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Age Of Extremes Essay

1581 words - 7 pages

In the text, The Age of Extremes written by Eric Hobsbawn, he brings many different points and views to discussion. In the chapter ‘The Age of Total War’ (p.g22-53), he discusses how if we want to understand the world today, we have to be looking into the past of international relations and into the past wars to see how it has led to the world that we live in today. Also how it came to a world war. World War One, was a large and devastating war, which was the first war in over one hundred years to contain more than one or two major powers. Hobsbawn states that the world believed that this war was going to be the end of the world and humanity. But the world and the people survived, although ...view middle of the document...

One of the most important points which Hobsbawn is stating, is the concept that war is changing over time and how it has become something so horrific and beyond imagination. He is able to achieve this by detailing the happenings in this war and the evolution of mass production of products and how they were used in WWI. The main goal was total victory, no limitations, just to win and humiliate The Central Powers. They sought to obtain total and unconditional surrender from the enemies no matter what it took, total war. Unconditional surrender was both illogical and self-defeating to both the vanquishers and the vanquished. It drove the defeated into revolutions and the victors into bankruptcy. The horrors and causalities are described in detail of the western front, which was a place of massacre on a scale that had never been seen before in the history of warfare. Millions of men from all different countries would face each other from across no-man’s land, with days of unceasing artillery bombardment. The attempts at breaking through German lines caused great loses. Men were mowed down by machine guns from the enemy, which they knew would happen. Millions of men were killed. With all the casualties that had occurred on the battle field, the men were of a young age, mid 20’s, causing the world to lose a whole generation of men.
Hobsbawn describes how technology played a large role in this surge of casualties. The Germans, who were always very strong in chemistry, discovered and brought poisonous gas to the battle field, but it was redeemed useless, only barbarous. The only genuine case of humanitarian revulsion against chemical warfare. Of the technologies which were created, the tank wasn’t particularly used as the generals did not know how to use it, but submarines had a much bigger effect. They proved to be effective in starving the other’s civilians, and Germany nearly succeeded doing this to Britain, but instead this brought USA into the war. Britain turned this around and used it against Germany, to try to starve out the population and the economy. The Germans economy wasn’t well run. It had no efficiency or rationality, they had the economy for a short war but not a long war, and however even with a hobbled economy Germany was still able to push Russia out of the war into their revolution. The change of technologies in war and the discovery of new ones has increased the horrific events which have occurred over the years. This has changed entire nations and their peoples’ viewpoint on war, changing it from something glamorous to something so horrific that they never want it to be repeated. Each country was never the same after WWI. In WWII the French gave into Hitler as they had almost bled to death in WWI and did not want that happening again. And others had a ruined economy by waging war beyond their capabilities.
Hobsbawm discusses the Treaty of Versailles and how it was done to keep another war like WWI from occurring again. For...

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