Chapter 11: WORLD HISTORY AFTER WWII
The Second World War ended and the conflict weary society believed
that peace was achieved and would remain for a long time. However
this wasn't to be. The Soviet Union became the only country to
profess Socialism. The economic policy of socialism became popular
amongst countries that were under imperial powers for a long time
like China, India, Indo - China. The growing influence of communism
was seen as a threat to Capitalist countries like USA, Europe etc.
Containing communism was one major policy on the basis of which
military and economic alliances were made. The Capitalist countries
sanctioned colonialism with the hope that communism would be stopped
but such measures failed in the long term. Europe too after the
Second World War saw the emergence of communist governments. The
Soviet Union provided full support to the governments of these new
nations. The Communist governments became intolerant and other
political parties weren't allowed to exist and dissent within the
party too wasn't allowed. These nations were referred too as satellite
states of USSR. Yugoslavia was the only European nation that
refused to be dominated by USSR.
The countries of the World became divided into two major blocs one
led by Capitalist countries like US, Britain and other by Communist
nations like USSR. A third bloc of Non Aligned nations was created
due to the efforts of India, Indonesia, Egypt and Yugoslavia called
Non Aligned Movement.
The fall of communist regimes in 1980's ended the Cold War
between capitalism and communism and US emerged a the dominant
force of the World.
Birth of the United Nations
The United Nations Organization was created to follow the
ineffective League of Nations in USA in 1945. The purpose of the
U.N.O was to maintain International Peace, Harmony amongst nations
and achieve mutual cooperation, friendly relations and solving
international problems of economic, social, cultural and
Six principle organs of the U.N.O were created:
- the General Assembly composed of all the members of the UN;
- the Security Council composed of five permanent members
- the Economic and Social Council
- the Trusteeship Council
- the International Court of Justice
- the Secretariat with a Secretary General appointed by the
General Assembly as its head.
The UN also later had other specialized agencies to help in its
work. The Security council is the most important arm of UN with 5
permanent members and 10 non permanent members elected by General
Assembly for 2 year term.
Since the major decisions of the world can't be taken without the
support of all biggest powers the U.N.S.C permanent members [US,
UK, France, China and Russia] had veto powers.
India too was offered a permanent member position but
declined it in favor of China.
Germany After the Second World War
Germany was captured by four nations namely USSR, US,UK and
France. US, UK, France joined their captured parts and formed the
democratic republic of West Germany and USSR created a communist
republic of East Germany. The Governments decided to build a
Berlin wall to prevent occupants of east Germany going to the
The wall was a source of tension during the Cold War. In 1989 the
wall was broken and both the Parts of Germany were united into a
country following democracy.
Era of cold War 1945 -1990
Soviet Union and the UK, USA had fought together during the WWII
against Fascist aggression and this show of strength was what
created the victory for the Allied forces. However after the war
tensions began to emerge amongst these two sides. Although there
was no active aggression but policies practiced were against each
other and this situation was called Cold War.
Soviet Union had lost many citizens in the war and in absolute
terms it had the most losses. During the First World War it had
joined the Allies with imperial desires but had to withdraw after
heavy losses and its ambitions were wasted. However in later years
under the Communist Party the policies followed created
development and it rapidly became a super power. It remained
unaffected during the Great Depression and so the Socialist
pattern of development emerged as a good alternative.
After WWII its isolation by the West had ended. It found new
allies in East European and Asian countries. The Soviet Army was
used to crush protests against communism in these countries. In
response to the NATO - A military pact signed by US and West
European countries a Warsaw Pact was signed between USSR
and Communist allies.
In some nations these Cold War situations became hot and
localized clashes were seen. The West's fear of communism and the
growing influence of USSR was a reason behind this. US openly
announced Grants to countries for fighting communism. It also
backed policies of Nations seeking to reimpose colonialism in
pretext of containing communism. The War of Vietnam and Korea were
good examples of this.
Setting up military blocs escalated the tensions.
Fig 1: Cold War Timeline
Non Aligned Movement and Panchsheel
As the World was becoming
increasingly polarized into two blocs Soviet and American, few
nations decided to pursue a radical policy initiative. The
thought of remaining outside the influence of both blocs and
pursuing policies which are in self interest and narrow
sectional interests of the Developed nations appealed to many.
Amongst the leaders who took initiative and followed this
policy were Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru , Gamal Abdul Nasser
of Egypt, Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia, Sukarno of Indonesia
and Nkrumah of Ghana.
J. Nehru described the
five pillars to be used as a guide for Sino-Indian relations
called Panchsheel (five restraints), these
principles would later serve as the basis of the Non-Aligned
Movement. The five principles were:
- Mutual respect for each other's
territorial integrity and sovereignty
- Mutual non-aggression
- Mutual non-interference in domestic
- Equality and mutual benefit
- Peaceful co-existence
Bandung Conference in
Indonesia where India played an important role highlighted the
need for world peace and unity of Afro Asian nations.
Non alignment looked attractive
to Less developed countries or those who had just emerged out
of colonial rule or those who were under constant interference
of Developed nations in internal politics. The NAM summit was
first held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia where 25 countries
The NAM presidency rotates
amongst members and the next meeting [17th summit] shall be in
Porlamar, Venezuela. The country that is
hosting the shall nominate the president for 3 years term.
- Role of NAM has reduced after the end of Cold War.
It is facing an existential crisis as a few members have
left. A founding member Yugoslavia also disintegrated.
- Since it doesn't have a enforcement mechanism it can't
move beyond dialogues.
- Its members would play one bloc against the other and
remain non committal on crucial issues.