What were the global implications of World War I?

01 Apr


What were the global implications of World War I?


  1. Each of the following fictional quotes represents a reaction to World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. Read each quote carefully and try to identify which country or group of people might have said it and what impact this reaction might have on the future.



Arabs                                      India                           Africa                                     Italy   

Palestinians                            Jews                            China                                      Germany       

United States                          Russia                         Japan                                      Turkey                                  


“$30 billion dollars in reparations?  Are you crazy?  You have not heard the last of us.”


Who said it? What’s the possible impact?





 This ultimately caused world war 2.


“We helped the Allies against the Central Powers and now they make us mandates of European powers.  This is unacceptable.  After the fall of our “sick man of Europe” empire we deserve our independence.”


Who said it? What’s the possible impact?






“Our great losses in the war led to revolution in our country.  We withdrew from the war and signed a separate treaty with Germany.  As a result, we lost a lot of land and entered into a civil war.”


Who said it? What’s the possible impact?






“We fought with our colonial “mother” country, Great Britain, in the war and they promised us greater self-government in return, but we got nothing in return.  Instead, we are still the “Jewel of the Crown.”


Who said it? What’s the possible impact?








“More than one million of us fought on behalf of our various colonial rulers: both the Allies and Central Powers. We hoped our service would lead to more rights and opportunities, but this was not the case.  I guess self-determination was not meant to apply to us.”


Who said it? What’s the possible impact?








“We were able to emerge as an independent nation after World War I, unlike our neighbors in the Middle East.  Our leader, Ataturk, set us on a path of modernization and westernization.”


Who said it? What’s the possible impact?










“During the War, the Allies made promises to us for our own kingdom in the Middle
East, but they also issued the Balfour Declaration which advocated the creation of a homeland for this other group of people.”


Who said it? What other group are they talking about? What’s the possible impact?


They are talking about Britain.






“During the war, our neighbor, Japan issued the Twenty-One Demands, a list of demands that sought to make us a Japanese protectorate.  Then at the Paris Peace Treaty, the Allies gave Japan control of some former German possessions in our country.  We really got a bad deal.”


Who said it? What’s the possible impact?







“While the western powers were busy with their Great War, we continued our expansion into East Asia.”

Who said it? What’s the possible impact?







“We were promised large pieces of our northern neighbor, the Austrian empire, in return for switching sides and joining the Allies.  In reality, we received very little.  We were betrayed by the Allies.”

Who said it? What’s the possible impact?







“As a result of the war, even though we are a relatively new country, we were considered one of the world’s biggest powers.  However, even though it was our president’s idea, we never joined the League of Nations and became more isolationists.”


Who said it? What’s the possible impact?


United States






What conclusions can you make about the global effects of World War I and the Treaty of Versailles?









The Global Effect of World War I

by Steven Mintz

A recent list of the hundred most important news stories of the twentieth century ranked the onset of World War I eighth. This is a great error. Just about everything that happened in the remainder of the century was in one way or another a result of World War I, including the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, World War II, the Holocaust, and the development of the atomic bomb. The Great Depression, the Cold War, and the collapse of European colonialism can also be traced, at least indirectly, to the First World War.

World War I killed more people–more than 9 million soldiers, sailors, and flyers and another 5 million civilians–involved more countries–28–and cost more money–$186 billion in direct costs and another $151 billion in indirect costs–than any previous war in history. It was the first war to use airplanes, tanks, long range artillery, submarines, and poison gas. It left at least 7 million men permanently disabled.

World War I probably had more far-reaching consequences than any other proceeding war. Politically, it resulted in the downfall of four monarchies–in Russia in 1917, in Austria-Hungary and Germany in 1918, and in Turkey in 1922. It contributed to the Bolshevik rise to power in Russia in 1917 and the triumph of fascism in Italy in 1922. It ignited colonial revolts in the Middle East and in Southeast Asia.

Economically, the war severely disrupted the European economies and allowed the United States to become the world’s leading creditor and industrial power. The war also brought vast social consequences, including the mass murder of Armenians in Turkey and an influenza epidemic that killed over 25 million people worldwide.

Few events better reveal the utter unpredictability of the future. At the dawn of the 20th century, most Europeans looked forward to a future of peace and prosperity. Europe had not fought a major war for 100 years. But a belief in human progress was shattered by World War I, a war few wanted or expected. At any point during the five weeks leading up to the outbreak of fighting the conflict might have been averted. World War I was a product of miscalculation, misunderstanding, and miscommunication.

No one expected a war of the magnitude or duration of World War I. At first the armies relied on outdated methods of communication, such as carrier pigeons. The great powers mobilized more than a million horses. But by the time the conflict was over, tanks, submarines, airplane-dropped bombs, machine guns, and poison gas had transformed the nature of modern warfare. In 1918, the Germans fired shells containing both tear gas and lethal chlorine. The tear gas forced the British to remove their gas masks; the chlorine then scarred their faces and killed them.

In a single day at the Battle of the Somme in 1916, 100,000 British troops plodded across no man’s land into steady machine-gun fire from German trenches a few yards away. Some 60,000 were killed or wounded. At the end of the battle, 419,654 British men were killed, missing, or wounded.

Four years of war killed a million troops from the British Empire, 1.5 million troops from the Hapsburg Empire, 1.7 million French troops, 1.7 million Russians, and 2 million German troops. The war left a legacy of bitterness that contributed to World War II twenty-one years later.

According to the author, why should World War I be considered one of the most significant events of the 20th century?  Do you agree or disagree? 



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