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Consequences of World War II

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Paul Hendrix

on 13 June 2015

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Transcript of Consequences of World War II

Consequences of World War II
Political, Social and Economic
What were the consequences of WWII for European societies and economies?
Why did the USA and the USSR emerge from WWII as the two only superpowers?
What political consequences did this new balance of power have for Europe?
What were the effects of the war on Asia?

Death toll
Estimated 50 million deaths.
2/3 civilians.
Poland lost 1/5 of its population.
20 million refugees.
16 million Germans expelled.
Economic consequences in Europe
Aerial bombing campaigns highly destructive.
Millions of homeless, 25 million in Russia.
Infrastructure, industry, farmland, transport and communications destroyed all over Europe.
Victors almost as heavily affected as losers.
Food production fallen to 50% pre-war levels.
150 million people dependent on food relief.
Political consequences in Europe
"At the conclusion of the First World War is was borders that were invented and adjusted, while people were on the whole left in place. After 1945 what happened was rather the opposite: with one major exception boundaries stayed broadly intact and people were moved instead."
At the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, the Allied leaders decided on territorial changes in Europe:
Poland would shift westward.
Germany would be temporarily divided into four occupation zones.
Growing tensions between the Western Allies and USSR lead to:
a permanent division of Germany by 1949.
Soviet control over one-party states Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia.
The global power balance
After WWII, the USA and the USSR emerge as the only two remaining superpowers.
Military reasons:
USA largest airforce and the atomic bomb.
USSR largest land army in the world.
France and Britain had proved incapable of beating Germany: 2nd rank powers.
USSR no longer had strong neighbours.
Economic reasons:
American economy was strengthened by WWII.
US favored 'open trade': liberal market conditions. Established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trad (GATT).
Post WWI Easter European states could not survive economically on their own. Germany had lost, so they needed USSR support.
Political reasons:
In the West, democracy had triumphed over fascism.
In the East, the defeat of the fascists gave the communist party renewed credibility. Because of its link with wartime resistance, communism was once again popular all over Europe.
USSR's losses and the Red Army's crucial role in defeating Hitler allowed Stalin to play a large role in forming post-war Eastern Europe.
Economic recovery in Western Europe
To prevent the Western European countries from falling into political chaos, the USA decided to give financial support: the Marshall plan.
Attempt to weaken the appeal of communism.
Western countries were able to implement social changes and recover.
Multi-party democracies were put in place in most Western European countries.
The welfare state was introduced.
The European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community were founded in the fifties, and would form the basis of the current EU.
Economic consequences in Eastern Europe
1944-1948: USSR control over Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Romania and Poland.
One-party rule.
National leaders dependent on USSR.
Nationalization of private enterprise.
Soviet-style five year plans: heavy industry and collectivized agriculture.
Overall integration USSR economy with Eastern Europe: Comecon. No aid like Marshall Plan, but exploitation of satellite states. Economic hardship would follow.
This new system was enforced by:
Social and ideological control (Cominform)
Censorship of all media
Suppression of religious freedom
Soviet military presence
Political purges
Cold War: Eastern and Western Blocs
The Western Bloc:
The Truman doctrine: Soviet containment policy
The Marshall Plan
The EEC
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (1949)
The Eastern Bloc:
Cominform
Comecon
The Warsaw Pact (1955)
WWII consequences in Asia
Human losses huge: 12 million Chinese and 2 million Japanese.
Japan no longer major power in Asia.
Douglas MacArthur lead occupation of Japan. Only supervisory role.
Introduced democratic reforms.
Military and secret police dissolved.
Aggressors were purged from politics and army.
New constitution renounced war 'forever' and vowed protection of human rights.
The emperor was allowed to stay.
Treaty of San Francisco
Peace treaty signed with Japan in 1951.
Growing Cold War tensions: China not invited, India and Burma refused. USSR did not sign.
Japan renounced claims to nearby territories such as Taiwan.
Micronesia given to UN.
Ryuku and Bonin Islands to USA.
Accepted judgment of International Military Tribunal for the Far East and of other Allied war crimes courts.
Agreed to repatriation and compensation of POW's.
Japan emerged from the war politically stable and economically strong.
Provided an important strategic military base for the USA against communism in Asia.
Communist China and Decolonization
1949: Mao Zedong defeats Jiang Jieshi and establishes a communist state.
Superior image European colonial powers severely damaged by WWII.
Nationalist movements had grown under Japanese occupation.
People of old colonies were no longer willing to submit to European rule.
Bloody wars in Indonesia against the Dutch and Vietnam against the French lead to independence.
GB left India and Burma in 1947.
International War Tribunals
Tribunals to try war criminals in Europe and Asia.
Nov 1945 - Oct 1946: the Nuremberg trial.
21 leading Nazis charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
5700 Japanes war criminals were tried before Allied tribunals.
Many charged with death penalty.
The United Nations
US initiative to replace League of Nations.
Inclusive of many nations, but not very effective or decisive due to veto construction.
Full transcript