posts 1 - 15 of 18
freemanjud
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?
gato927
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 26

The Insanity That Was WWI

  1. In “5 Things You Need To Know About The First World War” it says that it began as a relatively small conflict in southeast Europe that morphed into a global war. In class when we split into countries and their alliances, it seemed that the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was the breaking point, but there was the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance before this event. The Central Powers in the war (the Triple Alliance) declared war after the assassination of Ferdinand, which can be labeled as the initial point of the war, but as we discussed in class there were familial ties between the empire rulers and tension was already brewing. In the same article, it talks about how the British government interfered in regards to equipment distribution, creating 4 million rifles, 250,000 machine guns, and more. Along with this, there were substantial innovations that resulted from World War 1, like military technology, manufacturing, chemistry, and communications. However, there were many things lost in this war, including 16 million soldiers and civilians dead. In the article “World War I in Photos”, it includes an image of Serbian civilians being hung by Austro-Hungarian soldiers, and in the footnote describes the suffering the Serbian people encountered at the hands of Austro-Hungarian troops, accounting for about 1 million casualties by 1918. In the article “World War one in Numbers”, it says around 1.5 million British troops were wounded. World War I was important for many reasons. For example, in the article “Firsts of World War One” it lists many outcomes that had great effects like how it was fought on land, air, and sea, as well as PTSD from war (or shell shock) being recognized as a serious issue. Tanks were also first used in World War I, and that is still an important military tactic today. Lastly, women gained more of an importance to society and were recognized by the British government, and in America most women gained the right to vote in 1920, right after the war.
  2. Some takeaways we should have from this war is that the millions of lives lost, wounded, and psychologically traumatized should not occur at the hands of conflicts between rulers. The video we are watching in class shows soldiers in the trenches getting sick, barely having enough food, infected with lice, and getting frostbite or trench foot. I think that we should learn that war is not always the answer, and even though one can argue it is inevitable. In the video it also mentions that young soldiers would go fight, even though they were not of age. In “World War One in numbers” it shows a picture of young soldiers and the description reads that “...the youngest British soldier was a 12-year-old who lied about his age.” I think the world also learned a new sense of nationalism, because of the cultural divides they had encountered throughout the years of the war.
  3. To some extent, the world did change drastically after World War I. For instance, Europe changed geographically, most importantly the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Germany also lost a lot of land to the east which became Poland, Latvia, East Prussia, etc. In addition to this, technologically advanced as well as war tactics which were continued into WW2. WW1 set the stage for the next World War, so that did change forever. However, countries outside of Europe did not go through these drastic changes to their geography, but one thing that changed the world forever were scientific innovations. In the “Empire” video, the speakers explain that countries like India and South Africa participated in the war in order to use that as leverage to gain independence from Great Britain after the war was over.
  4. There were a lot of components that went into World War I, but it is very important that we learn about the causes and effects because it did not just impact one or two nations, it impacted all of them around the world. Similarly, there were geographical decisions that we can still see today, the fall of many powerful empires, and innovations that paved the way for advanced war technologies. War=insanity is a very true equation, but this one in particular demonstrates how just one event can snowball into a world war where many lives are lost.
turtle17
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 24

The Insanity that was World War One

  1. I don’t believe that there is ever really a point to war. There is no good enough reason to explain why a matter of disagreements or conflict of diplomacies excuses the deaths of thousands and thousands of people. But personally, I believe World War One was an ego war, a fight that started to maintain a country’s “pride”. Obviously, pride was not the sole reason as to why the war started, there were many different triggers that just overdid the previously existing tensions, and led to a break. However, even though there may have been genuine reasons for the start of the conflict, the reasons at the end of it were essentially pointless. The concept of fighting the war for pride connects to what was gained and lost from it: the ability of claiming to be a global power, whether a country obtains that or not. The film that I personally watched, 1918, tells the story of two young British soldiers from the front line that need to cross through “No Man’s Land”, as well as occupied German cities, in order to reach other British troops and give them a message to not partake in a specific fight because it was a trap. A quote from the film that stood out to me was when a General mentioned to one of the soldiers that when should deliver the message about canceling the fight, to make sure there are witnesses. I was confused by this at first, but then the General followed up by saying that “some men fight just to fight”. The “matter” of World War One can be interpreted differently based on who is asked-different countries joined in on the fight for different reasons. But I believe that the overall matter of the war was to establish power and dominance within the world, again, bringing it back to my point about World War One being an egotistical fight.
  2. A major lesson that should be taken from World War One is the horrid outcomes of a worldwide conflict, especially when it comes to injury and mortality rates. The BBC website “World War One in Numbers” includes two statistics: 8.5 million troops were killed, and 21 million troops were injured. People need to realize that no disagreement is worth people’s lives. To connect this to present day, war casualties have only worsened with newer inventions. Less than twenty years after the Great War a nuclear bomb was introduced in WWII, and today there are even more modern technologies made to create as drastic of a kill as possible.
  3. I do agree with the idea of there being two different worlds and societies: one before and one after World War One. This is for many reasons, but the first is that the world had never seen something like this before. The website “The Firsts of World War One” states, “The First World War was unprecedented in scale. It was the first war to be fought in three dimensions: on land, at sea and in the air.” Before the Great War, there had never been such effort put into fighting, and such a change in reality. Another reason why I agree with the statement of the world changing post World War One is the lack of knowledge of the soldiers. By saying that, I am not calling them stupid, but instead bringing attention to the fact that they didn’t really know what it was they were fighting for, all they knew was that they had a mission to kill. This was exemplified in the film that is currently being watched in class, They Shall Not Grow Old. A scene showed today during class told of the German soldiers having a sign which stated: “Gott mit Uns”, which translates to: “God is with Us”. The narrators in the film explained that they jokingly put up a sign as well, which said: “We have mittens too”. The simple mockery between the two groups of soldiers not only broadcasted their humanity, grounds watchers, and emphasizes that these soldiers were real people with real emotions, but also demonstrates that the war wasn’t between the citizens, it was between the governments. The world was changed after World War One, because during it, they had people killing other people for stuff they didn’t even really care or know about.
  4. It is important to understand and to learn about World War One for the same reason why it is important to learn about all history; to ensure we don’t repeat it. It is easy to think that this situation would never happen again, that society has improved and matured as a whole, but I believe that statement is naive. Countries and dictators will do anything for power: look at Ukraine and Russia right now.
giraffes12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 25

