This Intrigues Me Because...

This is a subject that has always intrigued me and is one of my favorite areas of study.  Why?  Because the Great War effectively created the world we live in today, so much that has occurred since then would likely not have happened without those four awful years.  Imagine a world without Hitler, Stalin, or the Cold War and you can see what I mean, the First World War was ultimately what paved the way for their rise to power.  Germany's social and economic chaos in the post-war years gave the madman a chance that he likely never would have had.  The Second World War was brought about more than anything else by that maniac, though conflict between the US and Japan still likely would have happened, the war in Europe was ultimately a much larger, bloodier affair than the Pacific.  The suffering and awful conditions in Russia brought about by the war exacerbated problems that were already severe and ultimately brought about the collapse of czarist rule, the czar's abdication leading to the Russian Civil War and just a few short years later the Bolsheviks' rise to power.  Lenin was hardly a paragon of virtue but his death allowed someone far worse the chance he needed to take power.  We still feel the effects today, Yugoslavia was a state created out of Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Croatia after the war's end; the civil war there was a result of the misguided Versailles Treaty. 

There are so many other factors that it I could go on and on but those are just a few of the more notable ones.  All this the result of the assasination of the archduke Franz Ferdinand.  Germany somehow gets heaped with the blame for starting the mess when quite frankly there was plenty of pigheadedness to go around for everyone involved.  The Austro-Hungarians could have worked with the Serbs and lightened their demands a bit, the same is also true for the Serbs.  Germany did only what they felt obligated to do, that is honor their treaty with the Austro-Hungarian Empire to come to their aid.  The same is true of Russia who was quite close to Serbia as both nations were at the time deeply Orthodox.  France and England had agreements with one another and with Russia to come to each other's aid.  Once the cycle of mobilization was begun, it snowballed into the murderous conflict that lasted four long years.

I view it as an object lesson in what happens when nations make promises without duly considering their consequences and what happens when self important politicians and diplomats are given too much free reign.

FranzJosef FranzJosef
26-30, M
3 Responses Jul 25, 2007

A very impressive and heart warming summary. I'm German and I specialize in history. I find only one thing wrong in y opinion on you summary. The Soviets would have rose to power becauase Germany helped the Bolshiveks. Germany wanted Russia out of the war so they helped Lenin by allowing him passage through Germany back to Russia when the Tsar lost power.

Thank you, though I am by no means any expert, I just read way too much for my own good ;). I probably could have written a bit more but I have a bad habit of getting bogged down in the minutia of things.

I have enjoyed your summary and find it to be a very informative history lesson for many. Thanks