What was the major social, cultural, political and economic fallout of WWI?
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It can be argued convincingly that the United States emerged from World War I as the world superpower because of U.S intervention and President Woodrow Wilson’s diplomatic leadership. America had now become the ‘saviour of Europe.’ The United States left World War I with a major confidence boost. The war resulted in the death of empires, the birth of nations and in national boundaries being redrawn around the world. It ushered in prosperity for some countries while it brought economic depression to others. It influenced literature, changed culture and politics; social and economic climate was also impacted.
Under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was required to make significant territorial concessions. These were primary along its eastern and western borders. Apparently the most important concession was the giving up of Alsace-Lorraine to France. This area had been subject of feud between France and Germany for a long time. This space bordering the two countries had been transferred to Germany following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. For decades afterwards France wanted it back emerging as victorious powers in World War I, France and Great Britain jointly controlled Saarland for a period of 15years. Other parts of Germany were given to the newly independent country of Poland and to Denmark. Coinciding with the end of World War I a socialist revolution broke out in Germany. The German Revolution of 1918-1919 resulted in the establishment of the left-leaning Weimar Republic which lasted until Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party seized power in the early 1930s. Several historians believe Germany’s defeat in the war and harsh terms imposed by the Treaty of Versailles led straight to the rise of Hitler as well as the Nazi Party. Following its setback the Austro-Hungarian Empire broke up into several independent states such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary as well as Austria were most prominent, also the Ottoman Empire was split apart.
Parcels of the former empire were placed under the control of France and Great Britain, such as Syria and Palestine while the bulk of the domain emerged as the Republic of Turkey. Displeasure with World War I helped in bringing about Russian Revolution of 1917. This revolution was where the Russian Empire was toppled and replaced by a socialist government led by Vladimir Lenin. North-eastern Europe new states emerged that had formerly been a part of the Russian Empire among them was Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania. The mandates, territorial concessions and independence movements took place thought out the creation not just Europe. The League of Nations mandated the colony of Germany East Africa be partitioned to Belgium, France and Portugal. Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and Russian Empires fractured into numerous independent nations after the World War I. American factories and country sides were unharmed, performing better than ever unlike in some European countries the United States was not laid to waste by war.
World War I sped up American industrial production, leading to an economic boom throughout the ‘Roaring Twenties.’ The fighting was devastating experience for France and the United Kingdom these countries were able to recover economically without too much difficulty. Germany however particularly suffered following the war under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was required to make monetary payments to Allies called reparations. The heavy reparations combined with the devastated economic infrastructure throughout Germany and political tension under the Weimar Republic led to economic depression. Devaluation and retrenchment in Weimar Germany were astonishing. Reichsmarks the German currency became devalued that it took wheelbarrows full of money to buy basic items such as loaf of bread. Mid to late 1920s the Germany economy stabilized somewhat after the American stock market crash in 1929 the Great Depression spread to Germany. From 1929 to the early 1930s depression again wreaked havoc on Germany society which causes the Nazis to become into power. World War I brought an increase in progressive thinking in many parts of the world along with opportunities for lower and middle class people to improved while members of the aristocracy found their power waning.