The insanity that was WWI 21-22

There was a lot of tension in the world at this time, and when Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was the heir to the Austria-Hungary throne, was assassinated by Serbia. After this happened, they declared war with Serbia on July 28, 1914. This started a chain reaction, with many countries declaring war on one another, including large powers and empires at this time, like Great Britain, France, Russia, and later the United States. (The first World War: The Study of a Global Conflict). There did not seem to be much of a point of the war, they seemed to just want to defeat the other side out of anger, or maybe pride. Both sides seemed to want to kill as many soldiers as possible.

There was much innovation in the time of war. There were innovations that were considered harmful, like advances in aircraft. However, some helped people in the long run, like advancements in chemistry, communications, and the medical field. (5 Things You Need to Know about World War I).

Many, many peoples’ lives were lost in this war, on both sides. About twenty million people died, both soldiers and civilians. “An estimated 13 million civilians were also killed” (World War I by the numbers). Soldiers suffered immensely, many were badly injured. Another thing that they suffered from was shell shock, which was “the psychological trauma suffered by servicemen during the First World War” (The firsts of World War I). There are many different symptoms of shell shock, including fatigue, impaired senses, nightmares, and more. Nations’ colonies were forced to fight, including the people of India, who were under control of Great Britain at the time. Roughly 74,000 Indian soldiers perished fighting in a war that was not their own (Why the Indian soldiers of WW1 were forgotten).

It’s a classic saying that we love to say, that we need to learn about history in order to not repeat the past’s mistakes. We need to learn from this war so that future generations don’t start a war where millions of people die, really for no good reason. The amount of people, both citizens and soldiers who died should also be a main reason that we learn about this war. We remember them so that we do not repeat this again. At the time, people learned lessons on PTSD, with shell shock, and people felt more empathy for their soldiers, and soldiers on the other side. We see this in the film we watched in class where British soldiers say that most of the soldiers on the other side are not bad people. This is what lessons we learn from this war, and this is why it matters.

The world did change forever after this war, because this was the first war ever on this large of a scale. Empires began to fall after World War I. Another thing that happened was the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922, starting a large piece of history. Some say that the Treaty of Versailles, which ended WWI, had large consequences on Germany which made them feel strong resentment towards the rest of the world. This is the start of the rise of fascism, along with Hitler.

Photos help us to feel empathy towards those who fought and died in this war, and also for the civilians. There are many photos of WWI, a lot of which are of soldiers fighting in wastelands, inside trenches. There is a specific photo of a very young Austrian soldier laying dead in a battleground that was striking. (World War I via photographs).We learn about this war to honor those who died, and to learn lessons from our former leaders, mostly about what not to do.

runningdog96
Posts: 18

The Insanity that was World War I

1. The point of World War I was mainly power, and the defense of alliances. This is a high point for imperialism, colonialism, and European power. Each country was attempting to prove that it had the biggest military, or occupied the most land, or had the most power over a certain trade. Once Franz Ferdinand was killed, the Austro-Hungarian felt extremely threatened, and at that point, had formed an alliance with Germany, which had also been under tension for some time, as explained by the website “The First World War: The Study of a Global Conflict”. As it states, the countries surrounding Germany had begun to ally against it, and so it felt extremely threatened. The Assassination of the Archduke of one of its allies was the one thing it needed to launch a full-scale war in order to prove its power and retain, or gain more of, its dominance. It could be argued that nothing was gained from this war, while so much was lost. Even politically, no one country was able to obtain significantly more power after the ending of the war, while it caused an immeasurable amount of suffering. The BBC estimates that about 8.5 million soldiers were killed in action, but for those who lived to fight, it almost seemed like hell. Throughout the documentary we are watching in class, it makes references to the harsh (to put it lightly) conditions faced by soldiers (especially British ones) throughout the war. They were constantly sick, forced into small trenches with bullets and shells constantly raining down on them, and were fighting next to the dead bodies of their friends and comrades. The idea of weapons was entirely redesigned for maximum suffering, especially with the use of poison gas(according to “5 Things You Need to Know about World War I”), and the widespread use of bombs to destroy mines or massive shells. This war mattered because of the amount of suffering it caused for such a small resolution. Because nothing was gained, all this suffering seemed to be for nothing. Death was especially prominent with this War because of the rise in manufacturing and standardization, which made it easier to produce many more guns and weapons capable of doing much more damage than ever before. World War I matters because it was such a dark time that disrupted so much for such a lackluster benefit.

2. Because so little was gained from this war, there is much to be learned, and not just from the political side, but also from the human side. Politically, so many nations lost so much for such little benefit. Therefore, they may have learned that here, diplomacy is key, and that war is not the answer. Beyond that however, many lessons were learned from the human side, one of the major ones I took from this being that many people will fight for their country even when they don’t know exactly what they’re fighting for. Throughout the documentary in class, as well as the 1917 film, there is a humaneness to the soldiers. In 1917, two British soldiers help save a German Soldier, while the British soldiers in the documentary play games with each other, as if everything is ok, or “normal”. With this, one gets the sense that these soldiers don’t particularly know what they are fighting for, but that it is patriotic to fight for their country and so it is therefore the right thing to do, despite the fact that they are putting their life on the line.

