Discussion response requested:
World War I
World War I was considered a turning point in European and globalhistory because it marked the beginning of modern, industrializedwarfare. The sheer number of casualties were a huge contributor, but themodernization and un-glorification of battle were also contributors toits historical significance. WWI saw the evolution of airpower, birth ofmechanized warfare, trench combat, chemical weapons, and totalsubmarine warfare.
The field of battle was no longer a place where two armies met tofight to a glorious conclusion, it had moved to the skies and thecities with the Folkestone strategic bombing of civilian targets by theGerman military on the 25th of May, 1917. Industries and machines werealso used and targeted, notably sinking of the Lusitania on the 7th ofMay, 1915 put a spotlight on the “total submarine warfare” beingconducted by the German navy and its impact on civilian (National WWIMuseum and Memorial, 2016). Tanks saw combat for the first time on the15th of September, 1916, and the tactical effectiveness of them wasquickly realized, with the British overrunning the entrenched Germanlines by more than 10,000 yards in Cambrai the next November (Merriman,2008).
The evolution of war and tactics also saw the rise of a moredisgusting threat – weapons of mass destruction. April 22, 1915 saw thefirst successful use of poison gas during the Second Battle of Ypres,with 10,000 allied troops being gassed – half would die (National WWI Museum and Memorial, 2016).Although this was not the first time chemical and biological agents hadbeen used in war (America notably used “smallpox blankets” against theNative Americans, medieval sieges often involved launchingdisease-infested corpses over castle walls), it marked a change in thedelivery and destructive power of these agents. It was now cheap andeasy to commit these atrocities against your enemies, which completelychanged the way wars have been fought ever since.
It was these reasons I believe that WWI was such a huge turning point- it change the landscape of wars, made old tactics obsolete, andintroduced mechanized warfare to the world.