The biggest change that World War 1 brought was the redrawing/collapse of empires and countries in Eastern Europe, mostly the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. But other than new countries being made and/or existing countries getting smaller or bigger, there was no point to the war. Some peoples in those redrawn countries earned some independence from their existing empires, but there was no gain. After bloody battles, little to no territory was captured and the soldiers didn’t advance at all. The “war to end all wars” was pointless with no gains and the loss of millions of soldiers and civilians’ lives. The war only began because of heightened political tensions. Unlike other wars, like World War 2 and, most recently, the Ukrainian War, where they are started by some invasion of another country, WW1 was started by some extremist killing the heir of a government. (You would think that it would be an Austro-Hungarian and Serbian problem, but the whole world decided to join in.)
We should learn that war and violence are never the answer to problems, especially smaller ones. Instead, we should encourage politicians and other leaders to figure out more peaceful solutions to issues and disagreements. The devastation of the environment and the deaths of millions of people is not worth a small, petty disagreement between countries and ideologies. If aggression hadn’t been used and hadn’t provoked the war, all those deaths and all the wounded people would have lived out their lives happily without knowing the hardships of war, the trauma, the destruction, and the terrible trenches. At the time, the world learned about the negative effects of technology and the destruction it could bring. The invention of new weapons and new strategies (trenches, machine guns, tanks, etc) brought about so much more death and destruction which ended up meaning nothing since neither side ever advanced any significant amount, if they advanced at all.
The world before World War 1 was significantly different from the world post-ww1. Other than the basic geographic change in Europe and 8.5 million people that died (excluding civilians who were severely targeted), there was a shift in the way people talked and thought about war and death. Unlike in the past, people have become more aware of the dangers of war (even though political leaders continue to engage in them) and teaching about wars has become more integrated into society. Schools, media, and places of worship have discussed war and its traumatic effects - apart from the countless war memorials all around the world. Even Remembrance Sunday has become a tradition to honor the dead and remember how damaging war can be. It’s important that history doesn’t repeat itself, especially the bad and ugly parts of it like war, but to not repeat it, we need to learn it. Learning about the Great War helps us know how small arguments can lead to huge conflicts that can forever change the world and result in millions of pointless deaths. In the film we watched in class, soldiers were so happy and also too excited to be part of the war effort, so much so that they often lied about their ages just to get in. But once they were deployed, they felt very differently and, even though most said they didn’t regret their service, they were not excited about the war anymore. The destruction and both psychological and physical damages done to soldiers and civilians is not
worth any war.