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Boston, US
Posts: 288

Sources to peruse:

For this assignment, I’m asking you not to do conventional readings but rather to look at several powerful websites/online exhibitions:

  1. World War I via photographs
  2. World War I by the numbers
  3. 5 Things You Need to Know about World War I
  4. The firsts of World War I
  5. The first World War: The Study of a Global Conflict. For this site, poke around. This site is SIMPLY AMAZING. Pay particular attention to these sections:

#1: Origins [3:16]

#3: Empires [3:29]

#5: Slaughter [5:05]

And make sure you click on the interactives between the horizontal number menu along

the lower part of the screen.

The four BIG questions I’d like you to address in this post depend on your thoughtful and careful examination of the five items above, coupled with the World War I film you watched (from the previous assignment) and considered. As you respond, please make specific reference to these five items AND the film you watched AS WELL AS anything relevant from class.

  • We can debate the whys behind the war, the long-term and short-term causes (and I’m sure you’ve taken tests in other classes about this) etc. but here’s the essential question that matters: What was the point? What was gained from this war? What was lost? Why did it matter?
  • What lessons should we learn from this war? (And by extension, what lessons did the world learn—at the time?)
  • There are folks who argue that there was a world before the First World War and an entirely different world afterwards. Is that true? What changed forever?
  • And finally, why is it important to understand World War I and learn about it, even if we can argue that war = insanity, this one in particular?
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 25

I think the overall consensus is that the point of WWI was that there was no point. It started over a small conflict in Southeastern Europe that rapidly escalated due to the alliances that were forming and growing animosity among nations. There was quite a bit gained: an insane number of lives lost, cities and towns destroyed, environmental consequences, and grief. I think we’ve been desensitized to death tolls of wars, ignoring anything in the thousands because relative to World War I, and later World War II, they are negligible. We are able to overlook the death of many, either as a result of war or other forms of conflict, increasing our ability to be bystanders.

We need to realize, however, that every 1 of the 8.5 million soldiers and 13 million civilians that died in the war was a valuable human with a purpose in life and story. I watched the documentary, 1917, and I was slightly confused at first by the director’s choice to focus on 2 soldiers and their journey to send a singular message that wasn’t necessarily famous. However, by the end of the film, I was certainly moved by the terror, physical and mental pain, and bravery of the protagonist. You didn't have to be a war hero or part of an infamous battle to have died tragically. People died at any moment in painful ways and then forgotten on the fields. Even when the protagonist completed his mission, he did not win; there is no way of winning. The general in charge receiving the message to stop the attack yelled at him that in a few days, they will simply be ordered to attack again, lose many soldiers, and ordered to stop. The protagonist received this backlash after he put his life on the line too many times. He lost his best friend after a German pilot, whom they saved from a fire, stabbed his friend. He survives numerous explosions and shootouts. He wasn't given a chance to process his best friend's death or his own encounters with death. Ultimately, he is forced to kill in order to not be killed. There are no wins, only bigger or smaller losses.

We need to learn from studying World War I, that so many of these soldiers had died not for glorious or heroic reasons, but purely because they were killed by other soldiers shooting out of survival. The leaders of the country made the insane choice to go to war against each other, while the common people died unnecessarily. Common people meaning children as young as 12 years old, according to the BBC report. These children, and soldiers of all ages, should not be subject to this trauma because what was referred to as “shell shock” or PTSD today became super common. Even if you didn’t physically die from the war, some part of the soldiers certainly died in the fields. The protagonist from 1917 hated going home because he did not know how to live as himself and not a soldier anymore.

