Significance of World War 1

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Significanceof World War 1

Significanceof World War 1

WorldWar 1 began in 1914 and turned out to be one of the greatestconflicts in history. The aggression was regarded as the bloodiest,most intensely fought and expansive regarding the geographical area.There was at least a nation from every continent taking part in thewar. Military giants from Europe, Asia, and America, formed adifferent alliance and scripted fighters from their colonies.Historians also regarded it as one of the most auspicious for itsnumerous economic and social implications. From 1870 through 1914,key European powers and the United States embarked on anunprecedented epoch of imperialism and expansionism and devisedrelevant foreign policies to suit their expansion strategies. Thesemeasures were predictable since the states had set their boundariesand they were capitalizing on fresh technologies in communication andtransport sectors. They did this to enhance their influence inregions that were previously regarded as tough and difficult topenetrate. The essay discusses World War 1 and its significance,objective and historical contingent.


Theconsequence of the war was enormous especially for the Europeanstates. The intrusion of U.S into the conflict introduced a new eraof military competition. The Americans took control of most ofeconomic and political activities in the European region. Historiansargue that imperialism, nationalism, and expansionism were not enoughto cause the war. Other factors outside the context were responsible(Rosenberg,2006).Theyincluded a precipitating event and premeditated desire to fight.According to Fromkin, “The war as a struggle for mastery in Europe,not for empire” (p.21). He also provides that the world was notprepared for any democracy. The cost of vindictive peace treatyreached by members at Versailles rendered the world vulnerable andanticipatory for a conflict. For instance, the grievances of theGermans that were soon exacerbated by the Versailles Treaty led tothe emergence of Adolph Hitler and the World War 2 catastrophe(Rosenberg,2006).The sense of bitterness felt by the Russians due to Versailles madethem have a continuous feeling of mistrust as well as imperialistdesire notably at the expense of the West. Also, territorialbickering that was within the Balkans whose settlement failed atVersailles tormented the contemporary inter-state relations. Inaddition, the disintegration of the Ottoman that happened without anycultural consideration resulted in terrorism, colonial excesses andscattering (Rosenberg,2006).The war was significant in various ways.

  1. The Rise of Socialism in the World Stage

Thepressure caused by the total warfare which brought down Russiaenabled the socialist revolutionaries to seize authority andtransform the developing ideologies of the world into a reckoningEuropean force. Russian’s Lenin had a belief that globaltransformation was to happen, but it did not occur (Joll,&amp Martel, 2006).The revolution enabled the powerful communist states to present inAsia and Europe to alter the balance of the world politics. Germany,for instance, tottered towards several states like Russia but pulledback upon experiencing a Leninist change and opted to form a freshsocial democracy. The approach exacerbated the pressure, and thechallenge led to its collapse. During the time, Russia was still anauthoritarian state (Joll,&amp Martel, 2006).

Collapseof the Eastern and the Central European Empires

Empiressuch as Austro-Hungary, Russia, Germany and Turkey were all sweptaside by revolution and defeat. The Turkish Empire fell in 1992 dueto social disintegration. Its weak military formations could notcounter the effect of enemies that was all over their territory. Thesame happened with Austria-Hungary imperium (Rosenberg,2006).What shocked many was the fall of the German Empire. As Fromkinobserves, Germanyfelt surrounded, convinced of an imminent national demise from whichonly war could save it” ( 32). In addition to being young andvibrant, the kingdom was very powerful. It happened as peoplerevolted and the Kaiser being obliged to abdicate. A series of freshgovernments were formed to occupy the spaces left. Some of theseinstitutions were democratic republics while others inclined tosocialist dictatorship (Rosenberg,2006).

NationalismTransforms leading to a Complicated Europe

Beforethe First World War, nationalism has been on the rise in the entireEurope. However, after the war, there was the rise of independentmovements and nations. Part of this was attributed to states’efforts to destabilize the previous empires. The other part was dueto the urge of nationalists to develop new states. The main regionfor the European nationalism was in the Balkan and Eastern Europe(Joll,&amp Martel, 2006).Poland and the three Baltic nations comprising of Czechoslovakia,kingdom of Serb, Slovenes and Croats emerged. However, conflicts werepresent between nationalism and the regions’ ethnic make-ups,despite different nationals living together. National majorities inthe area and the idea of self-determination created the disaffectedminorities who opted for a rule of their neighbors (Joll,&amp Martel, 2006).

