- World War I was truly pointless, the whole “point” of the war was to prove who was the most powerful. The central and allied powers continued sending troops to die in the war when there was no progression toward their goal, since there was not one. They were fighting for no reason but the fact that they could. One ‘positive’ thing that came from WWI was that the U.S. was able to establish itself as a global power. Many homes were destroyed and many lives were lost in this pointless war.
- An important lesson that WWI taught the world was to exhaust diplomacy before using force. If these countries had simply tried to resolve whatever issues they had so many lives wouldn’t have been lost for no reason. And this war also showed how cruel human beings can be to each other just because they have the power to.
- I agree with those people because this was the first global war, the first war to this capacity/extent that resulted in mass tragedy. There was definitely a spark in advancements in technology. And the United States became recognized as a global superpower.
- It’s important to learn about history so that we do not make the same mistakes. WWI is an example of the dangers of militarism, greed, and imperialism. The government should treat all its people like human beings and with respect.
World War 1 was the first real war in a new age of globalism and expansion. Never before had the whole world been so connected and constantly in touch with one another, and this factor allowed each country to forge alliances that were completely different and new than anything else before it. A European war, however, was not new. People had been fighting different wars in Europe since people had lived there, but the combination of these new alliances and new advanced war technologies combined together to make this war an actual World War. In any other time period before, an assassinated duke would cause conflict, sure, maybe even war. But in no way would it affect even as close as many people that WW1 affected. Because of this, there really isn’t a reason, as the simple reason that people were fighting in this war was because of other people that were fighting, who were only there because other people were fighting. At that point in time, nobody really understood what would happen if a war at this scale was started, and because of this, people just walked into it, thinking that it would be similar to every other European war. They would fight for a while, eventually one side would win, sure there would be casualties, but it wouldn’t be massive. However, this proved to be wrong, and the scale of the war exponentially increased until it covered the globe, again thanks to the imperialistic natures of the countries involved. According to the BBC article, 65 million people fought in this war. This really shows the scale of this war, the population of a small country actually fought in this war. Of all these people that fought, around 9 million died in battle, with another 2 million dying from disease, alongside 13 million civilians who were killed. This is really the outcome of the war. There were large political and economical actions that changed the world that came right from this war. However, nothing can be more impactful than the millions of people that were killed in this war, and even the 20 million soldiers that were injured.
This war taught the lesson that any ‘global’ war will always be bad, the outcome will always be negative, no matter who wins, no matter who loses. While this lesson was straight up ignored a few decades later, it still stays strong, as no ‘world’ war has broken out after WW2. WW2 itself was more necessary, and actually required intervention, while WW1 had almost no reason to exist in the context of the states involved. While much of foreign policy has moved away from the lessons learned from WW1 and moved more towards nuclear annihilation between world superpowers today, many of the lessons still stay the same.
There is definitely a different world before and after WW1, as it really changed the world. It changed it in many ways, politically, economically and socially, with massive amounts of people going off to war and dying from each country, causing the wartime economy to change drastically. For the US, this caused many women to enter the workforce, and drastically changed the political landscape, as the US really did not want to enter WW2 because of the memory they had of WW1. This also really changed Europe, cutting it up into many different countries as Germany was broken up into smaller parts, and setting into action many of the causes of WW2. With this war being one of production, this also massively increased industrialization in many different countries, as they had to scale up their armies to be able to supply their soldiers with the weapons and bombs required by the war. They also invented many different weapons to use during the war, most famous probably being gas weapons and tanks. These weapons just served to elongate the war, killing more people, and just adding more suffering and pain to an already terrible event. Generally, WW1 changed not only the way that people fought war, but also how they thought about the world in general.
Finally, it is important to learn and discuss WW1 because understanding it allows us to not repeat ourselves. When WW1 began, people didn’t understand what was going on, or what they were fighting for, but they continued to fight. Whether it was because of patriotism or because they just needed something to do, millions of people walked into a war to their deaths for literally no reason. Understanding that is incredibly important, as it will make sure that we never go into another war for literally no reason.
The Great War and its Lessons
WW1 was essentially a more modern version of medieval warfare between two kingdoms vying for the same territory. It served to set the hierarchy of power in the continent and by extent the territories controlled by those empires around the world. The whole point was to have whichever country came out victorious strut around as the dominant nation on the continent. In reality very little was gained, many of the countries in Europe had their economies severely weakened by the war, some new countries were formed and small amounts of territory were ceded. In general, no country came out on top and most lost in some way, ranging from loss of life and economic prosperity, to territory and societal destabilization. The war matters because it was a hard reality check for any nation wishing to engage in a war. The rapid advancements in firearms and military technology made former warfare that was commonplace in Europe obsolete. Most wars previous to WW1 had rarely had more than a month of sustained combat. This war had active combat nonstop for over 4 years, with a loss of life unlike anything ever before seen. The most casualty causing war before was the Mediterranean war of 1470-1574 with almost a million deaths. In the span of 4 years, WW1 amassed 20 million deaths between civilian and military casualties. It was destruction we had never thought possible and redefined what warfare in a modern age would look like.
