Synopses & Reviews
Tracing global events from the last years of the Second World War until the Iraq war of 2003, this brief but comprehensive volume on contemporary world history argues that the most profound transformation of global relations in this period has been the fall of the last colonial empires and the triumph of nation-states. The World Since 1945
offers its readers a basic chronology of the major events that have marked the history of the last half-century. Author Daniel Brower
begins with a succinct discussion of the Second World War's revolutionary impact on the course of global affairs, emphasizing the disappearance of Western colonial empires and the beginning of the Cold War conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States. He concludes with an analysis of the rise of Islamic terrorism and the international crisis leading to the U.S. war in Iraq 2003. The narrative account emphasizes three major factors that have shaped the key events in this extraordinary half-century:
- The instability of nation-states caused by ethnic conflicts, poverty, and the rise of dictators
- The changes in global balance of power from Cold War to U.S. hegemony
- The economic fortunes of capitalism and communism
Brower argues that powerful forces of nationalism and social revolution, propelled by the turmoil following the end of the Second World War, quickly destroyed all colonial empires. He stresses the efforts at nation-building that followed these events and points to the widespread emergence of ethnic conflicts within and between these new states.
In each chapter thematic and biographical sections focus attention on the most important features of this history. Updated to incorporate recent events, the book discusses the efforts in the 1990s of international organizations and major states to implement new policies for peace and global security, and explains the factors behind the upsurge of local wars and terrorism, culminating in the 2001 Al Oaeda attack on the U.S. and the Afghan and Iraq wars.
This brief book stresses the profound global transformation that has occurred since 1945 as a result of the collapse of the remaining great colonial empires, and the emergence of nation-states throughout the world. Its thematic emphasis makes clear as well the importance of the Cold War in influencing the process by which these nation-states sought to create new ideals and new institutions—to insure order and justice within their boundaries, and find places within the international community. The book also links the new nation-states in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, with the ethnic conflicts, local wars, and terrorist movements that became increasingly prevalent toward the end of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. For a world-historical perspective on contemporary civilization.
Table of Contents
(NOTE: Each chapter concludes with a Summary, Dates Worth Remembering, and Recommended Reading.)
1. Toward the Second Twentieth Century: The Second World War.
The Empires of Germany and Japan.
The Alliance Against the Axis.
The Fall of the German and Japanese Empires.
SPOTLIGHT: John Maynard Keynes.
2. The Cold War and the End of Western Empires, 1945-1950.
HIGHLIGHT: Containment and Anti-Communism.
The Cold War in the West.
SPOTLIGHT: Eleni Gatzoyiannis.
The Cold War in Asia.
3. Recovery in East Revolutions and Asia, 1950-1990.
SPOTLIGHT: The Fourteenth Dalai Lama.
HIGHLIGHT: Revolution and Command Economies.
War and Revolution in Indochina.
Japan’s Recovery from Defect.
4. New Nations in South Asia.
The New Island Republics.
Independence for India and Pakistan.
HIGHLIGHT: New Nations and Ethnic Strife.
India and Pakistan as Nation-States.
5. Africa and Latin America in the Third World.
Africa’s Liberation from Colonialism.
SPOTLIGHT: Nelson Mandela.
Latin America in the Cold War.
HIGHLIGHT: The Third World.
Democracy in Latin America.
6. Nations at War in the Middle East.
Israel and the Middle East.
SPOTLIGHT: Golda Meir.
Nation-Building and Petroleum.
War, Peace, and Islam.
HIGHLIGHT: Islam and Nation-States.
7. The Cold War and the Fall of the Soviet Empire, 1953-1991.
European Nations and European Union.
The Soviet Union and the Cold War.
HIGHLIGHT: The Cold War in Outer Space.
The Fall of the Soviet Empire.
SPOTLIGHT: Andrei Sakharov.
8. Local Wars, Global Economy: The World after The Cold War.
The Emergence of the Global Economy.
HIGHLIGHT: The Global Environment.
Local Wars and Peacekeeping.
Terrorism and Local Wars.
SPOTLIGHT: Osama bin Laden