How did the First World War affect Germany?
Dead and wounded: Almost nine million soldiers and about six million civilians perished in the war. Germany counted more than two million casualties on the fronts. Austria-Hungary lost almost 1.5 million men. About 5.3 million soldiers died on the side of the war opponents, among them about 1.8 million Russians and more than 1.3 million French.
Disintegration of old empires: The empires of Austria-Hungary, Germany and Russia collapsed. A large number of new states in Central Europe (such as Poland and Czechoslovakia) and in the Balkans (Yugoslavia) emerged from the rubble. The fall of the Ottoman Empire also had consequences in the Near and Middle East that continue to the present day: The demarcation between the present-day states of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Israel goes back to that time. The revolution of the Russian communists shaped world politics for more than seven decades.
New world power USA: Despite the victory in the "Great War", Great Britain was no longer the undisputed number one world power. That title of the heavily indebted kingdom gradually went to the United States of America. The British war economy had massively financed their capital. Unlike Germany, Austria and Russia, the British monarchy survived. The US entry into the war decided the war militarily. US President Woodrow Wilson's 14th Points served as the main features of a post-war peace order.
Hunger and Need: The sea blockade operated by Great Britain led to food shortages and supply problems with raw materials in Germany and Austria. The first riots broke out in 1915, and a year later around a third of all food was bought on the black market. In the so-called turnip winter of 1916/17, the supply had temporarily collapsed. Around 700,000 people died of malnutrition in Germany. After the war, inflation exploded, also under the influence of reparation demands. In 1923 banknotes over 100 trillion marks were printed.
Territory losses and gains: The peace treaties were signed in the Parisian suburbs, the best known are the Treaty of Versailles between the Allies and the German Empire and the Treaty of Saint-Germain between the Allies and Austria. In addition to the war guilt, the defeated Central Powers were faced with hard reparations. This and the assignments of territory created great resentment in Germany in particular, which should benefit radical nationalists.
At the end of the war, Germany lost a seventh of its territory and a tenth of its population: in the west Alsace-Lorraine was ceded to France, in the east Poznan and West Prussia to Poland, the Memel area came under Allied control, and Danzig was placed under the League of Nations. The former Silesian Hultschiner Ländchen became Czechoslovakian. The multi-ethnic state of Austria-Hungary was divided into individual states. As the winning state, Italy received not only the mostly Italian-speaking regions of Trentino and Trieste, but also the largely German-speaking South Tyrol.
Colonies: After the war, the victors divided the German colonies among themselves, essentially eight areas with three million square kilometers and a good twelve million inhabitants. The largest were East Africa (now Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda), South West Africa (now Namibia), Cameroon and New Guinea (now Papua New Guinea).
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