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  • Writer's pictureFurkan Evren Arslan

World War 1 and Mass Affects

Updated: Jul 6, 2022


The Great War between 1914-1918 was a 'world war' as it affected millions of people around the world. This war had a global dimension, which distinguished it from all the great wars in the world so far. During WW1, military technology was used in a more brutal way and it was embedded in the culture. The Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution, which occurred between the 18th and 19th centuries, affected Europe politically, socially, and economically. As a consequence, all European countries began to exploit and maintain sovereignty. In the 19th century, inevitably, the underdeveloped countries became the colonies of these European states.

However, Germany and Italy, which had just completed their political troops towards the end of the 19th century, were too late in the colonial race. The strengthening of Germany's naval power worried Britain, which had the most colonies and the strongest naval fleet. Finally, the arms race started between these two states. Britain was a fully urbanized and industrialized country at the beginning of the twentieth century. Although it was one of the richest countries of that period, it was experiencing its most fragile periods. It owed its wealth to its global trade and colonies and needed imported food to feed the people on the island. Britain owed its sovereignty to the Royal Navy on the island. As mentioned above, the huge armament investments made by Germany were the biggest concern for Britain.

The industrialization of the 164 million was increasing thanks to foreign investments (most of them coming from France), railroads connecting the trade centers of the country were being built. In this way, they started to get a bigger slice of the world market. The majority of these revenues have been transferred to the wrong fields due to the inefficiency of the administration. Therefore, they did not allocate enough money for the military industry. In the continuation of the 19th century, the expansions of the south and east had a drastic impact. In the end, it threatened both the road from India and the borders of India directly from the Middle East. Russia, which is satisfied with its expansion in the Middle East, attracted the attention of the Ottoman Slavic or Orthodox regions in the Balkans. Russia was encouraging Slavic nationalism in the Balkans, meeting with Orthodox community leaders in Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria, advising them to rebel. At the end of this process, 3 independent states were established in the Balkans.

Although the desire for nationalism in Europe has spread, the Austrian Empire, a member of the Habsburg Monarchy, survived these struggles, unlike the Ottomans, because it suppressed nations beforehand. Serbian, Croatian, Czech, Leh, Ruthen, Romanian, Croatian, Slovak, Slovenian, and Italian minority lives continued in Austria, where the Germans were on the western side of the empire.

The German governors began to gain the sympathy of these nations with their policy of tolerance. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, which already has intense relations with Russia, has always been able to fight Italy because of the Italian-Speaking cities in the northeast. The militarist approach inherited from Prussia, dominated by the army, gained strength during the times of the German Empire. Overwhelming victories against Austria and France were undoubtedly a factor in this. After a while, being a 'Great Power' will not be enough for German politicians, and they will take action to realize their dreams of becoming a 'World Power'. The biggest obstacle to being a 'World Power' was Britain across the sea. Germany was trying to block the road to Britain's colonies in Asia and the Far East to find the raw material needed for its industry and obtain colonies. For this purpose, they started to develop their relations with the Ottoman Empire. Because the road to colonies passed through Ottoman lands. The presence of a strong Germany in Europe disturbed Russia and France and changed the balance in Europe. In 1871, France was defeated by Germany and lost the Alsace-Lorraine region. It had to get closer to England.

The most important of the tactics Russia used to descend into the warm seas was the policy of disintegrating the lands of the Ottoman Empire by provoking the Balkan nations of Slavic origin. This situation affected not only the Ottomans but also the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which had many Slavic communities within it. That is why the Austro-Hungarian Empire got closer to Germany. Russia, which was left alone and saw itself in danger, developed its relations with England and France to achieve its goal. Italy, which established its industry and wanted to empower its sovereignty in the Mediterranean, was also looking for raw materials and markets. Italy got close to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and provided Germany's support.

In the end, all needed was a little spark for that brutal war to begin. A Serbian youth named Gavrilo Princip killed the heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who visited Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, and it was the spark they ne


There are apparent and hidden reasons for the First World War. The hidden reasons for the start of the war were much more effective than the apparent reasons. Before and after this period, the world entered a completely different period with the industrial revolution, and subsequently, a period of modernization started. Due to the modernization of production, social, economic, and cultural changes have been observed by the people and states. Now, we will examine a few of them: The first issue we need to address in this period is mass production. Mass production is the production of a product in large numbers, usually through the assembly line. The usage area of mass production extends from the items that must be processed in a batch form to the items that can be processed separately.

After the second industrial revolution, we started to find out more about what we call mass production. Many goods can be easily produced in a short time due to these developments. It also had an impact on the economy. Also, thanks to the assembly, serial and standard production were possible. Mass production and the war economy at that time were intertwined. Many military materials (firepower production) were needed in the war, in which millions of people participated. In a short time, military materials were produced and sent to the army. Besides all these developments in mass production, there was standardization in the prices of the products. The best example of this is Ford's automobile assembly line model. The assembly line is critical here. An assembly line is a machine and worker line in which a product moves while it is getting manufactured at the factory. Every machine or employee does a specific job that must be finished before the product moves to the next position on the line. Ford applied this mass production model to its car production and achieved high efficiency.

European countries which implemented the Mass Production system needed more raw materials and manpower. This is one of the main factors causing the cross-country race and war.

Another crucial topic is Mass Politics; Mass policy is a political order based on the emergence of mass political parties. The emergence of mass politics is often associated with the rise of the mass society that coincided with the Industrial Revolution in the West. Moreover, tools like radio and film can easily be used as manipulation tools for the masses. These are the reasons why crowds are monotype and popular culture emerges today. Mass societies and mass culture have been strengthened by these.

Thanks to these media tools, especially political leaders made their political propaganda using the mass media tools mentioned above. In this way, mass societies, mass culture, and mass politics have been intertwined. As we can understand from all this, it is a situation where a revolutionary change in certain areas can influence all other areas. The change in production has also influenced the social, economic, and political spheres. People have begun to lead a monotype life just like standard manufactured products. They made their propaganda according to this situation by adapting to this in the political environment. The military used the mode of production in a way that would suit its best. States struggled with each other to produce more. Unfortunately, in the end, the system we created to dominate others has become dominant on us and changed our lives forever.

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