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Social, Economical, And Political Effects Of World War I.

1976 words - 8 pages

"Everywhere in the world was heard the sound of thingsbreaking." Advanced European societies could not support long wars orso many thought prior to World War I. They were right in a way. Thesocieties could not support a long war unchanged. The First World Warleft no aspect of European civilization untouched as pre-wargovernments were transformed to fight total war. The war metamorphedEurope socially, politicaly, economically, and intellectualy.European countries channeled all of their resources into totalwar which resulted in enormous social change. The result of workingtogether for a common goal seemed to be unifying European societies.Death knocked down all barriers between people. All belligerents hadenacted some form of a selective service which levelled classes inmany ways. Wartime scarcities made luxury an impossibility andunfavorable. Reflecting this, clothing became uniform andutilitarian. Europeans would never again dress in fancy, elaboratecostumes. Uniforms led the way in clothing change. The brightblue-and-red prewar French infantry uniforms had been changed afterthe first few months of the war, since they made whoever wore theminto excellent targets for machine guns. Women's skirts rose abovethe ankle permanently and women became more of a part of societythan ever. They undertook a variety of jobs previously held by men.They were now a part of clerical, secretarial work, and teaching.They were also more widely employed in industrial jobs. By 1918, 37.6percent of the work force in the Krupp armaments firm in Germany wasfemale. In England the proportion of women works rose strikingly inpublic transport (for example, from 18,000 to 117,000 bus conductors),banking (9,500 to 63,700), and commerce (505,000 to 934,000). Manyrestrictions on women disappeared during the war. It becameacceptable for young, employed, single middle-class women to havetheir own apartments, to go out without chaperones, and to smoke inpublic. It was only a matter of time before women received the rightto vote in many belligerent countries. Strong forces were shaping thepower and legal status of labor unions, too. The right of workers toorganize was relatively new, about half a century. Employers foughtto keep union organizers out of their plants and armed force was oftenused against striking workers. The universal rallying of workerstowards their flag at the beginning of the war led to wider acceptanceof unions. It was more of a bureaucratic route than a parliamentaryroute that integrated organized labor into government, however. Along war was not possible without complete cooperation of the workerswith respect to putting in longers hours and increasing productivity.Strike activity had reached its highest levels in history just beforethe war. There had been over 1,500 diffent work stoppages in Franceand 3,000 in Germany during 1910. More than a million British workersstopped at one time or another in 1912. In Britain, France, andGermany, deals were struck between...

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