1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1929th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 929th year of the 2nd millennium, the 29th year of the 20th century, and the 10th and last year of the 1920s decade.
This year marked the end of a period known in American history as the Roaring Twenties after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 ushered in a worldwide Great Depression. In the Americas, an agreement was brokered to end the Cristero War, a Catholic counter-revolution in Mexico. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, a British high court, ruled that Canadian women are persons in the Edwards v. Canada (Attorney General) case. The 1st Academy Awards for film were held in Los Angeles, while the Museum of Modern Art opened in New York City. The Peruvian Air Force was created.
In Asia, the Republic of China and the Soviet Union engaged in a minor conflict after the Chinese seized full control of the Manchurian Chinese Eastern Railway, which ended with a resumption of joint administration. In the Soviet Union, General Secretary Joseph Stalin expelled Leon Trotsky and adopted a policy of collectivization. The Grand Trunk Express began service in India. Rioting between Muslims and Jews in Jerusalem over access to the Western Wall took place in the Middle East. The centenary of Western Australia was celebrated.
The Kellogg–Briand Pact, a treaty renouncing war as an instrument of national policy, went into effect. In Europe, the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy signed the Lateran Treaty. The Idionymon law was passed in Greece to outlaw political dissent. Spain hosted the Ibero-American Exposition which featured pavilions from Latin American countries. The German airship LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin flew around the world in 21 days.
|1929 in various calendars|
|Ab urbe condita||2682|
|Balinese saka calendar||1850–1851|
|British Regnal year||19 Geo. 5 – 20 Geo. 5|
|Chinese calendar||戊辰年 (Earth Dragon)|
4625 or 4565
— to —
己巳年 (Earth Snake)
4626 or 4566
|- Vikram Samvat||1985–1986|
|- Shaka Samvat||1850–1851|
|- Kali Yuga||5029–5030|
|Japanese calendar||Shōwa 4|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 18|
|Thai solar calendar||2471–2472|
2055 or 1674 or 902
— to —
2056 or 1675 or 903
On August 1 of this year the 1929 Palestine riots broke out between Palestinians and Jews over control of the Western Wall. The rioting, initiated in part when British police tore down a screen the Jews had constructed in front of the Wall, continued until the end of the month. In total, 133 Jews and 116 Palestinians were killed. Two of the more famous incidents occurring during these riots were the August 23–24 1929 Hebron massacre, in which almost 70 Jews were killed by Palestinians and the remaining Jews are forced to stay at Hebron. The Palestinians had been told that Jews were killing Palestinians. Jews would not return to Hebron until after the Six-Day War in 1967. The other major clash was the 1929 Safed massacre, in which 18–20 Jews were killed by Palestinians in Safed in similar fashion. Elsewhere in the Middle East, Iraq took a big step toward gaining independence from the British. The Iraqi government had, since the end of World War I and the beginning of the British Mandate in the Middle East, consistently resisted British hegemony. In September, Great Britain announced it would support Iraq's inclusion in the League of Nations, signaling the beginning of the end of their direct control of the region.
Early in 1929 the Afghan leader King Amanullah lost power through revolution and civil war to Habibullāh Kalakāni. Habibullāh's rule, however, only lasted nine months. Nadir Shah replaced him in October, starting a line of monarchs which would last 40 years. In India, a general strike in Bombay continued throughout the year despite efforts by the British. On December 29, the All India Congress in Lahore declared Indian independence from Britain, something it had threatened to do if Britain did not grant India dominion status. China and Russia engaged in a minor conflict after China seized full control of the Manchurian Chinese Eastern Railway. Russia counterattacked and took the cities of Hailar and Manchouli after issuing an ultimatum demanding joint control of the railway to be reinstated. The Chinese agreed to the terms on November 26. The Japanese would later see this defeat as a sign of Chinese weakness, leading to their taking control of Manchuria. The Far East began to experience economic problems late in the year as the effects of the Great Depression began to spread. Southeast Asia was especially hard hit as its exports (spice, rubber, and other commodities) were more sensitive to economic problems. In the Pacific, on December 28 – "Black Saturday" in Samoa – New Zealand colonial police killed 11 unarmed demonstrators, an event which led the Mau movement to demand independence for Samoa.
