After World War I, America went under many social changes that sculpted American society today. There were both short-term and long-term social effects of World War I. Short-term effects were peace between countries, the decrease of population, and riots. World War I ended in November 1918 and it was said to be “the war to end all wars. ” This meant that peace would last between each country for very long. This idea of everlasting peace ended when World War II began only twenty years later.
Also population decrease was only a problem for a short time.
During World War I, many lives were lost in the war but even more lives were lost because of the influenza epidemic. But only a short period after the war the American population booms back up from the 1920s to the 1930s. Riots only lasted a short period of time but many people died or were seriously injured. These riots were caused mainly by the loss of jobs.
When soldiers returned home they were given their jobs back. As a result the people, who filled in for the soldiers, were left without jobs. Long-term effects included the jazz age, and progress for women and African Americans.
The jazz age not only revolutionized music from slow and dull to upbeat and interesting, but it also brought on a whole new way of how America acted. Women took on a whole new look, with shorter haircuts and even shorter clothing. People would stay out all night and dance to this brand new music. Sport stars also emerged during this time. For example, Babe Ruth became a very popular baseball icon. Finally, one of the most well known products of the jazz age today is Hollywood. One other long-term effect was the progress for women and African Americans.
As mentioned before, women were now able to express themselves more freely by looking and dressing more comfortably. They were also given a voice with the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. This amendment gave women the right to vote. African Americans also made social progress. Some men were able to fight in the war, which brought them a lot of respect when they returned home. African Americans’ social status did not improve as much as women, but it was after World War I that they started to really fight for equal rights.
The impact and consequences of World War I came in three different stages to Europe: immediate, intermediate, and long term. The most evident immediate impact of World War I on Europe was the revolutionary upheaval. Revolution was most prevalent in the defeated countries (Germany, Austria, and Hungary). Nationalist groups emerged and strengthened, especially from 1918-1919. In Germany and Hungary communist regimes established themselves. The groups that established in Russia, however, managed to seize power and retain it despite a civil war.
Russia soon erupted into their own civil war and then a war with Poland. Through all of this chaos, the communists retained Russia political control. While wars were ongoing in Russia, the rest of Europe was going under massive changes as well. The defeated countries had much in common, but what all of them highlighted was land. The German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire all had colonies and annexes of land in Europe. Immediately following the war, the defeated nations lost much of their land: new nations or states emerged and changed the geography of Europe to the present day.
New nations that emerged between 1918 and 1924 include: Finland, The Soviet Union, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Turkey. The German Empire lost nearly half of its land in total. At the end of the war, members from the victorious powers met in Versailles (right outside of Paris). These important men needed to discuss two topics in particular: the terms of the treaty with Germany and the basis of European settlement. Even after extensive time, the agreements were massively flawed.
Inevitably, these flaws lead to more conflict and eventually to World War II in 1939, merely 20 years after World War I had ended. Their first concern was the Germany. This came about because there were accusations of Allied duplicity, or deceitfulness in speech. This goes hand in hand with German’s denial of defeat, when, in reality, German forces were defeated in 1918. The reality hit struck when German society had to endure a winter with insufficient food or heating. It was not the arrangements of the treaty that was hard for Germany; it was the reality of defeat.
In different ways, the Treaty of Versailles left many problems unsolved; the problems lead to the introduction of the League of Nations. The League of Nations was created in the hope that future international conflicts could be flattened out peacefully. It was the inability of the League to quash conflicts that lead to challenges in the 1930s. The major two weaknesses of the League of Nations were: one, the attempt to maintain international peace when three major nations had just broken and their stated were designed off of nationalism.
The second weakness was the nonexistence of an international currency system. The first caused many conflicts because new states were so focused on nationalism that they failed to see the international value of peace. Many nations were only worried about themselves if another world war were to break out. The second was a major problem especially with the countries with a lot of ports and trading. After 1815, Great Britain owned approximately 25% of the world, thus, the currency was based off of British industry, trade, and finance.
By 1900, this had all changed. At the end of World War I, the British had no hope of getting out of their massive debt. With the United States taking on isolationism, this was against any form of an international currency system. At this point, many countries were only worried about currency on a national level, where they should have been also worried about currency on an international level. This strong sense of national pride is called nationalism. Nationalism was the basis for many of the countries that formed immediately after World War I.
Entire countries were based off of the love for their own countrymen and land. The empires that had held onto may colonies (Germany, Austro-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire), had now divided off their colonies and were completely separate from their “Mother Country”. Nationalism led to the fall and complete demise of Austria-Hungary and eventually to the Soviet Union. Nationalism is not necessarily a bad thing, but when an entire society is focused on just themselves and not the world around them, the country will collapse.
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