World War I, its Key Outcomes and the Post-War Landscape of Europe ft. Thomas Sun

Show Notes

In this episode we welcome back Thomas Sun (from episode 3) to Getting It. He discusses with us the key outcomes of World War I, and how they shaped the rest of the 20th century. 

Make sure to listen to episode 3 of Getting It to get the context and insight of the situation of Europe in the run-up to WWI. 

The book recommended by Thomas:

Key discussion points in this episode:

  • We take a look at some of the key turning points in WWI
  • Overview of the main reasons for Germany’s defeat
  • Changes in the balance of global power after WWI
  • Discussing post-war agreements that changed the landscape of Europe

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A conversation where we explore topics both familiar and unfamiliar to us to find out what makes them interesting, so that we can expand our horizons and further our understanding of the world and people around us.
From science to lifestyle design, languages to religion, plus everything in between – anything can be interesting if exposed to you through the right lens. We hope to spark your curiosity through open-minded and thoughtful discussion, as well as a healthy dose of overthinking.

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Subaan is a 4th year medical student, motion designer, and an avid rabbit hole explorer. He has keen interests in lifestyle design, technology, investing, and metabolic health. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Dan is a 5th year medical student, pianist, and random fact connoisseur. He spends most of his time learning about languages, playing sports, music, and geopolitics. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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Note: This transcript was generated using Therefore the transcript will not be 100% accurate in some parts.

Subaan Qasim  00:17
And in this episode, we welcome back Thomas, who discusses with us the key outcomes of World War One and how they shaped the rest of the 20th century. Good evening, Subaan. Good evening, Dan.

Daniel Redfearn  00:28
And Good evening, Tom.

Thomas Sun  00:31
Good evening.

Daniel Redfearn  00:31
How you doing?

Thomas Sun  00:32
All right. Oh, yeah.

Daniel Redfearn  00:33
Very well. Thank you. Glad to have you back.

Thomas Sun  00:35
Thank you for being

Daniel Redfearn  00:38
That’s how I usually just said thank you for being Oh, that’s very nice way to start this episode. As a euro. Yeah. We just thought today, that would continue on from our last episode with you.

Thomas Sun  00:51
Yeah, I’ve been going on and on about history. I know.

Daniel Redfearn  00:54
Yeah. I thought instead of just sitting in the kitchen with you, and you’re just talking to me, it might be good to record this so that other people can hear it as well.

Thomas Sun  01:00
Yeah, definitely. So

Daniel Redfearn  01:02
yeah. So I suppose today, we’ll just continue on from the last episode. If you guys are cool with that.

Subaan Qasim  01:09
Yeah, I’m done. Yep. Okay, cool. Cool.

Daniel Redfearn  01:13
So we left off before just before the First World War, is that right? Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Okay. And as I understand it, today, you’re thinking of maybe looking at what happened directly after the First World War?

Thomas Sun  01:25
Well, I wouldn’t go as far with that. First, I want to maybe have a quick recap of what we’ve talked about, because I didn’t know whether everybody was listening entirely focused about an hour and a half of what they was talking about. And as a quick recap, and then just go through the most important steps during the First World War, and what happened straight after it, because I know a lot of people are not really interested of how people fought and how they felt during killing and well being in the trenches most of the time. So I just thought, skip most of that and spell of cruelty to listeners, and just go straight into the more important things of politics.

Daniel Redfearn  02:06
Yeah, yeah, that’s really interesting. Because recently, on your recommendation, I read a history book. And basically, I didn’t realize how much the Second World War was, for example, influenced by the deals after the First World War and the settlements and stuff. So at school, I remember we went to the trenches. subarna 10.

Subaan Qasim  02:26
Yeah, in Normandy,

Daniel Redfearn  02:29
I think it was more towards Belgium.

Subaan Qasim  02:32
I can’t remember.

Daniel Redfearn  02:33
Now, but we did a Normandy trip is where I get along the trip as well. And I remember that we learned about the First World War, but we didn’t actually learn about the aftermath. So yeah, today, I’m quite looking forward to hearing your word on

Thomas Sun  02:46
it. Yeah, I hope I can get to that and see how this ties in with the Second World War. Obviously, I will not go into all the details and everything, but try to get in as brief of an overview as possible.

Daniel Redfearn  02:57
Okay, perfect. So should we resume at the start of the First World War, then? Yeah,

Thomas Sun  03:00
so as you all know, just quick recap. First of all started after Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, by give your friendship. And this led to a whole load of things. And because of several international contracts, pretty much all of Europe was involved in the war, and is where we started the all the details on the previous kind of talks, I had more or less. But I tried to get through the most important bits of the war. Obviously, a lot of the generals at the time had a quite a good idea of the military plan as to how to defeat opponents. So far in European history, a war was fought within a year or two. And then you’ve got the size of victory or several decisive battles. And then pretty much, you either lost or tried to have a truce, and just carried on with your life. And this was the initial idea of the First World War as well. The Germans, for example, which were one of the leading Mogi pals at the time, at the so called sleeving plan, which was a very interesting idea, because they thought that the war the Western Front will be quite fast, they wanted to finish off France within six weeks. What they didn’t consider is how they approach this kind of victory. So for this plan to work, they needed to trespass through Belgium at the time and neutral power. And because of several international agreements, before that, they had kind of securities on Great Britain, so if anything happens to them, Great Britain will get involved.

