The dawn of the American century

Brief summary

After World War I the United States took over the leading role in world politics from Europe.

The true victor of the world war was the United States of America. After a bloody civil war, in the last third of the 19th century this continent-sized country had shaped itself into an enormous nation state. By 1918 the most powerful player in world politics, it was in this role that the United States directed the peace negotiations. By the end of the war American economic output was many times that of either Britain or France, which were heavily in debt to the USA. Although in Europe it is thought that the First World War ended with the so-called “Versailles peace system”, the true structure of the new world order was only erected more than three years later by the Washington naval treaties. In February 1922, Great Britain was forced to surrender its hegemony over the world’s oceans. The United States of America became the new world power.



„The world must be made safe for democracy."
Woodrow Wilson


„The world’s less civilized peoples must be converted to the principles of America."
Woodrow Wilson


„The United States had a mission to make the world a better place."
Woodrow Wilson


„Creating democracy is America’s world mission."
David Lloyd George




Further rooms

An entire era is lowered into the grave

Franz Joseph’s death was felt as a tragedy by his contemporaries.

Back from the front

The military casualties of the war numbered 10 million dead and 21 million wounded.

The creators of the peace structure

The victors invoked the principle of “national self-determination”, but their decisions bore no trace of this.

The dawn of the American century

After World War I the United States took over the leading role in world politics from Europe.

Europe in tumult

The continent’s victors and vanquished alike faced similar problems: everyday life was overshadowed by social unrest and economic hopelessness.

The Spanish flu pandemic

In three devastating waves, the pandemic killed over twenty million people: more than twice the number of soldiers killed in the war.

The league of nations

The organisation founded at President Wilson’s initiative was the first attempt at peaceful resolution of the world’s conflicts.

Red terror

Violence and intimidation were from the very start the essence of communist dictatorships.

The Leninist model

Attempts at transforming European societies and the threat of a communist world revolution posed a serious challenge to European states.

Changes – 1914–1922

“Divide and rule!” The victors redrew the world map in a way that would possibly perpetuate ethnic and religious conflicts.

In the shadow of Trianon

The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy plunged the Kingdom of Hungary into its deepest crisis since the Ottoman occupation.