chapter  17
10 Pages

Europe between Wars

ByJay P. Corrin

World War I turned out to be a watershed in European history. It produced a series of political, social, and economic crises that transformed the landscape of Western culture. Ten million military deaths robbed nations of their future leaders. Germany and France lost some 16 percent of their male populations; to put this in context, a comparable proportion of America’s current population would be 15 million adult males-and even in World War II, America’s costliest conflict, the number of American dead was less than half a million. If this devastation was not enough, in 1918 the Spanish influenza epidemic began to sweep through a cold, hungry, and weakened world, killing twice as many as had been taken in World War I.