1. World War II cost 50 million lives and demolished cities and infrastructure; with massive assistance from the United States Western European nations rebuilt their societies after the war.
2. The U.S.-sponsored Marshall Plan was a program to prevent Communist expansion and spread liberal economic principles in Western Europe; the U.S. provided $13 billion 1948-1952, half going to Britain, France, and West Germany, and in exchange, American business enjoyed greater access to European markets.
3. Europe’s rapid economic resurgence 1948-1965, aided by the Marshall Plan, also resulted from liberal democracy and advances in science, technology, production and managerial techniques, transportation, and agriculture.
4. Winston Churchill (1874-1965), the British prime minister, predicted the coming of the Cold War and called for European unity against the expansionist Soviet Union.
5. In Western Europe, democratic forms of government replaced the dictatorships of the previous eras.
6. The leadership of General Charles De Gaulle (1890-1970) in France marked a reconciliation period between his country and Germany.
7. By the 1960s, Western Germany accounted for 20 percent of global trade, surpassing Britain.
8. The conservative wing of European politics included the Christian Democrats, while the left included the Communist Party and, later, the Green Party.
9. Civil war in Greece, a Basque separatist movement in Spain, and Catholic opposition to Protestant control in Northern Ireland have been the most violent Western European movements since the end of World War II.
B. Decolonization and the Cold War
1. A significant development of the post-war period was the dismantling of European empires.
3. The British Commonwealth of Nations, established in 1931 and comprising 54 states by 2013, provided an ongoing formal connection and forum for cooperating and discussing issues of mutual interest.
4. The French and Portuguese, however, accepted withdrawal from their colonies in Africa and Asia only after much bloodshed.
5. In 1949 a military alliance known as NATO was formed between nine Western European countries, the United States, and Canada.
6. The Warsaw Pact, formed in 1955, was a defense alliance between the USSR and the Communist countries of Eastern Europe and the counterpart to NATO.
7. The Cold War and NATO were partly generated by Germany's postwar division; the U.S., Britain, France, and the USSR each had an occupation zone in Germany and also divided up the German capital, Berlin.
8. In the 1960s, some European nations began to reappraise their relations with the United States and USSR.
9. Many Europeans opposed the Vietnam War and U.S. interventions in Latin America.
10. In Germany, Ostpolitik was a policy promoted to establish closer ties between the West and the USSR and its allies.
C. From Cooperation to European Community
1. Facing major economic and political problems and having lost influence to the United States during the 1940s, Western European nations moved toward cooperation rather than competition with each other.
2. To promote greater unity among the European nations, several institutions, such as the Council of Europe (1949) and Common Market (formed 1957; later European Community), were created.
3. The European Community (EC) was responsible for the unprecedented economic growth of Western Europe in the 1960s and 1970s.
4. The EC was, nevertheless, vulnerable to fluctuations in the global market caused by devaluation of currencies and oil embargoes.
5. The competition with Japan and other Asian nations, coupled with high energy costs, destabilized the European system and led to massive unemployment.
II. WESTERN EUROPEAN SOCIETIES AND CULTURES
A. Social Democracy and Welfare States
1. The rise of welfare states, government systems offering their citizens state-subsidized health, education, and social service benefits, and the high quality of life they fostered, owed much to an influential political philosophy known as social democracy.
2. The blending of socialism and capitalism led to the creation of welfare programs bringing stability to Western Europe.
3. Workers in northern and central European welfare states have gained more rights and protection than workers elsewhere and enjoy generous pensions and longer leisure time.
4. The state also moderated extremes in wealth and poverty.
5. By the 1990s both white-collar and blue-collar Europeans worked many fewer hours each year than Americans and Japanese workers.
6. Many European countries provide universal health care, which provides inexpensive prescription drugs and guarantees medical care to all citizens.
7. The strong social democratic systems have made the Scandinavian nations the most prosperous societies in the Western world.
8. The political and social stability has come at the cost of high taxes and protecting inefficient workers and enterprises.
9. In the 1980s the welfare states faced numerous economic problems, which resulted in spending cuts and growth of budget deficits.
10. In some countries, conservative parties gained power and began to modify national welfare systems; economic problems, however, did not lead to the rise of extremist political parties, as was the case in the 1930s.
B. Social Activism, Reform, and Gender Relations
1. Occasional student and worker protests against capitalism, materialism, and mainstream society erupted.
2. In France, the students’ uprising of 1968 was a serious challenge to the European political system.
3. The European responses to social problems common to all industrialized societies, such as drug and alcohol abuse, have been more enlightened than elsewhere.
4. The sexual revolution, partially caused by the introduction of contraceptives, also drastically changed the attitude of the Europeans to marriage and family; eliminating or moderating the social shame of divorce, extramarital sex, and unmarried cohabitation, challenging cultural taboos.
5. Inspired by feminist thinkers such as philosopher Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), growing women’s movements pressed their agendas more effectively by the 1970s.
6. Changes in work, politics, and family life affected both men and women, who came to share responsibility for supporting their families financially; by the 1980s women comprised half the work force in Sweden, a third in France and Italy, and a quarter in conservative Ireland.
