The End of "The Great War"
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/11/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23443
A thorough look at the ending of World War I, focusing especially on class conflict.
At its end, the war left old class-based social and political antagonisms and national grievances unresolved and created massive new ones. As such, it would have immense impacts on social and political currents down to the present - making the study of the war's events much more than an academic pursuit.
The "Great War" had come about as a result of imperialist rivalries and, in the view of historian Arno Mayer and others, parallel attempts by various ruling circles to divert or blunt increasing domestic, internal class tensions - decades of mounting class conflict and increasing challenges from the organized labor and socialist movements....
Nowhere among the European belligerents (except perhaps in England) did the war's destruction, deprivations and forced movement of populations allow the prewar social order to remain unscathed as the conflict telescoped and intensified pre-existing social cleavages.
Well before its conclusion, the issue had become not whether the war would change the political and social face of Europe - but how extensive and deep the transformations would be. It ended with not only a major power reshuffling of the global order, but also societies torn by internecine conflicts, many of which took on the character of protracted civil wars with varying degrees of political and class violence.