3. I would completely agree with those who argue that the world was completely different. Firstly, 8.5 million people died. That is no small number by any means, and there was most definitely a mass period of grieving after the war across the world for all of those lost. For those that survived, however, post-World War I was the first widespread recognition of Shell Shock, according to “Firsts of the First World War”. Millions of people suffered from what it known today at PTSD, which is both physical and psychological stress or trauma caused by shell explosions, as well as the general nature of war. Mass casualties and suffering had never been seen on this scale ever before, and so the world never went back to the mental state it was in before the war. Not only did soldiers suffer, but their families were also most likely affected, as the people that returned to them were not the people that left to go fight at the start of or during the war. World War I also expedited the increase in manufacturing and standardization in the world, and so in that sense the world was completely different as well.

4. It is extremely important to understand World War I because, as stated throughout this post, the suffering and death was insurmountable. Not only that, but most of the effects were felt by civilians. The most striking photographs in “World War I via photographs” were the first two. The first one is a picture of a no-mans land in Belgium. It is completely desolate, and devoid of any life. The very next picture is one of 9 European sovereigns in uniform, adorned with jewelry, gold, and decadence. Those that were most affected by this war were not these extremely powerful and wealthy figures, but everyday people and society. In order to recognize the true impact of the war, and to ensure it never happens against, we must learn about it. There really was no point to it, and for so many people to die and suffer for no real cause is- well, there are no words for that. We must ensure that this does not happen again, and to do so, we must understand and learn about World War I.

TheHistorian9
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

The Insanity that was the First World War


      1. The European Great Powers—the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, France, Great Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and the German Empire—and the United States and Italy as well as the minor powers of Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Bulgaria, Japan, Siam (now Thailand), Romania, and Portugal all had different goals for why they fought or provoked WWI. In the interactive timeline, specifically in the interactive map, it explains the reasoning for why countries joined the war—mainly for territorial gains. Due to its shared/common language, culture and religion and the desire to expand its influence into the Mediterranean, Russia joined the war to fight against Germany. Likewise, Britain joined the war because it felt threatened by Germany’s growing power and influence in the war and to seize territory from Germany in the African continent—imperialism. France joined the war because it wanted to seek revenge against Germany and seize the territory of Alsace-Lorraine. On the other side of the battlefield, there were also reasons why nations wanted to fight. For the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it wanted to reestablish itself as a dominant power in Europe by seizing control of the Balkans. Similarly, the Ottoman Empire also joined the war because its influence and power were waning and it wanted to reestablish a greater role in European affairs by seizing territory in the Balkans. However, unlike other Central Powers, Germany wanted to establish itself as a Great Power and to prove itself by seizing territory and striking France.
      2. The major Western powers, who were victorious at the conclusion of the war, had both material gains and political gains during and after the war. Great Britain, after the defeat of Germany in the Great War, gained Germany’s African colonies and reparations. However, at the same time that there were materialistic gains by certain nations (whether monetary or territorial), there were also gains in medicine and technology. During WWI, advances in medical treatments saved the lives of those who were injured. At the beginning of the First World War, if a soldier were infected with gangrene (as mentioned in the movie), they would have died either from the spread of the infection or from the widespread amputations that medics and surgeons ordered on infected limbs. However, by the end of the war the advances in medical drugs like antiseptics and anesthesia helped to reduce the number of casualties that infections caused. In the article, “The firsts of World War I,” the author discusses that, during the First World War, the first large-scale usage of the triage was implemented by the British forces. The triage was very important because it was a system that categorized casualties and prioritized casualties’ treatments. During the First World War, British forces adapted triages on a widespread basis while before WWI it was only used to a certain extent. Likewise, advances in radio technology brought about the commercial radio and even more advanced technologies. Besides European imperialism and advancements in the sciences, the victorious United States emerged from the First World War as a global power equivalent to Germany or France. Ever since the First World War, the United States has overtly or covertly participated in every conflict/war. For the United States, the First World War was the foundational stone that built United States’ militarism that now plays its role in the world.
      3. In terms of losses, there were many to account for. A defeated Germany had to sign a humiliating armistice treaty with the victorious Allied powers that drastically reduced its military, forced it to pay reparations and transfer its colonial assets to the victorious nations, mainly France and Great Britain. This humiliation of Germany fueled the growing resentment of the German people and eventually led to the rise of Nazism and Hitler. On top of Germany, empires like the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Ottoman Empire collapsed as a result of the First World War. Besides geopolitics, the First World War resulted in the deaths of over 10 million soldiers and caused the first global pandemic when soldiers brought home bacteria and disease from the trenches—the Spanish flu. On top of both of those, PTSD from trench warfare was very prevalent in returning soldiers because they saw so much death and destruction.
    1. I believe that the main lessons that we should learn from the First World War are that it was a bloody war that didn’t resolve any of the problems that started the war and even led to the beginning of the Second World War. We should also learn that although there is particular propaganda that a country that is fighting promotes stereotypes of the enemy, we should recognize that those may not be accurate or true in regards to the enemy. For example, in the movie Joyeux Noel, the British and Germans—although there were stereotypes promoted by state propaganda about the other—became friendly and acknowledged each other as human beings to the point in which they wouldn’t fire on each other the day after Christmas Day.
    2. I believe that the statement “…there was a world before the First World War and an entirely different world afterwards” is partially true and partially false. I think that the statement is partially true because before the war there weren’t as many treatments as there were after the war and that the advancements in science and technology changed the world overall. In the movie, we saw how the trench conditions led to gangrene, lice and frostbite. Each of these ailments causes many soldiers to die. The advent of modern medical drugs during WWI like anesthesia and antiseptics allowed for the treatment of more soldiers and changed the world. I also believe this is partially false because although there were changes in the world after WWI, there were still similarities from what the world looked like before and after WWI. For one, although there was a greater push for women’s rights there still was gender stereotypes that kept women mostly at home similar to before the war.
    3. I think it is important to learn about the First World War in particular because the First World War and its aftermath brought about changes in society, warfare, and technology in general. This war had drastic effects on the world: from destroying and creating Great Powers in the world to technological and medical advancements.
    mango04
    Boston, MA, US
    Posts: 32

