Hi there Sky3D,
You've asked a broad question, and so I'll touch broadly on your
themes of society, politics and technology.
First of all, I came across a page that analyzes the societal aspect
of your question quite well. Titled "Results of the First World War,"
this is a very well-researched article. Here's a clip from the one of
the summary paragraphs:
"The First World War left crushing economic burdens on all the
European countries. It has been estimated that the European victors
owed an aggregate of $10 billion to the U.S.. The economic burdens of
the European governments were multiplied when they had to rehabilitate
devastated areas, to pay pensions to the wounded and to the relatives
of the dead and to pay the interest due on the public and foreign
debts. To add to the economic burdens of the European governments,
trade and industry did not revive after the war. There was mass
unemployment in Italy, Germany, Britain and France shortly after the
war. The immediate result was that in Italy the people were so
discontented with their government that they overthrew it. The long
term result was that in order to solve their economic problems, most
of the European nations tried to become economically self-sufficient
and to keep out the products of other countries by building high
tariff walls. Economic nationalism was a bad omen for the peace of
Another interesting, though brief site is this one, also titled
"Results of World War I". The site is put up by a high school history
teacher in Maryland, and without commentary, it lists the results of
the war in terms of social, economic and political terms:
RESULTS OF WORLD WAR I
almost 10 million soldiers killed
over 20 million wounded
millions of civilians died from hostilities, famine, disease
world was left aflame with hatred, intolerance, extreme nationalism
total cost of war - $350 billion
Europeans - heavily taxed; lower living standards
international trade suffered - tariffs raised
Russia - communists introduced new economic system
U.S. emerged as a leading world power
3 major European dynasties dethroned:
1. Hehenzollerns of Germany
2. Hapsburgs of Austria-Hungary
3. Romanovs of Russia
New national states arose in central Europe, several contain subject
German speaking populations of Poland & Czechoslovakia
League of Nations established to solve international problems &
Many European nations beset by economic & political discontent
A good look at some of the social consequences of the war can be had
at "The History Beat" pages on WWI:
Revolutions Perhaps the single most important event precipitated by
the privations of the war was the Russian Revolution. Socialist and
explicitly Communist uprisings also occurred in many other European
countries from 1917 onwards, notably in Germany and Hungary.
As a result of the Bolsheviks' failure to cede territory, German and
Austrian forces defeated the Russian armies, and the new communist
government signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918. In that
treaty, Russia renounced all claims to Finland, Latvia, Lithuania,
Poland (specifically, the formerly Russian-controlled Congress Poland
of 1815) and Ukraine.
A separate, but related event was the great influenza pandemic. A new
strain of Influenza, originating in the U.S.A. (but misleadingly known
as "Spanish Flu") was accidentially carried to Europe with the
American forces. The disease spread rapidly through the both the
continental U.S. and Europe, reaching, eventually, around the globe.
The exact number of deaths is unknown, but in excess of 20 million
people worldwide is not an overestimate.
Social trauma: The experiences of the war lead to a sort of collective
national trauma afterwards for all the participating countries. The
optimism of 1900 was entirely gone and those who fought in the war
became what is known as "the Lost Generation" because they never fully
recovered from their experiences.
Nearly 15 percent of the land area of the German Empire was ceded at
Allied insistence to various countries. The largest confiscated part
of Germany was given to Poland; this part was called the "Polish
Corridor" because of its access to the sea. In addition the western
powers helped Poland gain another huge chunk of land in Ukraine.
Russia also lost substantial land. The countries of Lithuania, Latvia,
and Estonia were created to accomodiate ethnic groups. Also, land was
taken for addition to Poland, and Romania.
Other countries were also cut severely. The Austro-Hungarian Empire
was broken into many pieces. Austria changed from a monarchy to a
republic. Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia became part of the new
Czechoslovakia. Galicia was transferred to Poland and South Tyrol to
Italy. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, and Vojvodina were
joined with Serbia to form Yugoslavia. Transylvania became part of
Romania. Overall 25 percent of ethnic Hungarians found themselves
living outside of the new independent country of Hungary.
Less concrete changes include the growing assertiveness of
Commonwealth nations. Battles such as Gallipoli for Australia and New
Zealand, and Vimy Ridge for Canada led to increased national pride and
a greater reluctance to remain inferior to the British."
An excellent essay titled "World War One Effects" by Suzanne
Karpilovsky, et al. was not at its listed web address, (
http://kanga.pvhs.chico.k12.ca.us/~bsilva/projects/effects.htm ) but I
found it through the Internet Archive at
"Even after the official end of World War I, its far-reaching effects
resounded in the world for decades in the forms of changing politics,
economics and public opinion. Many countries began to adopt more
liberal forms of government, and a hostile Germany was forced to pay
for a large deal of war reparations, which ultimately led to the start
of World War II. As Europe fell in debt from war costs, inflation
plagued the continent. Additionally, the optimism of previous decades
was abandoned and a bleak, pessimistic outlook on life was adopted
after people had experienced the brutality of warfare.
