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The World, 1945- the Present



1920s-1930s- Europe: rise of totalitarianism

Continued colonialism

Economic problems

Rest of the World: increased impetus towards independence and westernization.


1937- Japan invaded China


1939- Germany invaded Poland. World War II began.


1945- World War II ended. United Nations formed.


1946-1949- Cold War began: Bipolar world, US vs. USSR

Decolonization process began in Asia and the Middle East: India, Pakistan, Indonesia.

UN created the state of Israel.

Chinese civil war ended in communist victory. Mao Tse Tung.


1948-1960s- Rebuilding of the world economy- growth esp. in US., USSR, West

Germany, and Japan.

Continued Cold War activity, esp. via proxy wars

Communist bloc fractured.

Decolonization peaked- 1950s, North Africa and the Middle East.

1960s, Sub-Saharan Africa

Extensive westernization.

Arab-Israeli conflict

Governments practice large-scale economic planning/cooperation. Welfare state.


1970s World economic growth became erratic.

Stagflation began in the west.

Cold War and regional conflicts continue, though dtente and arms agreements help

ease tensions between US and USSR.

Oil/Energy crises begin. OPEC


1979- Iranian Revolution.


1980- USSR invaded Afghanistan.


1980s- Widespread economic problems in the world.

Soviet bloc collapsed in 1989. Reform in China.

Iran/Contra Affair


1990s- Reorganization in former territories of the Soviet Union.

Persian Gulf War (energy, Arab-Israeli conflict, Islamic fundamentalism)

Genocidal conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Africa.