DEVELOPMENTS THAT CONSTITUTE MOST SIGNIFICANT IMPACT OF WW1
Treaty of Versailles. The demands by the Allies for Germany accepting responsibility for causing the war (war guilt clause) and in particular France’s attempt to destroy Germany (economically and territorially) rather than follow the fairer Wilson’s ’14 Points’ agreed by Germany at the armistice paved the way for discontentment, social unrest and eventually created a political vacuum filled by right wing extremists. The fact that Germany was neither pacified or conciliated nor permanently weakened inevitably proved to be a contributing factor to the outbreak of World War 2. The Influenza Epidemic. The disease originated and thrived from troops living in close quarters through massive troop movements and soldiers weakened immune systems due to malnutrition and the stresses of combat. It has, however, often been overlooked due to the media focus at the time being primarily centred on the death toll/casualties from the war (16 million deaths, 37 million casualties); in fact the Influenza epidemic of 1918 had a significant if not greater impact on the world in terms of mortality (20-50 million deaths with a third of the world infected). Unlike the war which in essence was a European civil conflict, the ‘greatest medical holocaust in history’ had due to improved transportation systems promoting increased travel, a more widespread impact globally being able to touch, and in many cases decimate, far flung communities previously unaffected by the war. The League of Nations. During and in the immediate aftermath of the ‘war to end all wars’ The creation of the League of Nations in 1919/20 acted as the deterrent to any future major conflict and as an organisation of nations for the purpose of guaranteeing political independence and territorial integrity to all nations. Morally and as is clearly evident in 1945 with the advent of its successor, the UN, one would struggle to justify challenging the League’s...
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