8 Ways in Which World War 1 has Affected the World
We generally tend to think of history as a very well known collection of abstract facts that have occurred in the real world and the world has witnessed it in the literal sense but everything connects across the timeline just like the World War 1. Big or small, effective or just waste, world-changing events don’t just change things when they happen. They just send out shock waves that reverberate our present. Like William Faulkner once said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” World War 1 is one of the history’s deadliest conflicts ever witnessed.
Sparked by the shooting, the Great War was fought among the 28 large nation. The cost was more than $200 billion at the time. The loss was unpredictable, more than 9 million soldiers, sailors, and airmen died in the four years of the War. Believe me, that’s even more than the population of New York City. Adding to this estimate, more than 6 million innocent people were killed as a result of the war. Great conflict ever..!
Since every coin has two sides. In spite of this huge loss, by the time the World War 1 began, the technology to be precise the killing technology, had become really quite sophisticated for its time. Modern warfare was completely revolutionized in those four years of 1914-1918. Along with the revolutions and great loss, World War 1 has a great impact in the world that still prevails in every nation. Few of the important ones are listed below:
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1. Birth of Passports
When you have a look at the proper history of the use of the passports you will find its existence somewhere around 450BC. The King Artaxerxes I of Persia had asked permission to travel to Judea and was granted leave along with a letter of permission by the governors or the authorities at the kingdom. However, papers for travel weren’t always the common necessity for people traveling across the nations. The only nation that had paper documents while traveling was Europe. The railroads had made the travel so easier and popular that by the end of the 19th century European nation simply abolished the legal paper documents for the traveling. Things were on smoother pace until WORLD WAR I.
The Great War just changed every damn thing. Free and open border traveling was just a myth during wars. The embassy required perfect and verified legal documents for the allowance of people traveling across the international borders. The Status Alien Acts of 1914 was the result of the birth of the modern passports. The Great Britain Nationalists and the UK were the first one to step into this system that still prevails today. Few legal documents with pictures and other identifying documents encased by a cardboard cover were the passports in olden days. Besides some minor changes in the technological advancements, nothing has changed till date after the World War 1.
2. Ireland as a Nation Post World War 1
The partition of Northern Ireland (Ulster) and the Republic of Ireland (Eire) was destined to happen and the outbreak of the World War I added fuel to the fire. The main reasons for the partitions of Ireland were the religious reason, political drama, the conflicts of the land, the feeling of complete hate of English by Catholics, the growth of violence, and issues with British Government. Before the actual partition, Ireland was already partitioned into parts namely Protestants and Catholics where the Protestants were the Unionists and the loyalists and Catholics were the Irish Nationalists and the Republicans. Protestants then completely had captured the Northern Ireland.
However, these Northern Ireland communities fought and died for the Britain military, and they were not about to join the Irish Nationalists or Catholics who in their view were in the wrong place. Adding to this, Protestants also supported the conscription of the Irishmen, while the Roman Catholics resisted it. Things started heating up among both the communities of the same nation. On Easter 1916, James Connolly and some group volunteers stormed the capital city of Ireland, Dublin and declared the Irish Republic in the General Post Office. And this massive event is still dominating Ireland until the present day.
3. Emergence of ISIS
The illegal U.S invasion to a country is the main and direct consequence of the rise of ISIS. If World War I had not occurred, ISIS wouldn’t have existed. ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), known for the state of terror makes it a point that they will be definitely destroying all of the treaties that were made during the World War I while creating the modern Middle East region. Previously, the nation-states belonging to the Middle East region were the part of Ottoman Empire.
France and Britain then secretly decided to break a treaty about how they would grab the new land and add it to their empires and which nation-states will belong to which region. From there, they decided to create the new territories Iraq and Syria and added them to their empires. What went wrong was they didn’t pay attention to what the people living their felt. And now after the emergence of ISIS, destroying the borders of these nations is the main ISIS agenda which still prevails in this 21st century terrorizing the entire world.
4. Debtor Britain
Believe it or not, World War I has been the most expensive war ever whose price was paid by the Britain. Britain borrowed heavily in order to support the finance during the war. This war was so devastatingly expensive that The Britain went from world’s creditor to debtor within the four years of war. It was unpredictable the way the war took place and the duration it prevailed. This was surprisingly shocking the time taken by the Britain to pay back all the borrowed money that once was used for the war.
It has been almost 100 years since the war took place, but Britain has recently made their final payment of £1.9 Billion debt in the year 2015. It’s not only Britain suffering the heavy impact of World War I but also Germany was famously stuck with various bills and clauses in the Treaty of Versailles. This country was also among those who recently paid off their debts. There are some countries still who haven’t got rid of their debts.
