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Reply to post discussion:

1. As several of the videos noted, industrialism played a role in the development of weapons and the notion of the “home front” – the notion that by working in factories to create weapons, non-soldiers were still contributing to their country’s efforts in the war. The videos also noted that people from colonized regions were also brought in as soldiers to aid their controlling country’s side in battle. Unfortunately, additional consequences of industrialism and imperialism are, during wartime, the faster development of more devastating weapons and the use of people from colonized countries to contribute to brutal trench warfare (not unlike the use of people for extracting natural materials).

2. Both nationalism and revolution during the time period of the first world war made coming to an end of conflict difficult. Various revolutions at the time caused internal conflicts within nations that made world peace impossible, even when World War I was coming to a close. The nationalism that had been growing since the 1800s likely contributed to the harsh treatment of Germany towards the end of the war, as much as Germany’s actions during the conflict. Nationalism may have contributed to a sense of superiority over Germany and a disregard for German citizens by nations such as France and England (and thus Germany was saddled with the blame for World War I). While Germany’s actions during World War I were by no means excusable or “good,” I suspect that the treatment of Germany by these other nations, and Germany’s own sense of nationalism and frustration of the treatment of Germany post-war, led to the second conflict, World War II, and the holocaust, when blame was placed outward. Indeed, one of the Crash Course videos alluded to a growing mistrust of Jews by German citizens during this time period.

3. The “Letters from the Trenches” document shows how difficult life was in the trenches, as do video clips of ex-soldiers suffering from the effects of experiencing conflict. The technology used for war at the time was new, and contemporary medical science was not fully prepared to handle the effects of conflict. For example, in reading about one soldier’s experience with gas poisoning, from which he recovers, I wondered if medical science then especially, but even today, can be sure that he fully recovered. Might have there been long-term alterations or consequences for his health, either physical or psychological, that were (incorrectly) not attributed to the poisoning? It would, after all, be difficult to determine an exact cause if he did have alterations to his health – were they caused by poisoning, malnutrition, PTSD, or another cause?

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