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Term Paper on the Second World War
Term Paper Contents:
- Term Paper on the Introduction to Second World War
- Term Paper on the Causes of Second World War
- Term Paper on the Events Leading up to Second World War
- Term Paper on the Outbreak of Second World War
- Term Paper on Second World War in the West
- Term Paper on Second World War in the Pacific
- Term Paper on Allied Victory in Second World War
- Term Paper on the End of Second World War
- Term Paper on the Results of Second World War
- Term Paper on the Impact of Second World War
Term Paper # 1. Introduction to the Second World War:
The instability created in Europe by the First World War (1914-1918) set the stage for another international conflict Second World War which broke out two decades later and would prove even more devastating.
Rising to power in an economically and politically unstable Germany, Adolf Hitler and his national socialist (Nazi Party) rearmed the nation and signed strategic treaties with Italy and Japan to further his ambition of world domination.
Hitler’s invasion of Poland in September 1939 drove Great Britain and France to declare war on Germany, and Second World War had begun. Over the next six years, the conflict would take more lives and destroy more land and property around the globe than any previous war. Among the estimated 45-60 million people killed were 6 million Jews murdered in Nazi concentration camps as part of Hitler’s diabolical ‘Final Solution,’ now known as the Holocaust.
Term Paper # 2. Causes of the Second World War:
At the end of World War I (June 28, 1919), the Allies-including France, Britain, the U.S., and Italy— created a contract called the Treaty of Versailles that outlined the Central Powers punishments for starting the war.
The harshest penalties were for Germany (the most powerful country of the central powers), including paying 6,600 million British pounds, giving up some of its land for several years, agreeing to never merge with Austria, and limiting its military tremendously. The German people disliked these new rules, but as the losers of the war, they could not protest.
The major causes of the Second World War can be thus listed as:
i. Harsh treatment of Germany under Treaty of Versailles
ii. Hitler’s rise to power
iii. Formation of the axis coalition
iv. Failure of the League of Nations
v. Failure of appeasement
vi. Clash of economic interest
vii. Problems of national minorities
viii. Ideological conflict
i. Harsh treatment of Germany under Treaty of Versailles:
It is often said that the treaty of Versailles itself contained the germs of the Second World War.
The main terms of the Treaty of Versailles were:
I. War Guilt Clause-Germany should accept the blame for starting World War One
II. Reparations-Germany had to pay 6,600 million for the damage caused by the war
III. Disarmament-Germany was only allowed to, have a small army and six naval ships. No tanks, no air force and no submarines were allowed. The Rhineland area was to be demilitarized.
IV. Territorial Clauses-Land was taken away from Germany and given to other countries. Anschluss (union with Austria) was forbidden.
The dictating and discriminating terms of the treaty greatly hurt the national pride of the German people. The German people were very unhappy about the treaty and thought that it was too harsh. Germany could not afford to pay the money and during the 1920s the people in Germany were very poor.
There were not many jobs and the price of food and basic goods was high. People were dissatisfied with the government and voted to power a man who promised to rip up the Treaty of Versailles. His name was Adolf Hitler.
ii. Hitler’s Rise to Power:
Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in January 1933. Almost immediately he began secretly building up Germany’s army and weapons. In 1934 he increased the size of the army, began building warships and created a German air force. Compulsory military service was also introduced.
Although Britain and France were aware of Hitler’s actions, they were also concerned about the rise of communism and believed that a stronger Germany might help to prevent the spread of communism to the West. In 1936 Hitler ordered German troops to enter the Rhineland. At this point the German army was not very strong and could have been easily defeated. Yet neither France nor Britain was prepared to start another war.
Hitler also made two important alliances during 1936. The first was called the Rome-Berlin Axis Pact and allied Hitler’s Germany with Mussolini’s Italy. The second was called the Anti-Comitern Pact and allied Germany with Japan. Hitler’s next step was to begin taking back the land that had been taken away from Germany. In March 1938, German troops marched into Austria. The Austrian leader was forced to hold a vote asking the people whether they wanted to be part of Germany.
The results of the vote were fixed and showed that 99 per cent of Austrian people wanted Anschluss (union with Germany). The Austrian leader asked Britain, France and Italy for aid. Hitler promised that Anschluss was the end of his expansionist aims and not wanting to risk war, the other countries did nothing.
