Portal:1920s

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The 1920s 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 Piłsudski in the Second Polish Republic, and Peter and Alexander Karađorđević 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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Crowd gathering on Wall Street after the 1929 crash
The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as Black Tuesday (October 29), the Great Crash, or the Stock Market Crash of 1929, began on October 24, 1929 ("Black Thursday"), and was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, when taking into consideration the full extent and duration of its aftereffects. The crash, which followed the London Stock Exchange's crash of September, signaled the beginning of the 10-year Great Depression that affected all Western industrialized countries.

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Lillian Gish
Credit: Bain News Service

A portrait of Lillian Gish from 1921. Gish was one of the first female movie stars, called "The First Lady of American Cinema", starting in 1912 and continuing to appear in films until 1987. The American Film Institute named Gish 17th among the greatest female stars of all time and awarded her a Life Achievement Award, making her the only recipient who was a major figure in the silent era. Remarkably, she never won an Academy Award for her work, although she did receive a Special Academy Award in 1971.

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Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist. His economical and understated style—which he termed the Iceberg Theory—had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle and his public image brought him admiration from later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short-story collections, and two non-fiction works. Three of his novels, four short story collections, and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature.

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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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