Chapter 22: The Great War
The twentieth century marked the onset of the World War I in 1914. This Great War lasted for 4 years and came to an end when the empires of Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary and Ottoman were defeated. People called it the Great War since it was the first war they had ever experienced. This first modern war had many important causes and consequences that marked its place in the world history. The most popular reason for the start of the war is the assassination of Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the empire of Austria-Hungry. However, to summarize it in a nutshell, the desire to build large armies, the expansion of alliances to strengthen the borders, the practice of colonizing other lands and the sense of patriotism were the major causes that led to the start of this historical epoch.
The assassination of the Arch-Duke, by a Serbian, Gavrilo Princip, led Austria-Hungary to declare war on Serbia. Germany who joined hands with Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Russia which was allied with Serbia had to declare war on Germany and Austria-Hungary. Also the Great Britain declared war on Germany, when it invaded France and Belgium, The war replicated the words of the German Chancellor, Bethmann-Hollweg who said, ‘Once the dice are cast nothing can stop them;’ the war that started did not stop for four long years until millions of people lost their lives. World War I racked the entire world from 1914 to 1918 and hence rightly called as the Great War. Never before had a war been so global in scope. Countries experienced the belligerent power of other countries and other allied nations in a single conflict. A total of twenty seven countries participated in the war either directly by fighting on the battle field or indirectly by supplying weapons to their allied nations. And the dominant powers such as Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey militarized their tremendous resources of men and materials to such vicious ends. Although the Armistice of Compiegne in November 1918 brought an end to the war, its impact continues to be felt to this day. The war brought about noticeable changes in the world; its economic, political and social effects on the nations were massive. The impression of the war was monumental for it brought in prosperity, influenced culture and changed the literature.
German Revolution of 1918-1919 broke out in Germany which lasted until Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party held power in the early 1930s. Further to its defeat, the Austro-Hungarian Empire split up into several independent states, followed by the Ottoman Empire which also broke apart. Russian Revolution of 1917 collapsed the Russian Empire and substituted a socialist government led by Vladimir Lenin. There were widespread mandates, territorial concessions, and independence movements that took place throughout the world. During the post-war period, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Russian Empires redrew their own boundaries in emerging as independent nations. It can be debated credibly that the United States emerged from the Great War as the world’s power bloc. The war sped up the American industrial production, leading to an enormous economic growth through the 20s. Although the war was a disturbing experience for France and United Kingdom, these countries were able to recover economically without much disturbance (Western Civilization II Guides, “Chapter 22: The Great War”).
“Chapter 22: The Great War”. Western Civilization II Guides. 2007. Web. Accessed on 2 July 2015.