ChAPTER 33 -- Part 5: Descent into the Abyss: World War I
Fearing that their armies were on the verge of collapse and menaced by widespread rebellions at home, the German commanders agreed to an armistice on November 11, 1918.
The generals wanted to shift the blame for defeat to a civilian government that they had installed in Berlin.
Germany's new government was made up of members of the Center and Socialist parties and had to consent to an armistice agreement delivered by two British admirals and two French generals.
The German people were stunned by the sudden reversal, having anticipated that their armies were on the verge of victory.
The casualty totals were staggering after four years of slaughter.
20 million lion soldiers were wounded and at least 10 were killed.
Great powers of Europe were eliminated as the main adversaries in the conflict.
Almost every European family had a death to mourn, from France to Russia.
Aggressive foreign policy led as the fighting ended.
Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and millions of civilians died in a flu epidemic that started in Asia and spread like wildfire around the globe and ended in World War II.
The number of dead and wounded was distributed among the chief combatant.
The totals reached hundreds of billions of dollars.
Across east central Europe, swaths of fertile farmlands and bustling cites were reduced to smoldering ruins.
The Great Depression was caused by the aftermath of the armistice and a postwar economic downturn that lasted until the mid-1920s.
Wilson was one of the leaders who pushed for heavy reparations ranks against the demands of people in colonized areas, from the Middle East to from Germans.
The prime minister of Great Britain was in charge of a coalition government during World War I.
People in a region have the right to choose their political system.
The Arabs sought a new voice at the Paris peace conference in 1919.
The Iraqi general was one of the Arab representatives.
T. E. Lawrence was a friend of the Arabs.
The British had promised that the Arabs would win national self-determination for their homelands.
With Wilson's blessing, the British and French shoring up and expanding their battered empires, while the Japanese solidi fied their beachhead in China and island enclaves in the western Pacific.
The triumvirate of Wilson, Lloyd George, and Clemenceau, which dominated the proceedings at Versailles, made certain that a mild antiracist clause, which was proposed by the Japanese, never made it into the final draft of the treaty.
German politicians tried to reverse in the postwar era.
The German delegation was not allowed to participate in the drafting of the treaty.
The German representatives were brought in by the servants' entrance and had to stand for hours while the entire draft of the treaty was read aloud before the assembled delegates.
The Austrians were targets of the treaties that emerged from the conference.
The new nations of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Yugoslavia were carved out of the old empire.
Poland was given a lot of what had been German territory before the war.
Austria was cut off from its traditional markets because it was one of the weak countries between Germany and the Soviet Union.
The peace process's fatal flaws were more than just insults to the Germans.
The new leaders of Russia were not invited to the conference.
Wartime promises to the Arabs in return for their support for the war were forgotten as Britain and France divided the Arab heartlands of the Middle East between themselves.
Ho Chi Minh, the future leader of Vietnam, was rudely refused an audi ence with Woodrow Wilson when China's pleas for protection from Japanese occupation of the Shandong peninsula were dismissed.
After being denied their demand that Germany be permanently partitioned, French leaders turned inward and waited for the next attack from the Germans.
The Americans repudiated what had been done at Versailles after President Wilson opened the peace conference with such high expectations.
It was clear to knowledgeable observers that Versailles was created in the Treaty of versailles, even as the delegates were still at work.
One of the most perceptive chroniclers of the war years and their aftermath, Vera Brittain, ended World War I; one of the chief wrote as the terms of the treaty began to be made public in the press.
The united States was what I thought about when I thought about the negotiations.
I would have thought that was enough justification for their lost lives.
The war in Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia, and East Africa was spurred by the hundreds of thousands of Asian soldiers and laborers who served on the Western Front.
The colonies supplied food for the home populations of the Tripleente powers, as well as vital food up until the war.
The British encouraged an expansion of manufacturing in India to make up for their overextended home factories.
The war years contributed to the growth of India's industrial sector.
The spectacle of the self styled civilizers of humankind sending their young men to be slaughtered in the barbaric trench stalemate on the Western Front was presented to the subjugated peoples of Africa and Asia.
African and Asian soldiers were ordered to kill other Europeans for the first time.
The deep divisions between Europeans were revealed in the process.
European troops were withdrawn from the colonies to meet the need for manpower on many war fronts.
The garrisons that were left were understaffed.
The need to recall administrative personnel from British and French colonies meant that colonial officials were forced to fill their vacancies with administrators from Africa and Asia.