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What was the short term significance of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 for International Relations? Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > History > What was the short term significance of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 for International Relations?

What was the short term significance of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 for International Relations?

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What was the short term significance of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 for International Relations? essay previewWhat was the short term significance of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 for International Relations? essay preview

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International Relations, great depression, wall street crash, protectionism

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What was the short term significance of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 for International Relations?
 
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 plunged the United States of America into economic turmoil and marked the start of the Great Depression. America, previously a great trading power, adopted policies of economic protectionism leading to a breakdown in international trade relations and the start of tariff wars. The devastating effect of the Depression in Europe, still recovering from the Great War, contributed to the rise of Nazism. In the vast colonized parts of the world, the Wall Street Crash acted as a catalyst in the development of anti-colonial movements. This essay will use a variety of historical evidence in an attempt to come to an objective conclusion about the short term significance of the Wall Street Crash on international relations.   
           The Wall Street Crash was of great significance for international trade relations. The economic slump not only caused American businesses to reduce their trade activity, it also led to the American government adopting protectionist policies designed at stopping cheap foreign imports, and maintaining a domestic demand for products produced by American industry. This policy is seen in the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 which increased nearly 900 American import duties[1]. By September of 1929, President Hoover had received protest notes from 23 trading partners. Canada, America’s biggest trading partner at the time imposed tariffs on products which accounted for 30% of trade between the two countries. In Europe, American protectionism influenced Britain and France to seek new trading partners while fascist thinkers began to advocate the need for a policy of Autarky (self-sufficiency).
            It is widely held that the Great Depression was an attributing factor to the rise of Nazism in Germany and extremist nationalism elsewhere. During the height of the Depression, a British Cabinet Paper entitled ‘An Aspect of International Relations in 1931’ claimed that the ‘world-wide economic depression’ had ‘fanned the flame of nationalism, and spread a vague feeling of fear throughout Europe, which in turn extended even to South America’[2]. Political nationalism is seen in the report as ‘symptoms of an economic disease’. This source highlights the great extent to which the British Empire saw the economic depression to be a catalyst to the growth of expansionist nationalism in Europe.  The source goes on to explain that the immediate effect of the depression was to ‘stir up all the qualms and jealousies between the “Haves” and “Have nots”’. The document says that this threatens international relations as it has resulted in ‘the cry for treaty revision, repudiation of reparations and the formation of diplomatic blocs’. All of these consequences undermine the efforts which were being made to reconstruct Europe following the ...

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