3. WW1 nearly caused a financial meltdown in Britain
Prior to WW1, Britain was an economic superpower. The country had significant levels of wealth and resources due to a vast empire and rapid growth. However, it was not prepared for the impacts war would have.
With BBC reporting an estimated cost to Great Britain of $35,334,012,000, the world’s first global war cost more than any that had gone before. The cost of bullets fired in one 24 hour period in September 1918 was almost a staggering four million pounds.
With the financial strain of war, the government had to find ways of raising money. This was done through taxes, borrowing and printing money. Whilst the country did not collapse before winning the war, the effects of war would be felt for many years to come.
A key part of British economy, foreign trade, was badly damaged. With countries cut off from the supply of British goods, they were forced to build up their own industries. Old trade partners became direct competition and in 1920/21, Britain was faced with its deepest recession in history.
Whilst gradual, WW1 marked a significant point in the decline of Britain as a world power. By the mid-20th century the United States would overtake Britain as the leading global economic power.