Significance of World War I
The significance of World War I from a global perspective is that it began the undermining of Europe’ supremacy- a process that was completed after World War II.During World War I Britain lost a quarter of its foreign investments, France a third and Germany lost all. The reverse of this trend was seen in new financial strength of US. In 1914 the US owed about $ 4 billion to European investors but by 1919 the US had become a creditor nation to the tune of $3.7 billion by 1930 this had risen to $ 8.8 billion. Many European industrial areas were devastated while American factories grew manifold under the wartime demand. By 929 US was responsible for 42.2% of the world industrial output.
In all parts of the continent the old order was being questioned and challenged. Many Europeans were looking up to Wilson and Lenin. Wilson’s 14 points had started up a ferment of democratic hope and expectancy. The millions of dead and wounded, ruins of cities and villages made large masses receptive to the call for revolution. Demonstrations were staged in the streets of London, Paris and Rome.
Finally European domination was undermined by World War I because of the repercussions in the overseas colonies. The spectacle of one bloc of European powers fighting another to the bitter end damaged the prestige of the nations .No longer they were regarded as divinely ordained to rule over the colored. Many soldiers from the colonies fought in the war. The colonials who returned home after such experiences were not likely to be as obedient to European masters as before.
Revolutionary ideas in the colonies were also spread by propaganda spread with the conduct of the war. The revoluntary phases of self-determination of people left its imprint on the colonial world as well as upon Euope.Equally influential were the ideologies of socialism and communism. The War gave hope to the colonies of getting freedom from slavery.