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Europe and Japan in Ruins

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Devastation in Europe

The war had left Europe in ruins. Almost 40 million people were dead. Hundreds of cities were reduced to rubble by constant bombing and shelling. The ground war had destroyed much of the countryside. Displaced persons from many nations were trying to get back home. Often there was no water, no electricity, and little food. Hunger was constant.

Agriculture had been disrupted. Most ablebodied men had served in the military, and the women had worked in war production. Few had remained to plant the fields. With factories destroyed or damaged, most people had no earnings to buy the food that was available. Also the small harvests did not reach the cities because the transportation system had been destroyed. Suffering continued for many years in Europe.

How did the war change Europe?
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Postwar Governments and Politics

Europeans often blamed their leaders for the war and its aftermath. Once Germany was defeated, some prewar governments—like those in Belgium, Holland, Denmark, and Norway—returned quickly. In Germany, Italy, and France, the old fascist governments had disappeared. At first, the Communist parties grew strong in France and Italy. People who opposed Communism grew alarmed. They voted leaders from other parties into power. Communism lost its appeal when the economies of these lands improved.

During efforts to rebuild Europe, the Allies held the Nuremberg Trials in the German city of Nuremberg. There, captured Nazi leaders were charged with crimes against humanity. They were found guilty, and some were executed.

Who did the Europeans blame for the war? AND What were the Nuremberg Trials? - ANSWER BOTH PARTS!
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Postwar Japan; Occupation Brings Deep Changes

The defeat suffered by Japan in World War II had devastated that country. Two million lives had been lost. The country’s major cities were in ruins.

The U.S. Army occupied Japan under the command of General MacArthur. He began a process of demilitarization, breaking down the Japanese armed forces. MacArthur also paid attention to democratization, or creating a government elected by the people. His first step was to write a new constitution. It gave all power to the Japanese people, who voted for members of a parliament that would rule the land. All Japanese over age 20— including women—were given the right to vote. In 1951, other nations finally signed a formal peace with Japan. A few months later, U.S. military occupation ended.

What changes were made in Japan?
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