A few years ago, and still now to some extent, I was completely FASCINATED with the first world war, or The Great War if you’re a purist.
I realize that openly stating that I was fascinated with the first world war could paint me as some kind of warmonger, gun-nut, etc, but that’s not where my interest stems from.
In the right lenses, the first world war can be traced back as the cause of almost all the modern issues we face today. Not only that, but it was the point where the age of “empires” begun to collapse, it gave us revolutionary new technologies, and it completely changed borders, countries, markets, people, art, poetry, and so many different aspects of life.
It’s no secret that the first world war caused a lot of things to change. Looking at the issues we face globally in the modern world, we can see a lot of them taking root in the first world war. For example, look at the ongoing issue of terror groups coming from the Middle East and Africa. Though there are many factors as to why these people do what they do, a lot of this can be traced back to the Sykes-Picot Agreement at the end of the war. This agreement carved up the middle east and africa into different countries that would benefit Europeans, without taking into account the different peoples in the regions and their cultures, beliefs, values, etc. This one agreement has led to so much violence in the modern era simply because it chose to ignore the people it was affecting, which seems to be a big theme in the past 200 or so years.
Though this is a big stretch, another issue that can be argued to have been affected or at least made worse by the first world war is climate change, specifically because of the new technologies of cars, planes, and other vehicles. People saw how effective these vehicles were, which led governments to want them for their militaries as well as people wanting them for their own use. This led to increased production of vehicles, and with more people buying cars, more emissions go into the atmosphere.
There are many other things that changed because of the first world war. I think that there needs to be a lot more discussion of this in schools because it really gives a perspective as to how things like world war 2, the cold war, vietnam, etc happened, and all of that lends itself to a better understanding of how we got to our current political climate and understanding what the heck is going on. For more info about all of this, I highly recommend a youtube channel called “the great war”. The series just ended, but from 2014-2018 a group of historians and actors would follow what happened in the war and how it affected the world week by week (for the 100th anniversary) and it gives an amazing in depth description of it all and applies it to the modern era and explains how everything is connected.