Daniel Redfearn  04:39
So just really quickly, sorry for interrupting. So Germany, did they decide to go on the Western Front? Were they attacking both sides at this time, or they’re just attacking on the Western Front?

Thomas Sun  04:49
So the initial idea is to have kind of a weak offense in the Eastern Front and put all the powers on the Western Front Get rid of France as soon as possible, because they knew that the Russians could not at a time start attacking as early as the French could. So what they thought is they tried to get rid of France as soon as possible. And so they can mobilize a power to the Eastern Front, which is a lot more land to take than just going through France. And they’ve done this before, as I said, in bar 40 years ago, with the French German war, we just marched thread through to the Capitol, Paris, and how nice quick victory and he thought this might go the same way.

Daniel Redfearn  05:36
So this this situation has happened before and then happens again, as well. It seems like quite a theme. And yet

Thomas Sun  05:40
it really just wants to go to France and just come back and and just happily, Ever After get all the money they can have. And well,

Daniel Redfearn  05:49
so the leaders of the German military, the generals thought it would be quick. So they thought that they would be able to capture France quickly. Is that

Thomas Sun  05:54
right? Exactly. So they had this. Usually, if you reach the rank of General, you are quite old. And then at that time, they have studied thorough tactics of the Franco German war, the Indian Napoleon was were studied thoroughly in the module academies. What they didn’t consider is the massive technological advances that people made within the last 40 years. Once we’ve got starting of airplanes, to scan for scouting, we’ve got like machine guns, very, very impressive weapon in the best fuel if you hadn’t seen that before. And then we’ve got tanks that came up as well. And huge improvements in artillery, where you can basically have continuous as three fire,

Daniel Redfearn  06:43
and both sides had the advantage sides had

Thomas Sun  06:45
similar advantages, but they didn’t consider how they will plan out. So with Germany going through Belgium, they reach a point where they could not progress any further, because they were exposed to the artillery of the French said, That’s why the trenches came into place. And,

Daniel Redfearn  07:07
and you mentioned that the British were defending Belgium.

Thomas Sun  07:09
At the time, they were quite difficult to mobilize, but they started to declare war on Germany, once they reached the Belgian border. Because there’s willings National treaty.

Daniel Redfearn  07:19
Yeah. Okay, because that was, as from the first episode, the bunch of treaties that that transpired. Basically, exactly. I don’t

Thomas Sun  07:25
think I’ve mentioned this on the app before, but as a neutral power, you need some kind of some security of another big power to maintain your neutrality.

Daniel Redfearn  07:35
Okay. So when the Germans looked like they were going on the offensive, France and Britain mobilized even they said it was a bit slow for Britain to defend the so that’s when Germany slowed down When they reached the artillery of the French.

Thomas Sun  07:46
Yes, precisely. So they wanted to defend the troops they had so far. So they have to build trenches. But what they didn’t consider is that once you build a trench, you can’t go as quickly as possible. And because the war, once you reach a point of like a stalemate, more or less, you can’t just walk up the trenches, if the opponent’s bill changes as well, because you get shot on the spot.

Daniel Redfearn  08:11
Okay, so that’s where it became really slow and sluggish, right?

Thomas Sun  08:13
Precisely. So basically, throughout the day, first of all, war throughout the Western Front, there was minimal changes in how the front was, you’ve worn about 100 meters, 100 meters back, pretty much. That was the case. And you couldn’t do much at the point because how do you want to advance so it was almost like a siege, it was almost like who could last the longest precisely, Ah, okay. Okay. And this brought a lot of terrorists with it as well. Because before, you must imagine, like young lads, like we are at this point, you were conscripted as a military. And if you’re lucky, you might be one of the war heroes, you come back glorious. And to all the organizers of war stories to all the ladies, you know, stuff like that, or there was a preconception of the glory of war. Whereas this, the Western Front especially was not as glorious. Because you sit in your trenches, you have got constant fire, going up and down, you can’t sleep. It’s nasty. It’s muddy. There are rats all over the place, and people dying. You might have a corpse lying next to you. Who knows? And you can’t advance you can’t show you bravery because bravery means you walk out the trenches, and then you get shot. As somebody is watching. Yeah. Okay, because there’s the, the distance between the two branches, but it’s not far as Exactly. So it’s just trying to run and surprise them was trying not to get shots by how many people that

Daniel Redfearn  09:42
Okay, so that’s the Western Front, right. So that’s the border between Germany and Belgium, Germany and France. And the majority of that the trench warfare was in fought in Belgium.