    The Insanity that was World War I

    1. The point of a war is never an easy answer. You could say something along the lines of what is mentioned in “5 Things You Need to Know About World War I,” that the point was for European nations to establish dominance and superiority in the new industrialized world. Also, as we discussed in class with the map exercise, the reason for the war could also be to establish the most powerful alliances amongst the worldly superpowers. This is why we see so many powerful empires, like the Ottoman Empire, falling as a result of WWI— they didn’t make the cut. Also, as we mentioned in the map exercise, instability within nations, imperialism, and extreme nationalism fueled the fire for the war as well. As mentioned in “The Firsts of World War I,” the recognition of shell-shock, major gas warfare, introduction of women in the service, and the tank were all ‘gained’ from this war. More importantly, a great deal was lost from this war. Firstly, life and innocence were lost for millions. As we watched in The Shall Not Grow Old, young boys were being drafted between the ages of 15-17 in Britain, when legally they had to be 18. Not to mention that according to “World War I by the Numbers,” the youngest British soldier was 12. That young soldier could have been in sixth grade. These boys were then sent to war and if they left alive and without a missing limb, chances are they suffered severe mental health issues later in life. Also, a great deal of civilians lost their lives. According to “The Firsts of World War I,” approximately 4,800 British civilians were killed or wounded by German air raids. Also, according to “The first World War: The Study of a Global Conflict– Slaughter,” even with attacks such as Germany’s surprise shelling, which resulted in more than 370,000 German losses, no territorial advances were even made. This killing was not changing the outcome of the war. Also, the same source discusses the “extraordinarily high number of refugee death rates on the Eastern front.” Lastly, the power and influence of many empires like the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian died.This war matters for thousands of reasons, all of which I have mentioned above. Also, WWI set in motion the events that would lead to WW2 with the Treaty of Versailles. Lastly, this war mattered because it was the first time in history that you could see an image like the one in “World War I in Photos,” which shows German A7V tanks driving through a village where people lived.
    2. At the time, the world learned never to engage in trench warfare again. Between the unmoving lines, rats, lice, and trenchfoot we have witnessed in class, I think it's safe to say that nations decided not to repeat that. Also, I think we should learn to make sure soldiers are mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared for war. While watching the movie 1917, I was shocked to see just how young the main characters looked and how scared and uninformed they were. It was heartbreaking to watch the main character with the knowledge that some of his fellow soldiers were my age. I think the world learned after about 8.5 million deaths (according to the BBC website), that alliances should not be made in such a way that war acts as somewhat as a default.
    3. I do believe the statement that there was a world before the First World War and an entirely different world afterwards, when thinking about the consequences this war had. For example, without this war, the world may have never seen Hitler leading the rise of Nazism and the mass genocides that followed. On a broader scope, the world after WWI could fight battles on air, land, and sea. Therefore, it can be argued that WWI globalized warfare as it was also fought in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Lastly, I remember learning about the societal effects the war had on people as we studied the changes in art and poetry. Many lost hope and happiness, making a more grim worldly view overall.
    4. Questions such as this are so basic to me as I always answer: we must learn history to understand our present. Even if we substitute the word war for its synonym “insanity,” it doesn’t lessen the validity of the historical context and consequences of it. By watching movies, reading first hand accounts, examining art changes, and more we are able to understand how our world has shaped into the world we live in today. We are able to see the horrible atrocities we put each other through in the name of nationalism. We are able to look back with a degree of evolution as well as shame. And, without this we would never learn from our mistakes.
    mango04
    Boston, MA, US
    Posts: 32

    Originally posted by turtle17 on March 02, 2022 20:11

    1. I don’t believe that there is ever really a point to war. There is no good enough reason to explain why a matter of disagreements or conflict of diplomacies excuses the deaths of thousands and thousands of people. But personally, I believe World War One was an ego war, a fight that started to maintain a country’s “pride”. Obviously, pride was not the sole reason as to why the war started, there were many different triggers that just overdid the previously existing tensions, and led to a break. However, even though there may have been genuine reasons for the start of the conflict, the reasons at the end of it were essentially pointless. The concept of fighting the war for pride connects to what was gained and lost from it: the ability of claiming to be a global power, whether a country obtains that or not. The film that I personally watched, 1918, tells the story of two young British soldiers from the front line that need to cross through “No Man’s Land”, as well as occupied German cities, in order to reach other British troops and give them a message to not partake in a specific fight because it was a trap. A quote from the film that stood out to me was when a General mentioned to one of the soldiers that when should deliver the message about canceling the fight, to make sure there are witnesses. I was confused by this at first, but then the General followed up by saying that “some men fight just to fight”. The “matter” of World War One can be interpreted differently based on who is asked-different countries joined in on the fight for different reasons. But I believe that the overall matter of the war was to establish power and dominance within the world, again, bringing it back to my point about World War One being an egotistical fight.
    2. A major lesson that should be taken from World War One is the horrid outcomes of a worldwide conflict, especially when it comes to injury and mortality rates. The BBC website “World War One in Numbers” includes two statistics: 8.5 million troops were killed, and 21 million troops were injured. People need to realize that no disagreement is worth people’s lives. To connect this to present day, war casualties have only worsened with newer inventions. Less than twenty years after the Great War a nuclear bomb was introduced in WWII, and today there are even more modern technologies made to create as drastic of a kill as possible.
    3. I do agree with the idea of there being two different worlds and societies: one before and one after World War One. This is for many reasons, but the first is that the world had never seen something like this before. The website “The Firsts of World War One” states, “The First World War was unprecedented in scale. It was the first war to be fought in three dimensions: on land, at sea and in the air.” Before the Great War, there had never been such effort put into fighting, and such a change in reality. Another reason why I agree with the statement of the world changing post World War One is the lack of knowledge of the soldiers. By saying that, I am not calling them stupid, but instead bringing attention to the fact that they didn’t really know what it was they were fighting for, all they knew was that they had a mission to kill. This was exemplified in the film that is currently being watched in class, They Shall Not Grow Old. A scene showed today during class told of the German soldiers having a sign which stated: “Gott mit Uns”, which translates to: “God is with Us”. The narrators in the film explained that they jokingly put up a sign as well, which said: “We have mittens too”. The simple mockery between the two groups of soldiers not only broadcasted their humanity, grounds watchers, and emphasizes that these soldiers were real people with real emotions, but also demonstrates that the war wasn’t between the citizens, it was between the governments. The world was changed after World War One, because during it, they had people killing other people for stuff they didn’t even really care or know about.
    4. It is important to understand and to learn about World War One for the same reason why it is important to learn about all history; to ensure we don’t repeat it. It is easy to think that this situation would never happen again, that society has improved and matured as a whole, but I believe that statement is naive. Countries and dictators will do anything for power: look at Ukraine and Russia right now.

