Chapter 27: The Crisis of the Imerial Order
Changes and Continuities
During World War I, an age old technology of horse labor continued to be used in conjunction with new technology being put to use on the battlefields. Millions of horses were used to pull field artillery and transport supplies. Germany, the Soviet Union, and Britain together lost 6.75 million horses in WWI and WWII. In addition to the continued use of horses for transportation, new motorized weapons proved their worth in World War I as well. These include tanks, airplanes, machine guns, gasoline engines, and steamships. New battleships were all designed to burn oil, which triggered a change in petroleum supply-and-demand patterns which proved a crucial factor in world affairs in the following decades. So while horses remained the mainstay of artillery transportation, changes and improvements to technology proved very effective.
The Russian economy had been ruined by years of warfare, revolution, and mismanagement. As the new leader of a country in ruin, Vladmir Lenin announced the New Economic Policy. This allowed peasants, merchants, and small business owners more freedom in the ownership, production, and selling of their goods and products and only the biggest businesses remained under the ownership of the government. The NEP greatly improved Russia's economy as production began to climb again and food and other goods became available.
Mustafa Kemal modernized turkey by abolishing the sultanate, declaring Turkey a secular republic, and introducing European laws. As a break away from Islamic tradition, Kemal suppressed Muslim courts, schools, and religious orders and replaced the Arabic alphabet with the Latin alphabet. Another goal of his was to westernize the traditional Turkish family. A few ways he accomplished this were: civil equality for women through the right to vote and be elected to the National Assembly, instituted civil marriage and divorce, and strongly discouraged women from veiling their faces.
Compare and Contrast
China and Japan were both subject to Western pressures but differed dramatically in each of their responses to these. China was weakened by clinging to a traditional social structure while continuing to limit foreign contact. After the Chinese revolution and in response to western pressures, Chiang Kai-shek established a corrupt military dictatorship that continued China's downward spiral. In contrast, Japan prospered during World War 1 because they were quick to join the Allied side. After the war, with a strengthened military and improving industry, Japan was modernized and began to prey on China. While both China and Japan were victims to Western pressures, China was continually weakened and overcome by foreigners while Japan became powerful and became one of the foreigners to overcome China.