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World War II and its aftermath: The postwar world.

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Presentation on theme: "World War II and its aftermath: The postwar world."— Presentation transcript:

1 World War II and its aftermath: The postwar world

2 Europe at war’s end Devastation and destruction Disruption of normal economic life Large numbers of displaced persons General sense of exhaustion Hunger Indebtedness of most countries Map

3 Contrasts to the post-World War I Period More planning and forethought Deliberate effort to avoid the mistakes of the failed peace and the interwar period Very different outcome –Domestic peace –Following reconstruction, unprecedented prosperity and economic growth (in western Europe)

4 Factors shaping the peace: New elán: desire for something different among policy-makers, resistance movements Wartime planning Altered power relationships –Economic and political strength of the US Weakness of former European powers –Strength and physical presence of the Soviet Union

5 Wartime planning Ongoing negotiations among US, Britain, USSR – summit negotiations –Tehran (1943) –Yalta (1945) –Potsdam (1945) Agreements about –Disposition of territory –Occupation of Germany –Punishment of war criminals –New international structures Disagreement about re-establishment of governments in occupied countries

6 Creating International structures United Nations established (San Francisco conference, 1945) International economic order (Bretton Woods Conference, 1943) –New currency system– stable exchange rates with currencies valued against US Dollar and British Pound (Bretton Woods system) –World bank –International Monetary Fund –GATT – General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (forerunner of WTO)

7 Reconstituting governments In Western Europe –Previous regimes re-established, elections held (e.g., Netherlands, Denmark, Norway..) Or –Constituent assemblies elected and new regimes established (France, Italy) Initial shift to the left as anti-fascist coalitions assume power –tripartite coalitions with Communists, Socialists, others in France and Italy Eastern Europe –Governments with strong Communist presence put in place Civil war in certain areas –Greece

8 Dealing with Germany Agreement on four power occupation of Germany and Berlin Agreement on trials of war criminals (Nuremberg trials) Grudging agreement on reparations for USSR – in goods Territorial changes –Minor border changes in west –Major shifts in the east: Poland shifted west, gaining territory from Germany, ceding territory to Russia

9 The cold war and the German question Wartime thinking: –Return Germany to earlier agrarian state Postwar: keep Germany as an economic unit : –Growing disagreements between the United States & its allies and USSR Atomic weapons, inspections Amount of reparations Government of occupied territory –British and American, then French, zones brought under common administration –Increasing tension between west and USSR MapMap

10 Berlin blockade June 1948: road and rail access to Berlin blocked US and allies launch Berlin airlift, maintain through May western zones brought together as the Federal Republic of Germany Soviet zone re-constituted as the German Democratic Republic MapMap Europe increasingly divided

11 Rebuilding Europe From 1945, severe economic dislocations Recovery stalled by liquidity crisis – lack of foreign exchange Realization that political and economic stability linked Marshall Plan (1947) –For US Sec. of State, George Marshall –US supplies credits for purchase of American goods –Offered to both western and eastern European countries

12 Organizing Western Europe Postwar efforts to build transnational and international structures Council of Europe Benelux Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as vehicle for Marshall Plan aid (initially OEEC) European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC, fore-runner of EU) NATO

13 The new Europe US actively involved, engaged Governments actively involved in the management of their economies With Marshall Plan Aid, currency reforms most European economies recover –Steady economic growth through 1950s –By late 1950s, 1960s many countries approaching full employment –Older conflicts ease – cf. class tensions Cold war imposes political stability in both east and west


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