Learn more about 1920s
|Centuries:||19th century - 20th century - 21st century|
|Decades:||1890s 1900s 1910s - 1920s - 1930s 1940s 1950s|
|Years:||1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929|
The 1920s was a decade sometimes referred to as the "Jazz Age" or the "Roaring Twenties," usually applied to America. In Europe the decade is sometimes referred to as the Golden Twenties (see 1920s Berlin).
 Events and Trends
Since the closing of the 20th Century, the 1920s has drawn close associations with the 1950s and 1990s, especially in the United States. The three decades are regarded as periods of economic prosperity, which lasted throughout almost the entire decade following a tremendous event that occurred in the previous decade (World War I and Spanish flu in the 1910s, World War II in the 1940s, and the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s). In the United States, this decade was known as the Roaring Twenties.
Despite the comparisons, however, there were a number of differences. Firstly, Weimar Republic Germany, like many other European countries, had to face a severe economic downturn in the opening years of the decade, due to the enormous debt caused by the war as well as the one-sided Treaty of Versailles. Such a crisis would culminate with a devaluation of the Mark in 1923, eventually leading to severe economic problems and the rise of the Nazis.
Second, the decade was characterized by the rise of radical political movements, especially in regions that were once part of empires. Communism began attracting large numbers of followers following the success of the October Revolution and the Bolsheviks' determination to win the subsequent Russian Civil War. The Bolsheviks would eventually adopt semi-capitalist policies-- New Economic Policy-- from 1921 to 1928. The 1920s also experienced the rise of the far-right in Europe and elsewhere, starting with Fascism in the world as an antidote to Communism.
The Stock Market collapsed during October 1929 (see Black Tuesday) and drew a line under prosperous 1920s.
- John T. Thompson invents Thompson submachine gun, also known as "Tommy gun"
- John Logie Baird invents the first working mechanical television system (1925). In 1928 he invents and demonstrates the first color television.
- Warner Brothers produces the first movie with a soundtrack Don Juan in 1926, followed by the first Part-Talkie The Jazz Singer in 1927, the first All-Talking movie Lights of New York in 1928 and the first All-Color All-Talking movie On with the Show 1929.
- Charles Lindbergh becomes the first person to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean (20 May-21 May 1927)
- Karl Ferdinand Braun invented the modern electronic cathode ray tube in 1897. The CRT became a commercial product in 1922.
- Record companies (such as Victor, Brunswick and Columbia) introduce an Electrical Recording process on their phonograph records in 1925 (that had been developed by Western Electric), resulting in a more life-like sound.
- Insulin is discovered by Sir Frederick Grant Banting during the winter of 1921-1922
- Penicillin is discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming (1928)
- Great advances in quantum mechanics
- Prediction and discovery of the expanding universe
- Albert Einstein wins Nobel for photoelectric effect. (1921)
- Niels Bohr wins Nobel for work on atomic theory. (1922)
 War, peace and politics
- See also Social issues of the 1920s
- Rise of communism after World War I
- The Red Scare in the United States (1920-1921)
- In the United States, peak of the Ku Klux Klan (about five million members)
- In the United States, KKK auxiliaries established.
- Irish War of Independence (1919-1921) and Irish Civil War (1922-23)
- The Irish Free State gains independence from the United Kingdom in 1922
- Marie C. Brehm becomes temperance movement leader.
- Turkish War of Independence
- Moderation League of New York worked for repeal of prohibition.
- Polish-Soviet war
- First Labour Government of Ramsay MacDonald formed in the United Kingdom
- Kellogg-Briand Pact to end war
- Prohibition leaders were at the height of their power.
- The Qajar dynasty ended under Ahmad Shah Qajar and Reza Pahlavi formed the Pahlavi Dynasty, which would later become the last monarchy of Iran.
- Hitler publishes Mein Kampf, a book that foreshadows many of the events in the 1930s.
- Mussolini became Italy's Prime Minister and started a fascist dictatorship.
- The New Economic Policy is created by the Bolsheviks in Russia.
- The Dawes Plan, which lasted from 1924-1928
- Economic boom ended by "Black Tuesday" (October 29, 1929); the stock market crashes, leading to the Great Depression
 Literature and Arts
- T. S. Eliot publishes The Waste Land
- James Joyce publishes Ulysses
- Franz Kafka publishes The Trial
- Erich Maria Remarque publishes All Quiet on the Western Front
- Rene Magritte paints The Treachery of Images
- Walter Gropius builds the Bauhaus in Dessau
- F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes This Side of Paradise and The Great Gatsby
- Hermann Hesse publishes Siddhartha
- Ernest Hemingway publishes The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms
- Thornton Wilder publishes The Bridge of San Luis Rey
- Eugene O'Neill awarded Pulitzer Prizes for Beyond the Horizon in 1920, Anna Christie in 1922, and Strange Interlude in 1928.
