Chapter 27: The Great Break: War and Revolution
Prompt #2: Discuss the phenomena of Total War and its impact on the social, political, and economic structure of Europe during and after the war.

World War I was an awakening of the world as it brought the United States, France, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and many other political powers into the fight. This awakening impacted social, political, and economic life of the common people profoundly. War brought a sense of nationalism among the people in their own individual states; it increased job opportunities, etc. as with any war, came change.

The impact of social life from the war was increased. With more job opportunities the serfs were practically abolished and peasants earned more pay. This brought the attitudes of the peasants to an excited and nationalistic mode. Most people supported the war and wanted to do their part in serving the war, such as working in industry or finding raw materials. Wartime brought an increase in social life and an increase in nationalistic attitudes.

During the war, most countries mobilized or reformed their government to a wartime setting. The governments changed to rationing; they would serve food and materials to households as needed. Some governments changed drastically as a result of war. One example would be Russia. Lenin took power over the political scene and changed the government to a communist government. At first, many people from the middle and lower classes supported the Bolsheviks, but soon rioted against Lenin one-class rule. The change in government brought civil war. War changed the allies and enemies of countries and their political system as well.

Economically, the war had many good and bad consequences. As a result of rationing, most people were receiving a total of 1,000 calories, or less, per day. In Germany, as in other countries, a law was made that people between the ages of 16 and 40 had to do their part in the war. This brought more job openings for women and more rights as well. Many men opposed, but the war needed all helping hands. Even after the war, in some countries women were given the right to vote. Children were also brought out in helping the war, by gathering raw materials and working in factories. The war also lessened the gap between the rich and the poor, making the public have a closer relationship. The people could relate to one another’s problems.

World War I turned out not being too bad for the public people. The classes became closer, women had more rights, and a strong nationalistic feeling became immense. On the negative side, nearly 10 million people were killed or wounded and the war in total cost $322 billion. War comes with social, political, and economic changes that affect the entire society, whether they are good or bad.