The First World War certainly changed the entire globe. As the First of World War I delineate, WWI marked new advances in technology and precedents for war in terms of attacking in different geographical spheres, using chemical weapons, and the high civilian casualty rate. These techniques are then repeated in subsequent conflicts from WWII to US drone strikes killing innocent civilians. Our acceptance of the war and willingness to continue fighting for geopolitical reasons despite the pure loss of life really justified future conflicts and will only lead to worse conflicts. We must learn about the wars and the incentives behind it, rather than names and dates of battles, to stop this insanity. We cannot keep perpetuating massive wars that kill humans and mother nature mindlessly.

boston, Ma, US
Posts: 25

The insanity that was World War I

When I think about the point of WW1, it's hard for things to come to mind. We aren't talking about an active case such as the reason for WW2. Although this isn't to say that at that time life was perfect, it truly wasn't so bad to start a world war. The unification and rise of nationalism created an environment that prompted countries to be proud and fight in the war. A lot of lives were lost during the war, those who were actively fighting and even the ones at home. An estimated 13 million civilians were killed. One could argue that production manufactures were gained from this war because of the rapid increase of need for weaponry and bombs.

From this war, we should learn that it did more bad than good. We have already discussed the millions of people that died but that burden doesn't stop there. Instead, it really had a bad effect on families and mental health. From the film I watched, I came to the realization that it affected more people than just the soldiers. We should learn that some wars are better off not fought than fought. The outcome was not significant for all the deaths and economic downfalls it left on the world. To begin with, it was never even fought over something that truly was detrimental to society, unlike WWII.

After WWI, something that changed was specifically the advancements when it comes to weapons and bombs. People were more aware of their products thus leading to technological advancements.

A picture that really stuck with me was the one where you can obviously see a war zone where nothing was alive. No people, no nature. This picture goes to show how much of a deathly effect it had on everyone. It left people widowed, with no natural resources or land and in economic debt. Pictures to me really allow me to see how the war was not just about it. They make you realize a reality at that time that is often unrecognizable. So it is very important to see that it has made me even more certain with the idea that this war was better off not fought.

It's important to learn about World War because in general learning from history supposedly helps Society not repeat the mistakes that we're making. It also makes you either realize that our society now has to change or has come a long way from it. To remember the people who bravely fought for their country is also very important. World War I was important because it marked a time in history where the world completely changed and from that point on we saw more evolutions of wars and conflicts between nations that fought for power and territory.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 26

The Insanity that was WW1

1) There was overall no point in the countless people dying in WW1. A small conflict that started with the assassination of Emperor Franz Joseph 1 by a 18 year old Serbian nationalist. This created a shock that caused all sorts of conflict in Southeastern Europe. Alliances were formed and then guns were fired. It is obvious that millions of people lost their lives. 8.5 million troops were thought to have been killed, 21 million troops were wounded, and an estimated two million soldiers, sailors and airmen died from disease, malnutrition and other causes. The number of bodies is inconceivable in many minds. These were all human beings, some with families, some even as young as 12 years old. When I was 12 I was in the 6th or 7th grade. These numbers are not even including the civilians, the ones who weren’t on the front lines. It is estimated that 13 million civilians were also killed. I doubt these numbers account for all the lives that were lost.

2) One thing that we should learn from this war is that human lives matter more than political, economic, or social power. Because the alliances were enemies they were deemed as threats. They were only considered threats because their power was at risk. Another thing we should learn is that many colonies were brought to fight in this war that had nothing to do with them. The most obvious thing I think the world learned is the destructiveness and horrendous act that humans are capable of doing. We should strive to stop any pointless battle to save lives. The movie 1917 encapsulates the previous sentence. The protagonist had to travel far distances, and immense danger in order to stop a battle that was about to commence. This in turn would save many lives that would have been lost.

3) One thing that changed is the warfare and machines that can be used, like the tank, air warfare, and grenades. Another thing that changed is the awareness of what humans are truly capable of.

4) We should learn about this war because it is a war of many first. This shows how unique WW1 was. Also it is important to learn because history shapes the present. What happens in the past has effects on today. This allows one to understand the relationships within Europes today a little better and the relationships between nations among the world as a whole.

no name
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

The Insanity that was World War I

I cannot find any point or objective to what happened in WW1. A lot of self interest aims were achieved like France and Britain both pre-drawing the Middle East in the Sykes Picot Agreement similar to the Berlin Conference. As well as weakening the grip European powers had on the world through colonies. So much human life was lost it is unimaginable for yards or just mere kilometers. In the movie 1917, the final shot of the movie is the same as the first foreshadowing this isn’t victory but just another cycle of which he has already lived. It kinda symbolizes how the end of the war was mudane for many regular soldiers and civilians.

