After the end of the First World War, economies across Britain and Europe were exhausted. The United States overtook Britain as the world’s biggest economy, but a worldwide “crash” of markets in 1929 led to a “Great Depression”.
This put huge pressures on people’s standard of living. There were big strikes in the UK, and, in one example. a group of unemployed workers marched from Jarrow in the North East of England to London to demand help from the government.
In some other countries, such as Germany and Italy, dictators like Hitler and Mussolini were able to take advantage of the situation and build their own power., while persecuting minority groups (like the Jews) and people who disagreed. In Russia, there had been a revolution in 1917 which led to a communist government, which also had huge control over the way people lived their lives.
Britain avoided such political extremism, and while Britain’s leaders tried to avoid war, it became essential to build up the army in readiness.