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© Barns Green - A Local History of The Great War 2014
In the 4 years, 6 months and 8 days that defined the timespan of the Great War, the face of Europe changed beyond recognition. Empires fell, new nations came into being and a momentum of change, the like of which had never before been seen, took root. The financial cost of this was immense. To quote from a National Archives source.. “In economic terms, the First World War - fought at an estimated cost of $208 billion - caused the greatest global depression of the 20th century. Debts accrued by all of the major combatants, with the notable exception of the USA, stalked the post-war economic world. Unemployment was rife. Inflation dramatically increased the cost of living - most famously in Weimar Germany, where hyperinflation meant that, by December 1923, a loaf of bread cost 428 billion marks. The First World War abruptly ended a period of relative economic prosperity, replacing it with two decades of economic misery.” The decimation of the warring nations through lives lost and injuries sustained were equally huge. The same souce further quotes... “In terms of loss of human life, the First World War was unprecedented. The number of war dead (i.e. those killed in action or from wounds received in action) was about 9.4 million: an average of roughly 6,000 deaths for every day of the war. The war's victors, the Allies, lost far more men (5.4 million) than the defeated Central Powers (4 million). To these figures must be added the 15 million men who were crippled by their service in the First World War. In Germany alone, 2.7 million soldiers returned home with permanent disabilities. Only 800,000 of them received invalidity pensions. The ongoing cost of the war can be seen in the fact that, in Britain during the late 1930s, 639,000 ex-soldiers and officers were still drawing disability pensions. This figure includes 65,000 men whose disabilities were not physical but mental. Some servicemen were so traumatised by their experiences in the First World War that they spent the rest of their lives in hospital. The victims of the First World War were not confined to the battlefield. Furthermore millions of civilians and soldiers alike were killed by the virulent influenza pandemic of 1918/19 that left none of the warring countries untouched...” The maps below show the face of Europe pre and post the First World War, the navigation buttons access key events on a year by year basis
A Brief Timeline of the Great War
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1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918