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 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.
The Roaring Twenties brought about several novel and highly visible social and cultural trends. These trends, made possible by sustained economic prosperity, were most visible in major cities like New York, Chicago, Paris, Berlin and London. "Normalcy" returned to politics in the wake of hyper-emotional patriotism during World War I, jazz blossomed, and Art Deco peaked. For women, knee-length skirts and dresses became socially acceptable, as did bobbed hair with a marcel wave. The women who pioneered these trends were frequently referred to as flappers.
The era saw the large-scale adoption of automobiles, telephones, motion pictures, radio and household electricity, as well as unprecedented industrial growth, accelerated consumer demand and aspirations, and significant changes in lifestyle and culture. The media began to focus on celebrities, especially sports heroes and movie stars. Large baseball stadiums were built in major U.S. cities, in addition to palatial cinemas.
Most independent countries passed women's suffrage after 1918, especially as a reward for women's support of the war effort and endurance of its deaths and hardships.
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Prominent assassinations, targeted killings, and assassination attempts include:
The 1920s is the decade in which fashion entered the modern era. It was the decade in which women first abandoned the more restricting fashions of past years and began to wear more comfortable clothes (such as short skirts or trousers). Men also abandoned highly formal daily attire and even began to wear athletic clothing for the first time. The suits men wear today are still based, for the most part, on those worn in the late 1920s. The 1920s are characterized by two distinct periods of fashion. In the early part of the decade, change was slow, as many were reluctant to adopt new styles. From 1925, the public passionately embraced the styles associated with the Roaring Twenties. These styles continue to characterize fashion until the worldwide depression worsened in 1931.
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The following articles contain brief timelines listing the most prominent events of the decade:
1920 • 1921 • 1922 • 1923 • 1924 • 1925 • 1926 • 1927 • 1928 • 1929
This section of the Timeline of United States history concerns events from 1900 to 1929.
James Parrott was an American actor and film director; and the younger brother of film comedian Charley Chase.
Alan Crosland was an American stage actor and film director. He is noted for having directed the first film using spoken dialogue, The Jazz Singer.
Jules Furthman was an American magazine and newspaper writer before working as a screenwriter.
Anders Randolf was a Danish American actor in American films from 1913 to 1931.
Frederic Zelnik was a Ukrainian producer, director, and actor. He was one of the most important producers-directors of the German silent cinema. Zelnik achieved success through period operetta films in the 1920s and 1930s.
Gaston Glass was a French-born American actor and producer. He was born Jacques Gaston Oscar Glass in Paris and died in Santa Monica, California. He was the father of the composer Paul Glass.
Charles Clary was an American actor of the silent film era. Clary appeared in 206 films between 1910 and 1930. He was born in Charleston, Illinois and died on his 58th birthday in Los Angeles, California. He worked for Selig and the Fine Arts Film Company.
Pathé Exchange was an independent American film production and distribution company from 1921 through 1927 after being established as an American subdivision of French firm Pathé.
Walter B. McGrail was an American film actor. He appeared in more than 150 films between 1916 and 1951. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and died in San Francisco, California, at the age of 81.
Olga Engl was a Czech stage and motion picture actress who appeared in nearly 200 films.
Lydia Potechina was a Russian actress. She emigrated to Germany in 1919, and returned to the Soviet Union in 1932. She was married to the Russian-German film producer Max Pfeiffer.
Leopold von Ledebur was a German stage and film actor.
Frida Richard was an Austrian actress.
Wilhelm Diegelmann was a German actor.
Margarete Kupfer was a German actress.
Rudolf Lettinger was a German stage and film actor. He made his stage debut in 1883 when he played the role of Kosinsky in Friedrich Schiller's drama The Robbers. Some of his more prominent roles in his prestigious stage career were Cyrano de Bergerac and Gessler in William Tell. He also worked with acclaimed stage director Max Reinhardt. In 1912, Lettinger played his first film role in Das Geheimnis von Monte Carlo. Lettinger appeared in over 90 films until 1931, mostly as a supporting actor. His best-known film is perhaps The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), where Lettinger portrayed Dr. Olsen.
Robert Liebmann was a German screenwriter.
Hermann Picha was a German stage and film actor. Picha was extremely prolific, appearing in over 300 short and feature films during the silent and early sound eras. Picha played a mixture of lead and supporting roles during his career. He played the title role in the 1920 film Wibbel the Tailor directed by Manfred Noa. He appeared in Fritz Lang's Destiny.
Frederik Fuglsang (1887–1953) was a Danish cinematographer who worked largely in the German film industry. Fuglsang was employed by Nordisk Film, who initially brought him to Germany. He worked frequently during the Weimar era on films such as Vanina (1922) and Frederic Zelnik's The Weavers. (1927). He was married to the actress Käte Fuglsang.
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