Hello, humans. So after yesterday’s post about the 1st World War being dumb, I got a question which states:
Basically, I was asked that since the great war only took place in Europe, why is it a world war? NOTE: I’m answering this based on what I know and I may be wrong in presenting my argument.
Firstly, although it’s true that most of the fighting took place in Europe, there are countries which are not situated in Europe that took part in the 1st world war. For example is The United States and Japan. While it’s obvious what the US did, some might not even know that Japan was involved in the 1st world war.
Basically, during that time, Japan was an ally of Great Britain. There was some important stuff that Japan did during the war but the most significant is that they help the British to ‘secure’ the sea lanes in the West Pacific and Indian Oceans against the German. On the 7th of August 1914, Great Britain asked Japan for help to ‘destroy’ the raiders from the Imperial German Army. Japan officially declared war on Germany on the 23rd of August 1914 and then they declared war on Austria-Hungary on the 25th of August 1914.
Secondly, many tend to forget that during this time, colonization was still a thing. This means that a lot of countries were still colonized by the European countries (mainly by Great Britain and France). Therefore, in a way, their colonies are affected as well but mostly through attacks on the sea (ports). One significant incident of the is the attacks by the German light cruiser, Emden which surprisingly managed to cause a huge ‘chaos’.
The Emden was originally stationed at the German base in Tsingtao, China. The captain in charge of the ship, Lieutenant Commander Karl con Muller was given orders to act as a solitary commerce raider which means that he was told to create some sort of a ‘mishap’ against the allies.
The whole story about Emden started in Penang harbour on the 28th of October where Emden successfully entered the ‘harbour’ and sunk a Russian ship called the Zemchug. How did they do it? Well, Emden had only three smokestacks but ships from Great Britain had four. Therefore, the smart captain told the sailors to build a fourth fake smokestack to somehow disguise the ship.
I guess whoever decides which ship comes in and out fell for the trick and let the Emden into the harbour. The Emden fired two torpedoes at the Zemchug. First, as it entered the harbour and second as it left. Since everyone was caught in surprise, they were not able to do anything. In fact, Emden even managed to sunk The Mosquet which was a French battleship and the way out.
If you think that was crazy, the Emden also managed to get some supplies such as coal from Diego Garcia which was at that time a British colony because the people at Diego Garcia didn’t know that Germany and Great Britain were at war. The Emden even attack some other places such as India and Indonesia before it was destroyed by HMS Sidney.
Anyway, back to the main point of this post. The third reason is the impact of the 1st world war is felt globally. Again, we can take the raids by the Emden as an example. Due to multiple successful raids by the Emden, Great Britain reduced its ‘activity at the sea’ by as much as 60%. Before the 1st world war, Great Britain is said to be the ‘super-power’ and that changed after that because the 1st world war leads to the United States becoming the Super-Power that it is now.
It also managed to change how wars were fought. The world war 1 saw the introduction of tanks. Although now you might think that tanks weren’t such a big deal, before that, tanks weren’t even used in wars. The creation of tanks is basically the turning point in the 1st world war because it causes the Allies to successfully break through the ‘No man’s land’. Then, there are also other types of weapons such as aircraft, submarines and poison gases.
Since Germany was badly penalised after the 1st world war, it became ‘poor’ and people had no money due to Germany printing more money to pay their war debts since the US who was facing their own problem (The Great Depression), couldn’t loan Germany any money. As you already know, this leads to the rise of Fascism in Germany (all the Hitler and Nazi stuff). Side note: Don’t you dare to tell me that ‘fascism’ is over.
Ok, that’s all. To summarise, the great war is a ‘world war’ because one, it involves more countries which aren’t in Europe. Two, it involves battles at the sea and third, the effects are still left today.