The First World War produced profound effects on various societies that were involved in this military confrontation. Overall, it undermined the stability of imperial powers and prompted many people to take a more active part in the political life of the society.
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Imperial countries were able to draw millions of people from Asia or Africa (Bentley and Ziegler 768). Among their colonies, one can distinguish Algeria, French Indochina, New Zealand, or Australia. For instance, one can mention the formation of ANZAC or the troops formed by the soldiers for Australia and New Zealand.
These people could not understand the reasons why they had to fight for some interests or goals of imperial powers. So, they spoke about their right for self-determination or the idea that nations should be able to form sovereign states (Bentley and Ziegler 768).
So, the main political effect imperialism was the rise of independence movements. Furthermore, imperial countries relied on the colonies to supply their troops. Thus, they increased the economic burden placed on these territories.
However, imperialism also produced significant social effects. As it has been said before, the countries representing the Triple Entente often involved people from Africa or Asia. Many of them choose to settle in Great Britain or France (Bourne 52). So, one can speak about demographic and social changes. Finally, imperialism led the development of national cultures and identities.
One can say that imperialism and militarism are closely related to one another. Yet, militarism undermined the political and economic of the countries involved in Ward War II. For example, much attention should be paid to Russian Revolutions of 1917.
They are a series of political upheavals that resulted in the downfall of monarchy. This downfall can be explained by the inability of this country to cope with the burden of military confrontation. In this case, much attention should be paid to war economy or the efforts of a state to supply resources to the army.
Additionally, militarism contributed to the rise of many social movements. One can mention that many people, who observed the horrors of war, supported the principles of pacifism or the ideology that places emphasis on the need to avoid wars. For example, one can look at the diaries of Vera Brittain who points out that young Europeans did not believe that war had to be an inseparable part of their lives (Brittain 403).
Similar arguments are expressed by Käthe Kollwitz who speaks about the sacrifice of German youth (Kollwitz 432). This author concentrates the experiences of German women. To some degree, her works can be related to feminism or the social movement that calls for the empowerment of women.
Additionally, militarism shaped the culture of that period. Various artists, writers and poets focused on the experiences of soldiers many of whom had to struggle with shell shock or the trauma caused by battle. For instance, one can mention the poem Dulche et Decorum Est written by Wilfred Owen. He describes the experiences of soldiers who die because of poisonous gas (Owen unpaged).
This poem is about soldiers who were initially “ardent for some desperate glory”, but their expectations were bitterly disappointed (Owen unpaged). Similar themes are explored by John McCrae in his poem In Flanders Fields. The poet writes about people who “loved and were loved”; yet due to some reason they were forced to sacrifice their lives (McCrae unpaged).
Additionally, it is necessary to examine the impacts of nationalism which resulted in the formation of many sovereign states such as Poland or Finland. Yet, it is also critical remember about the increased hostilities within many countries. To illustrate this point, one can refer to the Armenian Genocide or the slaughter of at least 1 million people in Turkey.
Finally, it is important to describe the way in which diplomatic alliances shaped various societies. For example, the formation of Triple Entente or alliance formed England, France, and Russia increased the economic connections between these countries. The same argument can be applied to Triple Alliance or the military union of Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Italy.
Bentley, Jerry, and Herbert Ziegler. Traditions & Encounters, Volume 2 From 1500 to the Present, New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2011. Print.
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Bourne, Stephen. “Black Poppies.” History Today 18 Oct. 2013: 51-57. Print.
Brittain, Vera. “Diary Entries and Poems on the War.” Lives and Voices: Sources in European Women’s History. Ed. Lisa DiCaprio and Merry Wiesner. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001. 396-403.Print.
Kollwitz, Käthe. “Letters and Diaries from World War I.” Lives and Voices: Sources in European Women’s History. Ed. Lisa DiCaprio and Merry Wiesner. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.428-432.Print.
McCrae, John. In Flanders Fields. Poets.org. 1915. Web. <https://poets.org/>
Owen, Wilfred. Dulche et Decorum Est. The War Poetry Website, 1918. Web. <http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/owen1.html>.