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In 1925, while Mire and other Surrealists were putting on their first exhibition in Paris, European peace seemed secure and trust was placed in the authority of the League of Nations. But, during this year, Adolf Hitler published his belligerent ideas in Mein Kampf which were ultimately to lead to War.
At the first Surrealist Exhibition, held in Paris in 1925, the works of Mir& Picasso and Ernst asserted the primacy of the unconscious whereas in world affairs it seemed that reason might yet triumph. Germany, burdened by reparations and plunged into chaos by hyper-inflation, had been rescued by the 1924 Dawes Plan and, with the help of huge American loans, was making an economic recovery. Under the guidance of Gustav Stresemann, she also began to be accepted by her wartime enemies.
However, international security was not easily achieved. The Geneva Protocol, put before the League of Nations in October 1924 by the British Labour Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald, proposed by system of arbitration to end conflicts between nations. But it foundered on opposition from the Dominions; a French Canadian politician pointed out complacently that, 'We live in a fireproof house, far from inflammable materials.' In March 1925, Stanley Baldwin's newly elected Conservative government rejected the Protocol, which was then dropped.
Nonetheless, the League of Nations scored some real successes in 1925. Arrangements were made to control the opium trade and arms dealing; and when Greece attacked Bulgaria after border clashes, the League intervened to settle the dispute and extracted a fine from the Greeks. In Europe, the failure of the Geneva Protocol was largely made good as a result of German proposals which were elaborated into the Locarno treaties. The European powers collectively guaranteed Germany's existing borders with most of her neighbours, and this, together with a set of arbitration agreements and the formation of Franco-Polish and Franco-Czechoslovak alliances, quieted French fears and seemed to ensure peace in Europe. The new atmosphere of international conciliation lasted until the 1929 Depression disrupted the entire political and economic system.
Germany's Weimar Republic was actually strengthened by a presidential election won by Paul von Hindenburg, the most prestigious wartime military leader. Though a conservative and monarchist, Hindenburg proved willing to accept republican institutions and so conferred respectability on them. The Nazi-backed candidate, General Ludendorff, polled a derisory 210,000 votes. Peace and returning prosperity seemed to have dashed the hopes of agitators such as the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. He was still on parole after his early release from prison (he had received a five-year sentence for his part in the 1923 'Beer Hall putsch' in Bavaria). The first volume of his book Mein Kampf was published in the summer of 1925 and set out explicitly the policies he was later to implement as Fuehrer of the Third Reich. Around 10,000 copies were sold in all, mainly to the Party faithful.
The year 1925 was also when Mrs. Nellie Ross of Wyoming became the first woman state governor in the USA. Skirts were being worn just below the knee and were getting shorter. In Turkey, Mustapha Kemal banned polygamy and the wearing of the fez. At the celebrated 'Monkey Trial' in Tennessee, John A. Scopes was indicted for violating state laws by teaching Darwin's Theory of Evolution.
On the cultural front, 1925 saw the publication of Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, John Dos Passos's Manhattan Transfer and Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. The Trial, an unfinished novel by Franz Kafka, who had died in 1924, was also published. Fortunately for posterity, Kafka's literary executor, Max Brod, decided to ignore the writer's request that these and other unpublished works should be destroyed. The architect Walter Gropius began his great Bauhaus buildings at Dessau, while in Paris; an Exhibition of Decorative Arts launched a style that could hardly have been more different in spirit from Surrealism hard-edged, modernistic Art Deco.
Writer – Marshall Cavendish