Thomas Sun  09:53
Is that right? The flag was that he was on the French side of Belgium. It was on a man. There’s a river man, I think and it was on this front, and the changes were not huge. And as I said, I just wanted to highlight this because it was a new style of war was we’ve, if we go on the Eastern Front, we’ve got the three major powers involved in the war, we’ve got the Ottoman Empire, Austria Hungary in Germany, fought the saw Russia with the Russian Tsar, they’re still in place. What happened on the Eastern Front, it was quick back and forth. The Central Powers eventually gaining a rise. And then the Russian Revolution came in place, which basically means that Russia had to retreat for war, because they couldn’t handle it. At the time, there was a civil uprising and everything went down to shits basically. So here’s why. This was the progressions as one of the major changes was the Russian Revolution. Other things that I would mention during the first of all, what which happened was the death of Franz Joseph, which was the emperor of Austria Hungary at the time. But if they imagine him being the leader of the Austrian Hungarian Empire, since the 1830s, which was about 70 years, was was the longest reigning Emperor and sage, and he especially was a figure of national unity. In Austria Hungary, he was very symbolic character simply because in a time where nationalism was uprising from the early 1930s 40s onwards, he was one of the unifying powers in the multi cultural country like austro, Hungary was, you had about 15 different ethnicities and are now national states, but Austria Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and so on and so forth. A lot of different countries. And they were under his reign, him dying was that only from a moral point of view, very devastating for troops, but also cause people to think, well, he’s dead now. So we might just carry on and get what we wanted what we longed for. So for such a long time, independence,

Daniel Redfearn  12:08
so so awesome. So one of the biggest powers in the war, essentially, the leader, Franz Joseph, as he said, passed away after a very, very long time being at the helm. And that demoralized Austria Hungary, okay,

Thomas Sun  12:19
I would say so I’m I’m not, I’m not sure how he can scientifically quantified the the amount of but as a national kind of saw it really diminished morale of the troops, I believe.

Daniel Redfearn  12:32
Okay. And so that’s Austria Hungary, then you’re saying, there was the Russian revolution going on at the same time. So the Eastern Front was, wasn’t so much stable. So. Okay. And then. So Germany’s expansion? I guess they were focusing their attention on the western side more, is that right?

Thomas Sun  12:49
It was a bit of a back and forth, because eventually Russia have mobilized the troops. And you have to know that the Russian revolutionary came into power two, three years into the war. So we’re already fighting, and it was quite draining at the time, because he had to split the troops on two sides, where’s France, who bought all the power was Britain on one line, you have to fight on two different sides of balance of power, just trying to balance them back and forth.

Daniel Redfearn  13:14
That’s where geography is so interesting, because obviously, being foreign to Western Europe, if you’re France, or the UK, or if you have the most important country of all Portugal, is, is in what is going in one direction, isn’t it? But when you’re Germany, you’re you’re sort of at the bridge between East and West of Europe. So if you’re wanting to expand, you have to go both ways. Yeah. So you have to basically split in half and then find on both sides precisely.

Thomas Sun  13:38
And another thing to mention as well, why the geography, geographical location, john was quite unfortunate, as far as the Austrian one was, that we we know, for example, international trade is quite common. But already at the start of 20 century, you had international trade throughout Europe, as well as throughout the world. So because Britain, more of the major powers, one of the major naval powers, basically cut off the supply to German ports. They were incredibly suffering through through because of that.

Daniel Redfearn  14:15
So that’s another just to quickly interject again, and again, highlight the importance of geography in that, yeah, Germany’s access to the open ocean was basically strangled by Britain’s control of the North Sea at the time, whereas Britain obviously having a wonderful and as I was mentioning, before, the biggest power in all of Europe, Portugal, having open access to the Atlantic Ocean, in history being such an important factor to a country’s power, so yeah, again, I can imagine in a time of war, that being a stranglehold on Germany’s ability to get supplies and things so so in the in the First World War, from the start with Germany, the underdogs,

Thomas Sun  14:51
I mean, it was it is difficult to say I think, at the start, nobody has expected the war to be as it was. Nobody anticipated something like that happen. At the start of war, I think Austria was only going like, Oh yes, we just take service capital, which was about, I think 15 kilometers from their own border, have a quick play, be done in a month, and then anticipated Russia will be like Russia, this idea of being the Slavic kind of super nation that the fence orders labs have tried to unify them. And Austria Hungary at the time, I don’t think was thinking that Russia will go through that extent, service itself. And they didn’t know about all these secret treaties that all the countries made with each other. Which complicated it a lot more as well.

Daniel Redfearn  15:50
But then I’m thinking towards the end of the war, how did the war start to draw to a close? What brought that on?