7. As once-powerful male-dominated institutions such as the military and church declined in influence, more women supported socialist and liberal parties that guaranteed them and their children health care and education.
8. Women headed governments in nations such as Britain, France, Germany, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Portugal, and Norway.
9. Divorce rates more than doubled between 1960 and 1990.
10. The new political openness also made societies more tolerant of homosexuality; by 2013 ten nations, including Catholic Belgium, Portugal, and Spain, legalized homosexual marriage, and many others recognized domestic partnerships.
C. Immigration: Questions of Identity
1. Responding to post-war labor shortages, several million immigrants settled in various European countries as “guest workers.”
2. The migration of thousands of people from the poorer regions of the world has transformed Western European societies; the majority of new immigrants came from Turkey, Africa, or the Arab Middle East.
3. By 2010, 48 million immigrants constituted nearly 10 percent of the European Union.
4. Immigration posed problems of absorption into European society, fostering tensions between whites and nonwhites, especially after 1989, when the scarcity of jobs created competition between immigrants and local people.
D. Reshaping Cultures, Thought, and Religion
1. Western Europe has traditionally been receptive to influences from abroad, which in turn has made it resilient.
2. Western Europeans have been particularly fond of American music such as rock-and-roll and jazz.
3. Cultural life was influenced not only by cultural imports but also by local developments, especially political liberalism and growing mass media such as television and cinema.
4. Post-colonialist writers, such as Indian-born British writer Salman Rushdie (b. 1947) challenged the world-view shaped by Western dominance; his books, including The Satanic Verses (1988), a critical look at Islamic history, created an uproar among conservative Muslims, earning him death threats.
5. Europeans struggled to understand World War II's horrors, some turning to secular philosophies.
6. The two best-known secular ideologies of postwar Europe were Marxism and Existentialism.
a) Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was the prophet of existentialism,, which argued that people must accept responsibility for their actions, sparking political engagement to create a better society.
b) While Marxism lost most of its appeal after the 1960s, the rise of Postmodernism, a philosophy which teaches that truth is not absolute but constructed on social beliefs, was another major intellectual development in Europe.
7. Organized religious life and churchgoing declined, partly because World War II and postwar materialism destroyed many people’s faith.
III. COMMUNISM IN THE SOVIET UNION AND EASTERN EUROPE
1. The Soviet state recovered from its wartime devastations to become the second-most powerful nation in the world behind the United States
2. The Soviet leader Joseph Stalin (1879-1953) claimed that the USSR could deal as an equal to Western nations because of the heavy sacrifices Russians had made during World War II.
3. Stalin was a paranoid dictator who ruled his country in a brutal manner; he saw potential enemies everywhere, maintained an iron grip on power, exiling millions to Siberia, while hundreds of others, including top Communist Party officials and military officers, were convicted of treason in show trials and executed.
4. After Stalin’s death in 1953, the process of de-Stalinization began under his successor Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971); Khrushchev hoped that cleansing communism of Stalin’s brutal legacy would legitimize the system to his people and the world.
5. De-Stalinization divided the communist world; China broke its alliance with the USSR in 1960.
6. The Soviets also made numerous advances in space technology; in 1957, the USSR launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth.
7. Khrushchev was deposed in 1964, replaced by a hard-line Communist named Leonid Brezhnev (1906-1982), who used repressive measures against dissidents; Brezhnev led the country for two decades (1964–1982).
8. The secret police, the KGB, was the most effective means of political repression in the USSR; active dissidents were often deprived of jobs and benefits, while some were sent to remote Siberian prison camps.
9. In spite of state censorship, many Soviet intellectuals such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) and Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989) were able to recount the hardships facing the average citizens to the outside world.
10. The Five-Year Plans, which began under Stalin in 1928, changed the Soviet Union into a fairly modern country; Sakharov won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975 but was not allowed to attend the ceremonies.
11. The three sectors governing all aspects of Soviet life were the Communist Party, the bureaucracy, and the military.
12. By the early 1980s, however, all these sectors had failed the Soviet system.
13. The Soviet economy was inefficient and fell far behind the West in technology; for example, Russians missed the personal computer revolution sweeping the West.
14. Industrial pollution was also a characteristic of the Soviet-era economy; in 1986 the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the Ukraine exploded, causing numerous deaths and injuries, releasing radiation over Europe.
B. The Soviet Union in the Cold War
1. U.S.–USSR tensions reached a height in the late 1940s through late 1950s.
2. Observing the great cost of the Korean War, Soviet leaders pursued the policy of “peaceful coexistence” with the West from the late 1950s through the late 1970s.
3. The construction of the Berlin Wall (1961) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) were two crises in the rivalry between the superpowers during the Cold War.
4. The Brezhnev Doctrine asserted the right of the USSR to interfere in their East European satellites to protect communist governments; they intervened militarily to suppress revolts in Poland and Hungary in the 1950s, liberalizing tendencies in Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Polish dissident movements in the 1970s and 1980s.
