The Roaring Twenties is a term for Western society and culture in the 1920s. It was a period of sustained economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge in the United States, Canada and Western Europe, particularly in major cities such as New York City, Montreal, Chicago, Detroit, Paris, Berlin, London and Los Angeles. In France and Quebec, it was known as the "années folles" ("Crazy Years"), emphasizing the era's social, artistic and cultural dynamism. Jazz music blossomed, the flapper redefined modern womanhood, Art Deco peaked, and, in the wake of hyper-emotional patriotism after World War I, normalcy returned to politics. This era saw the large-scale use of automobiles, telephones, motion pictures, radio, and electricity; commercial, passenger, and freight aviation; as well as unprecedented industrial growth, accelerated consumer demand, plus significant changes in lifestyle and culture. The media focused on celebrities, especially sports heroes and movie stars, as cities rooted for their home teams and filled the new palatial cinemas and gigantic sports stadiums. In most major democracies, women won the right to vote.
The social and cultural features known as the Roaring Twenties began in leading metropolitan centers, then spread widely in the aftermath of World War I. The United States gained dominance in world finance. Thus, when Germany could no longer afford war reparations to Britain, France and other Allies, the Americans came up with the Dawes Plan and Wall Street invested heavily in Germany, which repaid its reparations to nations that, in turn, used the dollars to pay off their war debts to Washington. By the middle of the decade, prosperity was widespread, with the second half of the decade known, especially in Germany, as the "Golden Twenties".
The spirit of the Roaring Twenties was marked by a general feeling of novelty associated with modernity and a break with traditions. Everything seemed to be feasible through modern technology. New technologies, especially automobiles, moving pictures, and radio, proliferated "modernity" to a large part of the population. Formal decorative frills were shed in favor of practicality in both daily life and architecture. At the same time, jazz and dancing rose in popularity, in opposition to the mood of World War I. As such, the period is also often referred to as the Jazz Age.