    I love what you mention from the movie today about the German sign and the British soldiers' response. This example as well as the football game on the front lines story really do make you think about how these were just boys. These boys were forced to hunt and kill or be hunted and killed in the name of nationalism and governmental power. This is heartbreaking.

    hisoka
    Boston, MA, US
    Posts: 23

    War is Insanity

    The point of the war was for the European countries to flex their military might. There was some justifiable reason to be upset but not go to war sacrificing millions of civilians and millions of soldiers who just died from malnutrition(world war 1 in numbers). After Germany and Austria-Hungary declared war all the others joined in to back their allies, whether that be with or against them, and pride. After the Treaty of Versailles countries were on edge to get more land to add to their power so when the war started if they were to win they would not only get more control but also more land which would lead to more control and power.


    There was a temporary economic boom for the US but that would eventually lead to the Great Depression. But this would aid in the US’s nationalism and pride. Another gain would be something like bragging rights. The US had won along with the other Allied powers, this would make people be more wary of having to fight them. A lot of new inventions were made in order to help war efforts and that would eventually be modified for civilian use. New medical advancements were made as well.(5 Things you should know about ww1)


    Millions and millions of lives were lost. Civilians and soldiers. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on guns and ammunition and uniforms and propaganda posters when they could have spent it on finding a better way to go about the conflict than sacrificing so many lives to flaunt their power. Thousands of homes were destroyed with their land along with it to the point that it was uninhabitable,(World War 1 in photos). For those years the war was the entire lives of those people because their backyards were the front lines. There were so many people conscripted into the war where it left some economies in shambles. After the war was over many countries, especially Germany, were in so much debt there money had more value as wallpaper then actual bills(5 things you need to know about World War One). This also ties into why it matters because lives are lost and that is something you can’t buy back with money, you can't put a price on life but these countries decided they would and they did.


    There are a lot of things to learn and I think that most of the world did learn and are trying to put into practice. That is that war isn’t good and that even if it is for great benefits the cost isn’t worth it. Not that wars aren’t still happening all around the world, with the US just recently pulling out of Afghanistan they are trying to prevent a world war from happening with the situation between Ukraine and Russia.


    The world was different, very different. Along with all the innovations made came increased nationalism which would change the society and culture of many countries. It also greatly impacted many, many countries' economies and that is all it takes to change the world.


    It is important to learn about World War One for all the same reasons it is important to learn about any piece of history, so we learn from the mistakes and don’t repeat them or if they must be repeated, have a better outcome.

    flowerpower
    Posts: 23

    The Insanity that was WWI

    1. The point of WWI is a foggy one, as explained in class and through the resources, it can be argued that there were many different reasons for the war. Its official starting trigger was the assasination of the Austro-Hungarian prince Franz Ferdinand. However the the real causes had been brewing long before the murder, long lasting tensions between european powers such as France and Germany, and the desire of all countries for dominance/power in the industrial world. As seen in the 5 things to know about WWI, something gained from this war was knowledge, largely in the form of advancements in chemical warfare, communications, and manufacturing. The increased use of Airplanes and Poison gas are two examples of these advancements but many other technologies were improved and used in addition. Another gain from this war was the first recognition of “Shell Shock”, like today's PTSD, the physiological effects of war on servicemen were acknowledged for the first time. What was lost in the war was a huge amount of people who fought in it. Life at war, in the front line trenches, killed millions of soldiers due to a multitude of reasons. One of the many reasons this war mattered was because of what it made the US realize, we prosper in a wartime economy. WWI helped bring the US out of the great depression, investing in our military improved the economy, thus the lives of countless americans. Because of this some began to think that the way to solve America's problems was to tie our government spending to military advancements. This would really pick up after WWII but WWI saw the start of it.
    2. The main lesson to be learned from WWI is that any global war is bad and should be avoided whenever possible. According to the War by the Numbers article 8.5 million troops were killed during the war as well as 13 million civilians, these were the lives of normal people spent by their leaders over political disagreements. The destruction that wars, especially a World War causes is never worth it.
    3. The world definitely changed after WWI, with so many new innovations coming from it war could be deadlier than ever, and people were hyper aware of that fact. Because of this people likely were more opposed to future wars because they were much more familiar with its realities than they had been previously. The world political landscape changed as well, with the Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires collapsing as a result, as well as weakened economies with debts appearing on both sides of the alliances. All in all the destruction and realities of war showed the people of the world why it should be avoided at all costs and replaced with diplomacy when possible.
    4. It is extremely important to learn about the history of all eras, this one because of what we learn from it. We can look back and see how unnecessary this war was, how unjustified it's confusing start was and how detrimental it was to the health of the world. Learning about this type of thing helps prevent us from repeating these events in the future. When we see how bad the conditions of trench warfare were, and see the numbers of injured and dead people, and learn about how it didn’t really solve anything until after another World War, we can understand how to prevent it from happening in the future.
    groot
    West Roxbury, MA, US
    Posts: 29

