Among many other periods, the 1920s has been of most interest to me in regards to learning about past politics and social changes. It is interesting to note that the prosperity followed very significant events in history, such as the Influenza epidemic and World War One. Economic growth continued throughout the decade, ending quite suddenly with the onslaught of the Great Depression as a result of the 1929 Stock Market Crash.
This idealism was not equally shared in other global nations. The reprucussions of the Versailles Treaty stipulated strict punishment for the Germany nation, and the dissolving of the Weimar Republic. Many historians consider the treaty to be horendously one-sided, despite acceptance from such nations as France and Belgium, who were particularly affected during the war. Western Europe was greatly modified economically following the war, leading to dramatic changes, foreshadowing future events.
Characteristic of the post-WW1 economy was inflation. According to economist George Mankiw, hyperinflation was particularly devastating to German citizens. Where a newspaper once cost .30 marks in 1918, now cost 70,000,000 marks in 1921. The German government sought to stabilize the economy through printing more money, though it eventually became useless as the monetary value plummeted. Many historians consider this to be one of the main events to stimulate the rise in fascism in Germany and Italy. It seemed an ultimate resolve to combat the aggression felt by other war-torn nations.
As such, it is difficult to analyze this decade from a general standpoint. American prosperity was more visible simply because American neutrality throughout most of the Great War, and limited involvement towards the conclusion. It was, however, an influential time in history; one that deserves careful recognition.