“World War I changed everything.”
That declaration greets visitors to the website of the United States World War One Centennial Commission, which chose Kansas City as the site for Thursday’s national observance of the U.S. entry into the war.
The war did change a lot of things. Here are a few.
▪ World War I introduced total mechanized, industrialized war with tanks, air power, machine guns and chemical weapons.
▪ The United States went from being a debtor nation to a creditor nation. The world financial center shifted from London to New York.
▪ World War I set the stage for World War II. German resentment at its punishment gave rise to fascism and Hitler.
▪ It was the beginning of the end of the age of empires. The Ottoman Empire collapsed along with the Austro-Hungarian.
▪ It led to the creation of the modern map of the Middle East. The victors in World War I carved up the Ottoman Empire with boundaries that often ignored cultural and religious differences.
▪ It saw the rise of communism. The Russian Revolution occurred during World War I.
▪ It accelerated women’s empowerment. They entered the work force. The right to vote was inevitable.
▪ African Americans who served in the military came home from World War I with a new sense of purpose about asserting their civil rights.
▪ The war ushered in the popularity of the wrist watch, or trench watch. Pocket watches had been standard for men but were not practical in modern warfare.