The Beginning To World Instability: World War I

1087 words - 5 pages

Optimistically the Great War, later termed World War I, was predicted to be the war to end all wars. Given the number of wars that have ensued since, unfortunately, this prediction was unreliable. Nearly 10,000,000 military personnel and 7,000,000 civilians lost their lives in World War I and an additional 20,000,000 people were wounded. War land damage was catastrophic. Of the nine French villages completely destroyed on the Western Front during World War I, six remain uninhabited to this day. Undisputedly, World War I had a tremendous impact on the people of many countries. Map changes in Europe and the Middle East, the Treaty of Versailles with its political and economic impact on Germany, and fear over the installation of Russian communism were among the negative legacies of World War I. Combined they would contribute to an unstable geopolitical climate inevitably leading to future world conflict.
The European and Middle Eastern map changes ushered in by the Allied victors at the end of World War I were punitive and had an unfortunate effect on future world stability. The Allies determined that they would create new nations to split up the ex-German territories and ex-Ottoman Empire colonies as compensation for the land losses the Allies faced during the war. In Central and Eastern Europe the creation of nations such as Poland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Lithuania, made Europe more susceptible to failure since the new countries lacked political and economic stability and strength. Germany faced the worst territorial loss out of the Central Powers. In the West, Germany was forced to return the Alsace-Lorraine to France, which Germany had seized 40 years earlier. Furthermore; any German colonies in Asia or the Pacific were given to Japan, Australia, and New Zealand as mandates and the Saar region was placed under the supervision of the League of Nations for what would last for 15 years. The war also ended the Ottoman Empire. The Mandate System, which was administered by the League of Nations, allowed Britain and France to the territory into new countries such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. France and Britain had their minds set on only benefiting their own countries, and did not think about the people who actually inhabited these lands. They created artificial boundaries without actually looking into what religious and ethnic groups were residing in these areas. These borders being placed caused conflict to arise. For example, Iraq was created by combining several different regions together. This caused various ethnic and religious groups to be placed next to one another. As more borders were created, these kinds of differences started many wars, including the Arab-Israeli Wars of 1948. These map changes had irreversible effects on world stability during this time period and for the future, comparably to how the Treaty of Versailles did.
Similarly, the Treaty of Versailles, with its punitive political and...

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