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Assess how society was changing at the turn of the century. Refer to at least four different countries in your answer.

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Assess how society was changing at the turn of the century. Refer to at least four different countries in your answer. By 1914, Europe stood at the height of its power. Society had seen immense changes at the turn of the century and these changes were still being felt by all whom lived in Europe. By the beginning of The Great War, Europe dominated the world's trade and actively exported both European-made goods and European culture to every corner of the globe. It represented a vibrant capitalist economy based on free trade and low tariffs. Its expanding economy and new relationship with the rest of the world bares resemblance to the emergence of globalisation occurring now at the turn of the 21st century. Although the rest of the world saw Europe as strong, powerful and relatively stable, the people back home were not fooled. They were experiencing immense changes whilst feeling the tension created by the bridge between specific countries. Social changes were occurring not only within countries, but also between countries as influenced by political and economic changes. The relationship between the Great Powers was dynamic, affected by alliances and the ever-present arms race that was undergoing huge expansion within all countries. ...read more.


This change provided British society with a sense of superiority and security, in knowing that no other army could match the power created by the new naval battleships. No other army could match the power created by the new naval battleships, however they did try. The rise of aggressive nationalism, colonialism and militarism resulted in a strong refusal by any of the European nations to back down, especially Germany who placed itself at head-to-head battle with Britain. Soon after the launching of the Dreadnought, Germany launched the Invincible, its version of Britain's overpowering naval weapon. Although it did not overpower the Dreadnought, it signified the rivalry between Germany and Britain. The rest of the countries continued to build up armaments also, with the knowledge that they would need to continue producing innovative weapons to keep up with industrialisation. This was affirmed by Winston Churchill in his speech to the House of Commons in March 1914, when he stated: "We are witnessing this year increases of expenditure by Continental Powers in armaments beyond all previous experience. The world is armed as never before". While Germany's Kaiser Willhelm II struggled to keep up with Britain's navy, his country was experiencing massive changes on the home front. ...read more.


This coagulation of society was burdened by several affairs that shaped France at the turn of the century, portraying the country as discriminatory and controversial. The most apparent affair was the Dreyfus Affair in which an innocent Alsatian Jewish army officer was accused of passing French military secrets to the Germans. The entire country divided into two sides: the pro-Dreyfusards (generally radicalists and Jewish supporters who supported his innocence) and the anti-Dreyfusards (generally conservatives, anti-semitics and supporters of the Church). This distinction led to the separation of Church from State, disestablishing the Roman Catholic Church through a 1905 legislation passed by Premier Combes. This eased much social tension and led to greater peace between Church and State as indifferences were reconciled. Though manifested somewhat differently, the internal events in Britain, Germany, Russia and France at the turn of the 20th century display similarities: they mark the rise of the masses as a political force able to change the social, political and sometimes the economic status of the country. Whether it be the Liberalists, the Conservatives, the Social Democats, the Mensheviks, the Bolsheviks, the Proletariat, the Aristocrats, the Radicals, or even the anti-Semitics, they managed to shape the society of each and every country leading to social changes that changed the composition of that nation before the outbreak of the First World War. ...read more.

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