VictoryMyths and Failures

Beforecalling for an armistice, Ludendorff, who was a German commander, hadexperienced some mental incapacitation. Upon recovering from thecondition and realizing the terms, he insisted that Germany could notaccept them. The commander maintained that his army would continuewith the fight (Emma,2009).The civilian government found the idea unacceptable and consequentlyoverruled him. They claimed that since peace had already been mooted,there was no need to keep the army fighting and to endanger thepublic’s safety. The myth of unbeatable German army began at thetime and damaged Weimar. It also forged the way for the rise of AdolfHitler (Emma,2009). Other countries including Italy did not acquire expansive coloniesas they had been assured during the secret agreements. Other partiescomplained about the scenario and claimed that there was the presenceof a mutilated peace (Emma,2009).In contrast, the successes achieved by the Britons in 1918, partlydue to their strong army, were being ignored. They viewed theconflicts as a bloody catastrophe. It altered the way they respondedto global events from 1920 to 1930. It was arguably an appeasementpolicy being derived from World War 1 (Emma,2009).

Emergenceof a New Immense Power

Beforetaking part in the war, the United States possessed untapped militarypotential and a constantly growing economy. However, these werealtered by the war in two significant ways. First, the U.S militarywas transformed into a large-scale combating force that had immenseexperience as far as modern warfare was concerned (Rosenberg,2006).Secondly, the economic power balance began to switch from drainedEuropean countries to America. There were some decisions made bygreat politicians in America which made the country withdraw from therest of the world and assumed isolationism. The alienationpotentially limited the benefits that the nation would have reapedfrom associating with other states (Rosenberg,2006).

Implicationsof a Vanished Generation

Althougha whole generation was not reported as being lost in the war, eightmillion people lost their lives. The figure translated to about aneighth of the combatants. Every nation took part in the war lost asignificant number of soldiers (Emma,2009).Others, who escaped instant deaths during the field aggression,survived with acute injuries which caused disabilities while otherssuccumbed to them later. Unfortunately, due to poor reporting, thesefigures were not recorded in the official data (Emma,2009).

Significanceof the War to the United States

Duringthe war and its aftermath, the progressive humanitarian spirit thatwas there in the twentieth century was lacerated. The energy that waswith the Americans was drained by the implications of the conflict.It also drained their enthusiasm for reforms. The wave progressivismlost much support in the aftermath. Another consequence was that thefederal government’s role in ordinary Americans’ lives waslargely strengthened. The ideology began with the President’sdecision as well as that of the Congress to enter into the war, shapepeace in European countries and to interfere with American’s civilliberties during and after the war. The consequences of the conflictlaid down one of the most conservative decades in United States’history (Emma,2009).The vision of Wilson, the then President of America, to bringdemocracy and freedom to other states. The eagerness to intervenemilitarily in the event promoted the interest of the Americans, andtheir values ended up being the model for the Americanstwentieth-century inter-state relations. In addition to theseconsequences, President Wilson lost his presidency for draggingAmerica into the war (Emma,2009).In 1918 November elections, he urged people to vote for a DemocraticCongress claiming that any other opinion would repudiate hisleadership. The move made moderate Republicans and some of his fellowDemocrats to decamp. Wilson’s Democrats lost the Senate and theHouse (Emma,2009).

Divisionsin America

Thewar exposed the huge divisions among the Americans. These divisionshave been festering the society since then. There emerged conflictsbetween immigrants and the Natives, Blacks and the Whites (Rosenberg,2006).World War 1 also elevated some political divisions in the countrynotably, pacifists and those who advocated for interventions,progressive and the radicals, internationalist and the nationalists,as well as the Democrats and the Republicans, tussle (Rosenberg,2006).

Allmajor nations that took place in the war objected to some of Wilson’sideas notably the idea of self-determination (Joll,&amp Martel, 2006).France and England were some of the major countries that destructedhis idealism, and all that these countries wanted was disarming andcrippling Germany, take its the colonies and redistribute them toeliminate the idea of self-determination (Joll,&amp Martel, 2006).


Fromthe essay, it is evident that World War 1 was responsible for thedestruction of many empires and also led to the emergence of severalnew nations. In addition, it triggered the development of severalindependence movements. The war elevated America to the position ofthe world Super Power. World War 1 will be highly remembered for therise of Hitler and Soviet communism. Also, the diplomatic alliancesand the promises developed during the World War 1 especially thosemade in the Middle East later came to haunt the Europeans more than acentury later. Although the power balance approach to inter-staterelations was not shattered during the war, it was broken and tookthe efforts of World War 2 to introduce enough political strength toembark on a revolutionary fresh approach to international relations.Finally, it will be remembered as a war that was full of moderntechnology as well as science.


Emma,H. (2009).&nbspGreatWar on the Small Screen: Representing the First World War

inContemporary Britain.Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Fromkin,D. (2004). Europe`s Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?,New York: Alfred A.

Joll,J., &amp Martel, G. (2006).&nbspTheorigins of the First World War.New York N.Y: Rutledge.

rightsmovement from the First World War to Vietnam.Princeton: Princeton

Rosenberg,J. (2006).&nbspHowfar the promised land?: World affairs and the American civil


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