A pd. Erica T&Jennifer Y
Lisa and Youngmin

The Devastation of Europe and Japan


Background

Can you imagine your house turning into rubbles, losing your family and your properties destroyed? This section is about the devastating results of World War 2 in Europe and Japan. There were many deaths and destructions. World War 2 was one of the biggest wars in history. The war killed over 60 million people. Additionally, 50 million people lost their homes, and their properties were destroyed.
However, the United States was not damaged by World War 2. Therefore, the United States became the world's super power today.

Europe in Ruins


By the end of World War 2, Europe lost their 2/3 of their civilians. Their major cities were destroyed because of the bombings during the war. The war also destroyed countryside which produced food. Worst of all, there were many people who were separated from their families.


A Harvest of Destruction

There were few cities in Europe that were not destroyed by World War 2. They were Paris, Rome, Brussels. Brussel is a city in Belgium. Even though there were SOME cities that survived the war, however, there were more cities that were left in devastation by World War 2. Here are some examples. London was ruined by The Blitz. The Blitz was the bombing of the United Kingdom by National Socialist Germany. More than 60,000 of citizens died JUST because of the German's bombings. Warsaw is the capital of Poland. They almost disappeared from the face of the earth. Their population decreased A LOT when the Soviet Union attacked them. They started out with 1,289,000 and ended up with 153,000 people remaining in the city. Not only that but also, in Berlin, constant bombings destroyed 95% of the city. One of the US officer had said. "Wherever we looked we saw desolation. It was like a city of the dead."

After the bombings civilians struggled. They struggled to go on with their lives. They lived in destroyed homes like the one below.
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Many also lived in caves. There were no water, no electricity and very little amounts of food. Factories which were the main sources of shelter were destroyed. People couldn't buy food because farmlands were left in ruins. Therefore, most people starved.

Few dwellers fled to join the army of displaced persons wandering Europe following the war. The survivors included survivors of concentration camps and prisoners of war. Many people in Europe were not in their home countries. It was because treaties had changed the countries' national borders before the war. There were many people who wanted to get back home. There were people who wanted to find their family and a safe place to live after World War 2.


Misery Continues After the War

Even though the war had ended, Europe had hard times for a few more years. Europe was completely destroyed by the war. They had difficulties in producing food because the agriculture was destroyed. All the men that were not disabled served in the military and the women worked in war production factories that made artilleries and supplies for the army.

The biggest problem for any European nation was having their railway system being destroyed. Because without railways they weren't able to transport food and supplies.

Europeans exchanged expensive and valuable items for a FEW POTATOES. Winter was the worst season for the survivors because they didn't have jackets and shoes to keep them warm during Winter.


Postwar Governments and Politics

Europeans blamed their leaders for its devastating results. In Belgium, holland, Denmark, and Norway, the prewar government returned quickly. However, some countries' leaders were not forgiven. They were German, Italian, and French leaders. They couldn't control the country any more. Why? Because in Germany, Hitler's Nazi government ruined Germany. In Italy, Mussolini led Italy to destruction. Lastly for France, the Vichy government cooperated with German Nazis when Germany annexed France. Many people didn't want to support these three countries' leaders. Also most of the resistance were made by Communists.

Communist party promised for good change. Their attitude toward government was different. They were ready to LISTEN. Therefore, in France and Italy, many people joined the communist party. They gained huge power. They took over the politics in the country in a short amount of time. Rise of communist party made the French and Italians vote for ANTI-communist parties. Since then, the communist membership started to decline. They kept on declining that the economy of France and Italy started to recover.


An Attempt at Justice: The Nuremberg Trials

Nations were struggling with their own political and economical problems. Many European nations also wanted to punish Germany for the HOLOCAUST. These nations wanted to prevent this atrocity from happening again, therefore, they put the Nazis on trial. This was called The Nuremberg Trials.

*This is the video of Nuremberg trial just to give you an idea how it was. ENJOY :)


The Nazis were accused of "crimes against humanity" They killed about 11 million people mostly Jews and NON-Aryans. Many Nazi leaders including Adolf Hitler had committed suicide to escape the trials. Nazis were put to death.

*This is the video of Nazis being hung. Even though they were hung, some say that "A thousand years will pass and still this guilt of Germany will not have been erased." The Nazi's bodies were burned in concentration centers where Jews were killed. They were burned where the Jews were burned.



The United States Occupies Japan

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↑A picture of Hideki Tojo befor the trial.

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↑Japan's oversea colonies before they were taken by the Allies.(link)

When Hiroshima and Nagasaki was bombed, this marked the end of World WarⅡ. Many major cities, including the capital Tokyo, were destroyed by the atomic bombs. The Allies took over overseas colonies and the lands that Japan occupied for centuries. Though Japan was in a serious disaster, some military generals and Emperor Hirohito still wanted to fight. So they tried to encourage Japanese by making announcements. But after two weeks, General Douglas MacArthur came to reorganize Japan.
The first movement he made was to demilitarize Japan. Demilitarization was to prohibit all Japanese armies, to make sure that they cannot create a future war again. General MacArthur achieved this goal in a short period of time, and he eventually put small U.S. police forces in Japan. This was possible in Japan because it was Japanese nature that when they are defeated they just allow the changes that they have to face afterwards. MacArthur also put 25 war criminals on trial and with Hideki Tojo, the general of the Imperial Japanese army, 6 people were hung. The second movement was to spread democracy in Japan. General MacArthur brought U.S. advisers to set up a new government that was elected by people, which was the form of democratization. The Japan empire became a parliamentary democracy which was similar to the government system in Britain. Though MacArthur was not told to improve the Japanese economy, he wanted to broaden the land ownerships in Japan. So, he forced the landlords to sell their land at a reasonable price and many farmers started to buy them. Eventually, farmers created their own labor unions.

U.S. Occupation Brings Deep Changes

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The new formed government made the emperor to surrender his authority in politics. Emperor Hirohito had to announce that he was no longer a god and this was a shock to Japanese. The Japanese belief was that their emperor was their god. After the announcement, Japanese finally acknowledged themselves that they had been defeated in World WarⅡ. As a new government was created, there were many significant changes. The two-house parliament which was called Diet was elected by citizens over the age of 20, including women. Prime minister, the head of the government was selected from the majority of Diet. The new constitution preserved the basic freedoms of the Japanese people, but it also limited the freedom in terms of a country. In Article 9 in the constitution, it says,

"Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and ari forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."

So this took away Japan's right to attack another country, but when a country attacks Japan first, they were allowed to fight. On September 1951, U.S. and other 48 nations made a peace treaty with Japan and this officially ended the World WarⅡ. Because of demilitarization, Japan allowed U.S. military force to stay in Japan. However, this was a heavy burden. Japan had to pay for everything for the U.S. military but after six months, the army left. Then the Japan's economy started to recover more quickly. As the U.S. army left, Japan and U.S. allied with each other.

Postwar World

Europe was in confusion after the war. The allies first aimed for the same goal; to get rid of Axis Power but when they achieved their goal, they started to break up, thinking for their own benefits. World WarⅡchanged the political landscapes in Europe. Some countries became stronger while other countries became weaker. At this point, U.S. and the Soviet Union became rivals. U.S. wanted to spread capitalism while Soviet Union wanted to spread socialism. Both countries helped European countries to revive by supporting them financially and made treaties to spread their ideology either capitalism or socialism. This was the Cold War. In this war, no war weapons were used but tensions were high.