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The First World War

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  1. Introduction
  2. Its development over the years
  3. It economic policy
  4. Conclusion

The Great War combines features that were unthinkable for contemporaries. It was a long war, while the world leaders and citizens alike were expecting a war of a few weeks culminating in a decisive battle or two like Sadowa Sedan in 1866 and in 1870. Then a European congress, a century after that of Vienna, would establish a new European order negotiated between the powers. These illusions survived for many years despite the surprises of the war. At the front, the starting balance, paradoxically strengthened by the failures of the summer 1914, became steadfast, and the war played itself out in the background on the economic and social front: Europe as a whole, including neutrals, must commit all its forces, but they were insufficient. It was thus compelled to appeal to the world. With the prospect of a war of a few weeks, the basic preparations for and a temporary interruption of economic life had been made. However, the economies must have been disillusioned and entered a long period of adjustments to keep up with strategies and armaments.

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