In 1929, the Fascist Party in Italy tightened its control. National education policy took a major step towards being completely taken over by the agenda of indoctrination. In that year, the Fascist government took control of the authorization of all textbooks, all secondary school teachers were required to take an oath of loyalty to Fascism, and children began to be taught that they owed the same loyalty to Fascism as they did to God.
On February 11, Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty, making Vatican City a sovereign state. On July 25, Pope Pius XI emerged from the Vatican and entered St. Peter's Square in a huge procession witnessed by about 250,000 persons, thus ending nearly 60 years of papal self-imprisonment within the Vatican. Italy used the diplomatic prestige associated with this successful agreement to adopt a more aggressive foreign policy. Germany experienced a major turning point in this year due to the economic crash. The country had experienced prosperity under the government of the Weimar Republic until foreign investors withdrew their German interests. This began the crumbling of the Republican government in favor of Nazism. In 1929, the number of unemployed reached three million. On July 27, the Geneva Convention, held in Switzerland, addressed the treatment of prisoners of war in response to problems encountered during World War I.
On May 31, the British general election returned a hung parliament yet again, with the Liberals in position to determine who would have power. These elections were known as the "Flapper" elections due to the fact that it was the first British election in which women under 30 could vote. A week after the vote, on June 7 the Conservatives conceded power rather than ally with the Liberals. Ramsay MacDonald founded a new Labour government the next day.
1929 is regarded as a turning point by French historians, who point out that it was last year in which prosperity was felt before the effects of the Great Depression. The Third Republic had been in power since before World War I. On July 24, French prime minister Raymond Poincaré resigned for medical reasons; he was succeeded by Aristide Briand. Briand adopted a foreign policy of both peace and defensive fortification. The Kellogg–Briand Pact, renouncing war as an instrument of foreign policy, went into effect in this year (it was first signed in Paris in 1928 by most leading world powers). The French began work on the Maginot Line in this year, as a defense against a possible German attack, and on September 5 Briand presented a plan for the United States of Europe. On October 22, Briand was replaced as Prime Minister by André Tardieu. Primo de Rivera's dictatorship in Spain experienced growing dissatisfaction among students and academics, as well as businessmen who blamed the government for recent economic woes. Many called for a fascist regime, like that in Italy.
In May, Joseph Stalin consolidated his power in the Soviet Union by sending Leon Trotsky into exile. The only country that would grant Trotsky asylum was Turkey, in return for his help during Turkey's civil war. He and his family left the USSR aboard ship on February 12. Stalin turned on his former political ally, Nikolai Bukharin, who was the last real threat to his power. By the end of the year Bukharin had been defeated. Once Stalin was in power, he turned his former support for Lenin's New Economic Policy into opposition. In November, Stalin declared that it "The Year of the Great Breakthrough" and stated that the country would focus on industrial programs as well as on collectivizing the grain supply. He hoped to surpass the West not only in agriculture, but in industry. Millions of Soviet farmers were removed from their private farms, their property was collected, and they were moved to state-owned farms. Stalin emphasized in 1929 a campaign demonizing kulaks as a plague on society. Kulak property was taken and they were deported by cattle train to areas of frozen tundra.
The timber market in Finland began to decline in 1929 due to the Great Depression, as well as the Soviet Union's entrance into the market. Financial and political problems culminated in the birth of the fascist Lapua Movement on November 23 in a demonstration in Lapua. The movement's stated aim was Finnish democracy and anti-communism. The Finnish legislature received heavy pressure to remove basic rights from Communist groups. Politics in Lithuania was heated, as President Voldemaras was unpopular in some quarters, and survived an assassination attempt in Kaunas. Later, while attending a meeting of the League of Nations, he was ousted in a coup by President Smetona, who made himself dictator. Upon Voldemaras' removal from office, Geležinis Vilkas went underground and received aid and encouragement in its activities from Germany. Yugoslavia was renamed the "Kingdom of Yugoslavia" as King Alexander sought to unite the Balkans under his rule. The state's new Monarchy replaced the old parliament, which had been dominated by Serbs.