    The Insanity that was World War I

    World War I was a war of greed. Every country wanted to show its superiority through economic, military, or resource dominance. Doing whatever it took to gain this power, seven Serbian assassins threw a hand grenade at the car of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. On the surface level, the point of this war was for Serbia to showcase its authority and control to Austria-Hungary. However, what makes the absurdity of this war clear is that no actual resolution came about after its conclusion. Having previously negotiated alliances with different countries, everyone was quick to show up in arms, ready to defend their alliances when an event such as killing an heir to the Austria-Hungary throne unexpectedly transpired. It only took a month for Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, France, Britain, and Japan to mobilize their armies and officially declare war (World War I via Photographs). Looking for any real gain from the war is a formidable task. The world was a more hostile place after the war than before it. It was an unfortunate, pointless war for which a peace treaty was needed to “resolve.” A destroyed German economy produced the “lost generation” of younger Germans that led directly to the rise of Hitler and subsequently another war. At the culmination of the conflict, thirteen million civilians and eight-point five million troops lay dead (World War I by the Numbers). The death toll was tremendous; a total of forty million people died. World War I is now a famously known and studied event in world history. It matters because it was a time when countries played all their cards on the table. Inventions such as poison gas, tanks, and flamethrowers were used for the first time, and countries did not hold back (The Firsts of World War I). As countries prepared for the war, they prepared to fight, and they prepared to kill. World War I was a catalyst for ongoing devasting historical events such as the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and European society's destabilization, which laid the groundwork for World War II.


    After the brutality and bloodshed from this war, you would think the world would’ve learned its lesson. It did not. The overall lesson we can now learn from this war is that a governmental feud should not result in war. War kills innocent, blameless people and turns the whole world hostile. Leaders of all present-day countries should learn from not only WWI but WWII and see that killing millions of innocent civilians isn’t the solution to battles between countries. (I think Putin especially needs this seemingly obvious advice). At the time, the world learned how dangerous alliances between countries can be and how catastrophically powerful some nations are. Countries at war use every means necessary to pull ahead. During the First World War, countries would pull ahead by advancing their weaponry and military technology provoking tactical changes as each side tried to gain an advantage over the other (5 Things You Need to Know about World War I), in the Second World War computers and radar satellites that militaries were able to use to track the enemy. War exhausts the money, the resources, and the people of the fighting countries. The world saw this in 1918, and yet unsurprisingly didn’t learn from this and repeated history a short twenty-one years later when World War II began.


    “The First World War was the end of the world as it used to be” (The First World War: The Study of a Global Conflict). After the war, new political powers and new countries were formed, making before the war look strikingly different than after. Under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was mandated to make substantial territorial concessions, primarily along the eastern and western borders. Probably the most significant concession was the surrendering of Alsace-Lorraine to France. This area had been the subject of dispute between France and Germany for a prolonged time. But the war changed territorial lines and took a hit to the fighting countries' economies. While the war was a devastating experience for France and the United Kingdom, these countries could eventually recover economically without too much difficulty because of a huge influx of U.S. cash through the Marshall Plan. However, under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was required to make monetary payments to the Allies, reparations. The heavy reparations, combined with the devastating economic infrastructure throughout Germany and political tension under the Weimar Republic, led to a German economic depression. The Russian empire in 1917, and then the Ottoman, Austria-Hungarian, and German empires collapsed in 1918, a permanent change we can still see the effects from today. Overall, World War I caused new boundary formations to be drawn, and international organizations to be established.


    While learning about World War I and its origins is painful and disheartening, nevertheless it is important. It is about comprehending how the war changed the present day and how some conflicts between countries came to be. War is insanity, it is madness, but regardless it is in our history. Just because the past is painful doesn’t mean it should be ignored; while I don’t think the rationale for war ever seems warranted, it’s important we know the history that shaped today. War disregards the significance of human life and shows the extremes people are willing to go to because of national pride, but studying and learning about these events is our best defense against this happening again.

    eac
    Boston, Massachusetts, US
    Posts: 21

    The Insanity that was World War I

    1. World War 1 had the same causes behind it as many other previous European wars, each country wanted to take revenge for past wrongs, or to further project their power in the age of imperialism. This wasn't really a war of ideology, as World War 2 was. There was little necessity to the conflict, there was no real threat by the Black Hand, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was blind luck. There was no risk faced by the large majority of European nations. World War 1 had some significant consequences though, most just not in western Europe or the US, which is where the focus usually is. The entire landscape of Eastern Europe shifted, the rise of the Soviet Union, formation of Yugoslavia, freeing the Baltic States, the deconstruction of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, the formation of the modern Turkish state, as well as strengthening even further the might of Japan, the Ottoman genocides were the basis that Hitler build the Holocaust off of, there was a technological revolution, and putting the pieces in place for the Great Depression and the Second World War. This war lost many lives and a ton of money, but the ideals that led to the war were weakened, but not killed. Imperialism would only die after World War 2, after colonies got roped into outside conflict again, like was mentioned in the interactive documentary. European bickering arguably continues to this day. World War One mattered because it set the stage for the fast-paced century to follow.

    2. The lessons that should be learned from WW1 is that as tempting as it may be to join an outside war to further the geopolitical goals of your nation, wars are messy and costly. One would never know whether a war would be quick and relatively painless (like the Franco-Prussian war), or a slog that leaves millions dead, like World War 1. This is why I believe that NATO should stay out of open conflict with Russia for as long as possible, because we might end up in another useless stagnant mess of a war.

    3. Some aspects of the world were very different. Eastern Europe and the Middle East were changed drastically. The Soviet Union and Turkey replaced their old imperial states, but there was a new rising imperial power in Japan. War modernized to an incredible degree, the picture gallery shows how different technology was after the war than it was previously. However, WW1 began a transition period that lasted until a short while after WW2, the decline of imperialism. I don't believe it was that swift of a shift from one era to another.

