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Popular Culture

United States - 18th Amendment Passed - Prohibition Begins
  • In the United States the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution is started in 1920, which outlawed the production and consumption of alcohol and was more commonly known as Prohibition.
More Information and Timeline For Eighteenth Amendment To The Constitution
1. The Women's Christian Temperance Union marches on Washington D.C. on December 10th of 1913, asking the US government to create a prohibition amendment.
2. The US Senate proposes the 18th amendment to outlaw the production, transport and sale of alcohol.
3. The 18th amendment is ratified on January 16th of 1919, after being adopted by thirty six states.
4. Congress passes the Volstead Act (National Prohibition Act) on October 28th, 1919, which establishes the definition of illegal liquor and the punishments for making it.
5. The 18th amendment goes into effect on January 16th,
6. From the beginning of prohibition until it is repealed, organized crime increases as violent gangs produce and transport black market alcohol that is sold in speakeasies.
7. President Franklin Roosevelt signs the Cullen-Harrison Act on March 22nd of 1933, which legalizes some alcohol.
8. The 21st amendment is ratified on December 5th, 1933 and repeals the 18th amendment and effectively ends prohibition.

What News Events Happened in 1920

UK - Start of The Twenties Housing Boom
  • The war in Europe was over but politicians realized that many men who were coming home after the war would not have homes to go to and Britain was one of the countries that tried to address this by announcing it would build 1,000,000 homes for war veterans.
More Information and Timeline For 1920s Housing Boom
1. World War I ended in 1918, world leaders realized returning soldiers needed homes
2. In England British Prime Minister Lloyd George called for Homes fit for heroes to be built, The British Ministry of Health published The Housing Manual which contained a pattern of simple housing designs together with lax planning laws, cheap land and low deposits ( £50 deposit ) on a £850 home created large new housing estates across the UK.
3. In the United States increased home construction centered mostly on a few key areas Florida and Chicago both saw large numbers of new homes built, other parts of the country also saw increased construction, reasons were many men coming home from war needing homes and with low interest rates and a weakening of banking supervision leading to Financial innovation which meant loans were made with less oversite.
4. By the late 20's in the U.S. ( 1926 and 1927 ) the housing bubble caused by the large scale home building and low interest rates caused the housing market to collapse in the U.S. and although not thought to be the direct cause of The Great Depression is thought to have had some impact.

U.S.A. -- Nineteenth Amendment To The Constitution ratified
  • Nineteenth Amendment To The Constitution ratified on August 18, giving women the right to vote.
More Information and Timeline For Nineteenth Amendment To The Constitution
1. The Nineteenth Amendment's text was drafted by Susan B. Anthony with the assistance of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and was first introduced in 1878.
2. The women's suffrage movement pressed for its inclusion for nearly 40 years with little success.
3. Following President Woodrow Wilson making a strong and widely published appeal to Congress to pass the amendment it passed on May 21, 1919.
4. The Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on August 18th.
5. Women voted for the first time during the general elections.

United States
  • At the final meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association celebrating the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution giving women the right to vote, The League of Women Voters is founded in Chicago..
U.S.A. -- League of Women Voters
More Information for the League of Women Voters.
In February of 1920, Carrie Chapman Catt founded the League of Women Voters during the National American Woman Suffrage Association convention in Chicago, Illinois. Women were given the right to vote six months later after the nineteenth amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution. The non-partisan organization was created in an effort to encourage women to become heavily involved in creating, discussing, and influencing public policy as a way to fully embrace and take advantage of their newly attained voting rights. The League of Women Voters is still a functioning organization today and continues its grassroots history by calling for all women to participate in the political discussion and use their vote.

  • An earthquake measuring 8.5 magnitude on the Richter scale hits the heavily populated of Gansu province of China.
Russia -- Russian Civil war Ends - Famine Begins
  • The Russian Civil war Ends but famine begins and worsens the following year.
More Information and Timeline for Russian Civil War
1. Nicholas II is crowned Tsar of Russia in May of 1896.
2. The Socialist Revolutionary Party is founded in 1901.
3. A small revolution begins with a strike in St. Petersburg. Peaceful protesters go to the Winter Palace to give the Tsar a petition and the Imperial Guard fires on the crowd, killing two-hundred people on January 9th, 1905.
4. Tsar Nicholas II implements a few reforms like the creation of the State Duma.
5. Russia joins the fighting during World War I in 1914.
6. Demonstrations begin during the February Revolution of 1917 and Nicholas II abdicates after the Duma defies his orders to dissolve and instead creates a provisional government.
7. The Red Army is created during the October Revolution of 1917 and the All Russian Congress of Soviets chooses Lenin as their leader, after the Bolsheviks overthrow the provisional government.
8. The White Army begins their fight against the Communists at the end of 1917, marking the beginning of the Russian Civil War.
9. The Russian Constitution of 1918 is established and creates the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic. Lenin orders the execution of the Tsar and his family and the Red Army begins massive expansions in 1918.
10. A unified anti-Bolshevik government is created in September of 1918 and is called the Ufa Directorate, it is overthrown in November of that year.
11. The Red Army and Soviet Russia continue to expand and encourage the territories surrounding Russia to become communist, supporting their revolutions.
12. The White Movement loses widespread support as the Red Army continues to gain ground and the White Army's commander, Pyotr Wrangel, flees Russia, marking the end of the Russian Civil War. There were an estimated three million lives lost due to fighting, disease and famine during that period.
13. Famine strikes the Soviet Union immediately after the end of the civil war, killing an estimated five million or more people.