Hitler did not keep his word and six months later demanded that the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia be handed over to Germany. Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Britain, met with Hitler three times during September 1938 to try to reach an agreement that would prevent war. The Munich Agreement stated that Hitler could have the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia provided that he promised not to invade the rest of Czechoslovakia.
Hitler was not a man of his word and in March 1939 invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia. Despite calls for help from the Czechoslovak government, neither Britain nor France -was prepared to take military action against Hitler. However, some action was now necessary and believing that Poland would be Hitler’s next target, both Britain and France promised that they would take military action against Hitler if he invaded Poland.
Chamberlain believed that, faced with the prospect of war against Britain and France, Hitler would stop his aggression. Chamberlain was wrong. German troops invaded Poland on 1st September 1939.
iii. Formation of the Axis Coalition:
Adolf Hitler, the Leader of the German National Socialist (Nazi) party, preached a racist brand of fascism. Hitler promised to overturn the Versailles Treaty and secure additional Lebensraum (‘living space’) for the German people, who he contended deserve more as members of a superior race. In the early 1930s, the great depression hit Germany.
The moderate parties could not agree on what to do about it, and large numbers of voters turned to the Nazis and communists. In 1933 Hitler became the German Chancellor, and in a series of subsequent moves established himself as dictator. Japan did not formally adopt fascism, but the armed forces’ powerful position in government enabled them to impose a similar type of totalitarianism.
As dismantlers of the world status quo, the Japanese were well ahead of Hitler. They used a minor clash with Chinese troops near Mukden, also known as the Mukden or Manchurian crisis, in 1931 as a pretext for taking over all of Manchuria, where they proclaimed the puppet state of Manchukuo in 1932.
In 1937-1938 they occupied the main Chinese ports. Having denounced the disarmament clauses of the Versailles Treaty, created a new air force, and reintroduced conscription, Hitler tried out his new weapons on the side of right-wing military rebels in the Spanish civil war (1936-1939).
This venture brought him into collaboration with Mussolini who was also supporting the Spanish revolt after having seized (1935-1936) Ethiopia in a small war. Treaties between Germany, Italy and Japan in 1936-1937, brought into being the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis.
For example, Japan and Germany signed the anti-comintern pact in 1936 and then Italy joined in 1937. This pact denounced communism and it showed their unity in the matter. The Axis thereafter became the collective term for those countries and their allies.
iv. Failure of the League of Nations:
The League of Nations was an international organisation set up in 1919 to help keep world peace. It was intended that all countries would be members of the League and that if there were disputes between countries they could be settled by negotiation rather than by force. If this failed then countries would stop trading with the aggressive country and if that failed then countries would use their armies to fight.
In 1931, Japan was hit badly by the depression. People lost faith in the government and turned to the army to find a solution. The army invaded Manchuria in China, an area rich in minerals and resources. China appealed to the League for help. The Japanese government was told to order the army to leave Manchuria immediately.
However, the army took no notice of the government and continued its conquest of Manchuria. The League then called for countries to stop trading with Japan but because of the depression many countries did not want to risk losing trade and did not agree to the request. The League then made a further call for Japan to withdraw from Manchuria but Japan’s response was to leave the League of Nations.
In theory the League of Nations was a good idea and did have some early successes. But ultimately it was a failure. The whole world was hit by a depression in the late 1920s. A depression is when a country’s economy falls. Trade is reduced, businesses lose income, prices fall and unemployment rises.
In October 1935, Italy invaded Abyssinia. The Abyssinians did not have the strength to withstand an attack by Italy and appealed to the League of Nations for help. The League condemned the attack and called on member states to impose trade restrictions with Italy.
However, the trade restrictions were not carried out because they would have little effect. Italy would be able to trade with non-member states, particularly America. Furthermore, Britain and France did not want to risk Italy making an attack on them.
In order to stop Italy’s aggression, the leaders of Britain and France held a meeting and decided that Italy could have two areas of land in Abyssinia provided that there were no further attacks on the African country. Although Mussolini accepted the plan, there was a public outcry in Britain and the plan was dropped.
The main reasons for the failure of the League of Nations can be summarised into the following points:
(i) Not all countries joined the League. Although the idea for the League of Nations had come from Woodrow Wilson, there was a change of government in the United States before the signing of the treaty and the new republican government refused to join.
