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Effects of World War 2 Essay

“Economic effects was the most important effect of World War 2.” To what extent do you agree? World War 2 (WW2) was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945 and it originated from early conflict within Europe. It involved many of the leading powers of the World including the great powers and became the most widespread war in history. The ending of WW2 led to three very important effects: social, political and economic; that greatly shaped the post-war world. I disagree that economic effects was the most important effect of WW2 because it did not last very long and did not affect a large scope of people as compared to other factors. The criteria used to evaluate the social, political and economic effects of WW2 is the duration of which the effect lasted for, the scope of people it affected and its magnitude. Economic effects did meet the magnitude and duration criteria. However, it did not fulfil the other criteria and it is ultimately political effects that is determined as the main effect of WW2 because it fulfilled all the criteria and largely impacted the post-war world. The first criteria will be the duration of which the effect lasted for. Economic effects did not meet this criteria because the effects of financial aid that the US and USSR provided lasted for a long time.

For example, the International Monetary Fund created in 1944 still exists and has lent money to countries to protect their currencies in times of difficulty. The financial aid was only provided for a short period of time just to help Europe recover from the consequences of the disastrous war. However, the effects of this still exists today and therefore economic effects fulfilled this criteria. Social effects of WW2 included a change in gender roles and family structure, more importantly, the role of women in post-war world. There was a wider range of jobs that women could take on after WW2, however, women were still treated badly as compared to the men. After WW2, women became more confident and they decided to create more feminist movements and campaigns for equal pay and rights. As of today, feminist movements are still being conducted and this shows us how these campaigns are being influence by wartime experience. The recent HeforShe campaign created by the United Nations (UN) newly appointed Ambassador Emma Watson serves as an example of a feminist movement influenced by the other campaigns that were sparked up because of WW2. This is why social effects fulfils this criteria as it still impacts the world today and therefore, is a long-term effect.

Political effects included the nuclear age and the development of atomic weapons after WW2. The atomic bombing of Japan in Hiroshima and Nagasaki had a profound effect on the pot-war world. Between 1945 and 2000, 128,000 nuclear weapons were built. The nuclear escalation after WW2 started as more countries other than the US and USSR started to build nuclear weapons. The consequences of political effects still exists because countries are still building nuclear weapons as it is seen as a display of power and therefore political effects fulfils this criteria. Therefore, all these factors fulfil this criteria. The second criteria will be the scope of people the effect affected. Economic effects did not meet this criteria because world trade, a result of economic effects actually only affected Europe and the US only and had not direct impact on the world internationally. For example, when the US pressed for freer trade, Western Europe began to co-operate economically and tried to lower its tariffs. Economic effects did not meet this criteria because it only majorly impacted Europe and the US and not the rest of the world. Social effects also did not meet this criteria because it only affected the minorities in society like the blacks and women. In the Southern states, black labour increased and this gave black people more job opportunities which gave the blacks a wider experience of the world.

Evidently, social effects only affected minor groups of people and does not fulfil this criteria. Political effects included greater unity and international co-operation. The large scale defence organisations like the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation of 1949 and regional pacts like the South East Asia Treaty Organisation set a precedent for the many international organisations that started. All these measures are taken so that countries can resolve conflicts using negotiations instead of war and this allowed the maintenance of peace amongst most of the world. Political effects is the only factor that fulfilled this criteria. The third criteria will be the magnitude of the effect and how large its impact was on post-war world. Even though financial help from the US lasted only for a short period of time, it caused the greatest economic impact on Europe. By 1952, Europe not only recovered from its initial poverty but was also on the edge of its greatest economic boom in history. Economic effects had a large impact of Europe and this is why it fulfils this criteria. Social effects did not cause as large of a magnitude because its effects were mediocre. It is indeed true that women were more confident and freer from demands at home but there were no drastic changed to social systems as women were still considered beneath men. Even today, there is no gender equality as men in most parts of the world still receive more pay and rights than women.

This is why social effects does not fulfil this criteria. Political effects caused the development of the cold war which was considered one of the most significant consequences of WW2. It greatly impacted Europe, making Western and Eastern Europe more divided. The cold war was a battle over ideology, making the distinction between the US and USSR even clearer. The cold war was also the closest the world ever came to another atomic war. The two superpowers of that time possessed nuclear weapons that would have been extremely detrimental to the world if launched. Political effects impacted the world to a great magnitude because the cold war included the two superpowers during that time and it caused a greater division between Western and Eastern Europe. Economic effects and political effects fulfilled this criteria. After comparing the different factors with this set of criteria, I still disagree that economic effects was the most significant effect of WW2.

Economic effects only fulfilled the magnitude and scope criteria and therefore is not the most important effect. I believe that political effects is the main effect of WW2 because it fulfilled the most criteria. It was a long-term effect of war and affected large amounts of people. It also impacted the post-war world to a great extent and this is why it should be considered as the most important effect of WW2. Economic effects did pull Europe out of poverty and it also lasted very long but it did not affect the world internationally. It was only limited to Europe and the US. Social effects only satisfied the duration criteria as feminist movements still exist in the modern world today and were influenced by the WW2. On the other hand, political effects lasted very long and also pushed for better international relations that strongly impacted post-war world. Therefore, political effects is the most important effect of WW2.


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