What We Lost in the Great War

AP Am History
Article Review: What We Lost in the Great War

In his article What We Lost in the Great War the author John Steele Gordon discusses how the First World War as a key event had changed the basic values of Western culture in order to show the birth of modern society.
Gordon opens his argument by stating that the First World War “psychologically debilitating”. He says that the War was only a result of politicians freely threatening a war which was – due to improved mobilization such as the railroad – suddenly inescapable. He says that the politicians that had threatened the war did not encounter the military reality – so to speak the technical evolution with its railroads, machine guns, or barbed wire which made mass destruction possible on a much larger scale. In addition the Western powers had to recognize this annihilation of human life as a purely self-caused phenomenon.
The author goes on that the European people invented the “scientific method” to become the dominant power center of the world in technology, governance, and religion and believed in their superiority over the rest with much conviction. The advances in technology had made life more comfortable and communication faster and possible over far distances. The improvements in economy had made poverty decline and education spread and the great idea of democracy had changed politics on the base which promoted more social stability among the classes. Because of those achievements, Gordon argues, the self-confidence of the Western culture in their basic principles of society was indisputable, however, bitterly destroyed through the war.
According to Gordon the Western idea of liberty and therefore capitalism and democracy were promoted through the war because these systems had proofed more stable than other ones such as monarchy or Marxism. The idea of liberty and of the right to pursue every individual one’s way of happiness had spread through the Western world; however, the Victorians...