As a punishment for having started World War I, Germany was not allowed to join and Russia was also excluded due to a growing fear of communism. Other countries decided not to join and some joined but later left.
(ii) The League had no power. The main weapon of the League was to ask member countries. However, this did not work because countries could still trade with non-member countries. When the world was hit by depression in the late 1920s countries were reluctant to lose trading partners to other non-member countries.
(iii) The league had no army. Soldiers were to be supplied by member countries. However, countries were reluctant to get involved and risk provoking an aggressive country into taking direct action against them and failed to provide troops.
(iv) Unable to act quickly. The council of the League of Nations only met four times a year and decisions had to be agreed by all nations. When countries called for the League to intervene, the league had to set up an emergency meeting, hold discussions and gain the agreement of all members. This process meant that the League could not act quickly to stop an act of aggression.
v. Failure of Appeasement:
Appeasement means giving in to someone provided their demands are seen as reasonable. During the 1930s, many politicians in both Britain and France came to see that the terms of the Treaty of Versailles had placed restrictions on Germany that were unfair. Hitler’s actions were seen as understandable and justifiable.
When Germany began re-arming in 1934, many politicians felt that Germany had a right to re-arm in order to protect herself. It was also argued that a stronger Germany would prevent the spread of communism to the west. In 1936, Hitler argued that because France had signed a new treaty with Russia, Germany was under threat from both countries and it was essential to German security that troops were stationed in the Rhineland.
France was not strong enough to fight Germany without British help and Britain was not prepared to go to war at this point. Furthermore, many believed that since the Rhineland was a part of Germany it was reasonable that German troops should be stationed there.
In May 1937, Neville Chamberlain became Prime Minister of Britain. He believed that the Treaty of Versailles had treated Germany badly and that there were a number of issues associated with the Treaty that needed to be put right. He felt that giving in to Hitler’s demands would prevent another war.
This policy, adopted by Chamberlain’s government became known as the policy of appeasement. The most notable example of appeasement was the Munich agreement of September 1938. The Munich agreement, signed by the leaders of Germany, Britain, France and Italy, agreed that the Sudetenland would be returned to Germany and that no further territorial claims would be made by Germany.
The Czech government was not invited to the conference and protested about the loss of the Sudetenland. They felt that they had been betrayed by both Britain and France with whom alliances had been made. However, the Munich Agreement was generally viewed as a triumph and an excellent example of securing peace through negotiation rather than war.
When Hitler invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, he broke the terms of the Munich agreement. Although it was realised that the policy of appeasement had failed, Chamberlain was still not prepared to take the country to war over ‘… a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing.’
Instead, he made a guarantee to come to Poland’s aid if Hitler invaded Poland. Surprisingly, though Britain guaranteed Poland protection, the Soviet Union, led by Stalin, signed the Nazi Soviet pact in august 1939. In this agreement, the Soviet Union and Germany publically promised not to attack each other, and secretly promised to split up Poland between themselves.
So, after ensuring that the Soviet Union, the closest country to Poland, would not attack, Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Two days later, France and the British Empire (including Australia and New Zealand) declared war on Germany. Second World War had begun.
vi. Clash of Economic Interest:
The struggle for the control of raw materials, markets for finished goods and colonies for growing population, which had caused the First World War, assumed a much serious dimension in the inter-war period. In addition to Germany and Italy, who had been deprived of their colonies under the peace settlement, even Japan was looking for new colonies and markets to reap the full fruits of industrialization.
Such countries started challenging the rights of few countries to exploit the natural resources of the world and insisted on having a fair share of these resources. When they failed to get a share through peaceful means they resorted to aggression. While Japan and Italy attacked Manchuria and Ethiopia respectively, Germany embarked on a programme of systematic expansion. All this ultimately ended in the Second World War.
vii. Problems of National Minorities:
The Peace settlement of 1919-1920, in violation of the assurance given to the minorities before the conclusion of the war, left a number of minorities under the same rule. These minorities were not happy with the arrangement and insisted on reunion with the mother country to throw off the foreign rule and created dissatisfaction among the minorities. Germany was the nation which exploited this point to the maximum extent and subsequently used it as a pretext for annexing Austria, Sudetenland and even Poland.
viii. Ideological Conflict:
The ideological conflict between the Fascist states like Germany, Italy and Japan and also the democratic states like Great Britain, France and USA contributed to the tension which culminated in the Second World War. Mussolini, the Fascist leader of Italy admitted that the interest of Fascism and democracy were irreconcilable. This conflict was natural in view of the contradictory approaches of the states believing in these opposite ideologies.