Hungary - Treaty of Trianon is signed between the Allies and Hungary
  • The Treaty of Trianon is signed between the Allies and Hungary, ending World War I between the two sides.
More Information and Timeline for the Treaty of Trianon.
The Treaty of Trianon was signed in June of 1920. The treaty laid out the formal terms of peace between the Allied powers on one side and the newly created Kingdom of Hungary on the other. Some of the objectives of the treaty included defining the borders of Hungary in addition to establishing its independence. The treaty was signed at the Trianon Palace in Versailles, France. Although the war had technically ended in 1918, the Allied powers had been reluctant to make peace with Hungary until a more stable government was put in place. Hungary was able to establish a more stable government in 1920, prompting the peace deal.

  • Radical anarchists bomb Wall Street killing 38.
  • Influenza (the flu) and pneumonia spread Worldwide killing many thousands.
  • The League of Nations comes into being in Paris and the US Senate votes against joining.
  • Switzerland joins the League of Nations.
Belgium - Summer Olympics
  • The Summer Olympics are held in Antwerp, Belgium.
More Information for the Antwerp Olympics.
During April of 1920 the Summer Olympics were held in Antwerp, Belgium. The theme of these games was remembering the victims of the First World War and reconciliation between nations after the end of the war. These were the first games in which the Olympic flag and symbol of five interlocking rings appeared and they were used to represent unity and universality after the war. These were also the first games in which doves were released in the opening ceremony to symbolize world peace. The United States, Sweden, and Great Britain came away from these games with the highest total medal counts overall, with 95, 64, and 43 respectively.

  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Force is established after merging the Royal Northwest Mounted Police and the Dominion Police.
  • The first Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe horse race is run on October 3rd
  • On November 11th The Tomb of The Unknown Warrior is buried in Westminster Abbey, London, signifying the soldiers killed during World War I who were not identified. It is the first example of a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
  • After a decade of fighting the Mexican Revolution ends
  • The U.S. Justice and Immigration Departments conduct The Palmer Raid on January 19th and arrest 6,000 foreign aliens who were deported as suspected radical leftists.
Ireland - Irish Revolution
  • During the Irish Revolution on November 21st Bloody Sunday left more than 31 people were killed including fourteen British, fourteen Irish civilians and three republican prisoners, An Irish Republican Army (IRA) operation assassinates the Cairo Gang a team of undercover agents working and living in Dublin including 12 British Army officers, one a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary and the last a civilian informant, In Retaliation The Royal Irish Constabulary opened fire on the crowd at a Gaelic football match in Croke Park, killing fourteen civilians. On December 10th Martial law is declared in Counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary. Following increasing violence the Government of Ireland Act of 1920 is passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, receives Royal Assent from George V providing for the partition of Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland with separate parliaments, granting a measure of home rule

Ireland - Northern Ireland Created
  • The Government of Ireland Act creates Northern Ireland.
More Information for the Government of Ireland Act
1. The Government of Ireland Act is given royal approval by King George V in December of 1920.
2. The act created the borders for Northern and Southern Ireland and proposed the creation of separate parliaments for each region.
3. It also indicated that the two regions would remain a part of the United Kingdom.
4. Northern Ireland accepted the act but Southern Ireland rejected it and continued to fight and negotiate with England.
5. England and the Southern parts of Ireland eventually agreed to a truce in July of 1921.
6. By December of 1921 they signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty which removed British rule from Ireland.
7. The Irish Free State was created in December of 1922.
8. The Act continued to be used for Northern Ireland until 1972 when some of it was suspended.
9. Any remaining ties to the Government of Ireland Act ended in 1998 with its repeal and replacement by the Good Friday Act.

