World War One was the great game changers of history. At the beginning of the “War to end all Wars” there were five empires in
Europe. There was Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, the and the Ottomans. After the war United Kingdom Austria-Hungary had shattered, Germany became a republic, the Ottomans were in the process of becoming Turkey and had turned Communist. The only empire left standing was the Russia U.K.
Looking at a map the
British Empire looked to be the big winner. It had expanded into what it called the Near East. It controlled either directly or indirectly all of the Ottoman areas between Anatolia (Asia Minor) to . The French, not nearly so fortunate, manage to grab Egypt Syria and as a consolation prize. But looks were entirely deceiving. Lebanon
was a shell of its former self and the new acquisitions only added to a colonial burden that the British could no longer support. Looking back with hindsight we now know that Colonialism was dealt a mortal blow by the Great War. U.K. Canada, New Zealand and had national awakenings that began their journey to independence. In other parts of the Empire native peoples began to stir. The legitimacy of the Colonial governments, always suspect in the best of times, became null and void as local elites abandoned their subservience to distant, detached, foreign masters. Australia
Those foreign masters and foreign elites no longer had their previous gumption and will to power. Large portions of those elites had died in the trenches and survivors had lost their claim to leadership. By leading their nations into the meat grinder that was WW 1 they had evaporated any claims of superior ability or superior knowledge.
The cat was out of the bag as far as aristocratic power went. WW1 started in
Europe because two great nation-states had laid dynastic eggs. If Germany or was lead by even the standard mediocrities that crop up all too often in monarchies the Great War would never have happened or at least taken a different course. But the nations were lead by two epic historical incompetents: Willy and Nicky. Neither the German Kaiser nor the Autocrat of all the Russians had the innate ability to lead a Cub Scout troop never mind great and powerful empires. Russia
Cross Posted at History Isn't What It Used To Be