Kraft Durch Freude
Kraft durch Freude (Strength through Joy, abbreviated KdF), was a program operated by the state-owned German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront) that provided leisure activities for ordinary workers. To exemplify solidarity under National Socialism, passengers on KdF cruises, regardless of social status, drew lots for allocation of accomodations. Recently, controversy has arisen over plans to renovate a huge unfinished KdF recreational resort known as the "Colossus of Prora" (pictured below) on the island of Rügen that was neglected by the former German Democratic Republic after WWII.
Isolationists, feeling secure in the separation from other nations by vast oceans, believed the USA should not become involved in foreign wars. The NYE Committee Hearings from 1934-36 reviewed the relationship between the U.S. government and the munitions and shipbuilding industries, war profits and the background events leading up to U.S. entry into WWI. The committee documented huge profits made by arms manufacturers during the war, and implied that many other industries and banks profited as well. In 1936, the Senate cut off committee funding after Chairman Nye claimed that the late President Woodrow Wilson withheld essential information from Congress as it debated entering WWI.
Japanese November Incident
In 1934, a group of Imperial Japanese Army cadets cadets and two army officers of the radical militarist Imperial Way Faction (Kōdōha) were arrested for planning a coup d'état. The founder of the Kōdōha Sadao Araki and his protégé promoted the ancient samurai bushido code with ideas similar to European fascism.The Kōdōha desired a return to an idealized Imperial Japan, purged of corrupt bureaucrats, politicians, and greedy zaibatsu capitalists, over which the Emperor Showa would rule with military assistance. Although not convicted for lack of evidence, the cadets were expelled from the Academy and the officers were suspended from duty for six months.
Alcatraz Island (known as the "rock") became a federal prison in 1934. Over the next three decades, it held many infamous prisoners, including Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (the Birdman of Alcatraz), George "Machine Gun" Kelly, Mickey Cohen and Arthur R. "Doc" Barker. The 1962 film, The Birdman of Alcatraz, starred Burt Lancaster as the infamous prisoner Stroud.
Based on rumor, ultranationalists in the Ministry of Justice accused Finance Ministry officials and members of Prime Minister Makoto Saitō's cabinet of bribery in the purchase of Taiwanese bank shares at artificially low prices. With the arrest of several of his cabinet ministers, Prime Minister Saitō dissolved his government. Although all of the defendants were ultimately found innocent, and no financial irregularities were documented, public confidence in liberal democracy was seriously undermined and the ultranationalist position was further strengthened.
Pu Yi – Puppet Emperor of Manchukuo
The Last Emperor, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, was a lush epic film of Pu Yi's life. Pu Yi, the abdicated Xuantong Emperor of China's last (Qing) dynasty, was declared the emperor of the puppet state of Manchukuo by Imperial Japan in 1934. His rule lasted until the end of the war in 1945.
Plot to Overthrow FDR
This controversial video describes an alleged plot, backed by corporate leaders to overthrow the left-leaning government of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. During the 1934 investigation by the Special Committee on Un-American Activities (predecessor to HUAC), many questioned the veracity of the allegations by retired Marine Corps General Smedley Butler that a coup was imminent. No one was prosecuted. At first, news media covered the story, but it was soon dismissed as not credible and even labelled a "gigantic hoax" by the New York Times. But extensive excerpts from the committee report were never released and many believe that some sort of scheme had actually been afoot.
In 1934, Amau Eiji, Japanese Foreign Affairs Spokesman, asserted that Japan had the special mission to maintain peace and order in East Asia. The Empire of Japan would therefore oppose any intervention in China by other foreign powers. This Japanese declaration, similar to America’s Monroe Doctrine, was a direct challenge to the Open Door Policy of the West that allowed all trading nations access to the Chinese market.
A Story of Floating Weeds – Yasujirō Ozu
This 1934 silent film by the great director Yasujiro Ozu was remade in 1959. His lovely, lyrical films, including The Only Son (1936), There Was a Father (1942), Early Summer (1951), Tokyo Story (1953), and Early Spring (1956) provide an intimate picture of family and interpersonal relationships in Japan.
U.S. Marines Leave Haiti
In the early 20th Century, the United States was concerned about its political and economic control over the Caribbean. With frequent assassinations and exiles, Haiti appeared unstable and under the influence of a small group of German nationals who wielded disproportionate economic power. When an anti-American revolt threatened U.S. business interests in 1915, President Woodrow Wilson ordered U.S. Marines to occupy Haiti. The occupation lasted until 1934 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered complete disengagement.
Philippines Promised Future Independence
After Philippine annexation in 1898, many Filipino farm workers migrated to the American West coast. As a result of opposition to this influx, the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934 reclassified Filipinos as aliens, and thus no longer allowed unrestricted access to the United States. While the Act promised independence of the Philippines after a period of ten years, it actually occurred after WWII in 1946.