Positive and negative impact of World War 1

The First World War which originated in mainland Europe lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. It was often tagged as the stupid war, a revolutionary one and a war of the egos and ironically it was the clash of the egos and the eventual assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand – this resulted in ultimatums being issued and eventually, the war bugle was blown across the wide steppes of Russia, Hungary and the rest of Europe. The war was fought with Russia, Britain and France on one side and with Germany and Austria and Hungary on the other; the war managed to drag others in as well from Italy, Japan, US to the Ottoman Empire to Bulgaria. The war could cost the Russian Tsar his head and his throne would lead to riots and near destabilization of UK as well as precipitate an economic crisis which eventually leads to the Second World War, several years later. It is hard to equate terms such as positive effects with a war of this scale that left nearly 9 million dead but it is time that we did take a closer look at this war and its aftereffects.

Positive and negative impact of World War 1

Positive impact of World War 1:

  • The League of Nations: Even though this organization was set up at the conclusion of the First World War, it nevertheless showed the world how international organizations can employ more clout in terms of affecting reconciliation between two distressed parties. While it is debatable as to whether this early variant of the United Nations was effective in any way, it did set the process for setting up a formalized body with far-reaching powers that could well help regulate disputes and even help protect human lives across the planet. The UN owes its existence to this very body without which, we would not have a UN in place today.
  • End of colonialism: The start of the First World War set the stage for the end of colonial rule all over the world. India had been fighting for her independence from the British for the better half of a century when hostilities began to break out across Europe. The UK and other colonial power wanted to get these colonists to help them with their war effort and independence was the promised carrot that got them to enlist. However, it would take another World war before any of the colonies managed to shake off the yoke of their conquerors and became independent in their own right.
  • Women rights: Women did not even enjoy the right to exercise their franchise until the advent of the war. As a precondition to their support, women were granted greater rights at the conclusion of the war.

Negative impact of World War 1:

  • Loss of life: This war is often considered one of the most brutal wars ever fought in modern history, it left over nine million dead at the end of the war and if that was not enough, this war also saw chemical weapons being deployed to maximum effect against other humans, for the first time. Mustard gas was often used to annihilate enemy combatants but the effects were slow and often resulted in the victims suffering from vision damage, blistered skin to developing respiratory disorders before they succumbed to it.
  • Loss of livelihood: Things were never the same at the conclusion of the war; even though it was Europe that took the brunt as far as physical damage was concerned, it led to massive riots and revolts overseas and the economic costs were staggering. The war would eventually lead to the downfall of the Russian empire and the abdication and murder of Russia’s Czar, Nicholas the second.
  • Famine: As a result of the war, and widespread destruction, it would be a while before regular supply lines could be resumed. As a result, this led to a shortage of essential supplies and even helped to create a pandemic of sorts with various health outbreaks and famines at several places all over the world.
  • Second world war: Even though the war ended, several items were left ‘as it was’ and this caused fresh hostilities to break out in 1939

These are some of the positive and negative effects associated with World War 1 and what should be pointed out is that this war, even though it ended in 1918, laid down the groundwork which would soon cause fresh hostilities to break out and to the Second World War.


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