World War I stayed a regional conflict until 1917. Although the entire world felt like it was at war for that final two years, the social effects of the conflict continue to impact society.
WWI led governments to introduce conscription. It changed how women were thought of in society. The conflict encouraged people to get more involved in the politics of their communities.
WWI’s significant casualties also created times of national mourning for all nations in the world.
What Were the Consequences of WWI?
The battles of WWI caused more damage than any other conflict in history. Over 9 million people died, with Germany and Russia suffering the most losses.
The fighting entirely destroyed some areas of Belgium and France. Gun shells, chemicals, and more made some of the farmland unusable for decades. We are still finding unexploded ordinance from the battle in some communities.
Most countries had to raise taxes because of the cost of the conflict. Great Britain spent about 60% of the funds its economy produced. It became so desperate that some nations printed money, causing inflation to skyrocket.
The war also ended four monarchies in its aftermath. Rulers in Austria, Germany, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire all stepped down, reshaping Europe into different social and cultural borders.
What Happened Socially After WWI?
Birth rates went down dramatically across Europe after WWI because of the number of young men who were killed in the conflict. Civilians who lost their homes to the fighting fled to other nations, including the United States, to start life over.
Women started replacing men in many of the factories producing goods all over the world. Their contributions helped to set the stage to give them the right to vote for the first time. The wealthy lost their influence to the middle and lower class families who experienced significant losses because of the war.
Some of the social changes after WWI would lead to the fanaticism that would eventually start WWII. This era of conflict would subsequently bring us some of the most sustained peace the world has ever experienced.
It is up to all of us to ensure that we can continue to live in peace.