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What impact did World War 1 have on the contemporary world?

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โˆ™ 2006-07-15 12:34:51

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The biggest consequence was that World War I set into motion events that would lead to WWII, which in turn basically established the world order during the Cold War, which in turn continues to shape our world today. World War I was essentially the catalyst that got the entire 20th century as we know it rolling. Technology, especially military but also medicinal (WWI was the first war where battle-dead outnumbered dead from disease, due in large part to superior medicinal technology...along with far more lethal weaponry) exploded, and the old world order was shattered. Four monarchies were destroyed: the Hohenzollers (Germany), the Romanovs (Russia), the Hapsburgs (Austria-Hungary), and the Ottomans (Turkey); Europe lay in ruins with nearly 16 million war dead and millions of mentally and physically scarred veterans who had lost nearly all hope in humanity during the war. Although Europe rose up again one more time in 1939, the idea of a great European war ever happening again has become so remote, due in large part to the destruction wrought by the first World War, that it is now unthinkable that the powers of Western Europe would ever again go to war with each other. After the war, all the warring nations' economies (with the exception of the US, which had been spared and the USSR which was completely excluded) were so drained from the war, that they collapsed into depression that would create such bitterness, especially in Germany, that radical and/or reactionary doctrines flourished. During the Weimarer Republic, Germany could have gone either fascist or communist depending on who won the street battles raging throughout the country. We all know which way it did go, but at the time the outcome was far from certain. World War I also established the US as one of the great powers of the world. It was already a world power after defeating Spain in the Spanish-American War, acquiring the Philippines, and taking part in opening up China, but after World War I no one could deny that the USs' power was now at the same calibre as Britain, France, or Germany. The US also made moves to establish itself as the world leader with the magnanimous plans of Wilson and his League of Nations, but European arrogance and desire for revenge shot down American hopes. This is still just a very small sampling of the importance of World War I; I would say that it basically defined the course of the century.

2006-07-15 12:34:51
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