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Q7. What were the major reasons for End of the World War I?

Many efforts were made to bring the war to an end. In early 1917, a few socialist parties proposed the convening of an international socialist conference to draft proposals for ending the war without annexations and recognition of the right of peoples to self-determination. However, the conference could not be held.

The proposal of the Bolshevik government in Russia to conclude a peace “without annexations and indemnities, on the basis of the self-determination of peoples” was welcomed by many people in the countries which were at war. However, these proposals were rejected. The Pope also made proposals for peace but these too were not taken seriously.

Though these efforts to end the war did not get any positive response from the governments of the warring countries, antiwar feelings grew among the people. There was widespread unrest and disturbances and even mutinies began to break out. Following the success of the Russian Revolution, the unrest was soon to take the form of uprisings to overthrow the governments in many countries.

In January 1918, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, proposed a peace programme. This has become famous as President Wilson’s Fourteen Points. These included the;

  • conduct of negotiations between states openly,
  • freedom of navigation,
  • reduction of armaments,
  • independence of Belgium,
  • restoration of Alsace Lorraine to France,
  • creation of independent states in Europe,
  • formation of an international organization to guarantee the independence of all states, etc.

 

Some of these points were accepted when the peace treaties were signed at the end of the war. Britain, France and USA launched a military offensive in July 1918 and Germany and her allies began to collapse. Bulgaria withdrew from the war in September, and Turkey surrendered in October.

Political discontent had been rising in Austria-Hungary and Germany. The emperor of Austria-Hungary surrendered on 3 November 1918. Revolution broke out in Germany. Germany became a republic and the German emperor Kaiser William II fled to Holland. The new German government signed an armistice on 11 November 1918 and the war was over.

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