Armed Hostilities

Social Effects in the West After the Second World War

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Goals
  3. Causes of the WWII
  4. The USA comes into the War
  5. The Four Freedoms Speech
  6. The British Welfare State
  7. Conclusion
  8. Works Cited


Historic events are quite difficult matter to analyze. Of course, at the first sight, we can observe pure dates and names that seem to present no difficulty but the issue here is hidden much deeper. This is so because events of the history of mankind can not be observed separately, they are interconnected, and was the reason for one event could have been the result of another one. That is why looking at any historic event in a certain country we can not view it separately without paying attention to the situations in other countries at the same time or earlier (Adas, 2006, pp. 34 – 45). If we speak about such a global event as WWII we must undoubtedly keep to this rule. The World War was such an important event in the history of mankind that we can not presume that it concerned certain nations and did not touch the rest of the world. All the countries were involved in that terrible war and its effects could be seen all over the world (Gilbert, 2004, pp. 23 – 32).

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In this very research paper, our goal is to analyze the effects that WWII had on the world countries, especially on the Western countries. To do this we are going to make use of the primary and secondary sources, analyze the data given in them in order to make our own conclusion, and try to understand the reasons for this or the events that happened in those countries after the war was over. As a starting point of the work, we will briefly examine the background of the situation, looking at the events of WWII for us to have data for the following analysis. The next point of the paper will be the very analysis of the state of such things as Welfare State, rights of women, rates of employment in the Western countries, and of the effects, WWII had upon them.

Causes of the WWII

WWII began as the ambition of the German authorities for the New World Order they wanted to establish after gaining absolute power in this country. Nazi leaders considered their nation to be superior over all other nations that had to be either exterminated from the Earth or subjected to serve the Germans as slaves. At the initial stages of this war, Western countries were not worried as they thought that democratic principles were not under the threat. Nazis started it as a campaign against communism and Western leaders saw nothing bad in destroying the regime they also considered to be anti-democratic and anti-human (Addison, 1985, pp. 54 – 112). But very soon they changed their attitudes as Nazi Germany attacked France, Netherlands, Great Britain, and other democratic countries. The direction of the geopolitics changed and even countries from other continents became involved in the war because they thought that their own freedom and very existence were in danger. That is how the war became the World War involving all the countries of the world in it (Gilbert, 2002, pp. 33 – 57).

The USA comes into the War

Countries like the United States of America and Japan joined the opposite sides of the conflict because they supported different ideologies and strived at different goals, although their own security was assured by the fact that the war was taking place on another continent. Japan was pursuing its imperialistic goals with attempts to widen its territory as much as possible and to become more influential and powerful in the sphere of international relations (Evans, 2007, pp. 223 – 227). The USA claimed that its main goal in the war was to defend the principles of democracy and freedom in the countries suppressed by the Nazis. The US officials stated that although there was no actual danger to the country itself, there was a considerable threat to democracy in the whole world. Lead by this the USA considered it to be a proper decision to join the democratic countries of Europe in fighting Nazism. The motivation of the United States was perfectly explained in the speech by President Roosevelt which was later called “The Four Freedoms Speech” (Calvocoressi, 1991, pp. 45 – 76).

The Four Freedoms Speech

The principles of the democracy defense formulated by President Roosevelt in January 1941were a kind of appeal to the whole nation to support the struggling democracies in their pursuit of liberty and peace: “Armed defense of democratic existence is now being gallantly waged on four continents. If that defense fails, all the population and all the resources of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australasia will be dominated by the conquerors. The total of those populations and their resources greatly exceeds the sum total of the population and resources of the whole of the Western Hemisphere – many times over.”(Roosevelt, 1941, p.1). In these lines, we can see the essence of the speech and of the goals pursued by the United States joining the democratic struggle.