Everything changed including daily life: nations wanted to avoid it at all costs, millions dead, more wounded, the geopolitical landscape was forever reshaped with European nations too weak to have a grip on colonies anymore. War always progresses technology beyond what can be achieved in peacetime. It is a competition of production and innovation that whoever finds something groundbreaking. The people that time learned of the brutality that humans were capable and willing to help each other not in the colonies or settlement but in the heart of world’s empires, which was only a preview to the Europeans.

We can learn of the consequences of reckless war and reckless peace. People were too scared to confront the rise of the Nazi Army and even appeasing him with tons of land like the Munich. Cheap is expensive as the saying goes, we do shortcuts and it affects us long term. But at the same time, being reckless with threats of war and alliances is what got millions dead and nothing achieved. It isn’t as important from an Americanized point of view since we were barely in it, but had profound effects after to everywhere else because European empires reached so far it reshaped the globe.

Sidenote:1917 is one of the best war movies ever, everything about the film (cinematography, score, camerawork, screenplay) is amazing you got to watch it. You must watch it either with headphones or on the biggest screen you have

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

Insanity that was World War I

The truth is, there really was no point to WW1. It was a conflict between Austria-Hungary and Berlin. However this conflict with Berlin itself just a singular Berlin man that decided to make a terrible decision. Berlin did not want to apologize for something that they (as a country) did not cause. Austria-Hungary pledged to wage a war on them if they wouldn’t apologize. These two countries decided to let their stubborness control an entire World War. This conflict started between two countries and once more allies came in to help it turned into so much mor than this small conflict. As time went on and tensions gre higher, this became less about the conflict itself and more about giving people their own purpose. We saw in the video in class that there were thousands of men lined up waiting to be enlisted. Some even had to lie about their age to get in. Using propaganda tactics the U.S played off becoming a soldier as something to fulfill your life desires. As said in class, “This became about best friends defending other best friends”.

Some things were gained in this war, however none of them were good. Propaganda and military technology being the two most prominent creations, as well as extreme economic rise do to manufacturing items to help in war. Many many lives were lost in this war. There were about 20 million deaths and 21 million that became wounded. Among those 20 million, about two million died from diseases. This matters because millions of lives were lost all because of two countries across the ocean from us.

We learned from this war to not let tensions and violence escalate to the extent of losing millions of lives and dragging other countries into a small conflict. We have also learned to not let innocent people get killed especially if they are 12 years old enlisting in war illegally. The main takeaway from this entire tragedy is to realize that there is no true “winning” a war if it is going to cost millions of people their lives.

You can see from the pictures that it is obvious the world had changed after WW1. There were mass amounts of independence movements inspired by this war. As I briefly mentioned above, mass propaganda as well as military technologies stemmed from this war. These types of changes are seen up until present day. The main thing that had changed from this war was how it effected the people involved. Friends, fathers, and brothers were lost. I cannot even imagine the mental health issues that surviving soldiers had to go through afterwards especially with the stigma of mental health at this time. Watching people around you left and right is an incredibly traumatic experience for everyone. However these brave men were expected to be strong and show no emotion.

It is important to recognize and study World War 1 in order to prevent future events this impactful and tragic from happening. We need to recognize the lack of reward that came out of this pointless war. Even if it is “insane” from the reasoning to the numbers of people that died, it is crucial that we study it.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 23

The Insanity that was World War I

I believe that the overall point of the war was different countries having different wants, whether it be economic power, political power, or revenge. The reasoning behind Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia because of Serbia’s unwillingness to apologize and compensate for the assasination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is the most logical point of war. After that, the desires and reasoning for war became more complex and became a “domino effect” like described in Guardian’s interactive website. In class we also discussed that some countries joined because of fear of another county. So their point would be as a protective measure. Others, like India and other colonized countries joined the war in hopes of gaining loyalty from their colonizers and potential political power for possible independence someday. Something I found shocking was the number of non-European powers participating in the war. We did discuss in class that war also employed their colonies but I didn’t think of the extent of it. I learned from the interactive website that every language was spoken in WW1. There were groups with mixed race peoples and also groups from colonized regions. India sent more than a million people. Moreover, according to the BCC article, fighting occurred not only on the Western Front, but also in Eastern and Southeast Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It was truly a world war.

