“There arose a serious challenge to the Democratic State System between the two World Wars.” Evaluate the statement.

Sample Answer


Inter-war period (1918-1939) saw the rise of autocratic authorities across the world that jeopardised the democratic state systems. They posed challenges to free nations and ultimately led to the second world war.


  • Rise of dictators like Hitler and Mussolini to power in Germany and Italy was due to weak institutional checks. They completely controlled and silenced the democratic forces.
  • Many national Constitution was suspended, and autocratic rule was imposed in European nations.
  • Poor conceptualization of minority rights facilitated ethnic targeting of Jews and Romanies and growth of imperialistic ideas like lebensraum. 
  • Political intolerance of communism by the capitalist bloc countries led to oversight of German excesses, such as in Munich Agreement. 
  • Spanish civil war was a result of unresolved political contestation between Nationalist Party and the Communist Party. 
  • Rise of ultra-nationalism and conscription promoted militarism in international politics. 
  • Militant rise of fascists under Mussolini in Italy was supported by liberal classes. 
  • Autocratic rise of nationalism in Europe also led to the further bifurcation of Asian and African colonies for imperialist interest. This further delayed the development of democratic nationalism and new democratic states.

Even in colonies like India, many democratic choices and demands were side-lined. Demand of the Indian National Congress to bring democracy with basic rights was not only rejected by British imperialism but they brought India into the second world war.


Overall, the inter-war phase saw the rise of anti-democratic forces that added fuel to imperialist powers and ended into the imperialist second world war. However, failure of autocratic rule during the second world war laid the red carpet for the rise of democratic state systems including one in India itself.

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