The history of the world is shaped by both events and people. In this regard, people are the most crucial determinants since they initiate, develop, and document the events. This implies that the world’s history is determined by people and their activities. In order to understand the world’s history, researchers say that we must consider people whose activities shaped the world in the past. In addition, they suggested that people should evaluate past events in order to learn from them. Consequently, this paper will focus on the First World War that was identified as an important mark in the world’s history. In this light, it will provide a detailed description of the war, explain its impacts, and how it affected the modern world.
The First World War was one of the most tragic wars where strong countries waged resistance against each other. Due to the magnitude of the impacts, this war was termed as the Great War (Cawood & Bell, 2001). In the United States of America, the war was referred to as the European War owing to the involvement of many European countries (Fischer, 1967). After the Second World War, the Great War was renamed as the First World War. During this Great War, it was hypothesized that about nine million soldiers died when they were defending their respective countries. Surprisingly, about sixty million non-military Europeans participated in this war in order to fight for their countries and show patriotism. In essence, the war was a real struggle for power where strong countries oppressed the smaller ones and exploited them. In addition, Fischer (1967) argued that the struggle was inspired partly by lack of boundaries to identify nations distinctively. For example, the Austro-Hungary region existed as a single block which evoked a lot of controversies among nations. This war resulted in social, economic, and environmental instabilities in the countries involved.
Time, Period and Location
The war started in 1914 owing to the assassination of a prominent Austro-Hungarian heir. It involved two strong alliances which included the Central Powers and Triple Allies (Gilbert, 1994). The Triple Allies included countries such as United Kingdom, Russia, and France (Gilbert, 1994). On the other hand, the Central Powers included Germany and Austro-Hungarian (Howard, 2002). Italy, the USA and Japan joined the Triple Allies at a later stage forming a strong alliance (Gilbert, 1994). The actual location of the war cannot be specified since various countries were attacking and counterattacking randomly. However, there were critical locations which purported the conception and continuation of the war. For instance, the first attack triggered by Austro-Hungarians was directed on Serbia (Howard, 2002). This attack evoked controversy that empowered Germany to attack France and Belgium. Britain threatened to wage a serious war against Germany since they had attacked neutral countries including Belgium (Strachan, 2004). After a continuous war actions, the attacks stopped in 1918 following diplomatic agreements (Gilbert, 1994).
Impacts of the First World War
This war influenced the entire world since it had great political and economic effects. The countries involved lost a lot of funds since they had invested heavily in weapons and logistics. In this regard, the countries used dangerous weapons that were advanced in the 20th century. Some of these weapons were not easily accessible to the undeveloped countries. For example, Britain used a very advanced weapon that was referred to as the Mark II Tank (Strachan, 2004). This portrayed how the countries had dedicated their efforts and funds to war. When the war ended, some countries got into economic depression while others increased their GDP (Strachan, 2004). In this case, some countries such as Britain, Italy, and the USA increased their GDP. On the other hand, the economic powers of Germany, France, and members of Central Powers were reduced significantly. The comparative economic impacts changed the distribution of countries’ powers in relation to each other. Germany was the world’s superpower but lost its economic superiority to UK and the USA.
During the First World War, many people such as soldiers, internationalists, and citizens had died in cold blood. These massive deaths paralyzed the world because the dead bodies laid all over the battle fields. Citizens of the involved countries lived in a fear because they could not predict future attack from their rivals. In addition, the war affected social relations among citizens of the involved countries. For example, hatred emerged between Britons and citizens of Germany. This hatred was reflected in the Second World War where the two countries fought against each other for a second time. The citizens of those two countries could not relate even at individual level. They considered each other as enemies.
The number of deaths evoked debates concerning the appropriateness of war when solving conflicts. Various parties had different opinions concerning this matter. For instance, the internationalists supported the idea of forming international bodies to assist in solving international conflicts. On the other hand, some people felt that military power could be the only solution to those conflicts. However, the internationalists maneuvered to form an international body that was referred to as the League of Nations. This body inspired the formation of other bodies which were aimed at restoring peace among nations.
Current Impacts and Repercussions
The First World War defined international relationships among powerful countries of the world. These relationships persisted to the Second World War and up to the modern world. For example, Germany and the USA have retained their rivalry although it is not as intense as it had been during the First World War. The two countries try to destabilize each other economically and politically. Similarly, United Kingdom and Germany have retained this rivalry, although it has not resulted into war in modern days. Additionally, the First World War that led to the initiation of the Second World War created a way for the USA to become the world’s superpower. The USA has transformed the approach to solving international conflicts in the world. It has focused on applying diplomacy when solving conflicts between countries. This was evident when it was solving a recent Syrian case where the government of Syria had used chemical weapons against its citizens. The USA had decided to attack Syria if it did not surrender the alleged weapons. However, Russia opposed this decision stating that the offense was a mere allegation. While solving the conflict, the USA formed a team of inquiry which was mandated to investigate the matter. The diplomatic approach prevented a possible global conflict that could have impacted the whole world.
In addition, the war initiated the formation of international bodies that were mandated to solve international conflicts. The League of Nations was the first unit formed to accomplish this role. In the modern world, there are many bodies that have been formed in order to carry out the same role. The most prominent body is the United Nation which is divided into various subdivisions including UNEP and UNESCO. These bodies have played crucial roles in purporting unity, restoring peace and nurturing humanity.
Cawood, I., & Bell, D. (2001). The First World War. London: Routledge.
Fischer, F. (1967). Germany’s aims in the First World War. New York: W.W. Norton.
Gilbert, M. (1994). The First World War: a complete history. New York: Holt Publishers.
Howard, M. (2002). The First World War. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Strachan, H. (2004). The First World War. New York: Viking.