Nothing great was gained from the war. Over a quarter of prewar male popular in Austria-Hungary were killed or wounded. In Great Britain around one in every six British families suffered immediate bereavement. Battles in 1916 resulted in more than 370 thousand German losses, and more than that of French losses. But no advances of territory by either side. Everything about WW1 was sobering. The novelty and excited atmosphere of war became bleakness and savagery. This matters because WW1 led to lasting aftermaths on all participating counties.

From WW1, we should have learned to underestimate the damages of war. Due to the overwhelming difference in numbers of forces between the two sides, many believed that it would be a short war. Because of this man young people took it lightly. According to World War I by the numbers, officially, you had to be 18 to sign up to the armed forces and 19 to serve abroad in Britain. But the youngest soldier was a 12 year old who lied about his age. But they were wrong, since we know that it lasted 4 years with uncountable casualties. What they did learn was the power and dangers of weapons and war technology. I would also say that the world after WW1 was a totally different world because of this.

WW1 changed how people fought wars forever. Firstly WW1 grounds development of more dangerous weapons that could kill a lot more people and more quickly than before. But also kill people more mechanically and less humanely. World war 1 had many firsts. The first major use of poison gas, the first time tanks were used in combat, the first time flamethrowers were used, and the first airplanes that could shoot down enemy aircrafts. This means that wars after this period were much more dangerous. The following wars included arm races and innovation during this period, I think might have made the atomic bomb possible years later down the line. WW1 in some ways made it a possible option to use machinery in wars.

Adding on top of that the world after WW1 was completely different also because of changes of who had power and the formation of new countries. Germany was greatly weakened especially with the Treaty of Versailles. This eventually leads Germany to the Holocaust as the losses in war was a motivator for people to want change in politics and be suceptable to influence.

Lastly, I think it’s incredibly important to understand WW1. In 1917, the movie I chose to watch Blake, a British soldier, was killed by a German soldier he saved from a burning plane. This definately depicts how war brings insanity to human beings and has people view each other as either “us” or “them”. During WW1 around 1915, Austro-Hungarian troops executed Serbian civilians. In one of the pictures from the first link, it shows Serbian civilians being hung. This reminded me of Americans executing African Americans. In some ways, we can view many events that take place in WW1 as mini genocides and it’s important to learn about it so we can try our best to not have it happen again. Even if it’s very likely for history to repeat itself.

Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 24

was the lesson learned?

