Colonial Empires after World War 1
WWI was the beginning of the end for colonialism. European powers like Britain and France pulled their colonies into the war, along with countries like German who added in harder labor; eventually this lead to the surge of anti-colonialism.
The First World War saw the colonial empires of France and Britain mobilised to aid European and imperial war efforts. This mobilisation and the difficulties of demobilisation placed considerable strain on imperial systems which were only partly addressed through post-war reforms. The Great War also unleashed an unprecedented ideological challenge to colonial rule embodied in the ideas of Woodrow Wilson which took form through the mandatory system. Although there were some restrictions placed on the activities of the colonial powers, both Britain and France maintained their imperial rule, often violently suppressing anti-colonial nationalist challenges.
Many African Countries Were Involved With the War
A common misconception is the war mainly consisted of European powers, but a large amount of African countries were involved as well. Often against their will, due to being under colonial rule.
The First World War gave rise to a crucial change in the relationship between Europe and Africa. Over two million people in Africa made huge sacrifices for the European Allies. 100,000 men died in East Africa and 65,000 men from French North Africa and French West Africa lost their lives.
Let us not forget that this wasn’t a mutual relationship and the Brits forced many African countries into the war. In addition the name ‘French’ North/West Africa being an insult.
Henry Tandey Spares Hitler’s Life
Allegedly private Henry Tandey of the British army spared Hitler’s life when he took aim. Years later, his home would be destroyed by German Luftwaffe.
“That man came so near to killing me that I thought I should never see Germany again,” Hitler is alleged to have said.
“Providence saved me from such devilish accurate fire as those English boys were aiming at us.”
The Treaty of Versailles
The Versailles Treaty, signed on June 28, 1919, was the peace settlement between Germany and the Allied Powers that officially ended World War I. However, the conditions in the treaty were so punitive upon Germany that many believe the Versailles Treaty laid the groundwork for the eventual rise of Nazis in Germany and the eruption of World War II
World War 1 | Modern Warfare
French Troops at the start of the war went into battle wearing traditional, brightly colored uniforms. The world at that point hadn’t experience modern warfare which consisted of trench fighting, sub-machine guns, tanks, and airplanes.
When Europe’s armies first marched to war in 1914, some were still carrying lances on horseback. By the end of the war, rapid-fire guns, aerial bombardment, armored vehicle attacks, and chemical weapon deployments were commonplace. Any romantic notion of warfare was bluntly shoved aside by the advent of chlorine gas, massive explosive shells that could have been fired from more than 20 miles away, and machine guns that spat out bullets like firehoses. Each side did its best to build on existing technology, or invent new methods, hoping to gain any advantage over the enemy. Massive listening devices gave them ears in the sky, armored vehicles made them impervious to small arms fire, tanks could (most of the time) cruise right over barbed wire and trenches, telephones and heliographs let them speak across vast distances, and airplanes gave them new platforms to rain death on each other from above. New scientific work resulted in more lethal explosives, new tactics made old offensive methods obsolete, and mass-produced killing machines made soldiers both more powerful and more vulnerable.
The War Could Have Been Avoided | What If’s
The greatest irony of WWI was that none of the key decision-makers wanted it to happen (and death wish or no, neither did most ordinary people). Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II prided himself on his reputation as peacekeeper and frantically tried to avert WWI at the last minute. Previously Austria-Hungary’s Emperor Franz Josef went to extraordinary lengths to keep the peace, and Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II was known for his peaceful nature. Although this obviously wasn’t enough to stop the war on its own, it shows the will for peace was there, if only circumstances would allow.
For more reasons and how the war could have been avoided, go to Mental Floss.