Free sample essay on the impact of First World War


The First World War left manifold impact which can be conveniently studied under the following heads:

In the first place it caused terrible loss of life and property. In this war thirty States, including all the great powers took part and suffered enormous loss in men and money. Out of the 65 million people who took part in the war about nine million people were killed, 29 million people were wounded or reported missing.

Prof. C.J.E. Hayes has observed, “Every family in eastern and central Europe, every family in Italy, France and the huge British Empire, and many families in America suffered loss of near relatives or close friends.” In terms of money also the war is estimated to have cost about 400 billion dollars. In the words of Prof. Hayes, “never before had there been a struggle so gigantic, so deadly and so costly”.


Secondly, as a result of war the prices of commodities showed a steep rise which caused much hardship and suffering to the people. This obliged the various governments to take measures to regulate prices and control distribution. Thus, it gave an impetus to the rise of State socialism.

Thirdly, the enormous expenses involved in the war compelled the governments to impose heavy taxes on the people which caused much- hardships to the people.

Further, the governments resorted to printing of currency notes without taking into account the reserve bullion stocks. Thus the introduction of paper currency was largely the outcome of the First World War.

Fourthly, the war provided an impetus to the trade union activities; During the war demand for labour increased tremendously. The industrialists provided all sorts of facilities to the labourers to keep their factories running to full capacity.


The workers exploited this favourable atmosphere to promote their interests and succeeded in extracting numerous concessions from the factory owners. They also set up trade unions to take care of their interests. Hence we can say that the war tremendously enhanced the importance of the workers.

Fifthly, the war led to devaluation and economic depression. During the war the various governments raised loans from all possible quarters for the maintenance of their armies and ships which were beyond their repaying capacity.

As a result in the wake of war most of the countries were obliged to devalue their currency and were faced with serious prob­lems of economic reconstruction. This in turn paved the way for the economic depression which caused much hardship to the people all over the world in the thirties.

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