  • As seen from the film in class, people going into the war didn’t completely understand what they were getting into but since their buddies were going to fight, they wanted to as well because the USA viewed the enemy as Germany. A sense of nationalism encouraged people to fight and get involved because it was about being superior and “doing your duty”. The war was, as the “5 Things You Need To Know About World War I” says, continued through popular support and while many people were involved, even women, the negative consequences were innocent civilians being hurt and boys who enlisted died. Medical advances and warfare technology were pushed to be produced because competition amongst nations meant that the best armies were the most well equipped. There was the machine gun and tanks, as well as trench warfare, as sides came up with ways to, it seems, kill the most people and make the most damaging impact. There were 16 million dead and the number of limbs and lives lost were unbelievable, when there didn’t need to be that much damage. It started with a Bosnian-Serbian assassinating the Austria-Hungary archduke, heir to the throne and then limitations were put on Serbians to which they didn’t comply with. Then they went to war with each other and along the way, each side gained allies. The war became much more violent than when it started and it seems like the majority of people knew someone who had died.
  • One of them is that there seems to always be a human nature quality of competition and the need to cause destruction to gain power. Even though the nations were sophisticated and had wealth, there is always someone who wants full control. There was the Schlieffen Plan where Germany had a plan to take over all of Europe which might have contributed to the cause of the war. Even today, the war shows that even if things seem to stable, always be cautious because conflicts have the ability to escalate into huge mass murder. War also doesn’t prove if someone can be a good ruler of a territory and people because the whole point is stupid: it’s just causing lots of death to get resources and status but how does killing the most people make you victorious? It shouldn’t at all. I think we should always try to make a diplomatic peaceful agreement in every conflict before going to war since it could definitely be avoided. But sometimes it can’t be avoided because lots of leaders of nations have different ideologies and policies and beliefs of human rights, and nothing can sway their views.
  • There was a world where Europe was Enlightened and it emphasized human expression, creativity, knowledge, and stability. People were flourishing and new ideas were being made. There was hope that the world was moving away from war and violence but then the war happened. There is a huge impact of the people who died, especially so young, during the war that will never be forgotten. The articles also brought up “shell shock” that some soldiers experienced because they were traumatized. In the film Paths of Glory, one of the French commanders was walking through the trench assessing the soldiers and when one of them was shell shocked, the commander slapped him and told him to not be cowardly. I think most of the people suffered from PTSD after the war and atrocities they witnessed or participated in. I’ve heard a lot of men who come back from war are completely changed and even commit suicide because they can’t unlive the horrors they’ve experienced, so this really affected their lives and their families if they returned home. Now, it’s fortunately better understood so people can have access to health resources but back then, it was just seen as not being the strongest soldier which every military wanted. Soldiers had to be unaffected killing machines it seems.
  • It’s something that involves the world and impacts the world to this day so understanding it is important to understand where our nation is today and what motivates people to go to war. There are so many patterns seen when examining wars and battles that seem pointless. Relating to the question above, looking at WWI is seeing how when civilizations seem civilized and in a “golden age”, it could just be the surface with more troubles underneath. It also shows that conflict and relationships between powers cannot be ignored and that it’s important to stay up to date on current events and get involved, or know when not to get involved, because the war affected everywhere.

Boston, Massachussetts, US
Posts: 27

Honestly, I do not know what the real point of WWI was.It seems as if the two countries, The United States and Germany, wanted to prove their power to each other. As seen in the film from class, even the soldiers who fought didn’t totally know what they were getting themselves into. They did know, however, that they wanted to defend their country and go into the war with their peers. This urge to fight was a feeling of nationalism. One thing gained from WWI was industrialization in the US. Before the depression, the US had so much more power than other countries, resulting in new technology and convenient inventions. The most sad yet most realistic and numerous loss was the amount of people that died. These people all had their own life stories, with different personalities and different reasons for why they ended up where they were. As the BBC article noted, there were about 13 million people who died, and 8.5 million troops. Lives matter. These unfortunately large numbers changed everything.

After WWI occurred, it was pretty apparent that the world did not learn a valuable lesson from the atrocities of war. No one cared enough to try and prevent another war in the future. Wars such as the Russian Civil war, the Vietnam war, WWII, the German Revolution and many more all happened after WWI. And now Russia is invading Ukraine. WWI seemed to normalize war in a way. I wish the world would see this as an issue instead of continuing to have wars.

I completely agree with the idea that the world was vastly different before and after WWI. I believe that WWI seemed to normalize the gruesome and depressing aspects of war, setting the stage for a sad country. Quite literally, a depression swiped the US once the war was over in the 1930s. Aircraft, destruction, usage of guns, killing, mechanical methods of warfare, all of these became normalized. Even now, these topics are still sad but not completely surprising. There were also various adjustments in political and social aspects in many different countries. WWI left the world in a very sad spot, with death rates high.

