The search for energy during the interwar years
Economic and political crises buffeted many nations during the interwar years, deflating ambitions and ultimately persuading a few of the expedience of war and conquest. The economies of the powerful nations of the West proved fragile to an extreme. The former Allies each endured postwar depressions, recovered gradually but enjoyed only an abbreviated period of moderate prosperity between 1924 and 1929. This prosperity, built on foundations of sand, collapsed in 1929, plunging tens of millions around the world into the abyss of depression and shattering their hopes for a more secure life. The industrialized West tumbled further than the underdeveloped nations, but for the latter, in Latin America for instance, essential development projects were necessarily postponed.
The impermanent prosperity of the 1920s failed to bring equal benefits to all. The consequences of the war, compounded by the Versailles settlement, mired Germany in an inflationary cycle only broken by the depression. The Soviet Union, shattered by wartime losses, battled against indigenous counterrevolutionaries and a motley coalition of the former Allies to secure the revolution and then strove, in virtual isolation, to rebuild and modernize. A revolutionary regime in China proved incapable of uniting the nation or defending its sovereignty. The Middle East fell almost completely under the sway of western Europe, notably the UK, while sub-Saharan Africa languished under repressive colonial regimes. In Latin America, splendid potential was negated more often than not by political instability, the rise of tyranny, a parasitical upper class, the urgent need for western development