The Second World War was one of the most transformative events in the world. The war took place between 1939 and 1945 (Macmillan, 2009). The impact of the war was so devastating that 1945 was referred to as Year Zero (Macmillan, 2009). Cities were reduced to rubbles, millions of people among them military and civilians died, superpowers such as France and Germany crumbled, it was total devastation. However, some countries such as the United States came out of the war in a position of power economically. The United States who were victors of the war, dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki potentially putting an end to the war. But, the atomic bombs changed the world and left a lasting impression. The impact of the Second World War has lasted for decades and is felt up to date. What about decolonization and its impact? Decolonization was the gaining of independence by countries under colonies. Critical analysis of decolonization reveals that it was a result of the Second World War. The war destroyed colonies stripping them of their power, thus when countries under their rule rebelled; they could not withstand, they could not fight anymore. Although decolonization was a significant event, the impact of the Second World War was so tremendous that its effects are still felt today with significant changes in technology, economy, and the medical profession.
The Impact of the Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The United States had declared war against Japan following the attack on Pearl Habor. The war was proving costly in terms of money and lives being lost. Therefore, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing more than 200,000 people (Schmemann, 2015). Soon afterward, Japan surrendered, putting an end to the war. The atomic bombs developed by the United States sparked the development of nuclear weapons and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Other countries followed the United States in exploring nuclear energy. The United States, through the Atomic Energy Commission, constructed a reactor which produced electricity from nuclear energy (McCurry, 2019). The medical field also embraced nuclear energy using radioisotopes to study diseases. The use of nuclear energy to develop nuclear weapons continued. North Korea more recently has developed nuclear weapons for missile delivery which has posed a threat to the world (McCurry, 2019). Despite negotiations with the United States, North Korea remained adamant in it its use of nuclear weapons. The threat of nuclear war has grown over the years with Russia, China, India, the United States, France, UK, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan developing nuclear weapons (Acton, 2019).
The Revolution of Technology after the Second World War
During the Second World War, there was immense creativity and innovation to produce weapons and technologies to facilitate the war. One of the technologies widely used during the war was Radar. After the war, there was extensive research that led to the launch of more satellites. Eventually, the Global Positioning System was developed, which is widely used in land survey and also by individuals using applications such as Google Maps to help in navigation. Radar was also designed for use in predicting weather patterns accurately. Radar also led to the production of electromagnetic waves that were used to manufacture microwave ovens that are used to heat and cook foods (Willings, 2019). Penicillin which was also used during the war, was later adopted by medical professions (Willings, 2019). More notably, during the war, the first computer referred to as Colossus was developed to decode encrypted messages sent by German soldiers (Finnamore & Ludlow, 2015). What followed was great development of computers from bulky immobile machines to laptops that can be carried by hand. Overall, the Second World War brought a new era of technology that significantly changed the world.
Although decolonization was incomparable to the Second World War, it had its impact on the world. Decolonization led to the rise of democracy of the then independent countries which elected their leaders (Beihaami & Meifa, 2014). There were also negative impacts, including conflicts based on religion and ethnic backgrounds. The boundaries of the countries as determined by the colonial powers were ambiguous, which led to disputes as governments tried to determine their boundaries (Beihaami & Meifa, 2014). However, the independent countries against all the odds overcame challenges which led to the development of these countries. Though most of these countries still referred to as developing countries, developed countries continued to depend on them for products and services but more so for food with many countries intensively practicing agriculture.
Several events have occurred in the world since 1945, but none has left a more lasting impact than the Second World War. The war led to the defeat of countries such as Germany which was left in ruins, Japan, the recipient of the atomic bombs was left devastated forced to rebuild. However, other countries benefited from the war, such as the United States and the Soviet Union, which gained power and control over the world. The Second World War also led to the development in technology including computers, Radar, and nuclear energy. Despite decolonization having an impact on the world, the consequences of the Second World War were far-reaching changing the world significantly.