boston , Massachusetts, US
Posts: 19

The Insanity that was World War I

I do not think there is any point to the war, if anything I think it is particularly stupid. Going through the different links I went through, the one that probably stuck out to me was the one about different numbers related to WW1. It says, 8.5 million troops are thought to have been killed, including around 750,000 British servicemen. 8.5 MILLION troops were KILLED. That is insanity in itself. 13 MILLION civilians were killed; this really is saddening because they weren’t even soldiers in the war. Not that it is okay for the soldiers to be killed, but the fact that civilians/normal everyday people were killed is literally insane. The youngest soldier to die was twelve years old. Twelve. When I was 12 the thought of getting a flu shot terrified me, let alone go to a war and be killed. The long term effects were on the soldiers, although a lot of them didn’t make it unfortunately, there was a handful that did make it. In the movie we watched I think it said something about how 500-600 soldiers went into the battle we watched and 100 were left standing. That means over 50% of them died. In a matter of a small battle where people just kill each other to avoid being killed themselves, but probably ended up getting killed anyway. I think a very important lesson from this war is that we shouldn’t let it happen again :)... if only it were that simple. At the rate we are going, WW3 is coming sooner than anticipated. But honestly, people need to get the point that killing people does not solve any issues, and there are more things in history that can back up that claim, not just WW1. This war definitely opened up the world of new weapons and different machines that can be used for war. I think learning about WW1 is very important just so people can really grasp the concept of war and what it is. Especially looking at photos or videos about it, and reading or hearing testimonies of soldiers who fought in war themselves. I never really knew what war looked like or what it was physically, but after the video we watched in class, I think I got enough information and views into the gruesome side of war. You can see what humans are really capable of, and the extreme measures they will take to protect themselves and their lives/countries.. Even though the majority didn't make it out alive anyway.

Posts: 15

the insanity that was WWI

Something that really stuck with me from watching They Shall Not Grow Old in class was the fact that if you asked a soldier why they were fighting in the war, they couldn’t give you a definitive answer. The simplest answer might be to say the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the archduke of Austria-Hunagry, was the cause. However an assassination doesn’t just happen and there were more events and grouping of major powers that led to a descent into war. Once Ferdinand was assassinated, it was the start of nations declaring war on each other with the result being World War I. Over 65 million men volunteered or were conscripted to fight. The number of soldiers dead is estimated to be 8.5 million and civilians 13 million and countless others were physically and psychologically wounded. That means over 21 million people were lost and so many were left scarred in multiple ways. Some nations gained more territory and there were many technological and military advancements, but that can’t outweigh the lives that were lost for no valid reason, especially not for learning better how to kill thousands of people.

The fighting finally just ceased November 11, 1918 at 11am after the armistice was signed. All of this fighting and it just stopped and the soldiers were left to wait, if they even survived. The war should not have had to happen to settle conflict. We can learn from this war that the destruction and death that what you lose is not worth what you gain. We can learn that the psychological and physical impacts war has on everyone involved, soldiers and civilians, is not to be underestimated or taken lightly. We should take away from this that it is better to come to a decision with solely peaceful methods and violence is never a good thing in conflict because it only leads to more pain.

This war was called “the war to end all wars,” which clearly has not proven to be true, since war has not gone away. Officially, you had to be 18 to sign up to the armed forces and 19 to serve abroad, however, the youngest British soldier was a 12-year-old who lied about his age. So many of these children who thought the war was going to be fun or not last long ended up in a horrible situation and because it was the first war of its size, it became clear the extremely terrible things humans could do to each other. There were many developments/improvements in technology and tools used to kill, like tanks, machine guns, poison gas, etc. These things are all technology used to end, not save lives, and really contributed to the way the war negatively affected the entire world. Many were left without food or medical aid. The realities of WWI are harsh and it destroyed empires, created new nations, forced the US to become a world power and led to communism and the rise of Hitler.

