World War I

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Did World War I make the world safe for democracy?

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Otho Becker eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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World War I did not make the world safer for democracy to flourish.

As said by previous educators, the failure of the League of Nations in establishing a powerful body which nations respected led to a breakdown of international relations among the more powerful nations.

Arguably, it was this breakdown that led to World War II, either directly or indirectly.

However, if we analyze political situations in several countries, we can see that democracy was far from safe. In Germany, for example, the Treaty of Versailles imposed serious economic and military restrictions on the nation after WWI. Despite...

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jjrafferty | Student

World War I in no sense made the world "safer" for democracy. The implications that the Treaty of Versailles had on politics around the world were concretely negative.

The Allies imposed the insurmountable war debt on a indigent Germany that was economically devastated. The Weimar Republic was a very weak, reluctant, conservative government that failed to materialize jobs or any form of repayment of the war reparations. Germany essentially borrowed money from other Entente powers to pay back the United States. While this is no excuse nor justification for fascism to come to life, in hindsight, an alt-right dictator coming to life was nothing less than predictable. 

As set in agenda by Wilson's Fourteen Points, Italy and the slavic nations were dealt with on the basis of "self-determination." Leaving the enclave of ethnic nations to determine their own boundaries and lines of sovereignty was a recipe for political disaster. U.S. Congress was adamant on taking a policy of isolationism and staying out of Europe's affairs. This alongside the high inflation and unemployment rates all across the continent made Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco's stairways to fascism facile in nature. While the term was later coined to describe the conversion of third-world countries to communism in the Cold War era, the term "domino effect" can definitely be used to describe the phenomena of democratic breakdown and rise of fascism in Europe. 

The attitude of isolationism and concurrent "blame game" that the Allies played after World War I exacerbated the fall of Europe to fascism and instability. 

Not to mention Russia's involvement in WW1 widened the cracks that led to the fall of the czar and the eventual birth of the original Communist superpower- the Soviet Union.

 

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