In October 1929, the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council overturned a ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada that women could not be members of the legislature. This case, which came to be known as the Persons Case, had important ramifications not just for the rights of women but because in overturning the case, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council engendered a radical change in the Canadian judicial approach to the Canadian constitution, an approach that has come to be known as the "living tree doctrine". The five women who initiated the case are known in Canada as the Famous Five. In November, the 1929 Grand Banks earthquake occurred off the south coast of Newfoundland in the Atlantic Ocean. It registered as a Richter magnitude 7.2 submarine earthquake centered on Grand Banks, broke 12 submarine transatlantic telegraph cables and triggered a tsunami that destroyed many south coast communities in the Burin Peninsula area, killing 28 (as of 1997, Canada's most lethal earthquake).
The Mexican Cristero War continued in 1929 as clerical forces attempted an assassination of the provisional president in a train bombing in February. The attempt failed. Plutarco Calles, at the center of power for the anti-clerics, continued to gather power in Mexico City. His government was considered an enemy to more conservative Mexicans who held to traditional forms of government and more religious control. Calles founded the National Revolutionary Party early in the year to increase his power; a party which was, ironically, seen by foreigners as fascist and which was in opposition to the Mexican Right. A special election was held in this year, which Jose Vasconselos lost to Ortiz Rubio. By this time, the war had ended. The last group of rebels was defeated on June 4, and in the same month US Ambassador Dwight Morrow initiated talks between parties. On June 21 an agreement was brokered ending the Cristero War. On June 27, church bells rang and mass was held publicly for the first time in three years. The agreement heavily favored the government, as priests were required to register with the government and religion was banned from schools.
The major event of the year for the United States was the stock market crash on Wall Street, which was to have international effects. On September 3, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) peaked at 381.17, a height it would not reach again until November 1954. Then, from October 24–October 29, stock prices suffered three multi-digit percentage drops, wiping out more than $30 billion from the New York Stock Exchange (10 times greater than the annual budget of the federal government). On December 3 U.S. President Herbert Hoover announced to the U.S. Congress that the worst effects of the recent stock market crash were behind the nation, and that the American people had regained faith in the economy.
Literature of the time reflected the memories many harbored of the horrors of World War I. A major seller was All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. Remarque was a German who had fought in the war at age eighteen and been wounded in the Third Battle of Ypres. He stated that he intended the book to tell the story "of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war." Another 1929 book reflecting on World War I was Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, as well as Good-Bye to All That by Robert Graves. In lighter media, a few stars of the comic industry made their debut, including Tintin, a comic book character created by Hergé, who would appear in over 200 million comic books in 60 languages. Popeye, another comic strip character created by Elzie Crisler Segar, also appeared in this year.
Within the film industry, on May 16 the 1st Academy Awards were presented at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, with Wings winning Best Picture. Also, Hallelujah! became the first Hollywood film to contain an entirely black cast, and Atlantic, a film about the Titanic, is an early sound-on-film movie. The arts were in the midst of the Modernist movement, as Pablo Picasso painted two cubist works, Woman in a Garden and Nude in an Armchair, during this year. The surrealist painters Salvador Dalí and René Magritte completed several works, including The First Days of Spring and The Treachery of Images. On November 7 in New York City, the Museum of Modern Art opened to the public. The latest in modern architecture was also represented by the Barcelona Pavilion in Spain, and the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, at its completion the tallest building in the British Empire.
The year saw several advances in technology and exploration. On June 27 the first public demonstration of color TV was held by H. E. Ives and his colleagues at Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York. The first images were a bouquet of roses and an American flag. A mechanical system was used to transmit 50-line color television images between New York and Washington. The BBC broadcast a television transmission for the first time. By November, Vladimir Zworykin had taken out the first patent for color television. On November 29, Bernt Balchen, U.S. Admiral Richard Byrd, Captain Ashley McKinley, and Harold June, became the first to fly over the South Pole. Within the year, Britain, Australia and New Zealand began a joint Antarctic Research Expedition, and the German airship Graf Zeppelin began a round-the-world flight (ended August 29). This year Ernst Schwarz describes Bonobo (Pan paniscus) as a different species from common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), both closely related phylogenetically to human beings.