History of the 20th Century: Part 2

This is part two of a series of blogs about the 20th century. This series will cover the events between the years 1914-1993. The start of WWI to the fall of communism. 

Click the year or conflict you want to go to and it will send you down to it. Also, click on any blue highlighted words to read more about it.

Years

Conflicts

Events

1922

This blog will cover the events between the years 1922 to 1930. The years between WWI and WWII (1918-1939) are known as the Interwar Years.

Throughout 1922 and the entire 20th century, communist revolutions and uprisings occurred throughout the world. This was partly because on April 3, 1922 Joseph Stalin became leader of Russia after the death of Vladimir Lennin, changing the official name of communist Russia from the Russian SFSR to the Soviet Union or Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). These communist rebellions were mostly between the current government in the country and the communist party, but sometimes they were fought between the communist party and another political party, like a fascist or democratic group. The rebels rarely won these revolts. Brazil, South Africa, the Weimar Republic, Bulgaria, and many more had failed communist revolts. The rebellion in Brazil lasted from 1922 until 1927, when the rebels were put down.

Flag of the USSR.

On March 12, 1922 Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan banned together and joined the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (SFSR). Georgia had joined the SFSR only after being invaded by the Soviet Union’s Red Army and the government overthrown.

Irish Civil War

Following the Irish War of Independence, the Irish had another war. This time is was between Irish who were for the treaty with the UK and those who were against it. This is called the Irish Civil War and it started June 28, 1922.

The IRA (Irish Republic Army) was against having the Anglo-Irish Treaty with the UK because in the treaty it stated that Ireland would be within the British Empire, but almost completely free to do as they pleased. They also thought it was a betrayal of the Irish Republic that had been proclaimed under the Easter Uprising, who were Irish who loathed the British and wanted no connection with them whatsoever, so they started a civil war to try to overthrow the pro-treaty Irish Provisional Government, which became known as the Free State in December 1922. The Provisional Government wanted peace with the UK and thought the treaty was fair. Many of the people, on both sides, had fought under the Old IRA during the Irish War of Independence. Many of the pro-treaty members of the IRA either left or were thrown out when the civil war began.

Flag of the Irish Free State (Provisional Government).

On April 14, members of the new IRA occupied buildings of the Irish Supreme Court (Four Courts). These members wanted to spark a new conflict with the British Empire. Some Provisional Government officials wanted to use force against them but others wanted to avoid a civil war as much as possible.

From April to June the rebels were left alone until the National Army bombarded the Four Courts until the IRA surrendered. The building was badly damaged and many of the archives were burned.

Other attacks and bombings occurred, but on May 24, 1923 the anti-treaty IRA surrendered to the pro-treaty Provisional Government.

March on Rome

On October 31, 1922 Bentino Mussolini became the 27th Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy after the March on Rome. The March on Rome was Mussolini’s mass demonstration during which Mussolini and his fascist “Blackshirts” marched through the city of Rome. Three days after the march, Mussolini was appointed the 27th Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy. During the march, the current Prime Minister, Luigi Facta, wished to declare a state of siege, but was overruled by King Victor Emmanuel III and appointed Mussolini as Prime Minister instead.

Mussolini along with other fascist Blackshirts march on the streets of Italy’s capital of Rome.

1923

Italian Pacification of Libya

Also known as the Italo-Senussi War the pacification of Libya was a long and bloody conflict between the Italian military against Libyan rebels known as the Senussi Order. The Senussi Order were a resistance to Italian colonization in Cyrenaica, currently Eastern Libya, under rebel leader Omar Mukhtar. During the conflict, the Italians, under Benito Mussolini, committed multiple war crimes including the use of chemical weapons, the execution of surrendering Libyans, and the killing of mass civilians. Concentration camps were also used for rebellious Libyans, who opposed the Italian occupation.

Libya had been part of the Ottoman Empire until the Turkish-Italo War in 1911 when Italy invaded Libya. The war ended in Italian victory, so Italy was able to keep Libya as its own colony. Up until 1923, the Libyans were able to relatively ignore the Italian control over the country, but when Omar Mukhtar staged a rebellion the Italians decided they needed to do something. Over 250,000 Libyans died during the “Pacification” between 1923 and 1932.

The war ended in Italian victory in 1932 and they executed of Omar Mukhtar and many of his followers.

Omar Mukhtar.

Beer Hall Putsch

Meanwhile in the German Weimar Republic on November 8, Hitler, some 20 Nazi Party members, and a detachment of 603 SA surrounded a beer hall in the city of Munich in the German state of Bavaria. In the hall a man named Gustav Ritter Von Kahr was making a speech. Kahr was a Bavarian socialist, who was against Adolf Hitler and his ideas. With his soldiers guarding the event from outside, Hitler made his way into the auditorium, jumped on a chair, and yelled, “The national revolution has begun! The hall is surrounded by 600 men. No one is allowed to leave!” He then said that the government of Bavaria was deposed and declared the formation of a new government. Then he ordered Kahr along with two other men at gunpoint to accept new government positions he had just assigned to them. They refused and were taken into custody by the Nazis.

