Introduction: India and the Great War, a centennial assessment

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Book Chapter

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History and Philosophy

Publication Title

India and World War I: A centennial assessment


For many historians World War I, or the Great War, waged between 1914 and 1918, was the single most important event of recent history as it was the direct and indirect cause of events and social and political trends that defined the history of the world for the rest of the century. These included the Russian Revolution and the rise of communism, the Great Crash of 1929 leading to the Great Depression and the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany, World War II and the Cold War, 2 and the acceleration of nationalist and nationalistic sentiments, even as the world has become more integrated economically through technological developments. Most importantly, in spite of the interwar dictatorships’ attempts to create exclusive economic blocs, it accelerated the global reach of capitalism and political control, as the imperial powers sought to integrate their colonies even more into their markets and to bring their colonies further into their political network. This ultimately led to the Bretton Woods conference of July 1–22, 1944 which created the mechanisms, most notably the International Monetary Fund, through which the global capitalist economy became hegemonic and would brush aside all competing systems.

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