Thomas Sun  15:57
So first of all, we’ve got Italy switching sides. One of the big things because they it’s at first, they didn’t actually enter the war on Austria Hungary side or in Germany side. But there were kind of a defense pact. They did this twice, didn’t they? It is twice if they are doing this all the time. I don’t know. But yeah, they win wars. That’s how that’s what they do. So if you want to win a World War, just get Italy on your side, and you’re basically fine. At least from what it seems like it but yeah, no. Jokes aside, like Italy didn’t actually fight tooth out like 1915. When actually they were brought on to the other side. by promising Lancer, the Austrians or and the Germans didn’t want them to have because austro Hungary at the time, still had bits of nowadays Italy as well,

Daniel Redfearn  16:53
is that South Tyrol,

Thomas Sun  16:54
South Tyrol, to this day is majority German speaking, but the most southern part of Southern Tyrell is actually Italian. But this is about 1/3 of the surface area of this province. But they really wanted to have this whole Italy again.

Daniel Redfearn  17:13
That’s the fascinating thing, again, about the geography of when you go into the central parts of Europe. borders becoming sort of more hazy over time and things switching around so much. And yeah, so even to this day, there’s the part of Italy in the northeast, where there’s a majority where there’s a German speaking majority in Italy is so interesting. And so I didn’t realize that came from the First World War promises

Thomas Sun  17:35
be exactly the promise of the First World War and austro Hungary wasn’t willing to give it to Italy, there were a dividing up colonies back in Africa to say like, Oh, yeah, like if we win the war, you can get this or that. Because Austria Hungary and then Germany didn’t have any kind of aspirations to be this great colonial power simply for Germany, it was because they just started too late. They started in the 19th century, late 19th century to build colonies in Austria Hungary was more about colonizing Europe rather than going a bit further.

Daniel Redfearn  18:06
And is that in part because of naval access, or was that completely unrelated to

Thomas Sun  18:09
Austria Hungary definitely wasn’t evil axes. And this kind of marriage policies of the Habsburg is, so they basically sent off all their children, the rovers in them all the children to order done dynasties, and eventually, they die out and just become part of Austria. This happened to, for example, in Spain, the Netherlands, Hungary, and so on, so forth, they didn’t really find was a Bunzl state. He just married really well.

Daniel Redfearn  18:37
So that was their way of expanding was basically sending off people to get married to the people from those countries high up and then by marriage getting controlled precisely.

Thomas Sun  18:47
This was Austria’s tactics and level. That’s it’s a smart way. And they basically coins and policies. And you have to imagine as well, the the Hapsburgs were one of the oldest family survive in in Europe as well been around sort of since the 12th century, and they haven’t died out. And they were quite successful. So it was quite prestigious, to be married to Habsburg in the first place. And just in a broader context, I’m

Daniel Redfearn  19:14
thinking about the aims of the First World War from the biggest powers. I know in the Second World War, for example, with Germany, it was about expansionism, is that right?

Thomas Sun  19:24
It is fairly difficult to say what Germany’s idea of a one first world war was, and I think it shifted throughout the years. I’m sure. One of the reasons is that they really hated France for some reason, and just wanted to get as much of a chunk as they can. And maybe get some colonies out of it, maybe expand lands as well from Russia or from from France, it is difficult to say at the stage, because they were never that close to actually think of what to do if they want

Daniel Redfearn  20:00
Okay, that makes sense. And so I suppose, in the First World War,

Thomas Sun  20:05
there was more of a defensive thing for each country, right? It was more like they’re, they’re bound by treaties and things to defend their partners, and they have to engage for that reason. Precisely so so it wasn’t necessarily that France gave give a lot of crap about Serbia was more about Austria, really bad Germany to help out and, and if Germany entered the war, then France had to enter the war. And then Russia had to enter the war, because of Serbia, and then everybody just entered because they had the secret treaties that nobody knew about, but they came to place where war happens. And then looking at the end of the First World War, then if you don’t mind. So the conclusions for each country, what were they like? So one major thing that happened before actually, coming to the end of the First World War, is the Americans joining. And this is not as glorious as most Americans would like to believe that they that troops just were so much better than everybody else’s, and so much better trained and more technical equipment at the time, they were still growing power, what they were not as at this stage, the superpower that we see nowadays, most of the time, is still growing just just a bit faster than Europe was at the time.

Daniel Redfearn  21:19
Were there any superpowers at that time in the First World War.

Thomas Sun  21:25
It is difficult to say what he coined as a superpower. But I’m quite sure that one of the major power what powers in fact were were a Britain and, and Germany at the time, Jeremy still rising at the same pace, I would say that America was but the what the Americans did that that really tipped a coin over. They just bought new troops, you must know that most of the German troops were already fighting for three, four years. They were just fed up with this kind of lengthy war where you don’t really see any victories small or big. And then you just see a new people just coming in out of nowhere, fresh, motivated, and and just just really crushed. Crushed to Germans in incense didn’t lose. You must, you must know that the First World War never was fought on German grounds, though, like the majority of the population never saw a Frenchman or British entering the country. Same foster hungry. It was more a wolf fought on the outskirts of the Allied territories, actually.