  • George Polley "The Human Fly" is arrested on the 30th Floor while trying to climb up the outside of the Woolworth Building in New York before he reached the top (57th )floor on January 9th.
  • At the final meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association celebrating the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution giving women the right to vote, The League of Women Voters is founded in Chicago.
  • The United States Railroad Administration created during World War I in 1917 to ensure the quick and efficient movement of arms and men needed to support the war returns control of American railroads to its constituent railroad companies

USSR - Soviet Union and Georgia sign the Moscow Peace Treaty
  • The Soviet Union and Georgia sign the Moscow Peace Treaty.
More Information for the Moscow Peace Treaty.
During May of 1920, the Soviet Union and the newly independent nation of Georgia signed the Moscow Peace Treaty. The treaty was important in that it formalized the USSR’s recognition of Georgia’s independence, defined borders between the two nations, and established a baseline for diplomatic relations between the USSR and Georgia. The treaty went far in establishing Georgia but it also made sure that the Soviet Union still had a firm grasp on politics and Communist ideology in the region.

  • The Hague becomes the seat of International Justice Court.
  • World Population is Estimated at 1,811,000,000.
  • Small pox becomes a major problem worldwide.
  • US Population is Estimated at 107,823,000.
U.S. U.S.
  • The US Postal Service puts more Airmail services into effect.
Mexico - Pancho Villa Surrendered and Mexican Revolution Ends
  • Pancho Villa surrenders to the Mexican government.
More Information and Timeline for the Mexican Revolution.
Mexican revolutionary and military leader Pancho Villa surrendered in July of 1920 after reaching a peace agreement with interim Mexican President Adolfo de la Huerta, effectively ending the Mexican Revolution. Villa had been a part of the revolution from the beginning, emerging as one of the strongest revolutionary military leaders. Villa became one of the revolution’s most recognizable figures as he led his own army known as the “Division del Norte,” which continued guerilla warfare against the Mexican government until Villa’s rival and the country’s then leader Venustiano Carranza was removed from power and assassinated. Villa was eventually pardoned and retired from fighting, only to be assassinated in 1923 by his rivals.

Ireland - (Black and Tans) arrive in Dublin
  • The Royal Irish Constabulary (Black and Tans) arrive in Dublin.
More Information for the Royal Irish Constabulary.
In March of 1920 the first of the Royal Irish Constabulary, also known as the Black and Tans, arrived in Dublin. The RIC was a group created by the British government and was sent to Ireland to police the Irish, bolster other British forces, and fight against the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence. The group consisted of thousands of hastily trained men, many of whom had been unemployed World War I veterans. Due to the lack of training and discipline within the Black and Tans, they gained a reputation for brutality and had staged many retaliatory attacks and crimes against the Irish civilian population. The group was disbanded in 1922.

  • Tornadoes swept through the mid-western and southern portions of the United States, killing more than 200.
  • The Summer Olympics are held in Antwerp, Belgium.

1920 Technology

  • The Ford Model T was continuing to sell well in the US.
  • Austin in the UK produced an Austin 20/4.
  • Airlines are starting to appear around the world as the commercial implications are realized, the start of what is now QANTAS in Australia, and KLM in Holland to name just two.
  • The first commercial radio stationtransmits on on August 20th in the United States, 8MK (WWJ), begins operations in Detroit, Michigan. The first radios start to appear for sale in shops in the US.

Inventions, Inventors and Country (or attributed to First Use)
Sticky Plasters USA by Earle Dickson
Hair Dryer Germany
The Tea Bag by Joseph Krieger
Parachute USA by Karl O.K. Osterday

1920 Calendar

Born This Year

Arthur Hailey April 5th
Isaac Asimov January 2nd
Walter Matthau October 1st
P D James August 3rd

1920 Mens and Womens Fashion Clothes

Part of our Collection of Clothing From The 1920's
A few examples of Ladies and mens fashions available in 1920

Major World Political Leaders

Australia Prime Minister Billy Hughes Brazil President Epitácio Pessoa Canada Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden until July 10th

Canada Prime Minister Arthur Meighen From July 10

Italy Prime Minister Francesco Saverio Nitti until June 15th
Italy Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti From 15 June

Japan Prime Minister Takashi Hara Mexico President Adolfo de la Huerta From June 1st
Mexico President Adolfo de la Huerta until November 30th
Mexico President Álvaro Obregón From 1 December
Russia / Soviet Union
Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars Vladimir Lenin South Africa Prime Minister Field Marshal Jan Christiaan Smuts United States President Woodrow Wilson United Kingdom Prime Minister David Lloyd George

Political Elections

United States Presidential Election 1920 Warren G. Harding (Republican) defeats James M. Cox (Democratic) and Eugene V. Debs (Socialist).