Leon Blum, a Jew, and a reviled enemy of French rightists, led the Popular Front
government that ruled France from 1936 to 1937. The Popular Front government
was not successful in maintaining stability, but is notable for its adherence to
republican principles and the wide popular participation in the government it
Neville Chamberlain served as British prime minister from 1937 to 1940.
Considered a failure in foreign affairs, he pursued the failed policy of
appeasement in regard to Adolf Hitler's aggression, signing the Munich
Francisco Franco led the Nationalists of Spain in revolt against the
Republicans. Upon his victory in 1939, Franco became an oppressive dictator, a
position he maintained until 1975.
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George was a talented politician and British moderate who served as
prime minister during and after World War I. His exit from government in 1922
signaled the end of centrism and the beginning of extremis politics in Britain.
In 1932, General Gyula Gombos came to power as prime Minister of Hungary, an
office he used as a dictatorship. He was not a strong enough ruler to initiate
a truly fascist state, but he was quite powerful, and quite conservative, as
well as being openly anti-Semitic. Gombos set the tone for a string of
conservative prime ministers who practiced open anti-Semitism, and eventually
cooperated with Germany in its efforts at European domination.
Paul von Hindenburg
Hindenburg had the misfortune of serving as the President of Germany from 1925
to 1934. He was unable to hold off the rise of the Nazi Party, and in 1933
appointed Hitler chancellor, an action followed by a string of concessions to
Hitler until Hindenburg's death in 1934.
Adolf Hitler was the leader of the fascist Nazi Party that rose up to lead
Germany into the Second World War. Hitler undertook measures to improve
Germany's floundering economy and promised Germans a return to past glory.
Mussolini became Italy's premier on October 30, 1922. He consolidated power by
using force and intimidation to eliminate his opponents and create a
totalitarian state. Mussolini was sympathetic to Hitler's desires for global
hegemony, and would join Germany as an ally during World War Two.
Pilsudski took advantage of Poland's weak democracy to become virtual dictator
in 1926, a position he maintained until 1935. Though his method of government
was questionable, Pilsudski provided a measure of stability and strength to
Polish politics, which floundered after his death.
Poincare was the stable political leader of France's conservatives. He served
as prime minister from 1922 to 1924, and from 1926 to 1929, providing stability
to the otherwise chaotic French government.
Stalin became the leader of the Soviet government upon Vladimir
Lenin's death. He established a totalitarian
state in the Soviet Union, consolidating power and purging the party of his
enemies during the 1930s, while forcing a command economy on the Soviet people.
Trotsky was Stalin's chief competition for leadership of the Communist Party,
presenting his theory of 'permanent world revolution' against Stalin's
'socialism in one country.' When Stalin came to power, Trotsky was expelled
from the party and fled the Soviet Union. He eventually fled to Mexico, where a
Stalinist agent killed him in 1940.