Impact of World War I - Civil Services Preparation Online! UPSC & IAS Study Material

Impact of World War I

by Devender

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The war did weaken Germany but only for some time. Some clauses that were signed in the peace treaty were impossible to follow like the huge payments as compensation for war and disarmament of the army. Germany soon started building itself back with the help of Russians, they also said no to payments towards war reparations

Impact of World War I

  • The Treaty of Versailles
  • The peace treaty had a lot of impact on not only Germans but also on other nations.

  • It only grew resentment and national rivalries which ended in World War II
  • It divided Europe into two groups, one who was happy with the peace treaty and the other who wanted to revise it
  • US didn't confirm the peace settlements and never joined the League of Nations as the public before long censured Wilson and US returned to the Policy of Isolation to forestall any military commitment in future
  • Italy felt cheated as it didn't get all the territory that was promised to it before joining the war
  • Russia became communist
  • World War I became the reason for revolts in Russia, the Bolsheviks revolution rises, they were against the participation of Russia in war as it brought a lot of economic burden on the general population.

  • There were two phases of the Russian Revolution that took place in 1917:
  • 1 In the first phase that was February Revolution, Army mutiny and Civil disorder overthrew the Czar and a new provisional government was set up. Although it also failed to stand on its promise of elections.

    2 Lenin returns to Russia with the help of Germans and started October Revolution which overthrew the Provisional Government.

  • After this, the Bolsheviks under the leadership of Lenin came to power
  • Russia signed a new and separate peace treaty with Germany in 1917
  • This Treaty was very harsh on Russians
  • It was also used against Germany when they raised complain against the Treaty of Versailles

  • Rise of USA

After World War I, US became a hegemonic power and came up as the true winner of the World War. To understand how USA achieved this, you need to know why it entered the war at first.

Why US enter the World War:

There were basically three big reasons for that affected US to enter the war.

1 German army started targeting every vessel in the Atlantic even if it was American.

2 The Zimmerman plan, a plan by German diplomat Zimmerman that persuaded Mexico to attack US changed the mindset of US people to enter the war.

3 US was reluctant to enter war siding Russian Czar. So after his fall, America entered the war.

How America came up as the ultimate Winner of World War I:

America was one of the leading industrial economies before even the war started but after it, US arrived on the world stage as a global power. The reasons behind it are:

  • War was not fought on American soil so no damage to their country's infrastructure
  • Soon after the entrance of US into war, the war ended thus, minimal soldiers were harmed unlike Europeans
  • US made a lot of money from the war by selling arms and providing loans to different countries
  • The US President Woodrow Wilson played a major role in the Treaty of Versailles which shows the US stature during and after the war.


  • Impact on Imperialism:
  • Even after World War I, Imperialism continued but took a new form. The German colonies were converted into Mandates which were handed over to Victors to prepare them for independence in the future.

    Britishers got German Colonies in Africa while Ottoman Empire's territories were distributed among France and Britain. These Mandates were only names, these territories were treated the same as their colonies by the victors.


  • Introduction of new Weapons:
  • Many new weapons were firstly used in world War. Barbed wires, Machine guns, tanks, poisonous gas and shelling were used to a great extent. One of the impacts that it created was it pushed the world away from peace and the use of much more advanced weapons in future wars.


  • Impact on People's Outlook:
  • The war did change the outlook of many people towards war. Before World War I, war was seen as glorious and everybody loved reading about it but after this war, everything changed.

  • The high civilian causalities caused many thinkers to condemn war.
  • Writers began to write wars as inhumane
  • Many viewed world war as a tragedy as it accomplished and lost a lot
  • Most people thought this war only laid grounds for world war II

  • Other Impacts:
  • Russia didn't get much from the peace treaty as they were not invited in it
  • European economy suffered and nations became dependent on loans from US
  • The Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary were both disintegrated
  • A League of Nations was formed to keep world peace and for social work



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