5. The 1979 invasion of Afghanistan to protect its Communist regime proved to be a costly error for the Soviets; economic problems, restless subject peoples, and the cost of supporting a huge military contributed to major rethinking in the later 1980s.
C. Soviet Society and Culture
1. In the postwar decades the population of the Soviet Union rose to 275 million.
2. Soviet citizens enjoyed social services unimaginable fifty years earlier; however, people had to accept state power and the subordination of individual rights.
3. Although there was great improvement in the status of women, feminist activists were often harassed or imprisoned.
4. Relations between ethnic Russians and diverse minorities deteriorated.
5. The State marginalized organized religion, promoting atheism and denouncing Christianity as superstition.
6. Censorship imposed by the State restricted the creativity of Soviet intellectuals and forced most cultural creativity underground.
D. Eastern Europe in the Soviet System
1. During the late 1940s the Soviets installed communist governments in each Eastern European nation.
2. Political parties were abolished, churches persecuted, and nationalistic leaders purged; in 1949 COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) more closely integrated Soviet and eastern European economies.
3. Only Yugoslavia, which broke with the USSR in 1948 and was led by Marshal Josep Broz Tito (1892-1980), had an independent Communist government in Eastern Europe.
4. The Soviet military presence engendered great resentment among Eastern Europeans, which produced uprisings in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.
E. Soviet Decline and Reform
1. By the 1980s, the Soviet economy had lost much ground to its rivals in every field.
2. Internal problems, coupled with a decline in international influence, eventually led to the realization that the Soviets had to liberalize their politics and economy.
3. In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev (b. 1931) became the new leader of the USSR and aimed at establishing better relations between his country and the rest of the world.
4. Gorbachev adopted Glasnost (‘openness”), a policy that meant democratization of the political system and the loosening of state control over the media.
5. The other initiative taken by Gorbachev was called Perestroika (“restructuring”), which meant the reconfiguration of the economic system and included the adoption of free market principles.
IV. COMMUNIST COLLAPSE: A NEW RUSSIA AND EUROPE
A. A New Russia and New Post-Soviet Nations
1. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe were among the most important developments of the twentieth century.
2. The failure of the one-party system in the USSR led to the rise of a more democratic system and the break-up of the Soviet empire.
3. The break-up of the empire resulted in the creation of a number of independent states stretching from Central Asia to the Baltic Sea.
4. After the 1991 resignation of Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin (1931-2007) became the president of the Russian Republic and ended seventy years of communist rule; Yeltsin pursued an economic policy known as “shock therapy,” rapid conversion of the stagnant planned economy to market capitalism, producing more consumer goods and a growing middle class but creating other dilemmas.
5. Yeltsin dismantled the welfare state, and health-care reductions, declining incomes, heavier drinking, and illegal drug use affected public health; men’s life expectancy dropped from sixty-four in 1990 to fifty-nine in 2002.
6. With the failure of free market policies, Yeltsin resigned in disgrace in 2000, and a new leader, Vladimir Putin (b. 1952) came to power, pursuing more authoritarian, socially-conservative, and nationalist policies than Yeltsin.
8. Putin sought good relations with Germany, France, the United States, and China, but opposed U.S. foreign policies, especially in the Middle East, and maintained alliances with authoritarian regimes such as Iran and Syria.
B. The New Eastern Europe
1. The fall of the Soviet Union gave birth to more democratic forms of government in Eastern Europe; Hungary adopted democracy, Solidarity came to power in Poland, and East Germans streamed across the border into West Germany.
2. After massive demonstrations forced communist leaders to resign in a largely peaceful “Velvet Revolution,” Czechoslovaks elected as president playwright and former rock group lyricist, Václav Havel (1936-1911).
3. Similar to the situation in the USSR, the transformation to capitalism and market forces created havoc in Eastern Europe.
4. The fall of Communism in Eastern Europe led to bloody civil wars in the 1990s and the eventual partition of Yugoslavia.
C. Toward European Unity
1. The reunification of Germany, the European Union, and the 2008-2009 economic collapse have been significant themes overshadowing European politics since1989.
2. German reunification cost billions and resulted in the economic depression of Germany and consequently of Europe.
3. Western European leaders considered the creation of a single currency and a central bank in Western Europe to be the best means for stabilizing the region; the Maastricht Treaty proposed economic and monetary union, most treaty signers adopted the euro as their currency.
4. The European Union (EU) has faced a number of obstacles such as the question of inclusion of Turkey and rejection of the EU constitution by voters in Norway, France, and Switzerland.
1. The end of the Cold War forced Russia, Western Europe, and the former Soviet Bloc states to seek out new roles in global politics.
2. Since 2000, relations between Europe and the United States have become complicated.
3. Most Europeans mistrust the United States and its intentions, particularly in American dealings with the Middle East.
4. The presence of large Muslim immigrant populations in Western Europe has complicated the European response to terrorism issues.
5. Europeans took the lead in developing international treaties on issues such as climate change, biological and chemical weapons, international criminal courts, and genocide; U.S. opposition to these treaties built resentment.