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Post by DIESEL on Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:01 am

In an effort to maintain international peace,[178] the Allies formed the United Nations, which officially came into existence on October 24, 1945.[179]

Regardless of this though, the alliance between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union had begun to deteriorate even before the war was over,[180] and the two powers each quickly established their own spheres of influence.[181] In Europe, the continent was essentially divided between Western and Soviet spheres by the so-called Iron Curtain which ran through and partitioned Allied occupied Germany and occupied Austria. In Asia, the United States occupied Japan and administrated Japan's former islands in the Western Pacific while the Soviets annexed Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands; the former Japanese governed Korea was divided and occupied between the two powers. Mounting tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union soon evolved into the formation of the American-led NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact military alliances and the start of the Cold War between them.[182]

In many parts of the world, conflict picked up again within a short time of World War II ending. In China, nationalist and communist forces quickly resumed their civil war. Communist forces were eventually victorious and established the People's Republic of China on the mainland while nationalist forces ended up retreating to the reclaimed island of Taiwan. In Greece, civil war broke out between Anglo-American supported royalist forces and communist forces, with the royalist forces victorious. Soon after these conflicts ended, war broke out in Korea between South Korea, which was backed by the western powers, and North Korea, which was backed by the Soviet Union and China; the war resulted in essentially a stalemate and ceasefire.

Following the end of the war, a rapid period of decolonization also took place within the holdings of the various European colonial powers. These primarily occurred due to shifts in ideology, the economic exhaustion from the war and increased demand by indigenous people for self-determination. For the most part, these transitions happened relatively peacefully, though notable exceptions occurred in countries such as Indochina, Madagascar, Indonesia and Algeria.[183] In many regions, divisions, usually for ethnic or religious reasons, occurred following European withdrawal; this was seen prominently in the Mandate of Palestine, leading to the creation of Israel and Palestine, and in India, resulting in the creation of the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan.

Economic recovery following the war was varied in differing parts of the world, though in general it was quite positive. In Europe, West Germany recovered quickly and doubled production from its pre-war levels by the 1950s.[184] Italy came out of the war in poor economic condition,[185] but by 1950s, the Italian economy was marked by stability and high growth.[186] The United Kingdom was in a state of economic ruin after the war,[187] and continued to experience relative economic decline for decades to follow.[188] France rebounded quite quickly, and enjoyed rapid economic growth and modernization.[189] The Soviet Union also experienced a rapid increase in production in the immediate post-war era.[190] In Asia, Japan experienced incredibly rapid economic growth, and led to Japan becoming one of the most powerful economies in the world by the 1980s.[191] China, following the conclusion of its civil war, was essentially a bankrupt nation.[192] By 1953 economic restoration seemed fairly successful as production had resumed pre-war levels.[193] This growth rate mostly persisted, though it was briefly interrupted by the disastrous Great Leap Forward economic experiment. At the end of the war, the United States produced roughly half of the world's industrial output; by the 1970s though, this dominance had lessened significantly.[194]

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