The lessons that should be taken from that war, especially at the time was the petty territory disputes should no longer have been solved with war, as the costs and casualties of the war would far outweigh any possible gains from winning. It also showed how far science had advanced to make war even more dangerous and horrible for soldiers. After the first world war, the Geneva Convention of 1925 outlawed use of many advancements made in the war, mainly on the subject of chemical weapons which were considered too inhumane for combat use.
There was a very real divide of pre and post WW1. It established a few select nations as the most powerful forces on the planet, and as previously mentioned, made any previous conceptions about war obsolete. The idea that war could be a merry, patriotic event that may result in some death but would be over with quickly was completely destroyed. It went from a noble, heroic thing to fantasize about to a horror that most civilians would be unable to truly comprehend. It also sparked a race for the advancement of military technology for a nation to establish itself as the regional powerhouse.
It is important to understand WW1 as a war that irreversibly changed societies view on war, that showed that countries could no longer rush into war over small disputes and would instead have to work with one another and negotiate. Up to that point was the largest and most devastating war the world had seen, leaving scars worldwide that would last to this very day, as a harsh reminder for the horror of war.
What was the point of WWI? It doesn’t make much sense to say that the most powerful nations at the time partook in a world war because a Serbian citizen assassinated the future ruler of Austria-Hungary and his beloved wife. But still, the prospects of war were glamorized, and many were more than happy to prove their loyalty and patriotism to their country and to be decorated as a war hero when they came back. Even children, 12-year-olds, pretended to be adults to fight in this war. Men thought that if they came out of war successfully, they would be the most attractive, wealthy, and respected guy in town, or as many teenagers would say today, “W rizz.” Nations wanted to flaunt their wealth and power, making war the perfect instance to do so. Nations fought with an us vs. them mindset, and just like sports are fun or even gaming, people went in thinking that war might be fun. Join the war! You’ll get to hold a rifle, have cool grenades, and all this power in your hands, maybe even the fate of other’s lives. But mind, there will be risky consequences if you make a mistake, the worst being your life.
In summary, there was no point to WWI, and on top of the countless soldiers who lost their lives for this war, 13 million civilians were killed. If there was anything gained from war, it would be the understanding that war is not glamorous; it is not a game and real people’s lives are involved. In addition, many soldiers who came out of war gained trauma, especially PTSD, from the horrors of humanity in the fronts which they carried with them back home. At the expense of such a war, environments were damaged with the dirt and rubbish, much like the spirits of soldiers who lost belief in their country and in themselves, fighting a war that does not have a defined purpose. When Serbian civilians were executed in Austria-Hungary and entire villages bombed, we’re left to ask, “but why?”
Despite how pointless the war itself was, WWI did matter. It set a precedent for future wars, being the first war that took place on land, sea and air. Serious innovations were also produced during WWI such as the tank, which would forever change warfare with its deadly potential to mass-kill. Also, because this war did not have a clear and cut out purpose, the fact that it is one of the deadliest wars in history is a question to human motivations. How effective is the bandwagon appeal if everybody around you wants to partake in war? And what did the soldiers think they were fighting for? On the battlefield, soldiers stepped on the dead bodies of soldiers, took items from these same soldiers to keep themselves alive, and even after seeing their comrades die, still continued to fight the war, either out of vengeance or fear.
If there is one thing we should learn from this war, it should be that war shouldn’t be taken lightly or established without a good reason. From WWI, we learn that even without a clear purpose, people will feel inclined to participate in it because of perceived promises of fame, the bandwagon, or for a better life. Even so, war is traumatic; people lose their lives and the lives of loved ones from war, and the pride and state of a country is dependent upon the war and its outcome. But war is a necessarily evil. Ukraine, including its cultures and sovereignty would not be here if they did not fight back Russia in the Russian-Ukraine war. Therefore, governments and leaders should make wise choices and to consider if war is really necessary, or if there is a better method to go about things.
The world before WWI and after did change quite drastically. WWI was impactful. It’s not a coincidence and almost every town in America has a memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in war, and the U.S. didn’t even suffer than much compared with other nations. There was a lot of new literature and art that stemmed from war and from trauma, especially anti-war rhetoric that changed the scheme of creativity. In addition, the war devastated the economies of all nations who participated, hindering them back from using that money, perhaps in better ways. The new technology used in WWI warfare, including the flamethrower, helicopters, and the tank, would later be used in subsequent wars that follow.
We learn about history so that we don’t repeat it. This is the same for WWI—if we understand why and how WWI happened, it will prevent something as horrible from happening again. WWI is psychologically perplexing—it brings in a lot of questions about humanity. What sort of role did pressure (both the soldier and nations) play into participation? How about toxic masculinity, or the blind patriotism to take part in war? WWI is not as easy to understand as it sounds, and even if one might not agree with the integrity of WWI or its pointless reasons now, in a citizen’s position back in the day, would you feel inclined to participate in the war? Analyzing and understanding nations’ decisions to choose war despite its lack of meaning shows how nations can neglect the detriments of war for the worldly desires to display and boast about power.