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Dave Keats

Senior Design Engineer,

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How might the world be different today, if the First World War never happened?

I've given this question some thought recently. I thought about the questionable – but all too human – causes for WWI. Then I thought about the Middle East, and how the Allies divided it after WWI (and how the resulting conflicts continue today). And then I thought about WWI being one of the causes of WWII, and how scores of towns & cities in England, France, Germany, Japan and elsewhere were decimated. And then there was the formation of Israel in 1948.

Think of the changes in international relations, peace, politics, economics, trade & foreign policy, terrorism, poverty, and the rise of hopelessness in parts of the world. I'm almost overwhelmed by the number of answers there must be to my question (in addition to the things that will never be known). I just hope there is value in asking it.

And then I thought I would pose it to the TED Community.

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    Oct 8 2012: The Americans wouldn't have gone to the moon.
  • Oct 8 2012: "How might the world be different today, if the First World War never happened?"

    Monarchies in Europe and colonial empires might have lasted longer (possibly leading to a host of revolutions and civil wars that never took place in our timeline), it would have taken longer for the women's suffrage movement to gain ground in the Western world, segregation in the US would probably have lasted longer, the world might have an entirely different view of war (WWI mainly brought us the world's peace movements and spread the idea of war being horrible, rather than glorious). Those are the things I think of.
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    Oct 8 2012: Just about every political/war/strife problem that exists in the world today stems from WWI and its Versailles Treaty. Take the Versailles Treaty out of the picture and you no longer have a Hitler and problems in the middle east and the Balkans, to name a few. It was truly corrupt.

    At the same time, WWI and WWII did something positive. My father came from a small, isolated hamlet in Pennsylvania. He was raised in a strict Christian tradition. When he found himself in WWII, he realized that his experience wasn't "norm". He was exposed to things that he would never have known before, questions he never would have asked before, and images that he would never have conceived of before. It profoundly changed his outlook on life.

    The problem with WWI and WWII is that we haven't learned the right things from them yet. Too many world leaders are taking lessons from Hitler (and Machivelli's "The Prince"). The victims become the abusers - just as too often happens to individuals. Too few world leaders learn from the consequences of the Versailles Treaty - or even about it.

    But more and more are learning that war is ineffective as a method of conflict resolution. Soon, war will be as obsolete as the boot hook (if we don't destroy ourselves first). We wouldn't be getting to that point without having the opportunity to learn how barbaric war is.

    So, there are two sides to the coin that you tossed into the TED community. The problems that the world face today are mostly because of the corrupt economic model that the bullies impose on their victims, but that too is unsustainable, so it too will become obsolete.
  • Oct 8 2012: the reprocussions are unknowable. Europe would be much more populated, nuclear weapons may not have been created, etc.

    It is truly mind boggling the amount of changes that could occur if one simple thing changed.


    For example at work it was shortly before coffee so I thought 'maybe I should go now' 'na' and worked still, but if that no would have been a yes there is a high probability of me and maybe another person dying that day.