EUROPEAN ‘PEACE TIMELINE’
Activities, events and movements for peace during the interwar years
We present here what we call a ‘peace timeline’ for the period 1918 to 1945 - from the formation of the League of Nations at the end of the First World War to the creation of the United Nations at the end of the Second World War.
This list is by no means exhaustive. The aim is to set some of the period’s well-known ‘steps to war’ in the context of the lesser known ‘pathways to peacemaking’ that were taking place at the same time.
Some of these pathways might seem very small, very local – and inevitably they focus in the main on the partner countries involved in our project. However, taken together, they start to tell a story of a wider, collective endeavour by people from across the continent to challenge hate and injustice and work together for peace and cooperation. You can read more about many of these events on our project map.
Many thanks to students and staff at Lancaster Royal Grammar School and LFTP UK volunteers for helping to create this peace timeline.
US President, Woodrow Wilson, gives speech outlining 14 points to end the War, including the vision of an international organisation tasked with resolving conflict: the origins of the League of Nations.
League of Nations Union formed in Britain by Dora West, Liberal Party politician, and others to promote international justice, collective security and a permanent peace between nations.
Polish Independence: its partitioning in the German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires is reversed.
Armistice on 11/11 begins the peace process
Italy occupies Slovene Littoral and the Austro-Hungarian South Tyrol/ Alto Adige) and forced Italianisation begins.
Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes formed (renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in October 1929).
Union of Democratic Control (formed in Great Britain in 1914) campaigns as pacifist and anti-fascist movement.
Zofia Moraczewska, women’s rights activist, is one of the first women elected to Polish Parliament.
Polish Red Cross Society founded by Helena Paderewska, bringing together multiple organisations who followed the ideals of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Second Congress held in Zurich, Switzerland - first time that members from opposing sides of the war were able to meet since 1915 Congress.
League of Red Cross Societies formed by Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the US, Paris, France. By the mid 1930s it included 58 registered National Societies.
Demonstration by workers for peace and socialism, Trbovlje, Slovenia.
Treaty of Versailles brings peace with Germany. Peace treaties with the other countries involved in the war follow.
Treaty of Saint-Germain dissolves Austro-Hungarian Empire and recognises independence of Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs.
Hans Paasche, former German Imperial Navy officer, publishes the anti-military tract, ‘Meine Mitschuld am Weltkriege’ [‘My Complicity in the World Wars’].
First Hungarian Girl Scout troops formed.
Covenant of League of Nations takes effect, founding League of Nations.
Treaty of Trianon formally ends the war between the Allies and Hungary. Transylvania, including the ethnic Hungarian region of Székely Land (Széklerland), cedes to Romania from Austro-Hungary.
Start of First World Scout Jamboree with theme of world peace, Kensington Olympia, Great Britain.
Inaugural meeting of Lancaster branch of the League of Nations Union, Lancaster, Great Britain.
First meeting of League of Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.
FIDAC, Inter-allied Federation of War Veterans Organisations, established to promote peace, Paris, France.
Former US President, Woodrow Wilson, awarded Nobel Peace Prize for founding League of Nations.
Anti-war poem ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ by Wilfrid Owen published posthumously
Kindred of the Kibbo Kift founded as pacifist alternative to Boy Scouts, Great Britain.
Mdachi bin Sharifu returns to Tanganyika, having lived and worked in Berlin for several years where he campaigned against imperialism and racism.
Toc H, international Christian movement promoting service and reconciliation, formed in London, Great Britain.
Treaty of Rapallo [solves territorial disputes between Italy and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes].
Kosáryné Réz Lola begins publishing feminist and anti-war novels, Slovakia.
Kosáryné Réz Lola begins publishing feminist and anti-war novels, Slovakia.
No More War movement founded, Great Britain.
Washington Naval Conference to discuss naval disarmament, USA.
War Resisters' International founded under name of Paco (Peace), Bilthoven, Netherlands.
The Bolsheviks win the Civil War and found the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Washington Naval (Five Power) Treaty limits naval armament, USA.
Treaty of Rapallo ends financial and territorial disputes between Germany and USSR, normalising relations between the two countries.
Ludwik Zamenhof Białystok Esperantists Society founded, Poland.
Benito Mussolini, leader of the National Fascist Party, made Italian Prime Minister by King Victor Emmanuel III.
Count Richard Von Coudenhove-Kalergi founds Pan-European Union, oldest European unification movement, Munich, Germany.
Demonstrations around country, from Edinburgh to Ilfracombe, by No More War Movement, Great Britain.
Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School becomes a junior branch of the League of Nations Union, Great Britain.
Pál Auer, promoter of European unity and peaceful conflict resolution, becomes President of Hungarian Peace Association and head of Hungarian Pan-European Union.
Ferenc Balázs, Transylvanian Unitarian minister, begins travelling the world preaching peace.
Vladimir Lenin dies; Joseph Stalin eventually takes control, USSR.
First Girl Guides World Camp held at Foxlease, Hampshire, Great Britain.
Dawes Plan resolves international crisis over German reparation payments.
Mussolini imposes fascist totalitarian regime in Italy.
Whewell Society at Lancaster Royal Grammar School debates ‘Disarmament is possible’, Great Britain.
Locarno Pact, series of agreements by the major powers that mutually guaranteed peace in Europe.
Press Law restricts freedom of the press so only registered journalists allowed to write for newspapers, Italy.
Leslie Paul establishes Woodcraft Folk, a movement with close ties to Co-operative Societies and labour, pacifist, early feminist and trade union movements, Great Britain.
National Peacemakers’ Pilgrimage culminates in London, Great Britain.
Józef Piłsudski comes to power in Poland.
Hitler Youth movement for boys founded, Germany.
