The war ended as surprisingly as it had begun, its last months more destructive than trench warfare had been. War-weariness, hunger and defeat after defeat had taken their toll on Germany and her allies, and the Kaiser abdicated. Yet Germany was still on French soil, believing herself unbeaten. The Allies set out to achieve on paper what their armies had not done in the field: obtain Germany's unconditional surrender. At Versailles, Germany was made to accept blame for the war, to force her to pay for it. Even US President Wilson, while determined to create a liberal post-war world, came down hard on Germany.
The war, with losses over 20 million, was later deemed as senseless waste, but at the time was seen in positive terms: for defense against aggression. For glory. It had curbed militarism and had liberated occupied areas. The First World War moved Europe from the era of empires to that of nation states. It gave a sense of national identity to Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It helped Russia become the world's first communist state and launched America as a world power. Yet it solved few of the grievances over which it was fought; we still live with its unresolved consequences today, in the Middle East, the Balkans and Ireland. It had not been the war to end all wars. Its terrible message to the century it shaped, was that war can effect change. That war can fulfill ambitions. That war can work.
Category: Education, History
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Television has tended to look at the First World War through a veil of tears, seeing only a tragic waste of life in the mud of Flanders. This definitive series strips away ninety years of myopia to get back to the reality of the war.
This was a global conflict from the start, involving nations in every continent and people of all classes and races. Using fresh archive footage and specially shot material from authentic locations in 22 countries, the multi-layered series demolishes myths and answers key questions from the origins of the war to its bitter end.
Universally acclaimed as one of the finest documentary series ever made about the Great War. The First World War is a powerful, original and truly comprehensive account of the conflict. It places the war in truly Global military context as never before, exploring many of the little known campaigns, battles and actions as well as the better known conflict on the Western Front. The series combines previously unseen footage from newly accessible archives in Central and Eastern Europe with exclusive film of many of the battlefields as they are today, studies key participants and weaponry, and diary entries and letters home from soldiers, officers and commanders.
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