Monday’s 100th anniversary of the start of World War I is an impetus to look back at the changes wrought in the world after a war that cost more than 18 million lives and untold catastrophic losses in many nations.
“Beyond the carnage, the war changed our world for the worse in almost every possible way,” The Guardian’s Adam Hochschild wrote
. “Without the vast slaughter, misery and upheaval of the war, would the most extreme group of revolutionaries still have come to power in Russia? And in Germany, the war left a toxic legacy of resentment that Hitler would brilliantly manipulate to win power.”
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After World War I, there were millions of homeless refugees, 21 million wounded soldiers, 41,000 British men who had one or more limbs amputated, and so many disfigured faces that a group of men in France formed the National Union of Disfigured Men, the Guardian noted.
Following the war that lasted from 1914 to 1918, there were some positives, which MSN News culled together:
Technology, as it often does during wartime, ramped up to include the use for the first time in war of tanks and submarines and the first use of chlorine gas.
The treatment of wounds and healthcare in general moved forward rapidly as the medical field worked to save injured soldiers and civilians.
Politically, the war that saw the death of so many people also pushed the development of the League of Nations, which paved the way for the United Nations in later years.
The women’s movement also saw forward movement during the war, MSN said. Although it had begun before the first shot was fired, it gained ground as women stepped in to fulfill the roles traditionally held by men who left to fight.
But still, those positives struggle mightily to outweigh the war’s horror.
"Harry Patch, the last surviving British veteran of the war, said it best: 'It was not worth even one life,'" the Guardian wrote.
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