How Has Spanish Flu Influenced the Progress of World History | Teen Ink

How Has Spanish Flu Influenced the Progress of World History

August 2, 2021
By hornyavan2333 BRONZE, Shenzhen, Other
hornyavan2333 BRONZE, Shenzhen, Other
3 articles 6 photos 0 comments

The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the globe and taken away countless lives. Likewise, the Spanish flu that broke out back one century ago is also a disastrous public health crisis. Not only did it destroy lives, but it also significantly shaped the world and influenced the progress of world history, especially on WWI, hygiene awareness of wearing masks, and the development of feminism.

To begin with, the flu ended the WWI. Spanish flu pandemic firstly happened in a military camp in Kansas, USA in spring 1918 though it is called Spanish flu. At the very beginning, the illness did not receive enough attention because nothing was more important than the war in 1918. In autumn 1918, however, the flu erupted and devastated countries. According to Laura (2017), hundreds of millions of people got infected with and killed by the Spanish flu. Common flu mostly can be seen among the elders and children since the two groups are least immune to a flu. On the contrary, Spanish flu pandemic dominantly affected youths instead of kids and the old people according to Sarah Henry. In addition, the flu spread quickly because of the large personnel mobility during WWI. As a result, Spanish flu pandemic significantly impaired the combat capability of many countries and ended the WWI directly in advance.

Wearing masks during the COVID-19 epidemic becomes normalcy nowadays. However, one century ago, the appropriate public hygiene awareness did not form in throng. Only few doctors wore masks back then. According to photographs from the United States National Archives, we can easily find out that the government called on people to quarantine themselves at home and keep social distancing. Meanwhile, the public in every country was forced to wear masks in order to stop the flu from further spreading. The Spanish flu increased people’s awareness of wearing masks to a certain degree.

Due to this severe hygiene event, the status of women in employment increased and this in turn promoted the feminism indirectly. Due to the shortage of labor force caused by the Spanish flu, women were emancipated from home to the market and obtained compensations. Especially during the World War I, women became the dominant labor force in factories when men were sent to the battle field. Women improved their socioeconomic status, which is clearly reflected in political field. Wang Z (1996) suggests that by 1920, women in the United States had gained the right to vote. And feminism then revived in 1920s.

Based on the three aspects, the Spanish flu did make great impacts on world history. The flu took away numerous lives, ended the World War I in advance, and raised the awareness of public health. In addition, it propeled the process of feminism to a certain degree. Nowadays, the COVID-19 pandemic still perplexed a lot of people just like the Spanish flu. And what we can do is to follow the policies and abate the harm caused by the pandemic as possible as we can to influence the history ourselves.

The author's comments:

Review of pandemic history and its impact

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