Why Was 1945 Seen as a Turning Point in the 20th Century?

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Date Submitted: 01/12/2014 02:02 PM

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In the article ‘Europe’s Second Thirty Year War’ the writer, Ian Kershaw, believes that the year 1945 was a major turning point in the 20th Century. It was not only the year the Second World War ended, but it also marked a new Europe without fascist ideology, the destruction of Germany and the start of the Cold War. In the years following the war there was a more peaceful Europe compared to the years 1914-45 which saw two world wars where the majority of the fighting took place in mainland Europe and many cities were obliterated. The more peaceful Europe was a result of the defeat of Hitler and fascism and also the ethnic cleansing that took place during and after WW2.

There was a vast amount of destruction in Europe, especially in Germany, which was heavily bombed by the Allies. The defeat of Germany led to the Allied forces occupying and eventually rebuilding it. Kershaw believes that this was major turning point of the 20th Century because Germany, who were the main source of conflict from 1914-45, were not a threat. Hitler and fascism had been deafeated and it meant there was a chance for peace and prosperity and there would not be another leader like Hitler again. The destruction of Europe, caused by the bombings, also meant that there were many countries that needed to rebuild completely. For example, half a million French homes were destroyed, cities such as Hamburg and Dresden in Germany were devastated and in the USSR 70,000 villages and 1,700 towns had been obliterated. Europe had suffered heavily because of the war and the events of 1945 marked the end of such large scale fighting in Europe, making the year a huge turning point. The two world wars had been devastating, with approximately 10 million deaths in WW1 and 50 million deaths in WW2. Although there were some wars in Europe after 1945, for example the Greek Civil War and the Kosovo War, these were not on the same scale as the world wars. European countries wanted to see more stability as they...