Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
War had been shown in literature and art as being glorious and something that would be honored. World War I changed everyone when the reality of death and war came to be. It was no longer glorious. It was devastating. The romantic notion of it changed and was seen all over Europe afterwards. Fun and carefree living was no longer seen. The reality of the harshness of life hit everyone hard. Life was not as they had thought it was.
Europe changed afterwards. Literature turned darker and less romantic. The ugly side of life was looked at more closely. A big example from America was Ernest Hemingway. He, along with others, began writing stories that looked deeper into the soul and at the flaws of mankind. The dark side of mankind was exposed through the war and those that could keep it in the public eye did so. They were not about to sweep it under the rug and forget about it.
Politically, Europe discovered the evil that lurks deep within man and the horrors the new technology in warfare could inflict upon mankind. That discovery would be found in the post war treaties the Allies inflicted on the losing sides as “old empires [were carved] into many small new nations, causing huge land losses for the Central Powers and changing the face of Europe.” (1) The glorious years prior to the war would never be achieved again. All of Europe had changed.
Germany felt it especially. The Allies were determined to punish Germany for its part in the atrocities. The winners of the war sought to “marginalize Germany” and began the journey that later would be World War II. (2) The economic, social, and political problems found in Germany after the war “gave rise to many radical right wing parties” which would stir up hatred toward the rest of the world and anything non-German. (3) Resentment would simmer and begin to boil. The period between the wars would be far from carefree. It would be tense readying to spring upon the world. It would be the ideal setting for a leader such as Hitler to rise up.
(1) “Europe After World War I,” California Content Standard 10.6.2, McDougal Littell/Houghton Mifflin Company, http://www.csun.edu/~sr6161/world/unit%206/Unit%206%20Detail%202.pdf.
(2) “World War I: Aftermath,” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2012, http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007429.