Post world war Europe post 1945



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Post world war Europe post 1945

End of World War II saw a high capacity of destruction greater than the First World War particularly in Europe and Asia. Civilians felt the impact as much as the military and the figures were hard to grasp. Politically, the war had an immense impact and the once great powers of Japan and Germany appeared as if they would not rise again. Europe feared eruption of another war and people stayed more in peace and harmony because of the fear. Democracy crept in because it was the best way of supressing some of the causes of the WW II particularly in the Western Europe. Relationship between countries populace and the enemies was weakened as much as possible by the governments. Post World War II was indeed a turning point in Europe both politically, economically and socially as this form of writing explains.

After the worse damage and consequences of the WWII, the Europeans who were highly educated and skilled worked hard to rebuild their society (Gottlieb Web). Great two powers emerged and dominated the world leading to an emergence of a new term superpower. America emerged powerful in terms of military and economic capabilities while the Soviet Union had a brute force and the intangible attraction of the Marxist ideology that was intended to keep her citizens and manage their new empire in the heart of Europe. Gottlieb explains that powerful European empires that initially controlled the better part of the world extending from Africa to Asia were facing challenges of their own weakness as well as the emerging nationalist movements (Web). It was so eminent that European powers were weakening while the US and the Soviet Union were rising to power. Nevertheless, this kind of developments had earlier begun and the war just accelerated the weakening of European power. Technology and science also advanced the political system by introducing atomic weapons and atomic power. Stimulus of war included governments investing in new medicines and technology. There were also rapid social changes in various European countries that deepened the societies.

Collective miseries and sacrifice of the war period strengthened the belief in most democracies and made their people to become more united. The governments were obligated to provide basic care for all citizens and the women rights took a huge step forward as their contribution to the war thus enabling countries such as France and Italy to get vote. Moral authority and prestige of the ruling classes was sternly destabilized by the failure to stop the war, which they had earlier disregarded. There were established political orders that involved fascist, conservative, and some democratic governments were largely challenged by their people since the citizens looked for new ideas and leaders. Germany and Japan saw democracy-taking root slowly as other Europeans were drained by years of war and privation. (Gottlieb Web).

The Europeans gave up on politics and faced the future with sullen negativity while some believed that they would come together and build a better society. Western Europe saw voters turning to social democratic parties such as the “Labour Party” in Britain while in the east; the “communist” administrations, which were earlier imposed by the Soviet Union, were initially welcomed as agents of change. In addition, the end of the WWII brought in settling of scores where people mostly took measures in their own hands and the collaborators were beaten and lynched or shot (Gottlieb Web). Women who associated with German troops had their heads shaved and the government sometimes followed suit by setting up special courts that tried individuals who associated with the enemies. Chinese turned from the unethical and ineffectual nationalists to the “communists”.

The allies instituted an ambitious program of “de-Nazification” in Germany but later stopped it because the German could not work without the Nazis. Allies were planning for peace by doing away with militaristic and chauvinistic attitudes, which triggered the war. Nations were working towards building a new world order that would prevent such kind of catastrophe from occurring (Gottlieb Web). Picture of the Europe at the end of World War II is very pitiful because of the larger population that died. It is worth noting that Hitler and Stalin and the continent with violent retribution, purges and outbreaks of what in some places like Greece and Yugoslavia uprooted thousands of people. Unending anti-Semitism in Europe and the idea that Germany did not contribute to it is what Judt addresses more often.

World War II led to the achievement of the “European Union”, which deepens political union amongst member countries. Several countries have always joined the EU and more others such as Turkey that was recently accepted as a candidate. By 1947, two different German societies were emerging and the western powers watched with growing dismay. Western powers alarmed the elimination of “non-communist” political forces in the eastern Europeans well as the establishment of the People’s Republics under the umbrella of the Soviet Union. The Soviet pressure on her neighbours beginning from Norway in the North to Turkey and Iran in the south with other spy rings as well as other Soviet inspired sabotage in western countries (Gottlieb Web).

The Soviet Union leaders considered the western talk for the democratic procedures as free elections in the Eastern Europe. America also played a key role in taking aid to Europe even though the aid was treated as an extension of the grip of capitalism. Europe were made to understand that the capitalist powers would turn soon the Soviet Union. Europe powers built military alliances which many people feared that would erupt although the first atomic bomb that was exploded in 1949 did not lead to war as was expected. There was also cold war that followed which overshadowed a momentous international change that came because of WWII. Initially the non-European empires were divided amongst themselves including the ones that fall in the Western Europe and the other ones that include Japan and Soviet Union.

It is undeniable that Europeans have exaggerated the role of their own political arrangement in keeping the peace in Europe at the end of the Second World War II. European Union emerged as a way of preventing a recurrence of Western Europe’s crippling wars and reconciling France and Germany. Western Europe was further united by the fact that they had a common enemy behind the iron Curtain. American soldiers as well as the threat of the nuclear weapons helped in keeping the irresistible huge conventional forces of the Warsaw pact nations at bay. Europe generally worked towards peaceful cooperation amongst themselves and put every effort in supressing any possibility of war erupting because of their fascinating experience.

Works Cited

Gottlieb, Anthony. ‘Postwar’: Picking Up the Pieces. The New York Times, 16 Oct. 2005. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.>.

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