What were the long-lasting social, economic, and political effects of World War I?

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The extent to which World War I changed the global sociopolitical and economic landscape can't be understated. This topic is huge—entire college semesters are often dedicated to answering this one question—so you'll have to think critically about what you should include to keep your assignment relevant to your curriculum. I've included a few crucial examples of this impact below, as well as some further reading that may help you hone your answer.

Generally speaking, the war's consequences were dire in societies around the world. There was widespread social and economic upheaval within participating nations, massive casualties across the globe, and a desperate push for new technologies that might provide a combat advantage. This created fertile ground for revolution, most famously in Russia—toward the end of the war, the October Revolution restructured the world's largest country in its entirety.

In the United States, the war contributed heavily to the defining characteristics of the two decades that followed. The American experience in the 1920s was largely shaped by a combination of post-war excess and the prohibition of alcohol. Though the formal start of prohibition ultimately commenced after the end of the war, conserving grain for the war effort was one of the early factors in the decision. When this post-war economic "bubble" finally burst, it precipitated the Great Depression of the 1930s. The implications of this economic downturn would devastate the United States and ultimately ripple out to negatively effect the global economy, too.

In Germany, the consequences ultimately came to impact the rest of the world in another truly catastrophic way: World War II. The losses and upheaval suffered by the country during the first war created an environment so ripe for fascism that Hitler was ultimately able to seize power on a nationalistic platform of "rebuilding" Germany, plunging the rest of the world back into conflict in the mid-1930s.

In the reference links, I've included several resources that may provide helpful context:

The first is a thorough primer from the National WWI Museum and War Memorial, and the second is a centennial interview from the Syracuse University journal Media, Law, and Policy. These are both US-based sources and thus only truly cover the American experience, but the detail with which they discuss the war's impact on daily life offers helpful perspective on how deeply a war's impact can be felt.

The third is a helpful guide from National Public Radio that specifically details the machinations of World War I in the Middle East, which—though staggering and transformative—are sometimes left out of the Western discourse.

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