The Social Consequences of World War I: The Case of Germany

  • Wolfgang J. Mommsen


World War I had been fought by all belligerents with the utmost vigour and, as the fighting continued without an end in sight, all available human and material resources were mobilised in order to maintain the war effort. It is no easy task to assess its consequences. Not only the losers but also the victors found themselves at the end of the war in a state of utter exhaustion, and their economies were in considerable disarray. Admittedly, the destruction by enemy action was, with the exception of France and Belgium, limited, at any rate if compared with the Thirty Years War or World War II. Yet things were never again to be the same as they had been before 1914. In three European countries, the governmental systems collapsed entirely — in Czarist Russia, in Austria-Hungary, and in what was still Imperial Germany — and reconstruction proved if not impossible, at least a long-drawn-out affair. The German Revolution which broke out early in November 1919, even before the armistice had been signed, was in the first place a rebellion against the Imperial authorities, in order to put an end to the fighting at any cost.


Trade Union Real Wage Wage Level National Wealth Weimar Republic 
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    These data cf. Marc Ferro, The Great War 1914–1918 (London, 1973)Google Scholar
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© Wolfgang J. Mommsen 1988

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  • Wolfgang J. Mommsen

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