As a result of World War I, socialistic ideas experienced a boom as
they spread not only in Germany and the Austrian empire but also made
advances in Britain (1923) and France (1924). However, the most
popular type of government to gain influence after World War I was the
republic. Before the war, Europe contained 19 monarchies and 3
republics, yet only a few years afterward, had 13 monarchies, 14
republics and 2 regencies. Evidently, revolution was in the air and
people began to more ardently express their desires for a better way
Effects of a Harsh Peace
A second political effect of World War I centers solely on the
treatment of Germany in the Treaty of Versailles of 1919. The Germans
were forced to sign a humiliating treaty accepting responsibility for
causing the war, as well as dole out large sums of money in order to
compensate for war costs. In addition, the size of the German state
was reduced, while that of Italy and France was enlarged. The Weimar
government set up in Germany in 1918 was ill-liked by most of the
citizens and maintained little power in controlling the German state.
Rising hostilities toward the rest of Europe grew, and many German
soldiers refused to give up fighting, even though Germany's military
was ordered to be drastically reduced. Given such orders, numerous
German ex-soldiers joined the Freikorps, an establishment of
mercenaries available for street-fighting. The open hostility and
simmering feelings of revenge exhibited by Germany foreshadowed the
start of World War II.
Technology experienced a great boost after the war, as the production
of automobiles, airplanes, radios and even certain chemicals,
skyrocketed. The advantages of mass production and the use of
machinery to perform former human labor tasks, along with the
implementation of the eight hour work day, proved to stimulate the
economy, the United States' in particular. However, much of Europe
suffered devastating losses of physical property and landscape as well
as finances. By 1914, Europe had won the respect of the world as a
reliable money-lender, yet just four years later was greatly in debt
to her allies for their generous financial contributions toward the
war effort, owing them as much as $10 billion. In an effort to pay
back their allies, the governments of many European countries began to
rapidly print more and more money, only to subject their countries to
a period of inflation. Members of the middle class who had been living
reasonably comfortably on investments began to experience a rocky
financial period. Germany was hit the hardest in terms of struggling
with war reparations, and inflation drastically lowered the value of
the German mark. In a period of no more than three months in 1923, the
German mark jumped from 4.6 million marks to the dollar to 4.2
trillion marks to the dollar. It appeared that inflation knew no
Psychologically, World War I had effects similar to those of a
revolution. A growing sense of distrust of political leaders and
government officials pervaded the minds of people who had witnessed
the horror and destruction that the war brought about. Many citizens
were angered that peacemakers had not expressed their ideals fervently
enough, and people began to wonder why the war was fought at all. A
feeling of disillusionment spread across the world as people bitterly
decided that their governments in no way knew how to serve the best
interests of the people. The loss of loved ones on the battlefield was
especially disturbing, for in some parts of Western Europe, one of
four young men had lost his life in battle. Altogether, the war killed
10 to 13 million people, with nearly a third of them civilians. The
future certainly did not look bright for the families of those killed
in the war, and a grim acceptance of reality replaced the optimistic
dreams of those in decades past.
World War I did not completely end with the signing of the Treaty of
Versailles, for its political, economic and psychological effects
influenced the lives of people long after the last shot was fired. Two
main political changes rocked the world after the war: a greater
number of countries began to adopt more liberal forms of government,
and an angered Germany tried to cope with the punitions doled out to
them by the victors, as its hostilities rose to the point where it
provoked the second world war two decades later. Despite the
advantages brought forth by developing technologies, the war mainly
had a damaging effect on the economies of European countries. People's
hopes and spirits also floundered, as they grew distrustful of the
government and tried to cope with the enormous death toll of the war.
The turbulent period after World War I called for a major readjustment
of politics, economic policies, and views on the world.
Suzanne Karpilovsky (IB Diploma 1996)
Maria Fogel (IB Diploma 1996)
Olivia Kobelt (Class of 1996)"
The following from "Infoplease.com" addresses military developments:
Early Military Developments
Before 1914 militaries used airplanes mostly for surveying of enemy
territory. (In 1913, the U.S. Army had only six active pilots and the
fledgling U.S. aeronautical industry had fewer than 170 employees.) As
World War I progressed, manufacturers began designing aircraft to
carry guns, bombs, and torpedoes. Glenn H. Curtiss, the pioneer of the
seaplane, established his own airplane company in 1916 and was a major
supplier of aircraft equipment to the U.S. and Allied navies during
World War I.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Dutch-born aeronaut Anthony Herman
Fokker (18901939) produced numerous planes for Germany, including the
Fokker Eindecker (monoplane) fighter, which featured a machine gun
that could fire through a moving propeller without hitting the blades.
In the 1920s, Fokker established an aircraft company in New Jersey and
set about designing aircraft for the fledgling U.S. commercial
aviation industry. The first nonstop flight across the United States
was made in a Fokker T-2 in 1923.
