‘World Depression, World War: Some Economic Origins of the Second World War’

  • Robert Boyce


So dramatic and complex are the events surrounding the two World Wars that, perhaps inevitably, they tend to obscure the impact on international affairs of the third global catastrophe of the century — the world economic depression which occurred midway between the wars. Beginning in 1929, the depression wreaked havoc on currencies, trade and employment throughout the world, brought down governments, undermined political systems and scarred the lives of nearly everyone who survived its depredations. Its consequences were so pervasive that simple reference to it possesses almost no explanatory value. Yet without minimising sources of conflict existing before the depression, any study of war origins must take account of the fact that the watershed between the two wars — the point at which the post-war era gave way to another pre-war era — coincided with the onset of the depression. It is not too much to say, indeed, that the course of events leading to the war cannot be understood without due recognition of the fact that the international economic and political order broke down simultaneously.


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Notes and References

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© Robert Boyce 1989

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  • Robert Boyce

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