The Year Was 1923

The year was 1923 and Germany, hit with 33 billion dollars in war reparations, was facing catastrophic hyperinflation. In July of 1923 the exchange rate was 4 billion marks to a dollar. By November it was 1 trillion to one. People who had saved all their lives found that their fortune could barely buy groceries.

Hitler and the Nazi party were beginning their push for power, and in November when a planned uprising was postponed, Hitler took control of a Munich Beer Hall to force the Bavarian leaders of the planned rebellion to reconsider. The putsch failed however and the next day when the Nazis marched on Munich, they were met by police. Sixteen of the participants were killed and many of the leaders, including Hitler, were arrested and tried for treason. Unfortunately, Hitler’s trial became a publicity platform, which allowed his eventual rise to power.

In Ireland, the Civil War that had divided the country and inflicted more casualties than the preceding War of Independence, came to an end.

In September 1923, the Kanto Earthquake struck Japan with devastating results in Tokyo and Yokohama and the surrounding areas. More than 100,000 people were killed by the devastation and the fires that sprang up as a result of the quake.

The quake triggered a tsunami and it is believed that unusually strong currents on the other side of the Pacific brought on by the quake were the cause of the Honda Point disaster, where seven naval destroyers ran aground killing twenty-three sailors. 

In Rosewood, Florida, another tragedy unfolded as racial violence erupted after a white woman reported being assaulted by a black man. Six blacks and two whites were dead when it was over, and a mob burned the remaining homes of blacks in the area.

Click here for a printer friendly version of this article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *