Based in the book: The Cold War A Very Short Introduction by Robert McMahon. Chapter 1: World War II and the destruction of the old order
“The most shocking fact about war is that its victims and its instruments are individual human beings, and that these individual beings are condemned by the monstrous conventions of politics to murder or be murdered in quarrels not their own.” Aldous Huxley
World War II brought surpassing levels of death, devastation, privation and disorder, it lasted from 1939 to 1945 involving the vast majority of the world’s nations. approximately sixty million people died, million of civilian deaths. The world, specifically the European continent, laid in ruins.
As we saw the world order changed, most of the countries were experiencing desolation, almost every single person lost a loved one, but as most of us know there was one place where things were different: for the United States the war meant prosperity even abundance, their number of losses were moderate in comparison with others, in that moment they felt unbeatable. The US produced by the end of the war 50% of the goods and people all around the world needing them was seen like a great power to Americans. They had advantage due to the fact that all industries were destroyed, but that also helped millions of people to survive. They got more powerful by helping people, not that bad.
Another way of order could be defined from the military power. the US started to get worried about the military preparation. They became superior in this fact but they were not unbeatable, we should never think we are unbeatable, that put us on disadvantage, the other could attack when we are distracted. Even if the US had great power they were vulnerable as shown in the Japanese attack to Pearl Harbor. But they were geopolitically intelligent, even if they had flaws as anyone, they were well prepared and were preparing in topics they considered important like military power as we said.
People say: bad memories are forgotten and good memories survive in time, but it is hard to forget all the consequences and effects of war, and more because those consequences brought a reorganization of power, a new socioeconomic order. Also the world entered the nuclear age, all led by the hegemony: the Soviet Union in the Communist world, and the United States in the capitalist world. We also learn from bad memories.
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
People learned little with the second world war, as a new era of conflicts and war began. For over forty years, the world was divided and generated what is known today as the “Cold War”; it was the struggle between the capitalist and communist powers to establish its dominance in the world. that new world order was not as stable as thought. Some humans are always thinking the way in which they could get more and more powerful, a war is a great business, and a good way to gain power from someone else.
The United States would confront Communism elsewhere. In an atmosphere charged with paranoia and anxiety, there was fear about “enemies within” sabotaging United States foreign policy and passing atomic secrets to the Soviets. The post-World War II period was an era of intense anxiety, dynamic, and creative change. The old order changed and with all the things going on, will continue changing, today Russia is giving some important steps, some situations are moving the world and some powers want that moving on their direction, to benefit themselves. Power moves people and makes them bring everything they have in mind to real life, war is just a movement in the chess game. We should care more about people than power.
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” Lord Acton
Daniela Toro Becerra