Another important development during World War I was the family of
engines known as Liberty engines, which featured interchangeable parts
and went on to be used in civilian as well as military applications
through World War II and beyond.
Moving on to technological advances, arguably the most important
strides were made in the field of medicine. There is a great website
that links to primary sources titled "The Medical History of World War
I". There are way too many subjects to discuss here, but the
information is at this URL:
There are about a dozen or more articles on different subjects in
medicine available on the above page, and more at this page titled
"The Medical Front":
Here's a sample:
"The Spanish Lady and the Newfoundland Regiment
W. David Parsons, MD, C.M., FRCP (C)
Twenty-two year old Joseph Alexander travelled from St.Georges to
St.John's to enlist in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment on October 14,
1918 as 6299 Pte.J.Alexander. Two days later, he went on sick parade
and was admitted to the Barrack Hospital - diagnosis-Influenza. The
next day, he was transferred to the General Hospital. He died on
October 20, 1918. His name appeared in the Casualty List in the Daily
News on October 22, 1918, a military career of 6 days. #1 His only
memorial is a military headstone in Mount Carmel Cemetery, along side
others who died in the Flu epidemic.
In the same paper of October 22 is the obituary of Ethel Dickenson. #2
She had just returned from Overseas where she had nursed as a V.A.D.
She volunteered to nurse at the Seamans Institute. She became ill on
the same day as Pte.Alexander and died on October 19, 1918. The most
prominent memorial to the Flu Epidemic is in Cavendish Square,
opposite the Newfoundland Hotel. It commemorates Nurse Dickenson and
the others who volunteered to nurse patients at this time.
The Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse: Pestilence, in the form of the
Spanish Flu had come to Newfoundland."
Military results are addressed well on this site from the BBC:
"At sea, submarine warfare was intensified and British food reserves
ran dangerously low in the spring. Two innovations - the convoy system
(where ships travelled in groups with military escort) and rationing
(of meat, butter, lard, margarine and sugar) - led to the overcoming
of this problem. Developments on the Home Front came with equal pace:
on March 28 the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was formed, placing women
into the heat of warfare in a military sense for the first time; and,
in April 1918, the junior service (the Royal Air Force) was founded.
British anti-German feeling had increased as the war had gone on and,
on June 17, the British royal family changed their surname to Windsor
to appear more British."
Related military results are summarized in the "Animated Atlas" here:
Geographic results of Versailles peace treaty
The map was redrawn at the expense of all four eastern empires. The
Hapsburg Empire disappeared altogether. Italy was rewarded with pieces
of the front she fought on with Austria. Austria was much reduced,
with Vienna still the capital city. Hungary became a separate country,
with the capital at Budapest. Czechoslovakia was created, with the
capital at Prague. The new nation of Poland got a section in the
north. Romania was much expanded, incorporating parts of the Russian
and Hapsburg Empires. Yugoslavia was created out of Serbia and the
southern Hapsburg domain, long dominated by Slavs. In the Balkans
themselves, Bulgaria and Albania remained much the same.
Likewise the Ottoman Empire was utterly dismembered, with the Turks
confined to Asia Minor as Turkey. Their holdings in the Near East were
to be administered by the victorious allies, France and Britian, with
Syria, including Lebanon, going to France, and Palestine, including
Trans-Jordan, going to the British, as well as the new nation of Iraq.
Out of the western fringe of Russia, now the Soviet Union, an outlaw
nation not present at the conference, Finland and the Baltic states of
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were created. More important, Poland
was recreated, having last been divided among her neighbors a century
earlier. The Prussian heartland of Germany was divided, with East
Prussia separated from the rest of Germany by the Polish Corridor, to
give the new Poland access to the sea.
In the west, Germany lost the Alsace-Lorraine area to France, from
whom she had taken the area in the Franco-Prussian war. Most
German-speaking peoples were within the new Germany, except for those
in Austria and two million in the new Czechoslovakia, where the
boundary was drawn along the rim of the Sudeten mountain range rather
than by language. These inequities in the Versailles Treaty would give
Adolf Hitler important pretexts for German expansionism in the
The Rhineland, the area surrounding the Rhine river, was to be
demilitarized, despite the fact that this included the heartland of
German industry. The new German republic would be allowed a small army
to keep it from going communist. Germany was required to pay heavy
reparations to the Allies, and of course she lost all her overseas
colonies, with the Pacific islands being mandated to Japan, the only
nation to have actually gained from the First World War.
There are literally thousands of sources available which adress the
results of WWI, as you can plainly see from the variety of sources
I've included above. I've purposfully tried to stay away from the
obvious, eg. mustard gas, tanks, etc...if only because they are
well-known, and your question was broad-based enough to allow this
lattitude. Should you need additional information, by all means
please use the "Clarify Answer" button, and I'll do my best to
highlight any of these points, or provide further information. Thanks
for a great question, and please follow the search terms below to
persue the subject further.
european warfare "world war i"
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european political social military "world war 1"
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"medical advances" "world war one"