It is important to learn about WWI because it helps further understanding of what war really is and how it has the ability to change life in such an extreme way. Learning about this war highlights the horrors and insanity that truly exists in war and watching films, videos, photographs that show real footage and images of the war can help one realize the reality of the situation it was. Knowing that the war started with no one knowing how much damage it would cause and, after four years, it would have had an immensely dreadful outcome is very surreal and seeing it happening in film even more so.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 26

In any war, there is almost always more lost than gained. Yes, technological developments were accelerated, and the whole of Europe believed it would be the “war to end all wars,” but many of these technological developments were specifically tailored to the extermination of human beings on the battlefield, and the whole “war to end all wars” thing didn't last very long at all. Not only were soldiers mercilessly killing other soldiers, but there was rampant disease that spread through the unsanity trenches, killing nearly as much as the bullets themselves, as well as an expansion of attacks on civilians in a way never seen before. According to the BBC series, 8.5 million soldiers were killed, a horrific and gruesome total, one that is almost impossible to comprehend, yet somehow even more innocent people lost their lives. 13 million. The scale of such a mass extermination of human life is something beyond imaginable. No end is justified by this means. This matters because of the trend it set in place for the wars that would follow. A new age of warfare was characterized by expanded capability from the sky, and most importantly, by the intention of killing civilians. In addition, on the IWM website it describes the causes and effects of such killing, “Attacks on civilians became increasingly common as each nation tried to break their opponents’ home morale and diminish popular support for the war. Propaganda demonised entire nations and attacked the ‘national characters’ of enemy peoples.” This outlines the reason for the turn to civilian killings, a trend that would continue in WW2, where 55 million civilians were killed. Such civilian attacks, like the ones in the photo series by the IWM, were brutally common in later wars, and people like my grandmother had to often run down to neaborhood bomb shelters for fear of an attack (she lived in northern Ireland).

The world clearly learned how ripe it was for global conflict. A simple assasination prompted by flaring tensions caused a system of alliances and to kick in, and by July 28th, fighting began. It learned how brutal rival powers can be for petty gains at best. It should have learned a lot more than it did though, and the massive destruction of the first true “World War” was followed up by another just a few decades later. Today, this can seem pretty far away, but we must realize how interconnected our systems of alliance are today (think NATO), and how we have designed advanced warfare techniques that are ruthless in their killing of civilians. With our modern use of human-less technology for killing, we are entering an age where it is easier than ever to kill without suffering losses of your own.

The world was truly very different after the war than before it. Massive gains in communication and information technology were made during the war, and a much more connected global system lay in the wake of the war. Gone too, was the age of monarchies in Europe (for the most part), as the war sparked conflicts like the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. The borders that were hastily drawn from the remnants of the Ottoman empire continue to be a point of contention in the modern middle east. Most importantly of all, WW1 taught the entire world what it was like to have millions die on the battlefields, and millions more in their homes or living their normal lives. It shocked the elite of the time in a profound way, sparking innovation, revolution, and a new age of political dominance. The United States rose to power on a global stage in the aftermath of this war as well.

It is crucial to study and understand the motives and effects behind war, including WW1, because it gives us an insight into preventing such conflicts in the future. Was it truly the “war to end all wars?” At the time no. But with powerful films like “They Shall not grow old,” and images of a desolate and truly dead battlefield like those in the article from the Atlantic, we are reminded of the horrors of war, and appalled to action. It is the duty of each and every one of us to prevent conflicts like this from ever happening again, and an important start is learning about the tragedies of the conflicts of the past.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

