Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
Economically, wars were especially hard on the twentieth century. World War I hit the world hard. Debt was accumulated by all European countries to pay for the war “either from their own citizens or from foreign lenders.” As Europe was faced with a conflict it had never seen the likes of before, it reacted strongly by pulling everything it had including what it did not have to fight. When the war was over, the governments were in debt as were the citizens of the nations. There was no money as there were no industries surviving or people to work them. In addition to that, the land in Europe was decimated and unable to produce the crops needed to feed the people. Livestock had been killed in battle and for the military. Nothing was left to sustain the people. It would take nations such as the United States which had an economic boon during the war to come to the rescue of many in Europe. Once Europe began the initial recovery for the basic necessities, the era of globalization began as economies combined and international industries grew at astronomical rates.
The Cold War was in progress as the economic boom hit Europe after World War II. The impact it had on Europe was more seen in the Soviet Union and areas controlled by it such as East Germany. It became a “rivalry between capitalism and state socialism” which would become “fundamental to ideological identity” in the years during the Cold War. This war would be economical, political, and social as two societies fought to win.
The twentieth century was turned upside and tossed about all through the years. Each war tore up Europe economically, politically, and culturally. Each generation had to find a new way to recover as it dealt with new issues that arose from each war building upon the effects of the previous wars of the century. World War I removed Europe’s innocence. World War II revealed the evil that lurked in man. The Cold War was the standoff to be the better society. All the wars tore Europe apart while making it stronger from the scars it endured.
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