A few days ago we told you about the causes of the Second War, the worst confrontation in history. Today we bring you the consequences of World War II. Of course, the most obvious direct consequence was the huge number of human victims. If the First World War puts the death toll between 15 and 30 million, the second great war doubles those results to almost 60 million deaths.
However, to this brutal figure we must add the large number of survivors with serious physical and psychological consequences that they were incapacitated for a full life, the family breakdown and the victims of famine that occurred in the years following the end of the war.
Nor should we forget another logical consequence of that conflict, the destruction of Europe. The war left a bleak outlook on the old continent, entire towns and cities disappeared under artillery fire and aerial bombardment. The big states were left in a situation of ruin and precariousness. Railroads, roads, bridges and industrial plants disappeared, and farms and fields were razed and their soil so damaged that it took decades to regain its fertility. Famine spread through Europe like the plague and, had it not been for the financial aid provided by the United States, the death toll from starvation would have been even higher.
If in the previous article we explained how the situation in Germany, due to the harsh conditions of the Treaty of Versailles, was an incentive for the outbreak of the new conflict, those required in this new surrender were no less severe. Germany had to accept unconditional surrender and the Allies divided their territory into four occupation zones (American, English, French and Soviet).
The city of Berlin, located in the Russian zone, it was also divided into four zones. In addition, Germany suffered the dismantling of its powerful industrial apparatus, the source of its arms power, true, but also the source of all its infrastructure and economic power.
In the case of Japan The consequences were more drastic, since it signed the surrender after the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which left serious consequences both among its population and in its fields for generations, and marked the beginning of the nuclear arms race that originated the great tensions of the Cold War.
Austria and Czechoslovakia they regained their autonomy. The Polish border followed the Order-Neisse line and consequently, Germany lost East Prussia and the territories east of that line. Germany's allies (Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Finland) signed peace treaties with the Allies, imposing the conditions dictated by the Soviets occupying those countries.
Italy it lost its colonial empire: Trieste was handed over to an international commission, while Venice Julia passed into the hands of Yugoslavia. Japan lost its conquests. China regained Formosa and the U.S.S.R. Salajín recovered. The United States, for its part, occupied strategic positions in the Pacific and Korea was occupied by American and Soviet forces. From this occupation and ideological contamination (in which both blocs are responsible) arose the breeding ground that would degenerate years later in the conflict of the "Korean war”
Political changes and international cooperation.
Europe lost much of its power to the United States, which led to the hegemony of the two victorious superpowers: E.E.U.U. as defender of the capitalist market model and U.S.S.R., defender of communism, which began to expand into crippled Eastern Europe and the Balkans. This originated a new ideological conflict that for several decades sowed fear of a new war on a global scale, this time atomic. And it is that Russia, a bloc antagonistic to the United States, also invested in nuclear weapons. The world was divided into two opposing blocks who looked at each other with increasing hostility.
However, in this time of tension, in old Europe, that old idea of cooperation as a unifying tool at the service of peace and harmony was reborn. Moreover, it was gradually understood that for peace to be stable and lasting, it was not only necessary to cooperate but also to take responsibility for the actions. Competences had to be given in favor of a European unity. Although it did not happen overnight, in fact there is still work in this direction, this ambitious idea took on real importance after the WWII.
Thus, international organizations such as The United Nations, whose objectives were to maintain international peace and security, promote friendly relations between nations and international solidarity, and promote international cooperation to solve economic, social and cultural problems.
The result of this new ideology was also born, this time within the European framework, other organizations aimed at collaboration and integration such as the CECA, EURATOM and the EEC.
The Cold War: fear of nuclear conflict.
The defeat of Nazi-fascist totalitarianism did not guarantee good relations between the victorious powers, as we have already pointed out, things were quite different. In 1947 the «Cold War«, Expression used to define the tension between the two great superpowers and their allies (the U.S.S.R. and the so-called«popular democracies»Versus Western democracies). Both blocs began an arms, propagandistic and diplomatic race that came, on several occasions, to the brink of "nuclear war«. That psychological war would end with a clear winner, the United States and capitalism as an international market model, which meant the hegemony of the United States as an international superpower.
The role of the United States in restructuring Europe.
United States he was the one who helped to revive old Europe thanks to the call Marshall Plan that helped economically to rebuild the main European infrastructures destroyed during the war and that allowed the United States not only to keep the expansion of the Soviet bloc at bay, but to become the banker of Europe, established its status as a superpower.
Finally, we must not forget the repercussions that the bloc policy that emerged after the war It caused in the different satellite countries, both the capitalist bloc and the Soviet bloc, which have degenerated into regrettable civil wars during the last decade of the 20th century and which we will discuss in future articles.