countries granting women the right to vote and be elected; Babe Ruth becomes the most famous baseball player of the time.
Millennium: 2nd millennium

The 1920s (pronounced "nineteen-twenties") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1920, and ended on December 31, 1929.

In 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 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 prosperity was the result of a paradigm shift in global affairs. These shifts in the 1920s, 1950s, and 1990s, occurred in part 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]

In some countries the 1920s saw the rise of radical political movements, especially in regions that were once part of empires. Communism spread as a consequence of 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. In 1922, the fascist leader Benito Mussolini seized power in Italy after a coup d'état. 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]

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 finger wave or 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, radio and household electricity, as well as 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.

Most independent countries passed women's suffrage after 1918, especially as a reward for women's support of the war effort and endurance of its deaths and hardships.

Politics and wars[edit]


Spanish troops in San Sebastián, prior to their departure to the Rif War.

Internal conflicts[edit]

Major political changes[edit]

Adolf Hitler (standing) delivers a speech in February 1925
  • 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

Decolonization and independence[edit]

Prominent political events[edit]

  • 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

North America[edit]

Prohibition agents emptying barrels of alcohol.


The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union) is created in 1922.




Crowd gathering after the Wall Street Crash of 1929



Assassinations and attempts[edit]

Prominent assassinations, targeted killings, and assassination attempts include:

Science and technology[edit]



  • Charles Lindbergh becomes the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean (May 20–21, 1927), nonstop from New York to Paris.
  • Howard Carter opens the innermost shrine of King Tutankhamun's tomb near Luxor, Egypt, 1922
  • In 1928, Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin

Popular culture[edit]



The most memorable fashion trend of the Roaring Twenties was undoubtedly "the flapper" look.

The 1920s is the decade in which fashion entered the modern era. It was the decade in which women first abandoned the more restricting fashions of past years and began to wear more comfortable clothes (such as short skirts or trousers). Men also abandoned highly formal daily attire and even began to wear athletic clothing for the first time. The suits men wear today are still based, for the most part, on those worn in the late 1920s. The 1920s are characterized by two distinct periods of fashion. In the early part of the decade, change was slow, as many were reluctant to adopt new styles. From 1925, the public passionately embraced the styles associated with the Roaring Twenties. These styles continued to characterize fashion until the worldwide depression worsened in 1931.


The period from the end of the First World War until the start of the Depression in 1929 is known as the "Jazz Age"


  • 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 as the British Broadcasting Company, a consortium between radio manufacturers and newspapers. It became a public broadcaster in 1926.
  • On August 27, 1920, regular wireless broadcasts for entertainment began in Argentina for the first time,[9] by a Buenos Aires group including Enrique Telémaco Susini. The station is soon called Radio Argentina. (See Radio in Argentina.)




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]





Charlie Chaplin during the 1920s


Irving Berlin (left) and Al Jolson, c. 1927

Film makers[edit]

D. W. Griffith at a rolltop desk, c. 1925



Sports figures[edit]

Babe Ruth in 1920

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. ^ Andrew Lamb (2000). 150 Years of Popular Musical Theatre. Yale U.P. p. 195. ISBN 0300075383.
  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. JSTOR 3112955.
  4. ^ Price, S (1999). "What made the twenties roar?". 131 (10): 3–18. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ "The Ku Klux Klan, a brief biography". The African American Registry. Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. Retrieved July 19, 2012. and Lay, Shawn. "Ku Klux Klan in the Twentieth Century". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Coker College.
  6. ^ Famine in Russia: the hidden horrors of 1921. International Committee of the Red Cross.
  7. ^ African History Timeline
  8. ^ "Inflation and CPI Consumer Price Index 1920-1929". Inflation Data. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  9. ^ Altgelt, Carlos A. "EARLY HISTORY OF RADIO BROADCASTING IN ARGENTINA". The Broadcast Archive. Retrieved 5 November 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Allen, Frederick Lewis. Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s (1931), classic popular history of United States; online free
  • Cornelissen, Christoph, and Arndt Weinrich, eds. Writing the Great War - The Historiography of World War I from 1918 to the Present (2020) free download; full coverage for major countries.
  • Grossman, Mark. Encyclopedia of the Interwar Years: From 1919 to 1939 (2000). 400pp.
  • Jacobson, Jon. "Is there a New International History of the 1920s?." American Historical Review 88.3 (1983): 617–645. online
  • McAuliffe, Mary. When Paris Sizzled: The 1920s Paris of Hemingway, Chanel, Cocteau, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, and Their Friends (2016) excerpt
  • Mowat, Charles Loch. Britain Between the Wars, 1918–1940 (1955), 690pp; thorough scholarly coverage; emphasis on politics online at Questia Archived 2018-06-24 at the Wayback Machine; also online free to borrow, scholarly survey of the era.
  • Sobel, Robert The Great Bull Market: Wall Street in the 1920s. (1968)