Daniel Redfearn  22:35
And it was fought mainly in the trenches. Right. So it was mainly on the ground. It wasn’t so much in the air, it wasn’t so much on the seas.

Thomas Sun  22:42
Well, the the aircraft at the time, were not as capable to do a lot of bombing and shooting. It was very primitive, you must know the naval forces. Yes, they do. They did find a lot. But Germany knew that against Britain, and France at the same time, which were major colonial powers, which had really expanded their capabilities a long time before the Germans did. There was no no fighting against much they did just try to keep them off the coasts, basically.

Daniel Redfearn  23:16
Okay. And then, in terms of the very biggest battles, were there any decisive moments any major battle that sort of swung the war or lead it towards the end?

Thomas Sun  23:28
I wouldn’t say there was like a one major decisive thing that happened, it was mainly the realizations of the German and Austrian generals, at the time that the Ford is in the fight is not winnable, there is not feasible. You might like after so much time being at war, it’s just very expensive. It’s simply very expensive, is demoralizing. You lost a lot of people ready. And it’s I would say like, it’s a bit like a poker game. No, like you went almost all in, and the gains are there, but but at what cost, you know, like, or do you want to gamble further and further and further, for the slight chance, like, you know, the odds are against you. And and that’s like one of the moments that the the Germans realized that and as the austro Hungarians as well at the time, that they paid so much already, and it’s not going to end up well for either side.

Daniel Redfearn  24:26
So they they did was that the Germans who surrendered?

Thomas Sun  24:30
It was it was a bunch of different things. So one central power 50 not I basically gave up and signed the Declaration of well defeat basically and the Germans as well. I had more protests in within the troops did lead to a massive uprising that just cost cost them to sign the feed as well to admit defeat. Okay. And now we’re actually the interesting part of it. Just Just a quick recap on on the first one, then the major events that led up to that. For, for Germany itself. Where the treaties in Paris were of major importance. So this is

Daniel Redfearn  25:17
this is at the end of the First World War, right?

Thomas Sun  25:20
Precisely Yes. And all the things that happened at the end of the First World War are basically the grounds of why the Second World War happens. entirely. It was entirely the treaties, some people might say, and I personally wouldn’t go that far there was other things going on, like his massive global economic crises in the 30s, and so on, so forth. But it was it was the trigger. It was one of the first initial triggers of the Second World War. If the treaties would be a bit more fair, or a bit more unfair even, it wouldn’t have led to the Second World War.

Daniel Redfearn  25:55
That’s really interesting. I never thought about what you’re saying. But if it had been even more unfair, because then because then Germany wouldn’t have had the capability to precisely Okay, so could you give us a run through of the major treaties?

Thomas Sun  26:09
Yeah, so we’ve got the Treaty of Versailles, with the German Empire. And we’ve got the Treaty of sayama, with Austria, Austria Hungary at the time. And I’m always forgetting one of the Ottoman Empire, but the last one of the Ottoman Empire, which was the third big force, and never came actually to power because it the Ottoman Empire crumbled. And I might come to that as well, at some stage because it is a world war in though it was mainly fought on European grounds. But there are a few interesting things that I like to point out with Germany, and why it’s actually affected me so much more than for example, Austria. So for once, it is difficult to tell your own population as the new chancellor, as the monarchies were abolished, that we have lost the war even though they didn’t see anybody in that territory, no German city was raided, nothing was going on there. And and this led to conspiracy theories of this code stabbed in the back legend, or in German Dorf, those logins, which was also picked up by by Hitler himself later

Daniel Redfearn  27:27
the door to Luke Enza. Exactly. Okay. So continue, please.

Thomas Sun  27:32
Which means that the troops never really lost the war. But the politicians just stab them in the back, saying that, oh, you can’t do this anymore. Which, in a sense, it might be true. But it would not be feasible for another year or two, even with upholding everything that I’ve done so far.

Daniel Redfearn  27:52
So Germany didn’t surrender, because they were invaded, or they completely capitulated they surrendered, because they realized there’s no feasible way we could win from here, it’s better to cut our losses, at least precisely. Okay. And so the German people, obviously, I guess they didn’t have the internet and things that we have today, a lot of conspiracy theories arose about the validity of that. Precisely, I see. Okay.