Term Paper # 3. Events Leading up to the Second World War:
The devastation of the Great War (as World War I was known at the time) had greatly destabilized Europe, and in many respects Second World War grew out of issues left unresolved by that earlier conflict. In particular, political and economic instability in Germany, and lingering resentment over the harsh terms imposed by the Versailles Treaty, fueled the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist (Nazi) Party.
After becoming Reich Chancellor in 1933, Hitler swiftly consolidated power, anointing himself Führer (supreme leader) in 1934. Obsessed with the idea of the superiority of the ‘pure’ German race, which he called ‘Aryan,’ Hitler believed that war was the only way to gain the necessary ‘Lebensraum,’ or living space, for that race to expand.
In the mid 1930’s he began the rearmament of Germany, secretly and in violation of the Versailles Treaty. After signing alliances with Italy and Japan against the Soviet Union, Hitler sent troops to occupy Austria in 1938 and the following year annexed Czechoslovakia. Hitler’s open aggression went unchecked, as the United States and Soviet Union were concentrated on internal politics at the time, and neither France nor Britain (the two other nations most devastated by the Great War) was eager for confrontation.
Term Paper # 4. Outbreak of the Second World War (1939):
In late August 1939, Hitler and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin signed the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, which incited a frenzy of worry in London and Paris. Hitler had long planned an invasion of Poland, a nation to which Great Britain and France had guaranteed military support if it was attacked by Germany.
The pact with Stalin meant that Hitler would not face a war on two fronts once he invaded Poland, and would have Soviet assistance in conquering and dividing the nation itself. On September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland from the west; two days later, France and Britain declared war on Germany, beginning Second World War.
On September 17, Soviet troops invaded Poland from the east. Under attack from both sides, Poland fell quickly, and by early 1940 Germany and the Soviet Union had divided control over the nation, according to a secret protocol appended to the Nonaggression Pact.
Stalin’s forces then moved to occupy the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and defeated a resistant Finland in the Russo-Finish War. During the six months following the invasion of Poland, the lack of action on the part of Germany and the Allies in the west led to talk in the news media of a ‘phony war.’ At sea, however, the British and German navies faced off in heated battle, and lethal German U boat submarines struck at merchant shipping bound for Britain, sinking more than 100 vessels in the first four months of Second World War.
Term Paper # 5. Second World War in the West (1940-1941):
On April 9, 1940, Germany simultaneously invaded Norway and occupied Denmark, and the war began in earnest. On May 10, German forces swept through Belgium and the Netherlands in what became known as ‘blitzkrieg,’ or lightning war. Three days later, Hitler’s troops crossed the Meuse River and struck French forces at Sedan, located at the northern end of the Maginot Line; an elaborate chain of fortifications constructed after World War I and considered an impenetrable defensive barrier.
In fact, the Germans broke through the line with their tanks and planes and continued to the rear, rendering it useless. The British expeditionary Force (BEF) was evacuated by sea from Dunkirk in late May, while in the south French forces mounted a doomed resistance. With France on the verge of collapse, Benito Mussolini of Italy put his pact of steel with Hitler into action, and Italy declared war against France and Britain on June 10.
On June 14, German forces entered Paris; a new – government formed by Marshal Philippe Petain (France’s hero of World War I) requested an armistice two nights later. France was subsequently divided into two zones, one under German military occupation and the other under Petain’s government, installed at Vichy.
Hitler now turned his attention to Britain, which had the defensive advantage of being separated from the continent by the English Channel. To pave the way for an amphibious invasion (dubbed operation sea lion), German planes bombed Britain extensively throughout the summer of 1940, including night raids on London and other industrial centers that caused heavy civilian casualties and damage.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) eventually defeated the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) in the Battle of Britain, and Hitler postponed his plans to invade. With Britain’s defensive resources pushed to the limit, Prime Minister Winston Churchill began receiving crucial aid from the U.S. under the Lend- Lease Act, passed by Congress in early 1941.
