The economic crisis of 1929 and the framework of international relations

The unexpected economic crisis of the 1930s contributed dramatically to the destabilization of international life, undermining the prospects for a continuing peace. Its escalation had catalytic consequences for European economies. These included the creation of a constantly widening gap between peaceful but weakened republics and authoritarian or dictatorial regimes. It is to this deterioration in the international climate that the collapse of visions, such as those of Aristide Briand for the 'federal union' of Europe must be attributed, anticipating as it did the creation and consolidation of inter-state structures of permanent and systematic co-operation in the fields of economy and politics. Hitler's rise to power in 1933 coincided with an increase in agitation by revisionist states and demonstrated the incapacity of democratic parties to impose international law. The collapse of the system of collective security, consolidated in the preceding period, and the massive reinforcement of 'revisionist' powers (Germany, Italy etc.) are the basic traits of these difficult years.