Three Most Significant Developments in World History
By Dess Dermondy
To me the three most significant developments in world history are the wars that were fought around the world. This includes world war one, world war two and the cold war. I personally have had trouble with history as far as taken class because of the focus of history is around wars and the killing of people. Many of the people responsible or involved in wars have a troubling mind set. These people could be classified as serial killers. World wars tend to dominate history classes mainly because the people or countries involved document every move and historians can come to conclusion based on documents. This makes writing easier for historians. Even though history books are dominated by War, there is no question that the events of war make them significant. WWI, WWII and the Cold War have played a major role in developing the world as a whole.
WWI the question of significance is interesting. The war is significant in many ways. To me, one of the biggest significant aspects of the war is how the war started out to be “glorified” by countries and people involved. The media is largely responsible for the glorification of war. While reading the book, the fantasy of people’s view of war is significant and how by the end of the war those views changed dramatically. There is nothing “romantic” about mass murder. There is nothing to glorify about people piled up dead all around you. The millions of people who died during this war is simply horrifying. The change that occurred to people families are still untold. When a story of a single family is told the dramatic impact the death has had comes alive. Losing your child or loved one when they are not home will have a dramatic impact on anyone. Even though the death is counted as one many other family members are affected, meaning: the death count is only one but the impact of that death can be dozens more. This also holds true with what is referred to as post dramatic syndrome which affects the soldiers that were in the war itself. The significance of this war and other wars goes beyond body count.
Another change in view that occurred during WWI is cost. The hope of a short war fell in the trenches. Trench building prolonged the war more than any country had imagined and had a devastating effect on countries that generally couldn’t afford to be in a war. Not only monetarily but also with simple things such as food. Germany had rationed its food supply to its citizens. They had broken it down to calorie intake. A citizen by 1917 cut down their calories to 1000 per day. This example of calories intake is showing the impact of war on not only the soldiers but also people in the country. Many people in Germany died from starvation because the country wasn’t prepared for problems they were going to have with importing food. With all the trouble that occurred in WWI it is interesting that WWII even happened.
Ten years after WWI the world went into a great depression. I was unaware during the 20’s and 30’s that the world was experiencing a depression and thought that it was only the United States that had experienced a depression. For approximately ten years the depression lasted and ten years after the depression, WWII was unfolding.
The rise of one of the world’s greatest serial killers started in Germany and the impact of his quest for fame is felt today and will continue to be felt in the future. A guard of a Nazi camp had just been arrested as I write this paper and is to stand trial for war crimes, he is 93 years old. Another leader of a country known as USSR was also committing atrocities against humanity. The impact of the on coming war was truly a global event. It is difficult to talk about WWII and the significance of the war without mentioning the leaders involved. It is not that I am ignoring the separation that is requested by the professor rather the war was started because of the impact the leaders had on the people in the countries they led.
As the United States did its best to stay out of the war and other countries, they were drawn into the war because other countries instigated them to be involved in the war. The impact of WWII had on the people is the same as stated on WWI which is why I find it hard to believe that WWII even started. There were no lessons learned from WWI. The impact of WWII is far more reaching than WWI. More countries were involved and more people died as a result mass murder. The book we have been reading and also writings at Fordham University use the word “purging” to describe the mass murder that occurred during the war. The use of this word I find disturbing. It somehow hides and justifies mass murder by not calling mass murder for what it is: the murdering of millions of people for no particular reason other than you don’t agree with their religious beliefs or they stand against you as a leader of their country. As you can tell I do not like that word and despise it used in the context that it is being referred to. It is this type of ignorance that proves the impact that war will have in the future as history books and universities continue to down play what really occurred. These same people criticize groups of people who down play and even say that the killing of Jewish people for no reason other than being Jewish did not occur. To me and most likely others the use of the word “purge” is having a negative impact on teaching of what happened inWWII.
The third war that the book talks about is the cold war. This war had an impact on countries in an indirect way. What was done for part of the war is that the United states and the Soviet union both supplied other countries with intelligence and weapons to fight against each other without declaring war against each other. The race for nuclear weapons had a clear affect against the United States and the Soviet Union. The impact of the cold war is still felt in the Soviet Un ion. The country could not afford an arms race with the United States and bankrupt the country trying to do so. The country has been devastated. The infrastructure or technology and production development in the country does not exist because the USSR decided it was more important to build weapons of war rather than investing in their country. Today, some thirty years later USSR does not have a product that they produced that is reconisized around the world. They have no export to speak of because their money was spent fight the United States in a war that on paper did not exist as far as being called a war. I once worked with a person that was in the military during the war. He commanded a Nuclear Sub and would briefly talk about the “cat and mouse games” that the subs would play under the ocean. The cold war is evidence that we did learn something from previous wars. That the mass killing of people doesn’t work efficiently. That a country can be stopped or even destroyed economic means and have more of an impact than killing ever will.