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The Great War
The world before the start of World War 1 had been teeter-tottering on a slim rope. Many world powers and countries had played with the ideas of militarism, imperialism, and nationalism. On top of that many countries joined and created alliances. All of which seemed suspicious. Why build up a huge strong army if there is no war to fight? Why take over colonies if other countries should have a fair game in economy and market? Why boast and flaunt your pride in your country to other countries? Many of these issues were problematic because of how snobbish, rude and cynical they seemed to be towards other countries. But, what really sparked the box of matches (WW1) was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. In 1914, a Serbian teenager killed the Archduke in Sarajevo. Thus, the tensions had risen, paving the way to a downright war.
Many countries had lost their trust in each other. Some were very competitive when it came to how strong or large their military, how great and stable their economy and how productive and resourceful their colonies were. Therefore, it was no surprise that some countries were paranoid and even jealous in a sense. After Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia, because of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary. Thus, a chain of events came down. Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, Russia on Austria-Hungary, Germany on Russia, France on Germany and then Britain not declaring war on anyone but is there to provide help for the Allies. And, as with all wars, there are many consequences. The Great war had “killed 10 million soldiers and mutilated 21 million more….the deaths of more than 110,000 Americans in uniform….2 million German soldiers died, along with about 1 million British troops” (Winter). Four empires collapsed near or at the end of the war, these were: The Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia (Browne). Mainly because of domestic rising powers diving their country, food shortages, not industrialized enough and civil unrest from own people. The aftermath of WW1 had left a bitterness between countries. There was no more peace but instead: mistrust, frustration, and anger. A far-reaching consequence of WW1 would be the start of WW2 about two decades later.
On terms with the broadened sense of world order, WW1 has achieved more than expected. This Great War changed the nature of war for all other wars. It impacted the social, economic and political aspects of the world. Huge investments in weapons of war for new technological advancements included: machine guns (artillery), tanks, aircraft, poisonous gas bombs, submarines (U-boats) etc. Some of which, being improved even until today, have been used for decades. All which led to a booming economy, mainly for America, whose land had been untouched. The war had led countries to be more open in their ideologies. Britain and America’s political views had been more or less the same. Many countries like Russia had opened up to fascists ideas and communism. Peace treaties were created to alleviate the pain of the war. Yet, they were more like armistices.
The Great war severely damaged European land and morale. All the while America had a booming economic industry. Luckily, America is overseas, therefore, it was left unscathed. The war-torn cities of Europe were destitute and shattered. To describe how awful the war was on European land: there were “5 million men who died in the war who have no known graves….the western front meant that unceasing bombardments pulverized the corpses…the war was so fluid and covered such distances that finding bodies, let alone identifying them, wasn’t possible” (Winter). Economically, the war had drained most European industries. Most European countries were drowning in debt which led to inflation shot up in those countries as well.
In America, the Great War had named the United States as a “world military and industrial leader” (Alchin). Technology had advanced because production and efficiency in factories that had increased. The United States had flourished in the age of steel and electricity. Leading to the roaring twenties. Profits increased in the Economy also for the American profits. After that, major changes occurred in American society. Many Americans started to invest in stocks and become financially stable by playing the gambling game in the stock market.
The Great War had impacted all of the World. It was said to be “the war to end all wars’ but ironically created more wars in return. The political, economic, and social impacts of the war had not only covered Europe but America too. America came out as the top world power while Europe was healing itself and struggling to do so as well. The bitterness and frustration leftover from WW1 transitioned into WW2. Specifically, Germany’s anger because of the Treaty of Versailles. Germany had to pay about $30 million in reparations.