Influence of Nationalism and Industrialization on the West
Industrialization transformed the West impacting the transportation sector, manufacturing, the culture, it was a revolution that ushered in a new era changing the lives of people. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, industrialization refers to the growth of industries in a region. Industrialization began with the use of coal and steam, which revolutionized industries (Spielvogel, 2014). Coal and steam led to more efficient machines that increased the production of goods. Factories mushroomed in the west and with them came the increase in demand for labor. The demand led to the widespread migration to urban areas to take advantage of these newly created jobs. The lives of people transformed as urban areas were highly populated, which initially had low standards of living but improved significantly. As industries continued to grow, there was a need for more raw materials and ease in transportation, which led to the growth of the transport sector with new roads and railroads being built. This was just the beginning of what was to follow as industrialization led to advancement in technology changing the world forever. On the other hand, nationalism also had an impact on the West with states putting their interests first, which brought competition and war as countries competed for resources and power. Although nationalism had a massive effect on the west, industrialization changed the world with not only the growth of industries but also the lives of people that were changed with the advancement in technology.
The Growth of the Transport Industry
The growth of industries necessitated suitable means to transport raw materials, goods, and people effectively. In Britain, new roads and network of canals were built. But, more importantly, railroads were built, which were crucial to the progress in the West. The railroads were initially built by wooden rails that were later replaced by cast-iron rails (Spielvogel, 2014). The railroads increased the demand for coal and iron, which led to the growth of these industries. In 1804 the first steam-powered train was launched carrying tonnes of goods, and this was only the onset of what was to follow (Spielvogel, 2014). The construction of railroads created employment opportunities and eased the transportation of goods. This ease of transportation led to a reduction in the prices of goods leading to the growth of industries which could easily obtain raw materials and distribute goods produced, thus increasing sales. The railroads would later change as the wooden and iron rails were replaced by durable steel rails. Steam-powered trains were replaced by diesel trains which were also replaced by electric trains which today are the hub of transportation in major cities (Spielvogel, 2014). The building of roads later led to the invention of cars that brought with them leisure traveling.
Industrialization led to the growth of factories which in turn led to the demand for an elaborate transport system. For the factories to operate and for the construction of the transport system, there was an increased demand for labor. Employment opportunities increased significantly. Since most of these factories were in urban areas, it prompted the mass migration of people to these areas to take advantage of the job opportunities. The migration led to increased population in urban areas. The increase in population together with the growth of the economy led to the growth of cities such as New York, Paris, Vienna, Boston, and Chicago (Exenberger, Strobl, Bischof, & Mokhiber, 2013). Before, cities had a population of about 5,000, and this increased to 200,000 by 1900 (Exenberger et al., 2013). Urbanization created a ready market for goods while providing cheap labor which contributed to industrialization. The migration of people to urban areas did not stop and has not ceased to date with cities having millions of people. This led to better housing which is seen today with story buildings, improved transport system, and improved standards of living.
Nationalism created pride for the people's country of origin. Each country believed it was superior to other countries. Nationalism created greed for power and competition for scarce resources. The competition for resources and the desire for power is believed to have led to the First World War (Miller, 2015). Countries began seeking control over other nations which led to colonies. Nationalism also led to the creation of extremist movements such as the Nazi which sought to rise in power by waging war and eventually led to the Second World War (Miller, 2015). A critical analysis of nationalism reveals that people were proud of their resources, their economy. It would, therefore, be correct to claim that industrialization is what brought nationalism. As countries grew, there was a need to protect what they had and to gain control over more resources which brought nationalism.
Industrialization did not happen overnight; it was a series of events. The growth of industries was accelerated by the use of coal and steam. This growth led to urbanization with people migrating to urban areas to seek employment opportunities.The increase in production of goods and the demand for raw materials led to the construction of a transport system. Today, roads are full of cars; electric trains have taken control of the transport industry, and urban areas are highly populated due to industrialization. Not that nationalism did not impact the West, but industrialization changed the lives of people altogether.
Beihami, H., & Meifa, F. (2014). The effects of decolonization in Africa. World Scientific News, 3, 34-30. Retrieved from http://www.worldscientificnews.com/wpcontent/uploads/2012/11/WSN-1-2014-34-39.pdf
Exenberger, A., Strobl, P., Bischof, G., & Mokhiber, J. (2013). Globalization and the City: Two Connected Phenomena in Past and Present. Innsbruck: Innsbruck university press.
Finnamore, C., & Ludlow, D. (2015, May 1). Top inventions and technical innovations of World War 2. Retrieved from https://www.expertreviews.co.uk/technology/7907/top-inventions-and-technical-innovations-of-world-war-2/page/0/4
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