The Forgotten World War One

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It is an unfairly Eurocentric reading of the First World War to dismiss the conflicts that took place, under imperial officers but predominantly involving men and women from the Middle East, South Pacific, Australia, North America, China, Japan, India, and across the African continent between 1914 and 1918, as mere ‘sideshows’ to a European War; in much the same way as in Europe, the First World War globally sowed the seeds of conflict and upheaval, and the post-war environment provided the conditions for what came after. The following sections contain just a few examples of its crucial importance to global history, and attempt to put the ‘world’ back into the First World War.
In Asia, the victory of Japan against a European power, Germany, in 1914 reinforced its ascendency as an imperial nation, which had begun with the Russo-Japanese war a decade earlier, while in India the huge cost in lives and revenue spent fighting a distant war fed anti-colonial and independence movements. In Africa, the deep scars riven across the land by war defined the boundaries, language and culture of many modern nations. Finally, in the Middle East, the outcome of the First World War on the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, the British mandate in Palestine, and the Western involvement in Persia and the Arabian Peninsula echo down to the present state of the region. This topic seeks to look beyond the Western Front to provoke questions about the truly world-spanning nature of the First World War.