APWH: The Aftermath of WWII and the Beginning of the Cold War

Posted on April 27, 2020

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After the end of WWII, much like the end of WWI, there was a re-building period for Europe. How the post WWII years differed, however, is that the Western Allied Powers weren’t out for punishment. In Europe, the United States aided in the rebuilding via the Marshall Plan, or loans and payments to European countries to stabilize economies and prevent another collapse. In Japan, the United States did much the same.

Obviously this was not no strings attached – there were limits on Germany and Japan’s military and close observation of both nations. But the allies were not focused on revenge. They realized that a strong Europe, and a strong Asia, was beneficial to the world’s economy – and that peace is a great deterrent to war.

Please view this brief video on the cost of WWII. It will reinforce how awful this war was but it will also make the post-war response and restructuring more impressive:

After you have viewed that clip, please view this brief documentary on post-war Europe. Pay very careful attention to the ideological differences at play between the western Allied powers and the Soviets.

Tuesday, after viewing the documentary, please read  “The Marshall Plan: A Strategy that Worked.” Evaluate the effectiveness of the plan – did it, in fact, work, based on what you know about Europe after WWII? How did it compare to post-WWI plans? What, if anything, else would you suggest?

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