November 2018 marked the centenary of the end of World War I (1914–18), the first great international conflict of the twentieth century. After almost 100 years of relative peace, the major European nations went into a war that left millions dead, empires toppled, and a continent devastated. The conflict and its divisive peace left a legacy that helped give rise to totalitarian ideologies, like Communism, Fascism, and Nazism, and paved the way for World War II and the Holocaust.
World War I (1914–18) marked the first great international conflict of the twentieth century. The trauma of the war would profoundly shape the attitudes and actions of both leaders and ordinary people during the Holocaust. The impact of the conflict and its divisive peace would echo in the decades to come, giving rise to a second world war and genocide committed under its cover.
After the devastation of World War I, the victorious powers imposed a series of treaties upon the defeated powers. Among the treaties, the 1919 Treaty of Versailles held Germany responsible for starting the war. Germany became liable for the cost of massive material damages. The shame of defeat and the 1919 peace settlement played an important role in the rise of Nazism in Germany and the coming of a second “world war” just 20 years later.
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