The Great War & Its Consequences
The Great War didn’t have to happen. But leaders of European countries had been in an armaments race since 1870 – doubling the size of the region’s armies and navies in a generation.
Rising nationalism was a factor, especially in newly created Germany (1871) and Italy (1871).
Political instability plagued the Austria-Hungarian Empire, the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) and Russia. Alliances among countries created a potential chain-reaction effect in the event of a bilateral conflict.
The trigger – on June 28, 1914, a Serbia terrorist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his pregnant wife,
Sophie, in Sarajevo. The Austria-Hungarian Empire issued an ultimatum, which Serbia satisfied 8 of 10 demands. The Austrians declared war on July 28. The chain reaction started.
During August 1914, numerous declarations of war were declared between the Central Powers and the Allies.
Author Steven Mintz concludes: “World War I killed more people — more than 9 million soldiers, sailors, and fliers and another 5 million civilians — involved more countries (28) and cost more money — $186 billion in direct costs and another $151 billion in indirect costs — than any previous war in history. It was the first war to use airplanes, tanks, long range artillery, submarines, and poison gas. It left at least 7 million men permanently disabled.”
“World War I probably had more far-reaching consequences than any other proceeding war. Politically, it resulted in the downfall of four monarchies — in Russia in 1917, in Austria-Hungary and Germany in 1918, and in Turkey in 1922. It contributed to the
Bolshevik rise to power in Russia in 1917 and the triumph of fascism in Italy in 1922. It ignited colonial revolts in the Middle East and in Southeast Asia.”
The war also resulted in many atrocities where civilians were killed as a results of deportations, massacres, starvation. For example, there were the Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Empire (1915 – 1918) and by Turkey (early 1920s) and the Surdulica Massacre with Serbian men killed by Bulgarians.
The war also impacted Christian missionary activities throughout the world, including regions well away from the European fronts.