Tutorial 10 Guiding Questions
1. What were the consequences of WWII for Europe?
The effects of WWII had far-reaching implications for most of the world. Many millions of lives had been lost as a result of
the war. Germany was divided into 4 quadrants, which were controlled by the Allied Powers—the US, Great Britain,
France, and the Soviet Union. The war can be identified to varying degrees as the catalyst for many continental, national
and local phenomena, such as the redrawing of European borders, the birth of the UK’s welfare state, the communist
takeover of China and Eastern Europe, the creation of Israel, and the division of Germany and Korea and later of Vietnam.
In addition, many organizations have roots in WWII, for example, the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Trade
Organisation, and the International Monetary Fund. Technologies, such as nuclear fission, the computer and the jet engine,
also appeared during this period.
A multi-polar world was replaced by a bipolar one dominated by the two most powerful victors, the US and Soviet Union,
which became known as the superpowers.
The European Union grew out of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which was founded in 1951 by the 6
founding members: Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (the Benelux countries) and West Germany, France, and
Italy. Its purpose was to pool the steel and coal resources of the member states, and to support the economies of the
participating countries. As a side effect, the ECSC helped diffuse tensions between countries which had recently been
enemies in the war. In time this economic merger grew, adding members and broadening in scope, to become the European
Economic Community, and later the European Union.
Because the League of Nations had failed to actively prevent the war, in 1945 a new international alliance was considered
and then created, the United Nations (UN). The UN was also responsible for the initial creation of the modern state of Israel
in 1948, in part as a response to the Holocaust.
The UN operates within the parameters of the UN Charter, and the reason for the UN’s formation is outlined in the
Preamble to the UN Charter. Unlike its predecessor, the UN has taken a more active role in the world, such as fighting
diseases and providing humanitarian aid to nations in distress. The UN also served as the diplomatic front line during the
Cold War. The biggest advantage the UN has over the League of Nations is the presence of world superpowers such as the
US and Russia, for the League had little actual international power because of the absence of these nations.
One of the social effects which affected almost all participants to a certain degree was the increased participation of women
in the workforce (where they took the place of many men during the war years), though this was somewhat reduced in the
decades following the war, as changing society forced many to return to home and family.
According to historians the advancing Red Army had left a massive trail of raped women and girls of all ages behind them.
Between several tens of thousands to more than 2 million were victims of raped, often repeatedly. This continued for several
years. As a result of this trauma East German women’s attitude towards sex was affected for a long time, and it caused
social problems between men and women. Russian authorities dispute the event.
The German soldiers left many war children behind in nations such as France, which were occupied for an extended period.
After the war, the children and their mothers often suffered recriminations. The situation was worst in Norway, where the
“Tyskerunger” (German-kids) suffered greatly. However, today that factor is not present in Norway.
The casualties experienced by the combatant nations impacted the demographic profile of the post war populations. One
study found that the male to female sex ratio in the German state of Bavaria fell as low as 60% for the most severely
affected age cohort (those between 21 and 23 years old in 1946). This same study found that out-of-wedlock births spiked
from approximately 10 – 15% during the inter-war years up to 22% at the end of the war. This increase in out-of-wedlock
births was attributed to a change in the marriage market caused by the decline in the sex-ratio.
In the military sphere, WWII marked the coming of age of airpower. Advanced aircraft and guided missiles (developed later
in the war) made the battleship, once the queen of the world’s oceans, and fixed fortifications such as coastal artillery
obsolete. While the pendulum continues to swing in this never-ending competition, air powers are now a full partner in any
military action. The war was the high-water mark for mss armies. While huge conscript armies were seen again (during the
Korean War and in several African conflicts), after this victory the major powers relied upon small highly-trained and well-
equipped militaries. Perhaps most important of all, WWII ushered in the nuclear war, with the dropping of the first atomic
bombs on the Japanese of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
2. Explain the raid decolonisation (rapid exit of Britain from India, Palestine).
In 1900, India was part of the British Empire; but by the end of 1947, India had achieved independence.
For most of the 19th century, India was ruled by the British. India was considered the jewel in the crown of the British
Empire. Queen Victoria had been made Empress and the British had a major military presence in India.