During the night, units of Kampfbund (other Nazis) were wandering around the city, attempting to resupply themselves when a unit of Reichswehr (Barvarian police) spotted them. The Reichswehr were trying to get to nearby barracks when they had spotted the Nazis. They fired at each other without any fatalities. The Nazi Kampfbund retreated while the Reichswehr called reinforcements.

Members of the Nazi SA during the Putsch.

The next day Hitler realized the Putsch was going nowhere. He was about to call it off when a Nazi named Erich Ludendorff then shouted, “We will march!” so Hitler and 2,000 other Nazis and Sturmabteilung (SA) marched to the Feldherrnhalle, where they were confronted by German police. The police fired on the Nazis, which resulted in the death of 16 Nazi Party members and 4 police officers. Adolf Hitler was wounded, but escaped his arrest and fled to the countryside. Two days later, he was taken into custody and was charged with treason. He was found guilty and charged with five years in prison. During his time, he wrote a book about Nazi ideals and Germany’s future called Mein Kampt or My Struggle in German. After serving only six months, Hitler was released.

1924

Tatarbunary Uprising

On the 15 of September, Bolshevik-inspired Romanian rebels started an uprising in the Bessarabian city of Tatarbunary. Being pro-Russian the rebels called for an end to Romanian occupation of Bessariarabia and the creation of a new Moldovan Communist nation, a protectorate of the Soviet Union. The revolt lasted from September 15 to the 18. In the end the Romanian government prevailed, but resulted in the death of 3,000 people.  

Saudi Conquest of Hejaz

In the Arabian Peninsula the Kingdom of Hejaz and the Sultanate of Nejd were about to go to war. Hejaz contains the key Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina, the religious center for Islam, and most of the land that borders the Red Sea.

Flag of the Kingdom of Hejaz. This same flag was used by Arab revolutionaries during the Arab Revolt.

In 1916 during WWI, Hejaz had been a part of the Arab Revolt, a mass Arab rebellion led by the United Kingdom against their Ottoman oppressors. After the war the Kingdom of Hejaz achieved independence. Hejaz bordered a large Arabian country called the Sultanate of Nejd, modernly containing most of Saudi Arabia. Hejaz and Nejd had already fought between each other in the First Saudi-Hastemite War of 1919, but this conflict sparked because Saudi pilgrims were denied access to the Islamic holy land in the cities of Mecca and Media. On August 29, 1924 Saudi troops invaded the Kingdom of Hejaz. They advanced towards the city of Taif, which fell without any major struggle. Then Nejd turned toward Mecca. Hejaz appealed to the United Kingdom for aid, but they refused. Mecca fell with little resistance. The king of Hejaz had fled from Mecca to Jeddah before the city fell. Yanbu and Medina fell in December, 1925 and in January, 1926 Saudi troops entered the gates of Jeddah. Hejaz was united with Nejd after the city fell.

1925  

Kurdish Rebellions

To the north in the country of Turkey, the Kurds wished to be separate from Turkey and have their own country. In 1925, they had three rebellions: The Sheikh Rebellion, Raçkotan and Raman Pacifying Operations, and the Sason Rebellion. All three of these rebellions failed and the leaders of each were executed. The first two combined lasted not even a year, but the last rebellion lasted until 1937.

Zaraniq Rebellion

Not far from Turkey in Yemen, people from the Zaraniq tribe started an armed revolution against the Arabian country of Yemen.

At the time Yemen’s official name was the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen. Zaraniq was supported by the United Kingdom, who were still very instrumental in the Middle East. Zaraniq was also supported by the newly united country of Hejaz and Nejd.

Flag of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen.

The only fighting that occurred during the war was occasional raids by the Zaraniq. In 1929 the war ended with the Yemeni government emerging on top.    

Great Syrian Revolt

To the north of Yemen groups of Syrian rebels plotted to rid Syria of French rule, who had taken the land from the Ottomans after WWI.

Different types of Muslims and even Christians across Syria and Lebanon independently fought with one common goal: to rid the area of French rule. The revolt lasted from July 1925 to June 1927 with a total of 6,000 casualties. The French won the war and defeated the rebels.      

Sultan al-Atrash.jpg
A rebel leader celebrating the release of imprisoned revolutionaries.

1926

Northern Expedition

In the 1920s, the Beiyang Government was thought to be the legitimate government in China. Although claiming to be in control much of the country was ruled by different warlords. This era is called The Warlord Era. In July 1926, some different Chinese factions decided to put an end to the Beiyang Government. This was the Nationalist Government, which consisted of the National Revolutionary Army (NRA), Kuomintang (KMT), the Chinese Communist Part (CCP), and some allied warlord armies, who agreed to join with the revolutionary government if they won the war. Fighting took place in parts of Northern Manchuria all the way down to the border of French Indochina.