Thomas Sun  28:16
And another thing that added on to that was the fact that the treaties themselves were never negotiated with the officials of Germany, there were simply in German history, it was called as dictate. So they dictated the conditions of the loss. And if you must know that, at that time, if you lose against another power, there were treaties, there were negotiations about what happens, who pays reparation, and so on, so forth. And this was seen as a was a humiliation, but it was simply disrespectful, like they didn’t, like they didn’t like, it’s basically like playing a football game, and then not shaking your opponent’s hands after the game, you know, like, just walking off like, Oh, you’re so much better, you know,

Daniel Redfearn  29:05
who was leading the negotiations in the treaty for the treaties. I know, there are different treaties for different locations, but

Thomas Sun  29:13
there were basically no negotiation was was mainly between the Allied forces, and the Central Powers were not involved at all at the time. And for the treaties, there was one central figure who was more of an idealist. This was with Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States time in his famous 14 points, which led to what the basis while he himself had no idea about foreign policies, he was really unfamiliar with how the structures are in Europe. And he tried to be more of an idealist he thought of democracy as the greatest gift to humanity in countries that haven’t practiced democracy. In what forever, it was never introduced in these countries. And he thought basically that this will be the go to a further he identified that the first one will happen mainly because of ethnic issues. So he thought that if we put every single ethnicity into one country, we will solve a lot of issues, which was the self declaration of countries, which led to a lot of independence movements, especially in Austria Hungary, which led to the formation of Austria, Hungary, the Yugoslavian kingdom, we’ve got Czechoslovakia, we’ve got Poland rising from that as well. And interesting thing with Poland was that they were granted, they were the separate point to actually separate point for the 14 points of Woodrow Wilson, the day should get access to the sea, which was which was fairly difficult to say, because purlins itself wasn’t of existence as a country 423 years. But getting the maxes would mean to cut off a lot of German grounds

Daniel Redfearn  31:11
are, I’ve seen that the maps went to Germany hugging up the eastern side precisely up towards

Thomas Sun  31:18
Yeah, so they basically cut off a lot of pressure at the time for for Poland to get access to the sea, which caused the squad cutters belly for for for Germany. And Hitler put this up as Poland being ignorance in their late 30s. Because they didn’t want to lead a German railway through their own land to connect with Germany.

Daniel Redfearn  31:43
So Poland hadn’t exists at the end of the First World War. Poland hadn’t existed for 123 years. And it was so it was part of Austria Hungary. Was that right? It

Thomas Sun  31:52
was part of Austria Hungary was part of Germany, and is also part of Russia.

Daniel Redfearn  31:57
So that’s where like, you’ve got like Sally’s, you’ve got like, the different parts of Poland, being in depth split up into different precise nations. Okay, I must

Thomas Sun  32:04
imagine, during the First World War, they were fighting against each other, once every single side promised independence,

Daniel Redfearn  32:11
because Poland was split up into different countries. So the German bit of Poland would be fighting against the austro Hungarian

Thomas Sun  32:17
now the Russian bit sorry, the Russian.

Daniel Redfearn  32:20
Okay. And so basically, just I want to clarify, so was Woodrow Wilson and his 14 rules. That was very much from him, then for Poland. So he said, Poland must get a coastline? Yes. Okay. So, and that coastline is going to be taken away from Germany and given to Poland.

Thomas Sun  32:38
Yes, he tried to satisfy a lot of different views. Because France and England had this, they were quite adamant on destroying Germany into pieces, because they saw this as as a threat to national global security at the time, which partly might be right might be wrong, especially if you consider what side you’re on. And secondly, he wanted to satisfy the local community as well, the elections were coming up, he wanted, he was the president of time. And a lot of Americans had some so had strong ties to Europe. beads from Ireland bead from Poland, when even the Germans had strong ties with them. So he tried to satisfy as many people back home, as well as in Europe.

Daniel Redfearn  33:28
Okay, and so that, that essentially led to Germany being massively weakened. And feeling hard done by

Thomas Sun  33:36
Jeremy being weakened a lot was also because they had to pay orbitons reparations, which were not comparable to anything before, which weakened them economically, very significantly. They had to they lost a lot of land, lost a lot of people during the war, the whole industry was pretty much damaged. So yeah, there was a lot of things why they weren’t happy, especially because they never actually lost like they were not in their territory. So people were very discontent with that.

Daniel Redfearn  34:12
And out of all of the treaties Was there one that was the biggest slap, maybe the one that caused the animosity, frustration among the German people, or maybe that continued into the Second World War.

Thomas Sun  34:24
of the points of the treaty. It was a combination. It was the feeling that they actually haven’t lost. Because usually you would see enemies on your territory is a combination of paying as much as well as being incredibly in debt, because of the war. And interestingly, the debts themselves for European countries give to one advantage to one single country in the world that you might think of was America. At the time, Britain was the largest giver of credits countries, which totally changed, and it was actually the one that was most in debt, for example. So the wall what what it did to Europe was giving the power to America. This was one of the main things, because they were fighting over these things. But America was giving the money for that. And by doing this, they enrich themselves in such a way that they become the global superpower that we know now.

Daniel Redfearn  35:27
So out of the war, the biggest winner, potentially the First World War was the US by far by far,

Thomas Sun  35:34
okay, like Britain didn’t gain much of that the gains a few colonies from Germany, every now and then, the France didn’t get much to get a bit of land back. But in essence, it was the only winner of the First World War was was the Americans. And then how about the Russians had just gone through a massive revolution as well, they must have been really affected after the First World War. For Russia itself, it was quite difficult, because they were losing land as well, because a lot of independent independence happens, we’ve got Lithuania, we’ve got Poland coming independent, as well as Ukraine for short while but it’s difficult to say if the war impacted that or it was the revolution itself. So it’s quite difficult to distinguish between these two. And the third thing that happened was the fall of the Ottoman Empire, which I mean, they were they were one of the major sources of stability in the region. But once this kind of power collapsed it basically for the vacuum in the region. And we see this to this day that there is a lot of conflict going on. And once the root what happened was the first world war again.

