Transformation of Europe After the Second World War

World war two created a bipolar international system that quickly replaced the numerous superpowers that existed prior to that war. The two major victors of this war were the United States and the Soviet Union. These two countries continued to enjoy their status as superpowers until 1989 when the Soviet collapsed. It can therefore be argued that World war two also led to the commencement of the cold war. The United Kingdom could no longer boast of a powerful position in the international system since the Soviet and the US took over. This bipolar state of affairs led to increased rivalry between the latter nations and this eventually culminated in the cold war.

One of the most immediate effects of the World War 2 was a loss of lives as many individuals became refugees. Numerous children were left without one or both parents and this caused a big problem in social institutions of nations. Such cases were mostly prevalent in Norway with German children and in Denmark and France as well. This was also coupled by poor infrastructure that had been destroyed in the war. Consequently, most European nations had to dedicate their time and resources towards rebuilding their nations. The Second World War forced most European powers to rethink their political strategies in the international arena. Since they were in such a poor state economically, a vast number decided to let go of their colonies and this caused widespread independence amongst formerly colonized states. Also, the Second World War led to immense border revisions. The Soviet Union benefitted from the acquisition of territories from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Romania. Other independent states such as Lithuania and Latvia were also taken up by the Soviet as well. Germany lost substantially since Oder Neisse in East Germany went to the Soviet and Saar went to the French.

In the international arena, a number of international organisations were also formed such as the United Nations which came into being after failure of the League of Nations to prevent another war. This body led to development of the Israel state to accommodate the Jewish problem that led to the holocaust. Additionally, there was incorporation of the United States, Russia and other powerful nations. The former two countries had previously not been involved in international peacekeeping bodies hence demonstrating why those bodies were powerless against the onset of a global war.

The Second World War changed social institutions dramatically. Women began to be more active in the workforce since most men were busy fighting in the war. On the other side however, women were frequent victims of rape in the war and this had its biggest repercussions within Eastern Germany where women’s attitude towards sexual interactions changed. It should also be noted that because of the massive deaths during the war, the ratio of males to females was severely affected especially in countries such as Germany. In 1946, it was reported that in some areas like Bavari, there was a sixty percent gap between men and women of 21-23 years.

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