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Significant Political Changes in the Century Preceding World War I

Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics


World War 1 is considered to be the greatest war in humanity considering the scale of its impact in the world. Millions of lives were lost, including the soldiers who were fighting, and civilians. On the other hand, a lot of injuries were recorded among those who returned from the war. The world was also affected economically, politically and socially. From a political perspective, World War 1 saw Europe’s map being reshaped, change of countries’ borders and the scramble for colonalization and political power. This essay analyzes three most significant political changes in the century that precedent the start of World War 1. These include; reshaping of politics and territories, women empowerment initiatives, and world economics.

Reshaping of Politics and Territories

In essence, World War 1 had a huge implication on the drawing and reshaping of Europe’s political map. Realising the huge and devastating impact the war was causing the world; nations came up with the Treaty of Versailles, which was meant to restore peace in the war stroke world. Under this treaty, nations agreed to withdraw from the war for the sake of peace and stability. This resulted into compromise on some aspects such as territories etc (BBC, 2018).

This is a copy of the original Treaty of Versailles drawn and signed on 28 June 1919 Source: (BBC, 2018)

Under the Treaty of Versailles, German conceded and lost approximately a tenth of its lands. Other countries that lost a part of their territories under this and other treaties include Hungary, Australia and Bulgaria. Moreover, World War One also contributed to the end of Ottoman Turkish Empire as well as stirring the Russian Revolution, subsequently ushering in a new political dispensation-communism (Wiest, 2012)

The Society: Changing Role of Women

Prior to the development of World War 1, women’s role in the society was relegated in the home. Such issues as war and politics were presumed to be things for men. Women were also not allowed to do the kind of jobs that were done by men while inequality in terms of wages were quite rampart. However, the women’s role in World War 1 saw countries such as the UK changes laws to improve the standing and role of women in the society. For instance, some of the laws were modified to increase equality between men and women and women were given more rights for their children and houses (BBC, 2018).

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Reshaping of the World Economy

The aftermath of World War 1 was economically devastating to countries such as the United Kingdom and France which initially were considered to be economic superpowers. However, these countries were able to recover gradually after sometimes. On the other hand, German suffered extremely due to the Treaty of Versailles which required it to make financial reparations for its allies as a way of punishments. The heavy reparations alongside the devastated economic structure as well as the political tension resulted into the economic depression. Unemployment and Hyperinflation hit German while the German currency became so much devalued (Overy, 2016). Contrastingly, unlike some European countries, the United States was not very much affected by the ramifications of the war. Most of the American countryside’s and factories were not harmed and interestingly continues to do better. World War I sped up American industrial manufacturing since this was virtually among the few countries that had not been affected by the war. Consequently, the U.S began to experience a superior economic boom during the 20th century, subsequently making it easy to become a superpower (Robert, 2010).


In essence, the contribution of World War 1 to the global society, politics and economy were immense. In fact, it changed the trajectory of the world in political, economic and societal terms. In particular, the geographical maps of some countries were adversely altered while the economic depression that followed the war affected initial world superpowers such as German, giving way to upcoming ones such as the US which was not affected. Furthermore, this was the time when the role of women in the society was relooked, given their contribution in the war.


British Broadcasting Corporation. (2018). How did WW1 change the world? Retrieved from

Robert T. (2010). U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security: Chronology and Index for the 20th Century. 1. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger Security International. P.49.

Overy, R. (2016). The Inter-War Crisis 2nd ed. Pearson Education Publishers: The UK.

Wiest, A. (2012)The Western Front 1917–1918: From Vimy Ridge to Amiens and the Armistice, pp 126, 168, 200.

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