The Insanity that was World War I

  1. I fail to see the point in World War I because all I see are countries that are too prideful and petty, and too willing to risk the lives of millions for nothing. The first thing you hear when you talk about World War I is how it all started because of a 19-year-old Serbian boy who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, a valued figure from Austria-Hungary. After that Germany was quick to back Austria-Hungary and their vendetta against Serbia, this launched Europe into the first World War. Very little was gained from this war, but so many lives were lost. As the BBC article says 8.5 million people were thought to be killed during WWI, and about 21 million soldiers were wounded. The only thing that really came out of World War I was the strong sense of nationalism that went hand-and-hand with the war. People all around Europe felt an immense amount of nationalism for protecting their country, but the cost of lives was never worth the pointless glory of serving your country.
  2. A major lesson that can be learned from the war is that war is not something that should be taken lightly, it is deadly, disatrius, and should never be the first go-to answer. As we saw in the in class movie, so many lives were lost or permanently damaged from the war and from countries refusing to come to an agreement sooner than they did. They allowed young boys to think that it was noble and just to risk their lives for a cause that never really existed. Along with how serious we now take war, another thing that came out of WWI is better/ deadlier artillery. World War I is a major bench-mark in the history of weaponry and how we can advance military technology, but since this point in time it seems like we’ve been at a constant tug-and-pull with other nations to have the “best” technology and best strategies.
  3. The world completely changed after the first world because of the trauma that the soldiers faced if they were lucky enough to return home, not only the soldier but also the soldier’s families that would not be able to see their sons, husbands, or brothers again. The war brought great despair and misery to countless amounts of soldiers who witnessed their friends get slaughtered, attacked, and mutilated, not to mention the insane conditions that they faced as well. Soldiers that came back from the war brought a lot of baggage with them, which carried into their everyday lives and affected society as a whole. That’s what people mean when they say that the world completely changed after the war, it’s because the war touched and affected everyone, not only the people who fought for their country.
  4. Like I said in my answer for question 2, World War I was a bench-mark in history. It set the stage for World War II, from which came a large advance in military technology, and it is a great example of the devastation war brings for centuries to come. War is insanity. There is no doubt about that, but it’s important to learn from that insanity, which we did not do a great job of learning from our mistakes by the time the second world war came around. We do learn from it now though, as we see with Biden and his hesitation in launching us into another world war, or even nuclear war, with Russia and their attack on Ukraine. I feel as if the first world war sets the scene for the 20th century, since following that countless wars have broken out with new technology, and when learning about history it is always important to start at the beginning of a major turning-point, even if this history is pretty recent.
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 20

There was no worthwhile point for this war. 16 million lives were lost. An assassination in a singular country should not mobilize 30 nations.

I think it was the excitement of the new war age that was truly mobilizing. This war pioneered a new type of warfare of great destruction.

It was the first war to be fought on land, sea, and in air. The first war with major poison gas use. The first war that recognized the women aiding the war effort, and employed them with proper respect. War machinery was innovated to new feats of destruction. It was a war of multiple other firsts.

The feat of the war itself was new, 30 nations were involved! This excitement and the delusion of purpose motivated in the absence of a culpable political point.

Though it was a war that took an ungodly amount of lives, this war was innovative. The human race learned of new ways to be militantly murderous, destructive, and demoralizing. Though, I would say that is another loss.

I can say, in good moral standing, that from the war we did gain progress in women’s liberation. Women helped the war effort in other wars of course, but in this war their capabilities were recognized. It was in this war British women were given military uniforms. And in this war the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (renamed to Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps), Women’s Royal Naval Service, and Women’s Royal Air Force were founded.

I watched the film 1917. This film follows two soldiers trying to deliver a message. It gives its viewers a new understanding of how it is like for individuals fighting within the war. And as we saw in the film we watched in class on WW2, the vast majority of soldiers did not have a real understanding nor affinity for the “point” of the war. Therefore, I figure that many people fighting the war and those with connections to soldiers gained an antiwar sentiment. People were coming back from the war with “shell-shock”:ptsd. The world lost 16 million lives. So I figure, the world learned of the serious consequences of war.

The global community losing 16 million lives is enough to “change the world”. The world learned of a new evil of humanness. The world experienced a loss to an unimaginable degree. The modern age lost its innocence and delusion of safety forever. We lost our ability to believe in a figment of human purity.

An article states that Britain grew a new practice and language and remembrance due to this destruction of humanity. I think the rest of the world struggled with shame, guilt, and grievance as well.

As with any collective act of human atrocity, we must be aware of it. We must learn about our capability of insanity, of horror. We must learn of the capacity of evil each human holds and the circumstances that arose it, so that we can prevent future human monstrosity.

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