    4. It's important to understand World War One because it shows military alliances at their worst, when instead of preventing conflict, they spread it. Situations similar to WW1 have occurred both before and after, one of the most glaring recent examples is the Second Congo War. However, the first World War is the most glaring example of this. As we enter perhaps a new stage of conflict, it's important to take the lessons we learned from the Great War, and apply them where needed.

    dinonuggets
    Boston, MA, US
    Posts: 27

    World War I

    World War I was an accident waiting to happen. The rigid alliance system in Europe made it prone to conflict and competing nationalism was fueling the fire. The assassination of the Archduke of Austria-Hungary pushed all of this tension to the limit. In “5 Things You Need To Know About The First World War,” it was stated that 30 nations declared war between 1914 and 1918, so it was truly a global war. For some governments, war was an opportunity for national unity while for others, it was a chance for gaining territory and claiming power. World War I resulted in shifts of territory and the destabilization of Europe. Another result, as mentioned by the video timeline, was the push by colonized peoples to gain independence. The total number of soldiers who fought in the war was around 65 million, and about 8.5 million troops died. In addition, attacks on civilians were common and around 13 million were killed. The methods of warfare were horrific - toxic chemicals were used for the first time and technology such as flamethrowers, airplanes, tanks, and heavy artillery caused unprecedented destruction. It is hard to comprehend the sheer extent of the atrocities committed and loss of life during World War I.


    World War I shows us that so much can be lost for such little gain. The most significant aspect of this is the total amount of deaths as a result of the war. Even though this war was so horrific, another world war occurred so soon after and the thirst for power and territory persisted. One lesson that can be learned is that war is not an immediate solution to an issue, it in fact causes further destruction and conflict. The film “They Shall Not Grow Old” was extremely moving because all of the narration came from the words of veterans and all of the footage was real. With such wide-scale conflict, soldiers often didn’t know what they were fighting for, and the film conveyed the thoughts of those soldiers. The movie “1917” also showed the toll trench warfare took on troops and just how isolating it was. Millions of people were shoved into this war, including citizens from colonial empires, and the loss of life was not worth the outcome of the war. Another takeaway is that alliances result in messy and complicated conflicts.


    I don’t know what it was like to live through the war and the period afterwards, but the pain and anger must have been unimaginable. The extent of World War I affected everybody. Afterwards, troops from British colonies in Asia and Africa returned home. The video timeline talked about how many Indians were more aware of their relationship with the British and the war ultimately sparked independence movements that would take place over the following decades. Following World War II, even more colonies fought for their independence. I would agree that the world was a different place after the first world war. The scale of death and destruction was unheard of. There was also a shift in nations’ power and stability, which paved the way for even more conflict.


    It is important to learn about this war to remember the lives lost, and how these millions of troops were often just dragged in by their countries. The photographs in the Atlantic article are extremely moving and they capture the intensity and emotion of the war and the people experiencing it. World War I shaped so many of the following power dynamics and events that bring us to our present day situation.

    dancingsnail
    Boston, MA, US
    Posts: 24

    The Insanity that was World War I

    A 19 year old Serbian nationalist triggered one of the most devastating wars in world history. It seems absurd that one action from someone so young could cause a change of reactions resulting in nearly 16 millions deaths. WWI mobilized entire countries and empires revealing a degree of imperial competition, as European nations threw every power and resource they had against each other. The point of the war differs depending on what perspective you’re analyzing. The Guardian guide to the first world war states that Germany was “dissatisfied with modernization,” not yet unified and saw itself as encircled by the enemy which made them more willing to go to war. From that perspective maybe it was a quest to uplift their standing on the world stage and conquer land they believed was rightfully theirs. According to the WWI in Photos introduction the Ultimate goal of the Serbian nationalist that assassinated the heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne was the creation of a Serbian nation. So to the Serbians it was a war to fight for their autonomy. Belgium was essentially forced into the war by Germany, who threatened to declare war on them if Belgium did not grant them passage through their country to France. To Belgium, who attempted to declare neutrality the war would seem completely pointless, since they never wished to be involved in the first place (although it is important to note that doesn’t mean the government wasn’t capable of committing atrocities as seen in the Kongo). This information was provided alongside Picture 7, in the Atlantic article, depicting Belgian soldiers with their rifles attached to bicycles. Those two items coming together seem strange as a bicycle is usually a symbol of childhood, while in this image it has turned into a tool for war. As the bicycle was forced to serve a function it was never meant to, Belgium was forced into this war. At this point Britain was one of the largest imperial powers in the world, controlling millions of people they could force into WWI. To them the war was an effort to “protect Belgium” but mainly prevent Germany from extending their power over western Europe as well as in Africa, making it a competition between imperial powers.To the colonized nations under countries such as Britain, being a part of the war was another way imperial powers stripped them of their autonomy, but it was also an opportunity to gain civil rights. Of course this wasn’t a guarantee, but the perspective of possibly gaining independence for their people may have been part of “the point” of the war from their perspective. For the most part those were the perspectives of the nation's governments, not the people on the front lines. Seeing the pictures in the Atlantic article and reading their context frames the war on the front lines as one with little progress with pointless death, “you don’t want them to be dead for nothing.” Hundreds of thousands of people died without any territorial advances. Picture 12 shows the front in France, an example where armies were sometimes only yards apart from each other, with neither side making significant progress, making the war itself, not just the idea of it, appear pointless. In both the United States and Europe propaganda campaigns may have convinced people not on the front lines that the way had a deeper purpose by demonizing entire nations and peoples to create an enemy worth defeating.


    Territorially one could say that the Allies gained land which was to their benefit, but not to the benefit of the people that lived on the territory they acquired. The only people that may have only initially gained anything from the war was the US government and some American people. Any advantages those groups gained would quickly be lost in the beginning of the Great Depression, so one could argue that nothing was gained from the war. The US emerged from WWI as a global power and both the other Allied nations and the Central powers owed a ridiculous amount of money to the US. The system the US put in place to help European countries pay their debt would be one of the main factors leading to the Great Depression, so the initial economic boom following the war in the United States would be followed by a decade of devastating poverty. One could argue that women in patriarchal countries across the globe gained importance in their societies as they were tasked with upholding the industrial industry and their homes while men were away at war. However, once again during the Great Depression in the United States women were told to stay out of the workplace in order to provide jobs for men, stunting the journey to equality. While South Africa gained its independence from Britain following the war, the country was still governed by an elite, white ruling class that established a system called apartheid, a harsh system of racial segregation that offered no improvement in the way Africans were treated in their own country.


