Top 10 Effects of World War 1

WWI was a conflict between many nations which redrew the maps of the Middle East and Europe.

It did leave its mark on societies of British in various subtle ways and changed social relations which were built up with an effort of a few centuries.

It had a massive role in the downfall of the four significant monarchies, marked the end of colonialism, changed the economic balance of the world, changed social lives, created needs for an international body of nations, and boosted research in technology.

The Great War played a significant role in the creation of the modern world. Here are the 10 major effects of World War I.

10. Revolutions: 1917 – 1923

Revolution from March 8, 1917, to June 16, 1923
Source: Archive.org

The Revolution from March 8, 1917, to June 16, 1923, was political unrest and revolts, which was inspired by the Russian Revolution and the mess created by the aftermath of World War I.

World War I resulted in mobilizing a million troops, driving social turmoil, and reshaping political powers leading it to break out of the revolution, massive strike and mutining of the soldiers.

It also led to the overthrow of the Tsar, topple of the monarchy during the Russian Revolution of 1917, and resulted in the Russian Civil War. 

In 1918, a socialist revolution broke out in Germany, which resulted in the creation of the Weimar Republic, and it lasted till 1930.

Irish War of Independence(1919-20), Hungarian Revolution(1918-20), Egyptian Revolution(1919), and many other revolutionary movements took place during this period. These revolutions were mostly of short period, and they were of anti-colonial and socialist categories.

9. Collapse of Empires

Austro-Hungarian-Empire

Four significant empires: Ottoman, Romanov, German, and Austro-Hungarian empires were destroyed due to World War I.

After World War I, the monarchy of Ottoman was abolished and the last Sultan of this empire was exiled from Constantinople.

It ended the ruling of the Romanovs ( 300 years ), massacred the Romanov family and rose the Bolsheviks and a communist regime in Russia.

Germany lost its colonies to Poland and France, got humiliated in the Treaty of Versailles, and Kaiser Wilhelm II was exiled to the Netherlands.

The Austro-Hungarian empire collapsed entirely with the end of World War I by being defeated by the Central Powers. Austria and Hungary were reduced to smaller states, and they were separated after WWI.

It also shattered Americans Faiths in moral crusade and reform, led to a bitter debate on liberties, and suffrage of women.

8.  Women’s Suffrage

Source: Wikipedia

In 1917, women picketed the White House demanding for their voting rights. With the end of World War I, the women’s suffrage came into existence.  

The protesters stood in front of the White House with the signs including ‘ Mr.President what will you do for women suffrage?’ and ‘Mr President hor long must women wait for liberty?’

President Woodrow Wilson was not responding positively to the protesters initially, but the women were persistent. The women protest was from February to November 1917.

The protest led to many women being arrested, jailed, brutally treated, and fed forcefully in prison. 

The ill-treatment towards women resulted in outrage and made the public opinion, towards the favour of Constitutional amendment for women’s suffrage, stronger.

The aftermath of this protest is the most impactful events of the suffrage movement. By the end of the 20th Century, women were given right to space outside as well as inside the home and demand for their formal political role.

7. Chemical Warfare

British troops blinded by poison gas
British troops blinded by tear gas at the Battle of Estaires, April 10, 1918. 
Source: Wikipedia

World War I had powerful nations in conflict, and it brought various new technological advancements on fighting arenas. It resulted in introducing modern artillery, machine guns, and aeroplanes.

To hold the German army back, the French were throwing tear gas grenades but were unable to keep them again as Germans had the most effective dense chlorine gas at Ypres.

The gas canisters which had nastier and newer developed strains were taken up by both sides to speed up.

Amongst all gases, Mustard gas was the most effective one. It was tough to spot and could form temporary blindness.

Mustard gas could also cause blistered skin and vomiting but mostly took the lives of the people. 

World War I led to Chemical Warfare, which has been one of the most troubling methods of warfare since then.

6. League of Nation

World War I announced the birth of the League of Nations, for the world’s peace and security. It was the first international organization in the world. Members of the league are to respect territory and sovereignty of all nation-states.

The League of Nations convened its first council meeting on 16th January 1920. It resolved various international conflicts but could not prevent the outbreak of World War II.

The United States is not a member of the league of nations though President Woodrow Wilson was a proponent of the League, it was due to isolationists’ opposition in Congress.

League of Nation has the General assembly including delegates of all member states, the Executive council, and the permanent court of justice which oversees administrative functions as its organs.

