USII.7a Rebuilding Europe & Japan;
The United Nations

The student will demonstrate knowledge of the economic, social, and political transformation of the United States and the world between the end of World War II and the present by
a) describing the rebuilding of Europe and Japan after World War II, the emergence of the United States as a superpower, and the establishment of the United Nations.

How did the United States help rebuild postwar Europe and Japan?

Learning from the mistakes of the past, the United States accepted its role as a world superpower, helping to rebuild Europe and Japan and taking the leading role in establishing the United Nations.

Much of Europe was in ruins following World War II. Soviet forces occupied most of Eastern and Central Europe and the eastern portion of Germany. The United States felt it was in its best interest to rebuild Europe and prevent political and economic instability.

Rebuilding efforts
• The United States instituted George C. Marshall’s plan to rebuild Europe (the Marshall Plan), which provided massive financial aid to rebuild European economies and prevent the spread of communism.
• Germany was partitioned into East and West Germany. West Germany became democratic and resumed self-government after a few years of American, British, and French occupation. East Germany remained under the domination of the Soviet Union and did not adopt democratic institutions.
• Following its defeat, Japan was occupied by American forces. It soon adopted a democratic form of government, resumed self-government, and became a strong ally of the United States.

Establishment of the United Nations
• The United Nations was formed near the end of World War II to create a body for the nations of the world to try to prevent future global wars.

USII.7b Wartime to Peacetime Economy

The student will demonstrate knowledge of the economic, social, and political transformation of the United States and the world between the end of World War II and the present by
b) describing the conversion from a wartime to a peacetime economy.

What contributed to the prosperity of Americans following World War II?

Following World War II, Americans prospered due to an expanding economy stimulated by America’s involvement in the war.

Reasons for rapid growth of American economy following World War II
• With rationing of consumer goods over, business converted from production of war materials to consumer goods.
• Americans purchased goods on credit.
• The workforce shifted back to men, and most women returned to family responsibilities.
• Labor unions merged and became more powerful; workers gained new benefits and higher salaries.
• As economic prosperity continued and technology boomed, the next generation of women re-entered the labor force in large numbers.

USII.7c Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, Collapse of Communism in Europe

The student will demonstrate knowledge of the economic, social, and political transformation of the United States and the world between the end of World War II and the present by
c) identifying the role of America’s military and veterans in defending freedom during the Cold War, including the wars in Korea and Vietnam, the Cuban missile crisis, the collapse of communism in Europe, and the rise of new challenges.

How and why did the Cold War begin?

The United States and the Soviet Union emerged from World War II as world powers, triggering a rivalry over ideology and national security.

Origins of the Cold War
• Differences in goals and ideologies between the United States and the Soviet Union (the two superpowers)—The United States was democratic and capitalist; the Soviet Union was dictatorial and communist.
• The Soviet Union’s domination over Eastern European countries
• American policy of containment (to stop the spread of communism)
• North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) versus Warsaw Pact
East Germany behind the Berlin Wall

Cold War Museum

Terms to know
• Cold War: State of tension between the United States and the Soviet Union without actual fighting that divided the world into two camps

Russia will continue to present the largest ballistic missile threat to the United States. Russia retains thousands of nuclear warheads on ICBMs and most of these missiles are maintained on alert, capable of being launched within minutes of receiving a launch order.

CSS-4 test launch
Cold War Museum

What have been the major conflicts and confrontations involving America in the post-World War II era?

How did Cold War tensions cause divisiveness at home?

Since World War II, the United States has been directly involved in various conflicts that reflected the divisions created by Cold War tensions and hostilities.

The tension between the free world and the communist world caused divisiveness at home and abroad.
Major conflicts in the post-World War II era
• South Korea and the United States resisted Chinese and North Korean aggression. The conflict ended in a stalemate.
• The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred when the Soviet Union placed missiles in Cuba. The Soviets removed the missiles in response to a U.S. blockade.
• The United States intervened to stop the spread of communism into South Vietnam (Domino Theory). Americans were divided over whether the United States should be involved militarily in Vietnam. The conflict ended in a cease-fire agreement in which U.S. troops withdrew.

How did communism collapse in Europe?

How were the challenges after the Cold War different from earlier challenges?

The Cold War was the central organizing principle in foreign affairs for 40 years.

Collapse of Communism in Europe
• Breakup of the Soviet Union into independent countries
• Destruction of Berlin Wall
New challenges
• Role of U.S. military intervention
• Environmental challenges
• Global issues, including trade, jobs, diseases

USII.7d Opportunities for Vets, Women, and Minorities

The student will demonstrate knowledge of the economic, social, and political transformation of the United States and the world between the end of World War II and the present by
d) describing the changing patterns of society, including expanded educational and economic opportunities for military veterans, women, and minorities.

What factors led to changing patterns of society in the post-World War II era?

Changing patterns in American society at the end of World War II changed the way most Americans lived and worked.

Factors leading to changing patterns in U.S. society
• Strong economy (healthy job market, increased productivity, increased demand for American products)
• Greater investment in education
• “The Baby Boom,” which led to changing demographics
• Interstate highway system
• Evolving role of women (expected to play supporting role in the family, but increasingly working outside the home)
• Role of Eleanor Roosevelt in expanding women’s rights
• African Americans’ aspirations for equal opportunities
• Changes in make-up of immigrants after 1965 (e.g., Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans)

What policies and programs expanded educational and employment opportunities for the military, women, and minorities?

Policies and programs expanding educational and employment opportunities
• G.I. Bill of Rights gave educational, housing, and employment benefits to World War II veterans.
• Truman desegregated the armed forces.
• Civil Rights legislation led to increased educational, economic, and political opportunities for women and minorities.