    The most clear loss of the war is the staggering number of people, both soldiers and civilians that died. According to World War One in Numbers 8.5 millions troops were killed and 21 million were wounded. 2 million soldiers/airmen died from disease, malnutrition or other health conditions triggered by the war. 13 millions civilians were killed. The Firsts of the World War describes it as “a war against the people.” Militaries on both sides were committing atrocities against civilians, which became increasingly common as nations attempted to break home morals. Countries were left without significant parts of their male populations. According to the Guardian guide to the first world war 1 in 6 British families had an immediate male relative that died in the war. For those who survived the injuries and psychological effects they were left with would last for the rest of their lives and hover over their generation and generations to come. Germany lost all its colonies and Russia gave up some of its land and the world went deeply into debt, but those losses do not compare to the loss of human life. Those people matter, they aren’t just numbers we read about in a textbook, we have to remember that. They were real men and young boys (some even as young as 12) whose lives were cut short because of obscure political alliances. From the movie we watched in class we know these soldiers carried pieces of their loved ones with them everywhere they went, their loved ones that lost a piece of themselves when these men died. It matters because 4 million non-white people were forced to fight and lose their lives in a white man’s pointless war, never having the chance to see their own people gain independence.


    There are so many lessons that could be learned from WWI. It seems as though at the time the world learned the wrong lessons from the war as it was followed by WWII and imperial countries didn’t seem to see the problem with their actions. Maybe a lesson they could’ve learned was that family ties within monarchies wasn’t enough to keep war at bay, as seen in the second picture in the Atlantic article where cousins were pictured together 4 years before they would go to war with each other. I can’t decide whether the world should have no hope in humanity because of the ways governments functioned without care for human life, or have some hope in the way soldiers on the front lines managed to hold on to their humanity. In picture 32, German soldiers dug graves for French soldiers honoring them for their bravery, in picture 7 men risked their lives to try and save one person, picture 11 is of the Christmas truce, when a ceasefire was declared and the Allies and Central Powers interacted without animosity. Maybe the lesson we can learn is that joy is possible in the most bleak situations and those far removed from conflict will never truly understand its consequences or regret them. I believe it must have been WWII that taught the world how not to repeat the same mistakes, as a second world war following the first one doesn’t exactly show growth.


    The world before WWI is a different one than the world afterwards, particularly in terms of war technology and medical advances. WWI was the “first war fought on land, air, and sea.” It was also an industrialized war where machines dominated the battlefield and humans seemed to have no true power over the direction of the war. It included the first air attacks on British civilians, the first major use of poison gas, the first widespread use of flamethrowers and the first dedicated camouflage units. While chemical warfare was declared a war crime, much of the other technology used during WWI has led directly to the military technology used today. In terms of medical advances this was the first major conflict where British deaths in battle outnumbers deaths caused by disease. This war included the first large-scale use of triage by British forces which may have allowed them to save more people. The war also introduced British women into military service for the first time, ravaged the world economy and led to the first widespread recognition of shell shock or PTSD from war.


    It’s important to understand WWI to remember the millions of people who died, teach the world lessons and to understand modern conflicts. Yes, war may equal insanity, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore that it happens, is happening now and will likely never stop. Once again it’s too easy to let people who died in war just become statistics we take notes on and that is unacceptable. To truly prevent the world from repeating its mistakes we all must take a closer look at the people who truly paid the price of the war, not just the government’s decisions. Only when we see ourselves and our communities in the people who fought in a world conflict such as this one will we be able to reach the depth needed to prevent repetition. We also need to follow the lives of those who survived to understand the effects of generational trauma and its current impacts on our society, as well as understanding that the consequences of war don’t finish when a peace treaty is signed. In terms of modern conflict the consequences of WWI are still present in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, so to truly understand it and the struggle of the Ukrainian people WWI must be studied.

    etherealfrog
    Boston, Massachusetts , US
    Posts: 27

    The Insanity that was World War 1

    I don’t believe that there was ever a real point to World War I, not that there ever really is a point to war, but especially this war. World War I was the result of built-up global tension without any actual meaning to it. Because of these tensions, something was bound to happen at some point, but that does not justify the cost of the war by any means. Millions of people died, millions more were wounded, and the psychological impact of the war on those affected by it would last their entire lives— for example, the article “Firsts of the First World War” mentioned that the term “shell shocked” comes from the psychological effects of being exposed to explosions in the war. As “Five Things You Need To Know About The First World War” said, many innovations were made because of the war, but at a great cost to the world. These innovations were used for destruction and killing.


    I think the biggest lesson the world learned (and still needs to remember) from WWI is that war should not be used to settle conflicts. The first world war was known as “the war to end all wars”, which was clearly not what happened, but this phrase does serve as a reminder of how deadly the war was, and why we should never let it happen again.


    I believe the world underwent a major change over the course of WWI. It’s striking how the attitude towards the war at the beginning versus the end was so different. “World War 1 in Numbers” stated that children as young as 12 were enlisting to fight in the army, but images from “World War 1 in Photos” show destruction, death, and technological innovations that had never been seen before that were being used to make war even more deadly, like airplanes and gas. This was also more global than anything the world had seen before. An interactive on The Guardian (“The First World War: The Study of a Global Conflict”) showed the way the war spread to all parts of the globe. A war of this scale and global significance would not have been possible before WWI. Because of these things, people did not realize how brutal war could be before WWI, and their view of war would likely never be the same after.


    It is important to learn about World War 1 because of the impact it had on the world. The number of deaths, the amount of trauma, and the way it impacted history in general (for example, World War II was a result of the end of World War I). You cannot understand the present without understanding what led up to the present, and so much of our modern world might be very different if it were not for WWI. It is also important to understand why WWI was so deadly and why we should not let anything like it happen again.

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