World War II Aftermath: Recovery


Figure 1.--

World War II was the largest and most cataclysmic war in human history. It was the first truly world war. There had earlier been devestation on a local level, but never as much destruction and loss of life on a global scle. And in contrast to World War I, it was civilians who suffered more than the military. The destruction and loss of life was on a scale never before exerienced by humanity. Europe was in deperate condition after the War. Again famine and starvatin was ony prevented by American food aid. Econonomists after the War believed that it might take Europe and other devestated countries a generation to recover. To the surpise of almost everyone, however, within only a few years an amazing recovery began, although it was highly varried. The immediate post-Wars years were very difficult. This began to change about 1948, in part because of American aid and in part by domestic policy ininitatives in each county. Most surprising of all was the starteling pace of recovry in Germany and Japan, countries with cities that were left piles of rubble and cinders after the War. There was also a rapid pace of recovery in Western Europe. We notice similar deveopments in Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway. Britain here lagged behind its European counterparts and in the post-War era, Britain declined from being the European country with the highest standard of living to one with relatively low per-capita income levels. Overall, the recovery however, would bring unprecedented prosperity to Europe. The countries not only recovered, but soared above pre-War profuction and prosperity levels. The major excption was Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe. The Soviets expected the economic benefits of Communism to propel living standards to unprecedented levels. Just the opposite proved the case as the European Economic Miracle left the Soviet Union and its Eastern European Empire far behind. This was, however, not immediately apparent to all as the Cold War Iron Curtain established by Stalin prevented a free flow of information. Leftists in the West continued to wax eloquently about worker and peasant paradices and many actually believed it. Also important to note is how the economies of the Asian economies fared. Japan with its capitalist ecinomy als enjoyed an economic moracle. India's task was different. Here the goal was development. After independence (1947) under Nehru's socialist policies desite the great optimism made little economic progress. And China under Mao's Communism, also intent on develoment, the econmy languished and actually suffered the greatest famine in world history.

Devestation

World War II was the largest and most cataclysmic war in human history. It was the first truly world war. There had earlier been devestation on a local level, but never as much destruction and loss of life on a global scle. And in contrast to World War I, it was civilians who suffered more than the military. The destruction and loss of life was on a scale never before exerienced by humanity. Europe was in deperate condition after the War. Again famine and starvatin was ony prevented by American food aid. Econonomists after the War believed that it might take Europe and other devestated countries a generation to recover. To the surpise of almost everyone, however, within only a few years an amazing recovery began, although it was highly varried. The immediate post-Wars years were very difficult. This began to change about 1948, in part because of American aid and in part by domestic policy ininitatives in each county. Most surprising of all was the starteling pace of recovry in Germany and Japan, countries with cities that were left piles of rubble and cinders after the War.

Western Europe

There was an incredably rapid pace of recovery in Western Europe after the Western Allies broke with the Soviers and went ahead with a currency reform in occupied Germany. Various facors were involved: 1) the wealth generating power of capitalism, 2) Europeam integration, 3) the American security umbrella, 4) the Amerucan Marshal Plan, and 5) the energy and talent of the Europeans. We notice similar deveopments in Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway. Britain here lagged behind its European counterparts and in the post-War era, Britain declined from being the European country with the highest standard of living to one with relatively low per-capita income levels. Overall, the recovery however, would bring unprecedented prosperity to Europe. The countries not only recovered, but soared above pre-War production and prosperity levels.

Eastern Europe

Just the opposite proved the case as the European Economic Miracle left the Soviet Union and its Eastern European Empire far behind. The situation in Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe was very different. Stlin did not allow his Eastern European satellites partivcipate in the Marshal Plan. The Soviets expected the economic benefits of Communism to propel living standards to unprecedented levels. This was, however, not immediately apparent to all as the Cold War Iron Curtain established by Stalin prevented a free flow of information. Leftists in the West continued to wax eloquently about worker and peasant paradices and many actually believed it.

Asia

Also important to note is how the economies of the Asian economies fared. Japan with its capitalist ecinomy also enjoyed an impressive economic miracle. Wihin only a few years the Japanese economy was functiining again and the Japanese living standard far exceeded what it had been before the War. India's task was different. Here the goal was development. After independence (1947) under Nehru's socialist policies desite the great optimism made little economic progress. And China under Mao's Communism, also intent on develoment, the econmy languished and actually suffered the greatest famine in world history.





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Created: 2:43 AM 8/20/2018
Last updated: 2:43 AM 8/20/2018