Peace brought neither stability nor lasting prosperity to the Western democracies, which paid a heavy price for their victory in World War I. Although, the United States suffered comparatively minor financial losses, huge war debts threatened the economic and political stability of Great Britain and France. .
The United States emerged from World War I in better shape than its Allies did. No battles were fought on American soil, and because of its late entry into the conflict, America suffered a lot fewer casualties than the other nations. In addition, unlike the economies of many European countries, the American economy remained strong until 1929. .
Unlike Europe, the United States had come out of World War I with a dynamic industrial economy. Adding to that the United State's Allies owed them huge sums of money, and these loans more than canceled out America's prewar debt of $4 billion. The war had transformed the United States from a debtor nation, which owed money, into a creditor nation, to which money was owed.
The action of the war had shattered Europe. Governments were almost bankrupt, and revolution threatened much of Eastern Europe. The old aristocratic political order was dead. A new Europe had to be put into action. Boundaries of parts of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa had to be redrawn on maps. Nearly nine million soldiers were dead, and another twenty-one million were wounded. In addition, about three million civilians were dead of disease and starvation. Mass deaths or killings on a grand scale, such as those of the Armenians under the rule of the Ottoman Turks in 1915, added to the list of horrors.
World War I had an even more devastating effect on France than on Great Britain. In the four years of fighting, the combatants had destroyed thousands of square miles of farmland and forests and reduced villages and cities to ruble. French casualties were enormous. Half of the males between the ages of eighteen and thirty-two were killed in the fighting.