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Changes in Western Europe, the US and the Soviet Union: A Post-WWII Analysis. C 32 EQ: What are the major changes and continuities in the US, Western Europe and the Soviet Union in the Post-War era?. Political Changes – Western Europe. Decolonization

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changes in western europe the us and the soviet union a post wwii analysis

Changes in Western Europe, the US and the Soviet Union: A Post-WWII Analysis

C 32

EQ: What are the major changes and continuities in the US, Western Europe and the Soviet Union in the Post-War era?

political changes western europe
Political Changes – Western Europe
  • Decolonization
  • Cold War – Russia is now our enemy! Germany becomes focal point of so-called Cold War as Allies and USSR “fight” to spread their ideology in this divided territory
    • Europe becomes more comfortable upon relying on the US for protection
  • Liberal Democracy and democratic constitutions with universal (including female) suffrage
    • Christian Democrats come to power seeking democracy for all and moderate (NOT RADICAL) reform
  • The Welfare state emerges thanks to a shift to the left (ugh), though the improving of economic inequality was minimal at best (still large divisions in class)
political continuity western europe
Political Continuity – Western Europe
  • Alliances – between western nations, just like in WWI and WWII – NATO. Forming alliances with the US to uphold the containment of Communism “behind the Iron Curtain”
  • NO SINGLE GOVERNMENT in Europe, continued political allegiances to the nationalist state (ie. no complete European unity politically or “they still don’t really like each other”)
economic changes western europe
Economic Changes – Western Europe
  • Welfare state
  • Common Market/European Union – unify economic policies across European boundaries (one currency, reduced tariffs, free labor movement) (minus Great Britain)
  • Increased agricultural productivity, retooled industry
  • Rapid GDP growth in 50s and 60s, greater than US
  • Shift to technology production
  • VERY low unemployment, little labor unrest
  • Increase in “guest workers” from foreign, decolonized nations and the Middle East
economic continuity western europe and the us
Economic Continuity – Western Europe and the US
  • Inflation, as it was pre-war, was still a problem (increased value of goods, higher fuel prices, etc.)
  • Continued economic inequalities (poverty, low wages)
political economic changes in the us
Political/Economic Changes in the US
  • Changes
    • Switch from isolationist policies to containment/engagement policies
    • The “spread of liberty and democracy” approach to diplomacy. As quoted by Truman, “free peoples who are resisting subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures”
    • A definite anti-communist climate emerged in the US (McCarthy/HUAC)
    • (788-790) Massive increases in per capita DI in the US (117%) and purchases of consumer goods (shopping malls and supermarkets), coupled with a “baby boom” of population in the post-war era
  • Continuities
    • Very few political continuities other than increased militarization/mobilization of US forces after WWII to support diplomatic policies
    • Very few continuities in economics aside from inflation and continued massive immigration into the US to fill undesired jobs, this time from newer areas of the globe (Asia and Latin America)
social changes western europe and us
Social Changes –Western Europe and US
  • WOMEN !
    • The traditional Victorian homemaker role still exists, however…
    • Women become more educated
    • Women work more (“Rosie the Riveter”/service jobs)
    • Women began to protest the economic (lower pay) social (fewer rights) divide
    • Birth Control, women decreasingly had large sums of kids
    • Divorce rates increased
    • New Feminism (Beauvoir – Second Sex and Friedan – The Feminine Mystique) reaction to traditional role imposed by men on women while at the same time creating support organizations
other social changes western europe and us
Other Social Changes –Western Europe and US
  • The US went to the forefront in intellectual/scientific development, though some Europeans sought recognition in certain fields
  • The “pop culture” emerged, the “Coca-cola-nization” of Europe, the impact of US television, the “British invasion”
  • The “Sexual Revolution”
social cultural continuities in western world
Social/Cultural Continuities in Western World
  • Art continued with earlier 20th century themes (though some changes are highlighted) such as cubism, surrealism, realism…only POP art was new
  • Europeans maintained a clear advantage in the expression of the arts, particularly in films (art films) due to more social freedoms
politics in the ussr
Politics in the USSR
  • Continuity
    • Expansion policies. Get communism into other countries (Comintern)
    • Continue diplomatic and political party authoritarianism in response to Western aggressiveness, military build up from end of WWII through Cold War (increased spying, Cuban Missile Crisis)
    • Competition with the West (Space Race)
  • Change
    • De-Stalinization: loosen cultural restrictions, loosen political opposition persecution (Khrushchev)
    • Diplomatic issues 1) Chinese rift 2) Muslim minorities prompting Afghan invasion
    • Glasnost (public openness) and perestroika (restructuring) under Gorbachev
economics in the ussr
Economics in the USSR
  • Change
    • Became fully industrial, supporting military sector in general
    • Industrial work pace was sped up and incentives increased
    • Extensive state support in leisure activities and sporting competitions
    • Despite so-called unity under Communism, distinct class divides still emerged between workers and intelligentsia
    • Environmental devastation
    • Glasnost (public openness) and perestroika (restructuring)
  • Continuity
    • Continued de-emphasis on/lack of consumer goods
    • Continued to seek economic independence from the Western capitalist model (self-sufficiency)
    • Continued issues with agricultural production as capital was diverted to industrial progress, maintaining food supply issues
    • Continued massive urbanization and construction efforts in cities
society culture in the ussr
Society/Culture in the USSR
  • Change
    • Expansion of Socialist Realism in the arts (murals)
    • Suppression of organized religion and increased teachings of secular scientific doctrine (some religious latitude given to Muslims)
    • In the late 70s/early 80s, western musical influences crept into the USSR (jazz, rock music/heavy metal) but not without official state suspicion (Chorny Kofe, Chorny Obelisk, Gorky Park)
    • Censorship eased and literary authors towed the lines, sometimes defying state control…most wrote about war glories, patriotism…others wrote critical reviews of the state which caused them to be exiled (Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Boris Pasternak, Michail Sholokhov)
    • Birth rate decline
    • Increased alcoholism (VODKA) and agitation among the youth population
  • Continuity
    • Continued emphasis on science and sociology (expansions in physics, chemistry, mathematics, socialist theory) with continued rejection of Western ideology in each filed
    • BALLET and some western classical music still permitted