Aftermath of World War I

World War I also had the effect of bringing political transformation to most of the principal parties involved in the conflict, transforming them into electoral democracies by bringing near- universal suffrage for the first time in history, such as Germany ( German federal election, 1919), the United Kingdom ( United Kingdom general election, 1918), and Turkey ( Turkish general election, 1923).

Blockade of Germany

Main article: Blockade of Germany

Through the period from the armistice on 11 November 1918 until the signing of the peace treaty with Germany on 28 June 1919, the Allies maintained the naval blockade of Germany that had begun during the war. As Germany was dependent on imports, it is estimated that 523,000 civilians had lost their lives. [1] N. P. Howard, of the University of Sheffield, claims that a further quarter of a million more died from disease or starvation in the eight-month period following the conclusion of the conflict. [2] The continuation of the blockade after the fighting ended, as author Robert Leckie wrote in Delivered From Evil, did much to "torment the Germans ... driving them with the fury of despair into the arms of the devil."[ citation needed] The terms of the Armistice did allow food to be shipped into Germany, but the Allies required that Germany provide the means (the shipping) to do so. The German government was required to use its gold reserves, being unable to secure a loan from the United States.[ citation needed]

Historian Sally Marks claims that while "Allied warships remained in place against a possible resumption of hostilities, the Allies offered food and medicine after the armistice, but Germany refused to allow its ships to carry supplies". Further, Marks states that despite the problems facing the Allies, from the German government, "Allied food shipments arrived in Allied ships before the charge made at Versailles". [3] This position is also supported by Elisabeth Gläser who notes that an Allied task force, to help feed the German population, was established in early 1919 and that by May 1919 " Germany [had] became the chief recipient of American and Allied food shipments". Gläser further claims that during the early months of 1919, while the main relief effort was being planned, France provided food shipments to Bavaria and the Rhineland. She further claims that the German government delayed the relief effort by refusing to surrender their merchant fleet to the Allies. Finally, she concludes that "the very success of the relief effort had in effect deprived the [Allies] of a credible threat to induce Germany to sign the Treaty of Versailles. [4] However, it is also the case that for eight months following the end of hostilities, the blockade was continually in place, with some estimates that a further 100,000 casualties among German civilians to starvation were caused, on top of the hundreds of thousands which already had occurred. Food shipments, furthermore, had been entirely dependent on Allied goodwill, causing at least in part the post-hostilities irregularity. [5] [6]