The First World War began on July 28, 1914, and ended on November 11, 1918. The end of the war was marked with the signing of the peace agreement that meant that Germany would not be involved in any more fighting. France and Britain prepared the peace agreement. The Treaty of Versailles that was imposed on the Germans after World War 1 was very harsh. It contributed to the increased need to revenge among the Germans. Between 1922 and 1939, the world witnessed the failure of the peace settlement that was made after the First World War. This essay will discuss the crisis of the liberal democracy and capitalism in the aftermath of the First World War.
The period after the First World War began with great expectations and high hopes for liberal democracy advocates. In 1922, the European nations and North American region were dominated by liberal democracy. This was advanced in many countries of the world. By 1927, the new democratizing nationalist government in China reunified most countries (Schultz 191-192; Coatsworth, Cole and Hanagan 354). The USSR was also preoccupied with industrialization, and by 1928, liberal political leaders who were influential met and declared the finalization of the use of firearms and war for political advantages. Aside from these, the liberal powers were not able to prevent the Japanese attack in 1931 towards Manchuria. The failure of the old established democracies to respond to the anti-democratic challenges that affected the world contributed to the crisis (Coatsworth, Cole, and Hanagan 354; Cammack 9).
After the outbreak of the First World War, political and economic instability became a problem on a global scale. Some of the challenges that emerged to representative governments and self-determination included the argument by liberal Democrats that the self-determination principles was not crucial in maintaining democracy in Europe but could not explain why it was not effective in the colonies. These governments also advocated free markets and the importance of maintaining economic responsibilities to preserve the currency value. This became a challenge as most of the men in Europe were unemployed and had the knowledge of using weapons (Coatsworth, Cole, and Hanagan 358). The experience of liberalism around the world in terms of mass participation was quite limited, as Britain had experienced a political crisis in the 1930s (Cammack 9-10).
The failure of the economic system threatened the stability of the governments as the liberal principles had initially promised a peaceful, prosperous, and more attractive world than what they were capable of offering. With the falling economic system and increased unemployment, disruption of peace became a cause for concern. Liberal advocates ran into severe illogicalities as self-determination, use of collective security, and application of the gold standards proved to have serious flaws (Coatsworth, Cole, and Hanagan 358). These challenges undermined global order in the sense that it severely affected liberal democracy through the rise of capitalist strategic models. The growing power and influence of the coalition between China and Russia was also affected. These challenges also affected the global order due to the inability of the liberal powers to restore equality through democracy.
The use of liberal democratic principles and capitalism received a lot of support from the government leaders and from the public who were looking for ways to escape the economic struggles caused by the First World War in the 1920s. Internal contradictions, socialism, and fascism affected most countries as it threatened the strategies put in place by liberalists.
Cammack, Paul. Capitalism and Democracy in the Third World: The Doctrine for Political Development. A&C Black. London and Washington, 1997. Print.
Coatsworth, John, et al. Global Connections Volume II: Since 1500. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, 2015. Print.
Schultz, Jeoffrey D. The Encyclopedia of the Democratic Party, Volume 4. Sharpe Reference, 1997. Print.