The Great Depression which was experienced between 1929 and 1933 was the most severe economic downturn in the modern times. The depression enhanced economic changes such in macroeconomic policy, economic theory, and economic institutions. Millions of workers lost their jobs while businessmen and farmers across the world went bankrupt. The economic slump affected the industrialized nations and those nation producing primary products, such as raw materials and food, in one way or another (Smiley, p.34). For instance, in both United States and Germany, the industrial output fell by approximately 50%, and the unemployment level in the industrial labor force went up by 25 to 33 percent.
Although the Great Depression initially experienced in the United States, it caused radical declines in severe unemployment, output, and critical deflation in both industrialized nations and primary-product producing nations. The depression resulted to financial panics, decline in consumer demand, and imprudent economic policy which contributed to the downfall of the economic output in the industrialized countries (Smiley, p.55). The deterioration of the gold standard, which connected almost all global countries in a system of Fixed Currency Exchange Rates, contributed to transmitting the depression in other countries globally. The economic impact of this depression was massive, including intense changes in the economic policy and great human suffering.
The part mostly affected by the Great Depression was the industrialized nations, while the depression was less felt by those nations producing primary products. For instance, in the United States, the aggregate output continued to fall for three and a half years. There was also a severe over-production in the agricultural sector which resulted to the falling prices and increasing debt among farmers. The economic explanation for this difference was due to the flawed response made by the industrialized nation’s government such as United States. Under the gold standard, the government was concentrating on maintaining Fixed Exchange Rates. However, when the depression invaded, they were left with no option except to increase their interest rates to make their currencies attractive to the banks. Due to the decreasing prices, the interest rate repayments increased in real terms, resulting to be too expensive for borrowers to borrow.
The World War 1 was not preventable because the European nations were having the forces that accelerated the war. For instance, the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand did not actually cause the war but it merely triggered it. Italy, Germany, and Austria-Hungary were all allied nations. This implies that if one of the country was attacked by any other country the three nations would unite together to help and support their ally. This was known as Triple alliance. On the other hand, France, Britain and Russia were similarly united as a Triple Entente. During this time, Bosnia was part of Austria-Hungarian, but moved on and joined neighboring Serbia instead. So, when Franz Ferdinand, heir to Austrian throne, was assassinated in Bosnia, the Austria-Hungarians claimed that Serbia was responsible (Keegan, p.76). This triggered a war that would be between Austria-Hungary and Bosnia, but their allied nations had to intervene. Russia had agreed to support Serbia, so Russia and her allies were dragged into war. Most of the European countries engaged into war and the World War 1 escalated from there.
The outbreak of the World War 1 could have been averted if the Austria-Hungary had engaged into a serious negotiation with Serbia in July 1914. However, the European nations believed that war was not only inevitable but also desirable. The nations wanted to engage into war and they were actually looking for an excuse and they found one (Keegan, p.106). They thought the war could be over quickly but the situation worsened due the links between the European nations.
The 19th and 20th century imperialists believed to be in a “civilizing mission” because they considered the western countries to be superior society that the other nations. Thus, they believed that they had the responsibility to bring civilization to the other countries across the world. For instance, Britain was superior in technical advantages such as military technology, transportation and communication networks (Cain & Hopkins, p.45). The imperialists thus take this advantage to enlighten the uncivilized countries. For instance, the civilizing mission in India aimed to establish British institutions and ideas in India to replace the local political culture, through the system domination intrinsic to the mission.
British imperial experience in India significantly changed the political culture of the country and molded its evolution from the disjointed remains to a contemporary parliamentary democracy (Guha, p.78). There was also liberal transformation of India that involved the assimilation of central British institutions into Indian nation. Among the significant assimilation that took place were the rule of law, private property, liberty of the individual and education in western knowledge. The British imperialism established legacy of governing structures and institutions that intensely reformed the Indian political landscape into it modern stage of political life.
However, the British “civilizing mission”, did not establish ideological supremacy over Indian political arena. This was due to the fact that the British colonial practices tried to impose an indirect rule on India through the control and upkeep of local administrative elite. The British colonial were symbiotic in nature.
Cain, P J, and A G. Hopkins. British Imperialism, 1688-2000. Harlow, England: Longman, 2002. Print.
Guha, Ranajit, Dominance without Hegemony: History and Power in Colonial India, Massachusetts & England: Harvard University, 1997.
Keegan, Susanne. World War 1. London: Hamlyn, 1980. Print.
Smiley, Gene. Rethinking the Great Depression. Chicago: I.R. Dee, 2002. Print.