Aftermath of World War II  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Post-World War II baby boom, Cold War, American popular culture

The Aftermath of World War II covers a period of history from roughly 1945-1957. A multipolar world was replaced by a bipolar one dominated by the two most powerful victors, the United States and Soviet Union, which became known as the superpowers.

In the area of popular culture, the most striking aspect was the spread of American popular culture. It came via cheap transistor radios, television, films, and recordings. The new culture celebrated youth, and film stars such as Marilyn Monroe and James Dean became cultural icons. This youth culture flourished in Western Europe, as well as Eastern Europe.


Europe in ruins

At the end of the war, millions of refugees were homeless, the European economy had collapsed, and much of the European industrial infrastructure was destroyed. The Soviet Union had been heavily affected, with 30% of its economy destroyed.

Luftwaffe bombings of Frampol, Wieluń,Warsaw, in 1939 instituted the practice of bombing purely civilian objectives. The United Kingdom ended the war economically exhausted by the war effort. The wartime coalition government was dissolved; new elections were held, and Winston Churchill was defeated in a landslide general election by the Labour Party under Clement Attlee.

In 1947, United States Secretary of State George Marshall devised the "European Recovery Program", better known as the Marshall Plan, effective in the years 1948 - 1952. It allocated US$13 billion for the reconstruction of Western Europe.

End of European Colonialism

The areas previously occupied by the colonial powers gained their freedom, some peacefully such as the Philippines in 1946, and India and Pakistan in 1947. Others had to fight bloody wars of liberation before gaining freedom, such as against the French attempt to reoccupy Vietnam in the First Indochina War following the Vietnamese Proclamation of Independence, and against the Netherlands' attempt to reoccupy the Dutch East Indies. Japan had brought with them a sense of nationalism that grew power bases in the Philippines, and Vietnam. This nationalist nature led to revolutions against the Americans and the French in Asia. This signalled the end of the imperial nature of many of the European powers.





See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Aftermath of World War II" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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