This speech is called so because it reveals the four fundamental freedoms that make every society a democratic one in any epoch and under any circumstances. The first freedom is the freedom of speech in every society. It takes the leading position because all other do not have sense without this one. Only people who are not afraid to speak their minds can fight and change something they do not like. The second one is the freedom to worship any religion one likes. This principle is fundamental for the inner peace of every personality and basic for establishing a free democratic state. The third is the freedom from want, which means that every member of any society must have means for living including food, money, clothes, education, etc. And the fourth is the freedom from fear which presupposes the cutting of the armaments of all countries with the purpose that any of them could resort to aggression against other countries (Roosevelt, 1941, p.3).

Roosevelt states that “this nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its million of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere.” (Roosevelt, 1941, p.4).

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The British Welfare State

The report by Sir William Beveridge is another document that shows how all the democracies of the world planned to live after they win a victory over Nazism. The title of the report explains what it is dedicated to. The Welfare State is the idea by Beveridge which presupposes the interaction between the state and every citizen. William Beveridge determines that there are five giants in the way of reconstruction, they are Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor, and Idleness. And Want is the most important and the most dangerous rival of any constructivism that is why it is the question of crucial importance to overcome it in order to start building the state of a new type.

The work by Beveridge touched all the important spheres of human life that needed to be improved during the war and as soon as it was won. The author examined the issues of poverty, equality of rights of men and women, unemployment and means of its overcoming and, of course, the problem of establishing the Welfare State in Great Britain as the result of all the above-mentioned problems being solved (Williams, 1987, pp. 78 – 99). The first step to fight poverty was, according to Mr. Beveridge, in the common insurance available for all people irrespective of their financial status, level of income, or social position. He thought that in the time of war it was possible to unite people who were earlier divided by various prejudices. The Want that emerged with the war made state borders less important for the cooperation of nations and social groups. The author also suggests that in case if a person is unemployed for some period of time, then he or she will be provided with all necessary things for exi8stence until the job for this person is found:” Unemployment benefit, disability benefit, basic retirement pension after a transition period, and training benefit will be at the same rate, irrespective of previous earnings. This rate will provide by itself the income necessary for subsistence in all normal cases.” (Williams, 1987, pp. 111 – 123).


So, as it can be easily seen from the above-analyzed data, WWII had serious effects for the countries of the West involved in it. Although no war can be assessed positively after this armed conflict countries began to think more of human rights, their equality, and defense. As soon as the war had begun, the authorities of the USA, Great Britain, and other democratic countries understood the necessity of certain measures that would change the way human society was living and help to avoid wars like that in the future (McWilliams, 2001, pp. 345 – 347). Americans formulated the four basic freedoms that every democracy needs and waged war for the defense of them. British people also understood that something was wrong in the society if it allowed WWII to occur and started to formulate the changes that were necessary. Beveridge suggested the plan of overcoming the Want, which improved all the spheres determining human life (Wakeman, 2003, pp. 56 – 78). All these steps affected positively the countries’ reconstruction after WWII.

Works Cited

Adas, M. and Stearns, P.N. and Schwartz, S.B., 2006. Turbulant Passage: A Global History of the Twentieth Century, 3rd ed, Longman, New York.

Addison, P., 1985. Now the War is Over: A Social History of Britain 1945-51. Pimlico, London.

Calvocoressi, P., 1991. World Politics since 1945, 6th ed., Longman, London.

Evans, P. and Hewitt, J. and Puckering, A. and Spur, M. and Sweeney, S., 2007. Twentieth Century History: 1945-2000. HTAV, Melbourne.

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Gilbert F. and Large, D.C., 2002. The end of the European era: 1890 to the present, 5th ed. W. W. Norton, New York.

Gilbert M., 2004. The Second World War: A Complete History. Revised edition. Holt Paperbacks, New York.

McWilliams, W.C. and Piotrowski H., 2001. The World Since 1945: A History of International Relations, 5th ed., Lynne Rienner, London.

Roosevelts TRHe Four Freedoms Speech. 2008. Web.

Wakeman, R. (ed), 2003. Themes in modern European history since 1945 Routledge, London.

Williams J. and Willaims K., 1987. A Beveridge Reader (Allen & Unwin, Boston / London.

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