When WWI began in the early 20th century it sparked a political tornado of change that swept over the entire world, augmenting everything in its path. Although the Allied and Axis powers were affected the most by WWI, East Asia and South Asia were also transformed as well by considerable social and political reform.
Effects on East Asia
In East Asia, China, which belonged to neither the Allied or the Axis powers, was the country affected most, with WII initiating the creation of the Chinese Communist Party. After the war was over, the Treaty of Versailles transferred all German holdings in East Asia, including those in China, to Japan. To China, this was an outrageous offense. Although China certainly didn’t enjoy Germany owning part of their land, to have their worst enemy, Japan, owning it would be positively loathsome.
A demonstration broke out in Beijing in protest over the aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles. After being defeated by both Japan and the West, China had enough humiliation and demanded social reform. It was then that Mao Zedong came forth and established the Chinese Communist Party. Although the Nationalists would crush the Communists efforts to overthrow the government, the Communist Party would eventually return and take control, changing China forever.
Effects on South Asia
In South Asia, India was affected by the war by the heightened support of the Indian Nationalist movement. When England forced India, a colony of the United Kingdom at the time, to support the war effort, the Indians complied and the Nationalist movement remained dormant during the war.
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After WWI was over, most of the world saw Europe as a powder keg of conflict. This, combined with the oppressive efforts to force Indian soldiers into the war, caused the Indian Nationalist movement to return full force. Intellectuals like Gandhi appeared with ideas as to what a post-colonial India should look like, and almost everyone in India, Muslims and Hindus alike, agreed they wanted England out.
Soon, England complied with India’s cries for independence and pulled out of South Asia. After discordant internal conflicts, India finally stabilized with its independence intact.
WWI changed the world forever and left many problems unsolved that would return again more forcefully than ever before. In China and India, WWI provoked social and political reform, but the two outcomes were very different.
India gained its independence and set up a Western-style democracy, whereas China would eventually be ravished by the tormenting policies and killing-spree of Mao Zedong. In these ways, both India and China were directly affected by the outcomes of WWI.
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