Any sort of conflict leaves a mark on those involved in it, and when that conflict encompasses a good portion of the entire world, it’s bound to be a very large mark. After the conclusion of World War II with the surrender of Germany and Japan, much had changed across the globe.
Over the years that followed the end of the war, as wounds from the devastation and turmoil healed, the world after World War II became a different place. Though we may not realize it, we are still living with the effects of some of these changes.
The war had taken a heavy toll on the European nations. By the end of the conflict, Germany’s economy had collapsed; it also lost 70% of its industrial infrastructure. The Soviet Union saw the decimation of over 1,700 cities, 70,000 villages, and 31,000 industrial plants. With the drawing of new borders, civilians were sometimes placed within hostile territories. The Soviet Union took land from Germany and Japan and even expelled around 2 million Poles from east of the border at the Curzon Line.
The effort to rebuild cost the nations an incredible sum of money, but most were able to return to a semblance of their original glory.
Japan was still reeling from its loss when the United States military stepped in for a temporary occupation. Okinawa housed military personnel and served as a staging point until 1972, and the Far Eastern Commission sought to de-industrialize Japan to prevent further war.
Eventually, Japan and the United States repaired their relations, leading to a long and durable alliance.
Not long after the war’s end, the Chinese Civil War also came to a close, leading to the creation of the People’s Republic of China.
The war proved beneficial to the United States economy, which was stimulated to a far greater degree than it had been after World War I. The end of the war also brought a definitive end to the Great Depression, which had begun to taper off by 1939. With the patriotism that came from the war, the United States was able to build up one of the strongest military forces in the world which, coupled with its economic status, boosted the country as a major world leader.