Briton, Winifred Holtby, promotes League of Nations’ socialist message of ‘benign imperialism’ in South Africa.
Catholic Action and FUCI (Catholic student movement) begins to promote Catholicism against fascism, Italy.
Kellogg-Briand Pact, an agreement by countries not to use war to resolve disputes.
Women’s Peace Crusade reformed to campaign for a Parliament of Peacemakers in 1929, London, Great Britain.
Six Scouts form The Wandering Eagles, a secret scout group to keep scouting alive in Italy, despite fascist regime’s ban on youth organisations, Milan.
Young Plan, extension of The Dawes Plan, revamps Germany’s reparations payment plan.
World Scout Jamboree, in which Scouts are encouraged by Baden Powell to be ambassadors of goodwill and friendship, Arrowe Park, Birkenhead, Great Britain.
6th International Congress of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom makes resolution to settle all international dispute by peaceful methods, Prague, Czechoslovakia.
War Resisters’ International notes that Austria has become a danger-centre to world peace due to the fascist threat.
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom launches world-wide disarmament petition.
First British Empire Games (later Commonwealth Games), Ontario, Canada.
FIDAC Peace Medal awarded to Hutton Grammar School, Preston, for their contribution to peace education, Great Britain.
Spanish monarchy overthrown and Republic established.
Japan invades Manchuria and leaves the League of Nations in 1933 when ordered to withdraw.
Soviet-Polish Non-Aggression Pact.
Congress of Polish Women attend disarmament conference and propose a project for peace, Geneva, Switzerland.
Last League of Nations Disarmament Conference begins, Geneva, Switzerland.
7th World Conference of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, Bucze, Poland.
General Gyula Gömbös comes to power in Hungary.
Church pastor, Friedrich Bultmann, starts speaking out against Nazi regime, Ganderkesee, Germany.
Adolf Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany.
German Reichstag passes the Enabling Act giving Hitler power to make laws without German Parliament’s consent, Berlin.
The white poppy, a commitment to peace, developed by the Co-operative Women’s Guild, Great Britain.
Aldo Capitini, ‘the Italian Gandhi,’ begins advocating non-violent anti-fascism, Perugia.
German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact.
World Congress of Unitarian Youth, based on Christian principles and peace, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Selina Cooper from Nelson in Lancashire visits Munich with two other British women on behalf of Women Against War and Fascism to investigate imprisonment without trial of German women.
League of Nations Disarmament Conference ends without agreement, Geneva, Switzerland.
Peace Pledge Union launched as anti-war movement, London, Great Britain.
Don Primo Mazzolari, Catholic priest advocating peace, criticises the Church for its anti-Semitic and pro-fascist stance, Italy.
Results declared of National Declaration on the League of Nations and Armaments (Peace Ballot), Great Britain. 11 million Britons responded to this unofficial referendum which asked six questions on disarmament and collective security.
Anglo-German Naval Agreement.
Nuremberg Laws deny Jews their German citizenship, Germany.
Founding of International Peace Campaign by British parliamentarian, Robert Cecil, and French politician, Pierre Cot.
Italy invades Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and leaves the League of Nations when it rules against Italy and imposes economic sanctions.
German, Carl von Ossietzky, awarded Nobel Peace Prize ‘for his struggle against Germany’s rearmament’.
First International Congress for Modern Music Education, Prague, Czechoslovakia.
Peace Pledge Union takes over production of the white poppy as a symbol of peace, London, Great Britain.
Leon Blum's Popular Front government comes to power in France.
Spanish Civil War begins.
Summer Olympics, Berlin, Germany.
Non-Intervention Agreement and establishment of Non-Intervention [in the Spanish Civil War] Committee.
Anti-fascism and -war march, Cable Street, London, Great Britain.
Edelweisspiraten [Edelweiss Pirates] (anti-Nazi group) formed, Germany.
Peace Week, Liverpool.
Germany annexes Austria (Anschluß).
Nightingales of Trbovlje broadcast to three million American children from Ljubljana, Yugoslavia.
Munich Agreement, allowing Germany’s annexation of Sudetenland – an effort to appease Hitler and avert war.
British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia formed, Great Britain.
Kristallnacht, anti-Jewish pogrom, Germany.
Catherine Marshall, lifelong peace activist, provides her home for Czech Jewish refugees, Keswick, Great Britain.
Autonomy of the Land of Slovakia enacted.
First Kindertransport brings Jewish children to Britain.
Germany occupies Czechoslovakia.
General Franco’s Nationalist opposition forces overthrow the government and claim victory in the Spanish Civil War.
Pact of Steel between Germany and USSR.
Czechoslovak Refugee Trust formed, Great Britain.
World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Peace Meeting (‘Pax Ting’) International Summer Camp, Gödöllö, Hungary.
Germany and USSR invade Poland. Britain and France declare war on Germany.
Second Vienna Award, Transylvania, including Székely Land, annexed by Hungary.
Aron Márton speaks out about exile of Jews, Cluj, Transylvania.
Maria Ritter co-founds Żegota, humanitarian organisation, to help Jews, Nowy Sącz, Poland.
University of Munich students form The White Rose [Die Weiße Rose] resistance group, Germany.
Teresio Olivelli joins Catholic Resistance and publishes resistance newspaper, Italy.
Pál Jávor, actor in Nazi-occupied Hungary, is arrested and imprisoned for expressing views against the regime, Budapest.
Transylvania, including Székely Land, recaptured by Romanian forces.
Hungarian author, Géza Ottlik, and his wife, begin hiding in their home the Jewish writer, István Vas.
The Trial of the Sixteen – show trial of 16 leaders of the Polish Underground State, Moscow, USSR.
Official end of the Second World War.
Newly established United Nations begins operations.