Why was World War I considered to be a total war?

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World War I was fought by industrialized countries whose industrial economies were converted to meet wartime needs.

For example, railroads became tools of communication by which armies, armaments, and supplies were moved to key locations (in fact, the German Schlieffen Plan relied on the use of railroads: it called on quickly overwhelming France, then switching focus to defend against Russia, taking advantage of the time it would take to for Russia to mobilize).

Meanwhile, navies were used to shut down trade of enemy combatants (with Britain utilizing its navy to create a blockade, while Germany would make use of submarine warfare to compensate). World War I was industrial warfare on a scale which (up to that point) had not yet been seen in the Industrial Age.

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World War I was considered to be a total war. In World War I, all aspects of the military were involved. As in most wars, the army played a big role in World War I. The number of troops involved in the fighting on the eastern and western fronts was very high.

The navy was very active in World War I. The Germans introduced a new weapon in this war. It was the submarine. The submarine was a weapon that would conduct sneak attacks. Unfortunately, the sinking of neutral ships without warning was illegal. Thus, our navy had to accompany our merchant marine to make the trip across the Atlantic Ocean a little safer.

For the first time in a war, airplanes were used. While airplanes didn’t play a major role in World War I, the development of tracer ammunition aided the pilots. It also sent a message about how important airplanes would be in future wars.

New technology was used during World War I. The German use of chlorine gas and the Zeppelin inflicted much damage on the Allies. The Allies countered the chlorine gas with gas masks and also began the use of tanks.

People were asked to make significant sacrifices during World War I. Citizens were drafted into the war. People were strongly encouraged to use less food and buy bonds to support the war effort. There were laws passed that restricted the people’s freedoms. For example, the Sedition Act made criticism of the government or war effort illegal in the United States.

World War I was an example of total war.

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