In the aftermath of World War II and during the Cold War, there were two spheres of influence in Europe. Western Europe supported the capitalist principles of the USA, whereas Eastern and Central European countries sympathized with the Soviet Union seeking to have communist governments in place. This entailed significant political and economic differences – the capitalist states supported democracy, free market, and self-regulating economy, and the pro-communist states were authoritarian governments with economies regulated by the state.
Building on the ideological division between capitalism and communism and the rivalry between the world’s two superpowers, the US and the Soviet Union, the impacts of the early Cold War entailed regional political and military tensions around the world known as “proxy wars” fueled by extensive propaganda. Another outcome of the Cold War was the establishment of international political, military, and economic organizations (e.g., the European Coal and Steel Community, NATO).
The key developments in post-war China included the reforms of 1978: the country’s opening to foreign investments, de-collectivization of agriculture, and the appearance of private companies. This started denathe tionalization of the economy and allowed for China’s active participation in international trade and contributed to economic growth.
The US and Soviet Union never engaged in direct confrontation but continuously tried to secure their political influence in different regions of the world through humanitarian aid, political and military interference. The effects of the proxy wars were devastating to the local populations and economies.
The fall of communism resulted from a combination of economic, political, al and military factors. The restrictions of the communist governments weakened due to Gorbachev’s reforms in the Soviet Union allowing more freedom in the public and media spheres, which lead to an increase in democratic processes. Economically, the communist countries could not survive on the global market – the states experienced highly detrimental shortages of goods, inflation, uncontrolled development of the black market.
In 1948, as a result of the civil war and with support from the USA, the modern state of Israel was declared independent from the Arab-Muslim world. This caused political tensions and a military conflict that continue until today.
The nationalist leaders in the post-war era appealed to the nation’s independence from the world’s global powers and the formation of independent states. After World War II, some former colonies became independent peacefully (e.g., India, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines), whereas other states achieved their independence through military conflicts (e.g., Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Algeria, Tunisia).
One of the key causes of the nationalist conflicts of the XX century was localized opposition to the influences of the global superpowers and the desire to form independent states. The outcomes of these conflicts include political, economic, and social transformations caused by the appearance of new states.
In the transformed world after World War II and the Cold War, the economic changes brought about increased globalization in all spheres of life. This is evident in the rise of regional trade blocks, such as the EU and NAFTA. As the fundamental difference between the developed and developing countries is their potential for sustainable self-sufficiency in terms of economies and industries, the rise of such regional blocks contributed to cooperation between the countries fueling international development cooperation.
An eloquent example of religious fundamentalism and radical ideas in the XX century is found in radical Islam. The reasons for its rise include but are not limited to the search for recognition and identity, the response to political and economic marginalization, frustration with the dominant regimes.
The processes outlined above characterize changing face of the modern war – its causes and effects are characterized by growing complexity due to a multitude of factors – economic, political, religious, social. On a global scale, the responses to these processes include growing international cooperation and the development of regional blocks.