5. Zone Rouge
An outbreak of war not only has short-term but also the long-term impact on humanity. And one of the great examples of such devastations is the unhabitable towns in France, Zone Rouge. The land was originally a living place for more than 1200 square km per person. It is now a chain of the non-contiguous area throughout the northeastern France and completely uninhabitable. These areas are physically and environmentally unhabitable by the human habitation which is now no longer in use. Several towns in this region were once completely filled by people living there. After the outbreak of the war, the entire town and nearby area have succumbed to the guns.
Contaminated grounds, too much of unexploded bombs, damaged agricultural area and uncontrollable area. All this makes this land as a completely restricted area for the people to have full flourished human life. Rather than attempt to immediately clean up the former battlefields, the land was left to return to nature and the result is not worth it. And the impact of this World War 1 is that restrictions within the zone rouge still exist today although the control areas have been greatly cut down. The French government bought the land and declared it as uninhabitable in the year 1919 and known as ‘Zone Rouge’ and this place is now fit for military training and nothing else. People are still on the verge of building towns in these areas however a large strip of land is still considered as impossible for human life.
6. Women Employment
Though World War 1 had a severe impact on humanity, certain changes during the Great War were of great importance. Olden era, women were habitual to stay at home and just end up their lives in household chores. But World War 1 witnessed the actual need of women during the war. A large number of women got numerous empty jobs. This happened because the men were leaving for combat during the war. New opportunities were growing came as a part of war efforts like the ‘Munitions factories’. The high demand for weapons and arms and ammunition resulted in these factories to become the leading single employment source for women during 1918.
Initially, obviously, there was some resistance while hiring women for the job. Their work quality wasn’t the same as done by men. However, due to the introduction of conscription in 1916, there was indeed urgent need of women workers in the factories. Slowly and eventually, women started overtaking men in the British industry. Started managing and working in maintaining the coal, gas and power supplies. Addition to this was the work of women in transport and offices. To women, World War 1 proved to be The Social Revolution. Around this time, the government began coordinating the employment of women through various drives. As a result, today, women are no less than the men around.
7. Technological Advancements
In the year 1914, the “war of movement” that was expected by most of the European generals settled down into an unexpected and unwinnable war of deep trenches leading to havoc in the world. With huge machine guns forcing mass rifle fire, attackers cut down to the ‘no-man’s-land’ without thinking twice. The stream of automobiles took the world by storm in the 19th century. Redesigning the usual vehicles with small internal combustion engine burning diesel or gas did change the game. By adding some serious guns and replacing the wheel with armored treads to handle rough terrain which resulted in the evolution of Tanks.
Along with this massive invention, few replacements with a few addition resulted in the flamethrowers. This was devastating the entire town or the hidden bunkers. Poison gas used on the large scale from both sides lead to devastating results during the Great War. Night combat became somewhat easier by the British invention of the tracer bullets. With millions of soldiers suffering grievous, life-threatening injuries at the war, there was a need for the new wonder weapon of medical diagnostics. The X-ray—but these required very large machines that were both too bulky and too delicate to move. This resulted in the invention of the Mobile X-ray Machine. Though World War 1 might have witnessed tremendous loss it definitely witnessed some great innovations.
8. Espionage and Sedition Acts
28th President of United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the one to declare the war against Germany in the year 1917 by giving the authority to the Congress to send the U.S troops to fight the battle against Germany. When he declared the war, he gave a speech before Congress about how disloyal and unfaithful the Americans have become. So in order to deal with untrustworthy civilians who wanted to chip away the war efforts, Wilson advised ‘a firm hand of repression’. Thus Wilson proposed the Espionage and Sedition Acts. The Act enacted to prohibit the interference of civilians with military operations or any military recruitment. To prevent insubordination in the military and to avoid the support of the US enemies.
The Acts also enacted to prosecute the people who threatened ‘The concept of national defense’. The acts granted the government the authority to censor all the newspapers, movies and Medias. They could also imprison those who resisted and rejected the draft and made it a crime to slander the Constitution. The Sedition Act included almost several acts which still prevail in the 21st century. Under the Obama administration, seven among the eleven Espionage Act prosecutions are not of traditional espionage but of either withholding information or communicating with members of the media. Out of a total eleven prosecutions under the Espionage Act against government officials accused of providing classified information to the media, seven have occurred since Obama presidential tenure.
These were the most noticeable changes brought by the World War 1. The war did improve manageability on a global scale, but has it added to inconvenience at the same time? Well, the answer differ for different kind of people, which is beyond the scope of this topic.