World War I is one of the greatest human tragedies in human history. Of all the wars that have fought throughout time this is one of the more pointless ones. I think we can all think of wars and say that yeah war is usually a bad thing where people get hurt, but some wars are just. For instance, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II (from the American point of view) are wars that many would consider moral wars and not wars of aggression. It is hard to pinpoint a good reason for this war being fought and the human costs are staggering as you can see below in the table. The other tragic element of World War I is that the peace treaty was very punitive towards Germany, Russia, and Austria and sowed the seeds of discontent that eventually led to World War II.
Legacy of World War I:
1) Huge human cost: around 20,000,000 dead (civilians and military)
2) Empires collapse: Ottoman, German, Russian, Austria-Hungary
3) New Countries: Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East see changes in national borders.
4) Treaty of Versailles is so punitive to Germany's national honor and economy that creates a desperate situation in Germany that allows radicals to seize control of the German government. This leads to the rise of Adolf Hitler and World War II.
5) League of Nations is created but the United States does not join. The League of Nations is supposed to be an international organization that promotes peace, but the United States is not interested in joining any international organization that will pull the United States into future conflict. This leaves the League of Nations significantly weakened.
The map below shows how Europe changed after WWI.
The table below shows just the military cost of WWI.
The cartoon above shows how the Germans were forced to accept peace terms from the Allies.
A political cartoon showing the US staying out of the League of Nations.
This map shows all the territory that Germany had to give up after WWI.
7- World War I >