5. United States’s World Power

Before World War I, Europe and its colonial empires were the nerve centre in the world for a few years, but America was an economically powerful nation.

World War I was a turning point for world politics, it drastically disrupted the economic condition of European nations which made the United States the world’s leading industrial power and creditor.

In the year 1916, Britain placed war orders with the United States and France along with Britain, paid for the purchases and floated significant bond issues towards the American buyers, which were denominated in dollars.

American president Woodrow Wilson was neutral in the war and was re-elected in 1916. In 1917, after the withdrawal of Russia from the war, America entered the war on the side of allies for its political and financial interests. The US became one of the most powerful nations in the world.

4. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( P.T.S.D)

Source: National Archive of Australia

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( P.T.S.D) was an illness that was mostly found in soldiers who had the experience of combat.

P.T.S.D, widely known as Shell-Shock initially, was a military problem during the time of World War I. It was first discovered in February 1915 after a few months of WWI.

Military during the war faced various medical problems such as anxiety, tremor, nightmares, and hearing-sight issues due to the explosions on the field of battle.

The symptoms started from concussion to the nervous system.

P.T.S.D was identified by the work of Charles Myers, a psychologist. According to him, symptoms seen in the military were the result of psychological experiences.

Shell Shock was renamed as the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder only in the year 1980. By then, the medical problem was accepted as a result of the intensity of modern warfare.

3. Galvanized Technological Advances:

Source: photograph Q 2864 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.

World War I included many powerful nations and with them came various new challenges and situations. It was the time of inventing numerous new technological advances.

The Great War led to the introduction of new machines, guns, aeroplanes, and modern artillery. It also entered the tanks and types of machinery as the horses were ineffective.

Many poisonous gases were also invented and used as chemical warfare. The invention of arms and ammunition were improving, leaving no bounds.

World War I included many powerful nations and with them came various new challenges and situations. It was the time of inventing numerous new technological advances.

The Great War led to the introduction of new machines, guns, aeroplanes, and modern artillery. It also entered the tanks and types of machinery as the horses were ineffective.

Many poisonous gases were also invented and used as chemical warfare. The invention of arms and ammunition were improving, leaving no bounds.

Development was taking place in the sea battle as well. Aircraft carriers, depth charges, submarines, and hydrophones were developed. Even aviation had enormous growth.

Even the medical field had many new inventions, including mobile X-ray machines, antiseptics, sun lamps, anaesthesia, and facial surgery. With time, various other devices were invented as per the necessity.

2. Lost Generation

Gertrude Stein with Ernest Hemingway‘s son, Jack in 1924. Stein is credited with bringing the term “Lost Generation” into use.
Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

The term Lost Generation was used immediately after World War I to describe the generation of women and men who were in their 20s to 30s. It is mostly related to poets and authors of the 1920s.

World War I took the lives of more than 9 million soldiers and 12 million civilians and left with P.T.S.D to those who survived. People lost faith in courage, strength, patriotism, and traditional values due to the traumatic effect.

People who were able to return safely from the war were in great disillusionment and confusion as they went to war with a mindset of nobility and heroism but were a victim of shocking horrors of war. 

Those who took part and fought in the Great War were known as the Lost Generation as they never got to recover from the sufferings fully.

1. Treaty of Versailles ( June 28, 1919) 

The Treaty of Versailles ended the war between the Allied Powers and Germany on 28th June 1919.

It had harsh conditions which caused various dissent in Europe mainly on the Central Powers as they had to pay financial reparations.

One of the harshest clauses of this treaty was the War Guilt Clause in which Germany was blamed for the outbreak of hostilities.

It had to disarm, pay reparations of $5 million to the Allied Powers, and make territorial concessions.

The reparations led to massive unemployment and hyperinflation in the nation, and the embarrassment led to the rise of the Nazis ( National Socialists) and became a contributing factor in the outbreak of WWII.

Read: Top 10 Major Causes of World War One

Conclusion:

It has been almost 100 years since World War I, but the effects of it can still be seen and felt. 

The weapons used during the First World War were more advanced than the weapons used in the wars before. It saw unprecedented levels of destruction of carnage due to the new technologies and trench warfare.

World War I affected the modern world significantly. Other major effects of WWI include: Class Mobility, Daylight-Saving Time, Your country needs you, Entrance of women in the workforce, and famines-disease.

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Cite this article as: Richard Marrison, "Top 10 Effects of World War 1," in HistoryTen, March 22, 2020, https://historyten.com/ww1/top-10-effects-of-world-war-1/.
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