Daniel Redfearn  36:46
Okay, so from my understanding, the a lot of the instability now in the Balkans can can be drawn back to the way that the Ottoman Empire fell,

Thomas Sun  36:56
not to the Balkans to the Middle East, sorry,

Daniel Redfearn  36:59
in the Middle East. Okay. Okay, so all the way spread down to the Middle East. And so, I mean, it’s, it’s going a bit away from Europe. But with with regard to the Middle East, after the First World War, were the Western powers exerting their influence more after the First World War?

Thomas Sun  37:18
Yeah, definitely, like Britain get because Britain gained a lot of power, which also comes with great responsibility. But what it led to was at the initial thinking of Zionist forces to create a state in what was going on as Palestine in the sense, so it led to the issues that we see in the region until to this day.

Daniel Redfearn  37:45
And so something I remember at school, I would always hear about Zionism. I didn’t actually know what it was. For anyone who doesn’t know about Zionism. Could you quickly explain. So it is the state, a Jewish state, in the former provinces of Judea,

Thomas Sun  38:03
from the Roman Empire, where a lot of the religious sides are found as well.

Daniel Redfearn  38:10
And so it was after the first world war that was being introduced that concept.

Thomas Sun  38:17
Strictly speaking, it happened after the Second World War. The initiatives started during well, shortly after the First World War.

Daniel Redfearn  38:27
Okay. Okay, that makes sense. And then going back more into Europe, the time between the first and second World War. Was there some sort of recovery after the treaties had all been signed? And things settled down? Or was there was there still instability for the next 20 years?

Thomas Sun  38:43
So I can say once the biggest loser was, well, its two biggest loser of the of the war were Austrian Hungary, which was a major European superpower, which was diminished to a few fractions of states. So barely insignificant. And then also in Germany itself. Because leading up to the the years leading up to the war, Germany was actually one of the major scientific countries. love science is love Nobel prizes, for example, were awarded to German scientists at the time, as well as Gemma was one, if not the most spoken scientific language, which nowadays we consider English to be. And because of losing the First World War, and well, especially after the Second World War, but also already after the First World War, the significance drastically declines. As well as for the poor German culture and which was fairly widespread in America. So it was not they were not proud to be Jersey where there were more hiding. So it was it was totally a shift in ideas. And so

Daniel Redfearn  39:57
obviously, it’s the First World War and we’ve been talking A lot about the war being fought in Europe, touching slightly on the Middle East. And obviously America had an involvement as well. What else caused it to be a global war? What was the involvement? For example? Was there any involvement at all from the Far East maybe.

Thomas Sun  40:15
So what I can say, I’m coming back to the fight is Oh, I didn’t forget. One of the things that made the world war, in a sense was also, for example, the former British colonies, like Canada, Australia and New Zealand, were fighting in France and in Australia, and not sure about Canadian and New Zealand history, it was one of the first times that the troops fought together under the banner of Australia, for example, this case, and it is considered widely as the formation of the nation of Australia, a sense of togetherness and seeing themselves as a nation. Because every country has got this kind of mythical birthplace where it was actually found it might be found in, in the office or somewhere, but but there is a cultural identity to it. And for Australia, especially. And I think, to some extent, also from New Zealand, Canada, it was definitely the First World War, for example, the the best of Gallup poll, which was quite significant.

Daniel Redfearn  41:19
Okay, so that, essentially, is the involvement of the British colonies at the time. I’m guessing the French colonies at the time also had an involvement. Spain and Portugal were not so involved in the First World War, I’m guessing just because of their geography sort of being a little bit out of the way.

Thomas Sun  41:35
Yeah, in a sense, not. I mean, not particularly, I would say, at least not visibly, like, there were a lot of countries that were directly or indirectly involved, for example, be China that hadn’t actually sent any troops, but was sending labor forces to French factories, for example. Interestingly, a lot of communist leaders actually came back from these factories, with an education in French schools, which was, then again, has an impact on on Chinese history. And the Japanese actually fought to send troops in the less extended during the Second World War, but they were involved in fighting as well.

Daniel Redfearn  42:18
And so they were supporting the, those ports in France. The UK was the Triple Entente that was supporting Yeah,

Thomas Sun  42:25
I believe so.

Daniel Redfearn  42:26
Okay. And then, after the First World War, I suppose they weren’t too involved. That is that was at the time of the Japanese Empire starting to spread. Is that right?

