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Study Notes

The Impact of the First World War


Last updated 3 Sept 2018

Before the First World War, Germany was a thriving economy and had developed in a powerful state. Citizens of Germany were confident of the future. Even the prospect of war did not make Germans nervous. Their armed forces were strong and confident of success. However, the First World War destroyed Germany.

By 1918, Germany was no longer a strong confident country, but one on the brink of ruin.

The war had destroyed Germany’s economy. The country spent around one third of its income on war pensions to all those widows and families who had lost someone during the conflict. This was an expensive undertaking for a country which had seen it’s national income slashed by around two thirds since the start of the war.

The war also exposed the divisions between the German people. The gap between rich and poor became very evident in the newly poor country, which lead to increased social unrest.

In addition to this, many in Germany did not like the fact that women had worked in factories during the war, as they saw this an undermining of family values.

The war had also lead to the removal of the Kaiser, and his replacement with new politicians and leaders. Many Germans felt betrayed by the politicians who had let down the German military leaders in the war.

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