World War 2 paved the way for the birth of a new international order

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Question – The end of World War 2 paved the way for the birth of a new international order. Comment on it. – 15 November 2021

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World War 2 was the deadliest military conflict in history, killing several thousand people and destroying much of Europe. However, with the emergence of a new system of norms and ideals that shaped the development of the world in the political, social and economic spheres, it also had a transformative effect on the world. This new order included a system of shared institutions and partnerships, which changed the political alignment and social structure of the world.

Some of the key features of the new system, and their impact, are as follows:

  • Rise of a Bi-Polar World: At the end of World War 2, the United States as the representative of capitalism and the Soviet Union as the representative of socialism emerged as the two superpowers. These two countries greatly influenced the policies of other countries around the world.
  • De-colonization: The Allies forced defeated powers such as Italy and Japan to surrender their overseas colonies. France and Great Britain, the great European colonial nations, were forced to abandon their empires because of the cost of maintaining the colonies, the development of national liberation movements, and foreign pressure from the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • United Nations as the successor of the League of Nations: At the end of the war, the Allies formed the United Nations to encourage international cooperation and prevent future conflicts. It was envisaged to be more powerful and effective than the League of Nations.
  • Economic, Political and Social Cooperation: The end of World War 2 pushed the former colonies and the developed world towards mutual economic and social cooperation. Furthermore, the countries, mostly former colonies, united to form a new front in the new bipolar world in the form of the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • Development of Human Rights: International military tribunals were established to try peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It can be considered the predecessor of the current International Criminal Court. The war experience also aided in the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Military and Civilians during War in 1949.
  • Changes in the Global Economy: The redistribution of the world market based on the dominance of the United States opened the way for a more widespread penetration of capitalism, facilitated by world-class financial and political instruments such as the Bretton Woods Agreement, the Marshall Plan, post-war reconstruction, etc.

This new system created after the war is still suitable for global interests. This system of shared institutions and partnerships has contributed significantly in preventing the recurrence of catastrophic incidents of similar magnitude.

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