Portal:1920s
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Portal:1920s

The 1920s Portal


The 1920s (pronounced "nineteen-twenties") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1920, and ended on December 31, 1929. In North America, it is frequently referred to as the "Roaring Twenties" or the "Jazz Age", while in Europe the period is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Age Twenties" because of the economic boom following World War I. French speakers refer to the period as the "Années folles" ("Crazy Years"), emphasizing the era's social, artistic, and cultural dynamism.

The economic prosperity experienced by many countries during the 1920s (especially the United States) was similar in nature to that experienced in the 1950s and 1990s. Each period of prosperity was the result of a paradigm shift in global affairs. These shifts in the 1920s, 1950s, and 1990s, occurred in part as the result of the conclusion of World War I and Spanish flu, World War II, and the Cold War, respectively.

The 1920s saw foreign oil companies begin operations throughout South America. Venezuela became the world's second largest oil producing nation.

In some countries the 1920s saw the rise of radical political movements, especially in regions that were once part of empires. Communism spread as a consequence of the October Revolution and the Bolsheviks' victory in the Russian Civil War. Fear of the spread of Communism led to the emergence of far right political movements and fascism in Europe. Economic problems contributed to the emergence of dictators in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, to include Józef Pi?sudski in the Second Polish Republic, and Peter and Alexander Kara?or?evi? in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

The devastating Wall Street Crash in October 1929 is generally viewed as a harbinger of the end of 1920s prosperity in North America and Europe.

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Fighting near Radzymin
The Battle of Radzymin, a key part of what later became known as the Battle of Warsaw, took place during the Polish-Soviet War (1919-21). The battle occurred near the town of Radzymin, some 20 kilometres (12 mi) north-east of Warsaw, between August 13 and 16, 1920. The first phase began with a frontal assault by the Red Army on the Praga bridgehead. The Soviet forces captured Radzymin on August 14 and breached the lines of the 1st Polish Army, which was defending Warsaw from the east. Radzymin changed hands several times in heavy fighting. The Russians wanted to break through the Polish defences to Warsaw, while the Polish aim was to defend the area long enough for a two-pronged counteroffensive to outflank the attacking forces. After three days of intense fighting, the corps-sized 1st Polish Army under General Franciszek Latinik managed to repel a direct assault by six Red Army rifle divisions at Radzymin and Ossów. The struggle for control of Radzymin forced General Józef Haller, commander of the Polish Northern Front, to start the 5th Army's counterattack earlier than planned. Radzymin was recaptured on August 15, and this victory proved to be one of the turning points of the Battle of Warsaw.

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Zishe Breitbart
Credit: National Photo Co.; Restoration: Michel Vuijlsteke

Siegmund "Zishe" Breitbart (1893–1925), shown here pulling a heavy weight using only his teeth, was a Polish strongman and circus performer who was known as the "Strongest Man in the World" during the 1920s. He was widely popular in both Europe and the U.S., but died at the age of 32 after an accident during a performance.

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Naniboujou Lodge

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Kenesaw Mountain Landis
Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1866-1944) was an American jurist who served as a federal judge from 1905 to 1922 and as the first Commissioner of Baseball from 1920 until his death. He is remembered for his handling of the Black Sox scandal (in which members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to intentionally lose the 1919 World Series); he expelled eight players from organized baseball and repeatedly refused their reinstatement requests. His firm actions and iron rule over baseball in the near quarter-century of his commissionership are generally credited with restoring public confidence in the game. As a judge, Landis had received national attention in 1907 when he fined Standard Oil of Indiana more than $29 million. During and after World War I, Landis, an ardent patriot, presided over a number of high-profile trials of draft resisters and others whom he saw as opposing the war effort. He dealt out heavy sentences to the defendants, though some of the convictions were reversed on appeal; other sentences were commuted. Landis's decisions in the Black Sox matter remain controversial: advocates of Black Sox "Shoeless Joe" Jackson and Buck Weaver contend that he was overly harsh with them.

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-- Winston Churchill, July 8th, 1920, about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre when troops of the British Indian Army under orders from Colonel Reginald Dyer fired into a crowd of Indians

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