Thomas Sun  42:36
So yeah, yes, they started to expand at that time. And I mean, the expansion of Japan, I think, started already before the first world war with with the fight against Russia, were actually Jap Japanese were the first out force, also from Europe, that actually won a fight against a European country,

Daniel Redfearn  42:58
very long time. So that brings us up to essentially, the 1930s, pretty much, maybe the late 1920s, early 1930s. I’m not sure if you want to cut it there. And then at next episode, we can start talking specifically about the rise again of Germany, and maybe the build up to the Second World War. So we’ve covered the actual first world war itself. And we’ve taken a look at some of the instabilities that arose after the First World War, because of the treaties and the pacts that led to the formation of new European states, and basically a big change in the structure of Europe. Are you? Are you cool with that?

Thomas Sun  43:37
Yes, definitely. There’s only one thing that I wanted to say, just to make it bit round. Just to come back to Woodrow Wilson. He suggested formation of something called something similar to the UN, which was the League of Nations. But the United States actually abstained from joining them, which woods, some people might argue that would prevent further wars, but in essence, because they didn’t take part in from at the very start, it was simply an idea rather than anything else. But it was one of the ideas of were carried on after the Second World War.

Daniel Redfearn  44:19
Okay. And oh, there’s one more question on my part, which would be the role of India in the First World War at a time being a colony?

Thomas Sun  44:26
Well, it’s a time of again, being a colony most of the time. Any kind of British French or anybody’s colonies pretty much sent troops and the weather mode as much as they will when and you can, I’m not quite sure about the troop sizes that were sent. But they were directly involved in the war as well.

Daniel Redfearn  44:46
Okay. Okay. You’ve satiated. My question. appetite desk. Thank you very much for that. Subaan. Are there any questions on your end? No,

Subaan Qasim  44:54
I mean, I’ve just been sat in silence listening in or I’m just so uninformed about all This aspect of, of history and stuff. So I’m just taking a note of information, I can’t really provide anything or even provide insightful questions because I’m so uninformed. But I guess I had one question in terms of say, like, if I would want to get into learning just more about history in general, not specifically, say European history, or you know, of the world wars and whatnot, per se, of, like, key events that happened all over the world, is there a particular book or resource or documentary or sub series or something that you would recommend? I mean, it’s difficult to say, to have one book that tries to capture the whole world, or even something like a couple of books, like, you know, this book, or maybe this kind of area of the world or this section of history, and then another book where a different one? Yeah, definitely.

Thomas Sun  45:51
So this is one that I recommend, down as well, is called the Silk Road, which I think is a very different take on World History. Because if you listen to history, pretty much anywhere, even if it’s a fictional TV show, you most likely will see this from a very European perspective. You see this, not how the people that were more colonized saw that. But you see this most likely from the perspective of the white man as you’d like to call that. And I think the Silk Road takes a bit of a different take on history simply because it looks at the world. And I have to say this year was never the center of the universe, it was not very long term, have a sense of the world, as we like to think, well, at least Europeans like to think. But the Middle East was one of the major powers as well. We’ve got the Islamic art and science which which incredibly contributes to human advancements, as well as the Chinese and the Indians. And the Silk Road takes on all the countries that were along the Silk Road, and tries to put them into perspective of our European history.

Daniel Redfearn  47:09
I must say it was a book that Thomas did recommend to me, the Silk Roads by by Peter frankopan. And I just finished it, it’s a 24 hour long audio book. It was very meaty. Yeah, I listened to the audiobook version. But again, it was on Thomas’s recommendation, and it is very comprehensive, it helped me understand things a lot better. So yeah, I can definitely support that. One thing I remember reading about it when I was reading the reviews beforehand. Is this like Angry guy on the internet said that he just called it you know, there’s like the title and bold of the review. It was like, a love letter to Persia. And, in a way, I can’t disagree with it. Because Yeah, it made me realize as someone who survived and I obviously just had a very standard, like when a British education where it was very Britain centric view on the world. I had no idea of the importance of pleasure in the history in history going back in time, so yeah, it really, really interesting. And thank you again, for that recommendation. It was good. So yeah, I guess on my end, that’s all probably, I don’t know about you. Subaan.

Subaan Qasim  48:16
Yeah, I don’t I don’t have anything. Unfortunately.

Daniel Redfearn  48:19
I don’t know about US dollars.

Thomas Sun  48:20
Well, thank you for letting me be here again.

Daniel Redfearn  48:23
Yes, though. Thank you for being on. I’m just thinking back to the first thing you said What did you say again,

Thomas Sun  48:28
I thank you for being thank you for being here. And I’m so grateful for you being

Daniel Redfearn  48:32
Oh, well, you know, thank you for being as well Thomas, because otherwise we wouldn’t have had this episode and I look forward to Episode Three as well. I look forward to getting on to World War Two. That’s where I’m sure things will get interesting again.

Thomas Sun  48:41
Let’s hope we don’t get to where all three as well.


Daniel Redfearn  48:47
Okay, all right. So yeah, I guess we’ll leave it there. So yeah. Peace, peace. Peace.