Was World War I worth it?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,996
SoCal
#1
Do you think that World War I was worth it?

Note: I am not asking whether you think that your country should have avoided fighting in WWI. Rather, I am asking if it would have been best had WWI been completely prevented.

IMHO, it was "good" that certain wars occurred. For instance, both the Texas War of Independence and the Mexican-American War allowed the U.S. to acquire large amounts of living space--living space that it subsequently made excellent use of--that it wouldn't have acquired otherwise. Likewise, it was "good" that the American Civil War occurred because the secession of the Southern U.S. states allowed the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to be successfully pushed through after the end of the war; had the South remained in the Union, it would have been impossible to pass these Amendments for an extremely long time due to Southern opposition (U.S. Constitutional Amendments need to be approved by 2/3rds of both house of the U.S. Congress as well as by 3/4ths of all U.S. states).

Meanwhile, it was clearly best if certain wars--such as WWII--would have never occurred. Obviously the Allies were justified in fighting against the Nazi menace in WWII, but it would have been best had Germany had a more reasonable leadership in 1939 which would not have started any wars.

In turn, this raises an interesting question--would you say that it was a "good" thing that WWI broke out? Or would it have been best had WWI not broken out at all?

IMHO, it would have been best for WWI to have never broken out at all. Sure, WWII resulted in certain positive border changes in Europe--the Italian annexation of Trentino, Trieste, and Fiume, the Serb annexation of the Serbian-majority parts of the former Austria-Hungary, the Romanian annexation of Transylvania, Bessarabia, Bukovina, the creation of Czechoslovakia (even if its borders were too generous in its favor), the recreation of an independent Poland on almost all Polish-majority territories, et cetera. Still, IMHO, such territorial changes were not worth a World War. Tsarist Russia could have eventually descended into revolution even without a World War--and then Poland would have had the opportunity to regain its independence, albeit with smaller borders due to Germany and Austria-Hungary keeping their Polish-majority territories. As for these other territories, hopefully something similar to the United States of Greater Austria would have been implemented in Austria-Hungary which would have given sufficient autonomy to the various non-German and non-Magyar ethnicities of Austria-Hungary:

United States of Greater Austria - Wikipedia



Another positive consequence of the World Wars was decolonization, but that was probably bound to happen anyway even without the World Wars for demographic reasons as well as due to changing cultural values. Thus, the World Wars don't appear to have been crucial for this either.

Anyway, do you agree with my assessment here that, unlike certain other wars, it would have been best had WWI never occurred?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,996
SoCal
#3
Wars of such magnitude are never worth it. WW1 would have remained a local conflict between Ausria-Hungary and Serbia. It was Germany that made it into a world war.
I wouldn't necessarily say "never worth it," but wars of such magnitude should result in extremely massive gains if they are to be worth it.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,169
US
#4
The fact the "The war to end all wars" was not, says it wasn't. However, WWI effectively ended the empires within Europe, enabling sovereignty for millions of people. For that reason, yes it was.
 
Likes: Futurist

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,767
USA
#5
I wouldn't necessarily say "never worth it," but wars of such magnitude should result in extremely massive gains if they are to be worth it.
True. I can see only one 'massive' gain out of WW1. That was the end of the Ottoman empire, but that should have been accomplished much before, by letting Russia do it, if the West wasn't willing take up the task itself.

The breakup of the Austro-Hungarian empire was inevitable with or without the WW1, I believe.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,996
SoCal
#6
The fact the "The war to end all wars" was not, says it wasn't. However, WWI effectively ended the empires within Europe, enabling sovereignty for millions of people. For that reason, yes it was.
I do agree with you that the spread of national self-determination as a result of WWI--albeit only partial and incomplete--was certainly a good thing. Still, I wonder if a World War was actually necessary to accomplish this. As I said in my OP here, Russia could have still eventually descended into revolution even without a World War due to Tsar Nicholas II's incompetence. This would have likely given Poland an opportunity to break free from Russia--albeit with a smaller amount of territory. Also, while this would not have been as good as outright independence, had the United States of Greater Austria plan eventually been implemented, the various ethnic groups within Austria-Hungary could have still obtained a large amount of self-rule--which would have certainly been an improvement over the previously existing situation.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,996
SoCal
#7
True. I can see only one 'massive' gain out of WW1. That was the end of the Ottoman empire, but that should have been accomplished much before, by letting Russia do it, if the West wasn't willing take up the task itself.
Oh, sure, it might have been best to dismember the Ottoman Empire before Germany united. That way, it could have been done at a much smaller cost.

The breakup of the Austro-Hungarian empire was inevitable with or without the WW1, I believe.
That I'm not so sure about. AFAIK, various ethnic groups within Austria-Hungary only wanted autonomy rather than independence in 1914. True, their demands might have changed over time, but there's certainly no guarantee of this.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,996
SoCal
#8
Also, I suppose that a similar question might be asked about the partition of India--specifically whether the extremely massive bloodshed which occurred as a result of this partition was worth it.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,996
SoCal
#10
No. It was the worst catastrophe for Europe since the 14th century. It brought Boshevism, Nazism and WWII—-as well as all the problems in the Mideast—in its train.
To be honest, the Ottomans weren't exactly saints in their policies either (for example, the Armenian Genocide). However, you are correct about WWI resulting in both Bolshevism and Nazism.
 
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