Term Paper # 6. Second World War in the Pacific (1941-1943)
With Britain facing Germany in Europe, the United States was the only nation capable of combating Japanese aggression, which by late 1941 included an expansion of its ongoing war with China and the seizure of European colonial holdings in the Far East. On December 7, 1941, 360 Japanese aircraft attacked the major U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, taking the Americans completely by surprise and claiming the lives of more than 2,300 troops.
The attack on Pearl Harbor served to unify American public opinion in favor of entering Second World War, and on December 8 congress declared war on Japan with only one dissenting vote. Germany and the other axis Powers promptly declared war on the United States.
After a long string of Japanese victories, the U.S. Pacific Fleet won the battle of midway in June 1942, which proved to be a turning point in the war. On Guadalcanal, one of the southern Solomon Islands, the allies also had success against Japanese forces in a series of battles from August 1942 to February 1943, helping turn the tide further in the Pacific.
In mid-1943, allied naval forces began an aggressive counterattack against Japan, involving a series of amphibious assaults on key Japanese- held islands in the Pacific. This ‘island-hopping’ strategy proved successful, and allied forces moved closer to their ultimate goal of invading the Japanese homeland.
Term Paper # 7. Allied Victory in the Second World War (1943-1945):
In North Africa, British and American forces had defeated the Italians and Germans by 1943. An allied invasion of Sicily and Italy followed, and Mussolini’s government fell in July 1943, though allied fighting against the Germans in Italy would continue until 1945.
On Second World War’s Eastern Front, a Soviet counteroffensive launched in November 1942 ended the bloody battle of Stalingrad, which had seen some of the fiercest combat of the war. The approach of winter, along with dwindling food and medical supplies, spelled the end for German troops there, and the last of them surrendered on January 31, 1943.
On June 6, 1944 celebrated as ‘D-Day’ the allied began a massive invasion of Europe, landing 156,000 British, Canadian and American soldiers on the beaches of Normandy, France. In response, Hitler poured all the remaining strength of his army into Western Europe, ensuring Germany’s defeat in the east.
Soviet troops soon advanced into Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania, while Hitler gathered his forces to drive the Americans and British back from Germany in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944-January 1945), the last major German offensive of the war. An intensive aerial bombardment in February 1945 preceded the allied land invasion of Germany, and by the time Germany formally surrendered on May 8, Soviet forces had occupied much of the country. Hitler was already dead, having committed suicide on April 30 in his Berlin bunker.
Term Paper # 8. End of the Second World War (1945):
Harry S. Truman (who had taken office after Roosevelt’s death in April), Churchill and Stalin discussed the ongoing war with Japan as well as the peace settlement with Germany. Post-war Germany would be divided into four occupation zones, to be controlled by the Soviet Union, Britain, the United States and France. On the divisive matter of Eastern Europe’s future, Churchill and Truman acquiesced to Stalin, as they needed Soviet cooperation in the war against Japan.
Heavy casualties sustained in the campaigns at Iwo Jima (February 1945) and Okinawa (April-June 1945), and fears of the even costlier land invasion of Japan led Truman to authorize the use of a new and devastating weapon the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August.
On August 10, the Japanese government issued a statement declaring they would accept the terms of the Potsdam declaration, and on September 2, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur accepted Japan’s formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
Term Paper # 9. Results of the Second World War:
The major aftermaths of the Second World War can be summarized and studied under the following:
i. Ideology Influences Political Decision:
Numerous political decisions were made by the Allies during the war. Germany after its defeat was to be divided into occupation zones, each zone to be hold separately by one of the Allies. Austria held by Germany and Korea held by Japan was to become independent. Poland and the Balkan states were to become democratic.
However, Russians, being in control of Balkans were naturally anxious to see communist governments established in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria. In order to keep Turkey and Greece on the side of western democracies, the United States began to pour financial aid to both these countries.
Greece and Turkey were to serve as counter-weights to Russia’s communist allies in Eastern Europe. Korea, conquered from Japan also became a centre of struggle between the superpowers. All these goes to show that the emerging two super-powers engaged themselves in a struggle for power through what came to be known as cold-war.
ii. War Crimes:
Though Hitler and many of his close conspirators committed suicide, most high-ranking officials in Germany did not escape justice so easily. When the concentration camps throughout Europe were liberated, the world was shocked to see what horrors lay within. Around twelve million people had been murdered in total (half of them Jews) and this number did not include those who had been used for medical experimentation or tortured by the camp guards.
