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  • Roaring Twenties

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    The Roaring Twenties refers to the decade of the 1920s in Western society and Western culture. It was a period of economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge in the United States and Western Europe, particularly in major cities such as Berlin, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, and Sydney. In France, the decade was known as the "années folles" ('crazy years'), emphasizing the era's social, artistic and cultural dynamism. Jazz blossomed, the flapper redefined the modern look for British and American women, and Art Deco peaked. Not everything roared: in the wake of the hyper-emotional patriotism of World War I, Warren G. Harding "brought back normalcy" to the politics of the United States. This period saw the large-scale development and use of automobiles, telephones, motion pictures, radio, and electrical appliances. Aviation became a business. Nations saw rapid industrial and economic growth, accelerated consumer demand, and significant changes in lifestyle and culture. The media focused on celebrities, especially sports heroes and movie stars, as cities rooted for their home teams and filled the new palatial cinemas and gigantic sports stadiums. In most major democratic states, women won the right to vote. The social and cultural features known as the Roaring Twenties began in leading metropolitan centers, then spread widely in the aftermath of World War I. The United States gained dominance in world finance. Thus, when Germany could no longer afford to pay World War I reparations to the United Kingdom, France and the other Allied powers, the United States came up with the Dawes Plan, named after banker, and later 30th Vice President, Charles G. Dawes. Wall Street invested heavily in Germany, which paid its reparations to countries that, in turn, used the dollars to pay off their war debts to Washington. By the middle of the decade, prosperity was widespread, with the second half of the decade known, especially in Germany, as the "Golden Twenties". The spirit of the Roaring Twenties was marked by a general feeling of novelty associated with modernity and a break with tradition. Everything seemed to be feasible through modern technology. New technologies, especially automobiles, moving pictures, and radio, brought "modernity" to a large part of the population. Formal decorative frills were shed in favor of practicality in both daily life and architecture. At the same time, jazz and dancing rose in popularity, in opposition to the mood of World War I. As such, the period is also often referred to as the Jazz Age. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 ended the era, as the Great Depression brought years of hardship worldwide.

  • Fashion in the 1920s

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  • Flapper

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    Flappers were a generation of young Western women in the 1920s who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, smoking cigarettes, driving automobiles, treating sex in a casual manner, and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms. Flappers are icons of the Roaring Twenties, the social, political turbulence and increased transatlantic cultural exchange that followed the end of World War I, as well as the export of American jazz culture to Europe.

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