The war ended in December 1928 with a Nationalist victory. The Beiyang Government was overthrown and the warlords were defeated.

Beiyang soldiers retreating by train.

The communists had been thrown out of the alliance in April 1927 after communist labor unions took control of Shanghai and were defeated. After this point the CCP was angered, thus starting the long, bloody Chinese Civil War. 

1926 Communist Revolt in Indonesia

In June 1926 the Communist Party of Indonesia planned a overthrow of the Dutch government. It was quickly put down and around 20,000 revolutionaries were either interned, imprisoned, or arrested. 

Seal of the Communist Party of Indonesia

1927

More Kurdish Rebellions

In 1927, there were three more Kurdish rebellions, in the fairly new country of Turkey, that were all put down within the end of 1927. These were the Koçuşaği Rebellion, the Mutki Rebellion, and the Bicar Suppression.    

In 1929, there were also two more, the Asi Resul Rebellion and the Tenduruk Rebellion, which also ended in failure.

Chinese Civil War

In 1927, still during the Northern Expedition conflict, a 22 year conflict was about to begin between the Kuomintang (KMT) lead Republic of China and Chinese Communist Party (CCP). To make this easier I’ll split this into three parts. The first part will cover the years 1927-1930, the second will cover 1931-1937, and the third part will cover 1937-1949.

In early 1927, the KMT-CPC rivalry led to a split in the revolutionary ranks. The KMT moved the seat of the KMT government from Guangzhou to Wuhan. Guangzhou had a heavy communist influence whereas Wuhan was heavily nationalist. Also it’s important to emphasis that there were left-wing KMT, who were more socialist and didn’t like communism, and then right-wing KMT. Right and left KMT worked tried to work together, but it led to an unstable government. Wuhan was the seat of the left-wing KMT while Nanchang was the seat of the right. On August 1 of the same year the CCP launched an uprising in Nanchang against a KMT government based in Wuhan. This led to the creation of the Chinese Red Army. This rebellion was put down by August 8.

Leader of KMT Nationalist government Chiang Kai-shek in 1926 with the NRA during the Northern Expedition.

In September peasants led by Mao Zedong attempted an uprising known as the Autumn Harvest Uprising, but this was quickly put down.

The rest of the fighting until 1930 was the the KMT quelling small little CCP revolts led by anti-KMT left-wing and communist leaders.    

1928

Afghan Civil War

The Afghan Civil War was fought between the current government under King Amanullah Khan with Ali Ahmad Khan against the rebellious Saqqawists, who allied themselves with the anti-Russian/Soviet Basmachi and Shinwari tribe.

King Amanullah Khan had angered these Islamic nationalists because he was against radical Islam. He wished for women to have more rights and thought non-muslims should have equal rights in Afghanistan.

Flag of the Saqqwists.

The war began when the Shinwaris revolted in the city of Jalalabad in November 1928. Even though this revolt was quickly put down, it inspired the Saqqawists to rebel in Jabal al-Siraj before attacking Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul on December 14, 1928. This assault was stopped, but on January 17, 1929 the Saqqawists were successful in occupying the capital. After Kabul they headed east and beat back Ali Ahmad Khan’s army near Jalalabad.

In June a man known as Nadir Khan engaged a Saqqawist offensive in the north. The man that had been king prior to the revolution, Amanullah Khan, had fled the country leaving it up to Nadir Khan to stop the rebels. After a month of stalemate in the north, Nadir pushed them all the way back to Kabul. On October 13, 1929 the Afghan palace in Kabul, the Arg, was captured by Nadir’s forces. After the capture of the Arg the civil war is known to end even though Saqqwist activity continued until 1931. After the war Nadir Khan became the new king of Afghanistan and ruled until 1933.

Also, in December 1929, the Soviets entered Northern Afghanistan to wipe out the anti-Soviet Basmachi there, who had fought against them on several occasions on the Soviet-Afghan border and in Uzbekistan.

Nadir Khan.

 1929

1929 Stock Market Crash

The 1929 Stock Market Crash was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States. The 1920’s in America was a time of wealth and prosperity and is known as “The Roaring Twenties” because of this. This crash signaled the beginning of the Great Depression, an event which left many Americans in poverty until after WWII.  

1930

Sino-Tibetian War

The Sino-Tibetian War began when the Tibetian Army invaded China in a dispute over Buddhist monasteries. Although a three-year war, Chiang Kai-shek’s army overwhelmed Tibetian forces during the first year of the war. A ceasefire was being negotiated, but Tibet refused the conditions and the war continued for two more years. In 1932 the war ended, but it had changed nothing. Tibet still had the same land as before and the monasteries remained in Chinese control.      

1 thought on “History of the 20th Century: Part 2

  1. Wow, this is such an incredible blog post because it’s such a huge topic, but you did a really impressive job breaking up the info into small, readable portions. And you photos look cool, too!

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