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The Aftermath of World War 1

Aftermath of World War 1

The British Empire

The British Empire survived the war and continued to be a Great Power, but it was severely damaged. Its larger Dominions, who had fought with England -- most significantly Canada and Australia -- gained a sense of national pride as a result of the War, and though they did not immediately declare independence, these countries had become nations in their own right. In a short while, they would begin to forge their own destinies.

Significantly, the First World War marked the point when the United States surpassed the British Empire as the greatest naval and military power. It would never regain its former military glory and from then on its empire would be in decline.


The First World War was a disaster for Germany. Defeated militarily, Germany was subjected to further humiliation at the peace negotiations when it was forced to pay huge financial indemnities to the winning countries. The important industrial district of the Ruhr was demilitarized and occupied by foreign troops. Germany was stripped of all of her overseas colonial possessions in Africa and the Pacific.

The German Kaiser was forced to abdicate and flee into exile. The economy collapsed and hyper-inflation destroyed the savings of the middle class. The government was replaced by a weak and ineffective Republic (known as the Weimer Republic) which would, in a few decades, yield to the tyranny of the Third Reich.

German resentment at the defeat suffered during the war and the harsh terms dictated by the victors fueled the growth of Nazism.

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