 Culture, religion
- Prohibition — legal attempt to end consumption of alcohol in Canada, the USA, Norway and Finland
- Youth culture of The Lost Generation; flappers, the Charleston, and bobbed hair
- "The Jazz Age" — jazz and jazz-influenced dance music widely popular
- F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes some of the most enduring novels characterizing the Jazz Age. This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, and The Great Gatsby, as well as three short story collections, were all published in these years.
- Women's suffrage movement continues to make gains as women obtain full voting rights in Denmark in 1915, in the USA in 1920, and in England in 1928; and women begin to enter the workplace in larger numbers
- In the US, gangsters and the rise of organized crime, often associated with bootleg liquor, in defiance of Prohibition.
- Rum rows are established to import bootleg alcoholic beverages into U.S.
- First commercial radio station in the U.S. goes on air in Pittsburgh, in 1920, and radio quickly becomes a popular entertainment medium
- Methodist Board of Temperance, Prohibition, and Public Morals defends alcohol prohibition in U.S.
- First feature-length motion picture with a sound track (Don Juan) is released in 1926. First part-talkie (The Jazz Singer) released in 1927, first all-talking feature (Lights of New York) released in 1928 and first all-color all-talking feature (On with the Show) released in 1929.
- Beginning of surrealist movement
- Beginning of the Art Deco movement
- Fads such as dance marathons, mah-jongg, crossword puzzles and pole-sitting are popular
- The height of the clip joint
- The Harlem Renaissance
- The Scopes Monkey Trial (1925) which declared that John T. Scopes had violated the law by teaching evolution in schools, creating tension between the competing theories of creationism and evolution.
- Bishop James Cannon, Jr. becomes a U.S. temperance movement leader.
- The Group of Seven (artists)
- Repeal organizations organized to fight national prohibition in U.S.
- Minister Daisey Douglas Barr heads Women's Ku Klux Klan (WKKK).
- The tomb of Tutankhamun is discovered intact by Howard Carter (1922). This begins a second revival of Egyptomania.
 World leaders
- Prime Minister Stanley Bruce (Australia)
- Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (Canada, as an extension of the United Kingdom at the time)
- President Sun Yat-sen (Republic of China)
- President Chiang Kai-shek (Republic of China)
- President Paul von Hindenburg (Germany)
- Ahmad Shah Qajar of Qajar dynasty (Persia/Iran)
- Reza Shah Pahlavi of Pahlavi Dynasty (Iran)
- King Victor Emmanuel III (Italy)
- Prime Minister Benito Mussolini (Italy)
- President W.T. Cosgrave (Irish Free State)
- President Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) (Turkey)
- Emperor Hirohito (Japan)
- Pope Pius XI
- Józef Piłsudski (Poland)
- Vladimir Lenin (Soviet Union)
- Joseph Stalin (Soviet Union)
- King Alfonso XIII (Spain)
- King George V (United Kingdom)
- Prime Minister David Lloyd George (United Kingdom)
- Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law (United Kingdom)
- Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin (United Kingdom)
- Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald (United Kingdom)
- President Woodrow Wilson (United States)
- President Warren G. Harding (United States)
- President Calvin Coolidge (United States)
- President Herbert Hoover (United States)
- Lon Chaney
- Buster Keaton
- Charlie Chaplin
- Mary Pickford
- Greta Garbo
- George Gershwin
- Duke Ellington
- Fletcher Henderson
- Al Jolson
- Josephine Baker
- Clara Bow
- Jelly Roll Morton
- Cole Porter
- Bessie Smith
- Rudy Vallee
- Paul Whiteman
- Louis Armstrong
- Eddie Cantor
- Chief Tahachee
- Harry Houdini
- Louise Brooks
- Joan Crawford (actress)
 Sports figures
- Alex James (Arsenal & Scotland footballer)
- Babe Ruth (American baseball player)
- Bill Tilden (American tennis player)
- Bobby Jones (American golfer)
- Gordon Coventry (Australian rules football player)
- Herbert Sutcliffe (Yorkshire & England cricketer)
- Jack Dempsey (American boxer)
- Jack Hobbs (Surrey & England cricketer)
- Red Grange (American football player)
- Kenesaw Mountain Landis (American Baseball Commissioner}
- Warwick Armstrong (Australian cricket captain)
- Wilfred Rhodes (Yorkshire & England cricketer)
- Helen Wills Moody (American tennis player)
- Johnny Weissmuller (American swimmer)
- Suzanne Lenglen (French tennis player )
- Paavo Nurmi (Finnish runner)
 External linksals:1920er
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