Here the Allies were faced with a dilemma: since genocide had never been publicly recognized before, there were no formal laws against such mass murder. Instead, the Nuremberg Trials (November 1945), during which Hitler’s remaining officials were declared guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, set a standard to judge others who would commit genocide in the future.
iii. Birth of the United Nations:
Another result of Second World War was the formation of the United Nations (UN). After the First World War, the allies had created the League of Nations, whose purpose was to keep peace and stability in Europe. This was the first global organization in history, but it had several problems, which led to Second World War.
When they created the United Nations on October 24, 1945, the Allies made sure to improve the UN, especially by splitting the power among five major countries (United Kingdom, France, United States, China, and USSR) instead of just two or three, as in the League of Nations.
iv. New Superpowers:
However, though the UN had five major- powers, there were only two countries that were economically powerful after Second World War. The war severely injured the natural resource supply and the economy of the Western European countries, especially Britain, France, and Germany.
These countries had previously dominated the world’s trade market, and now two new countries who had been relatively unharmed during the war took their places the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States.
The USSR had only been damaged on its western side; the east was completely unharmed. The U.S. had only sent its armies over to Europe; none of the fighting had taken place on American soil. The war actually boosted the American economy, ending the great depression and allowing the U.S. to become a superpower in the post-war global market.
v. Women’s Rights:
The war also resulted in a major victory for women’s rights advocates. During the war, the government of every country drafted men to serve in the army. Since men had held most of the jobs at this time, the military draft left behind a vacuum in factories, offices, and farms. This vacuum was filled by women, many of whom had never worked before.
As the war progressed, these women developed their self-confidence and gained a strong sense of independence. By the time the fighting ended and the men returned, the women refused to give up their jobs; many of them enjoyed making their own living and not having to depend on their husbands or brothers or sons for money.
The government was forced to allow women to work and to increase equality in pay (though pay is not completely equal even today). Women continue to fight for complete equality, but Second World War helped them considerably on their way.
Term Paper # 10. Impact of the Second World War:
The Second World War left a far reaching impact on the future course of history. Its major impact can be seen in the following domains- Firstly it caused untold destruction of men and money. It has been estimated that in the war more than 1.5 crore people were killed cumulatively.
As regards the monetary losses, the various nations which took part in the war spent over one lakh crore rupees. One-fourth of national wealth of Russia was spent in the war, Similarly, Germany, France and Poland also suffered heavy losses.
Secondly, the war provided a fresh momentum to the nationalist movements in Asia and Africa and they forced the colonial powers to grant them independence. Thus, India, Ceylon, Burma, Malaya and Egypt gained independence from the British. France, Holland and Portugal were also forced to relinquish their possessions in Asia and grant freedom to countries under their control.
Thirdly, Second World War led to the emergence of two super-powers i.e., USA & USSR while the former powers like France, England and China were forced to become the camp followers of these two super powers. As a result of these, the world got divided into two power-blocks, headed by United States and Soviet Union.
Fourthly, the havoc and destruction caused by war made the main leaders of the world felt the need of evolving a more effective international organization to prevent future wars. This resulted in the establishment of the United Nations Organization. This organization was given more powers than which were enjoyed by the League of Nations, which was created after the First World War.
Fifthly, the war caused acute scarcity of foodstuffs and other essential goods, which resulted in unprecedented rise in prices. This caused great hardship to millions of people and contributed to lowering of their living standards.
Sixthly, the war contributed to the sharpening of controversy between communism and democracy. Soviet Union and United States projected themselves as champions of communism and democracy respectively. They tried to attract underdeveloped countries of Asia and Africa to their ideologies by throwing them powerful baits. Thus the ideological controversy was greatly sharpened in the post-world war period.
At the Potsdam Conference of July-August 1945, U.S. President Second World War proved to be the most devastating international conflict in history, taking the lives of some 35 to 60 million people, including 6 million Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis. Millions more were injured, and still more lost their homes and property.
The legacy of the war would include the spread of communism from the Soviet Union into Eastern Europe as well as its eventual triumph in China, and the global shift in power from Europe to two rival superpowers the United States and the Soviet Union that would soon face off against each other in the cold war.