Was World War I
an avoidable debacle ?
Social Changes in Europe and the United States
World War I changed the status of women in most societies in Europe and the United States. With the introduction of conscription, most men left to fight in the war and women stepped in to take over the business and jobs. Working in industrial outfits and in positions traditionally held by men caused a revolution in terms of women’s empowerment. In the postwar years, women’s issues started to feature high on the agenda of most government agencies. The Committee for the Study of the Legal Status of Women was an agency formed under the League of Nations to inquire into the status of women in different societies and to maintain their welfare.
Anti-German Activism in the United States
World War I caused a massive propaganda war in the United States. The Wilsonian government undertook a large-scale propaganda campaign to muster public support for the war. Over ten million Americans were of foreign descent, particularly from the Central nations.
The German American and Irish American populace was strictly in favor of neutrality. Their loyalties were soon questioned. People of German origin were ostracized, the German language shunned, and incidents of violence against people of German origin were not uncommon.
Political changes in Europe
World War I altered the map of the world and Europe in particular. The Great War was the cause of the decline of the great empires of Europe and promoted the growth of the socialist outlook.
World War I marked the beginning of the decline of the British Empire. Participation in the Great War had fanned the nationalistic sentiments of many British colonies and gave rise to a demand for independence in many non-European colonies of Britain.
The Ottoman Empire broke down during World War I. Yugoslavia was established on December 1, 1918, uniting the states of the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes. The establishment of the Republic of Turkey accounted for a significant portion of the erstwhile Ottoman Empire while parts were annexed by Bulgaria and Greece.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed with the onslaught of World War I. A number of unstable new states rose from the empire’s ruins. Czechoslovakia, though fairly stable, consisted of multiethnic inhabitants. Large portions of the erstwhile empire were merged with Romania.
One of the fallouts of World War I was the Russian Revolution. The financial strain of the war is one of the leading factors for the outbreak of civil war in Russia. Though the revolution lasted well past the end of World War I, the war itself was the reason the people of Russia rallied for the end of monarchy and the rise of a republic.