I believe that there was no point to this war. No matter how many times I am taught in class or a friend tries to explain it, I can’t for the life of me understand the point of all this needless bloodshed. Yes, the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was assassinated, but was that really worth the death of “8.5 million troops” and “13 million civilian” deaths (World War One in numbers)? I would say no. The war was stupid and the result of a domino effect of alliances. Instead of sending diplomats to speak with each other like any rational country or world leader would, 30+ nations joined the war.
Nothing worthwhile was gained in the war. Sure we had technological advancements, but they were all used to kill other human beings. The Allies and the Central Powers both wanted to “gain an advantage over the other” through their weaponry (5 Things You Need To Know About The First World War). Trenches, machine guns, poison gas, weaponized planes, barbed wire, tanks, flamethrowers, mines, bombs, bombs, bombs. All of these weapons were invented or popularized in this war. By 1918, “4 million rifles, 250,000 machine guns, 52,000 aeroplanes, 2,800 tanks, 25,000 artillery pieces and over 170 million rounds of artillery shells” were produced (5 Things You Need To Know About The First World War). Although they helped to further technological innovation and were impressive feats, I don’t believe that they are particularly worth celebrating. They claimed the lives of so many people, so many innocent souls with futures and lives. That’s why these innovations matter. We must recognize that although we gained advanced weaponry, we lost our humanity.
World War 1 serves as a reminder of how pointless and terrible war can be. As nations, we learned how to create advanced weaponry, battle strategies, total war, psychological warfare, chemical warfare, and more. But the most significant thing that we learned was how to destroy our morals. What this war should have taught countries and has taught me is the importance of diplomacy. After watching various films in class and “All Quiet on the Western Front,” I have seen firsthand the resulting casualties of war. It is gut-wrenching, bloody, and horrendous. We know that even though you had to be 18 years old to enlist, boys as young as 12 joined the army. Instead of vetting ages properly, recruiters encouraged young boys to lie about their ages. They specifically sought out these eager children, tricked, and pressured them into joining the army. They did not care for their lives or their futures. To recruiters, soldiers were expendable---replaceable. It was utterly disgusting. What we all should have learned from these senseless deaths was how to put down our weapons. Why should you fight for the sake of fighting? For the sake of appearances? Why should you sacrifice lives for the sake of your own patriotic pride? There. Is. No. Reason.
The world was completely devastated by World War 1. What began as a way for certain countries to claim glory and others to defend their allies, ended in heartache. After WW1 finished, many people’s views changed. The public no longer supported the war because of how it completely destroyed countries. The increasing psychological effects of the war caused a widespread recognition of shell shock in the medical industry. Furthermore, economies were depleted and societal norms changed. For example, British women were allowed to work in the army. By the end of the war, attitudes surrounding gender and class completely changed. This “led to the collapse of the Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman Empires” (5 Things You Need To Know About The First World War). Countries, like Britain, memorialized the final day of the war.
Although these all exemplify ways that WW1 changed the world, it does not recognize the bigger picture. Ultimately, WW1 rewrote changed the world forever because it destroyed everything in its path. Millions died, leaving families destroyed and people without loved ones. The world was grim and people lost hope. The war left societies to piece themselves back together and collect their fragmented humanity. As a result, no one would ever view war the same again.
WW1 is important to learn about because we cannot forget the innocent lives lost. Remembering WW1 helps future generations to learn from past mistakes. I never want to see something like this happen again.