EUST Blog Assignment #1

This is your first blog assignment. Please write 500 (or more) words commenting on what you see in this post and how it relates to the material that has been covered in class. Please make sure that your comment can be easily identified (ie. use a username that is close to your own name or sign the post at the bottom). Feel free to comment on each other’s entries.

EUST 1

78 thoughts on “EUST Blog Assignment #1

  1. Derek Kiyoshi Randolph Fukumoto
    EUST 4003
    Dr. Davidson
    Blog Assignment Number One
    The images in question work together to demonstrate the origins and needs for the idea of a ‘European’ community in the aftermath of World War II. In both our readings and lecture, we are currently exploring the general history and the specific factors which lead to the origins of the European Union; starting with the idea of nationalism, and the dangers associated with nation building. As collections of people were moved away from the identity under kingship and monarchy, collectivization of the peoples was channeled into a new era, where border defined identity. The overarching theme of these photos beg the question of consequence in regards to where people draw their identity from.
    One’s identity comes from innumerable factors, but in the realm of International Relations theory, the categories are more clearly defined. Starting from the low end of the list; sub-national identity comes from factors such as ethnicity, and religion. Moving up the scale, national identity was prominently used in order to develop a strong nation. This argument follows that by pledging an allegiance to your country in the interest of security, a great nation could be developed. Unfortunately coupled with historical conflicts and developing technologies, two devastating wars occurred in Europe within the first half of the 20th century. Following the devastation, it became clear that the black and white distinction between ‘us and them’ holds a dangerous principle. Although not quickly, the need for an advancement into a supranational identity, an identity which is inclusive as opposed to exclusive was needed for the security of Europe. Obviously this observation is retrospective, and the premise in which to accomplish this need, was neither apparent, nor completely agreed upon (much like today).
    In the wake of World War II, Europe was left in ruins. This statement is far from an exaggeration and the horrors of which can never be captured by mere words alone. Without the empathetic understanding through experience, our words are left weightless and speculative. In this light, the first priority both domestically and abroad was to help rebuild Europe. This priority was expedited with the Marshall plan after seeing the desire for Soviet expansion under Stalin; both in Eastern Europe and in the newly divided East and West Germany. The immediate and looming threat of Soviet expansion into a weak Europe put extreme pressure on the United States and countries of Europe. In response to these pressures, the first cooperative union was established to pursue these goals. The European Coal and Steel community was a pact between Italy, France, (West) Germany, and the Benelux countries. The cooperation helped achieve three primary goals. Establish an economic connection which would be mutually beneficial for member countries, ensure the prevention of Germany’s rearmament by rebuilding their industry, and lastly focusing on the literal building blocks of society.
    In summary, the images at hand mark the beginning of a new era, and new opportunity following the devastation experienced in Europe in World War II. From the incomprehensible destruction of cities, gave rise to the most unique Intergovernmental organization; the European Union.

  2. During our class discussion I thought it was a very interesting idea that the Soviet Union filled a pivotal role in defeating the Germans through the willingness of the Soviet leadership to lose so many lives. In comparison to France, the UK, and the US, Soviets suffered staggering loses, especially in their civilian population. For such a globally relevant state the fact that the Soviet Union lost over twelve percent of its total population is quite shocking. If such an event were to damage the US to that degree it would certainly provoke a strong domestic response to our political leadership. Of course, the Soviet Union went through extensive purges during the 1930s under Stalin and any kind of domestic response there would surely be hidden away behind a locked door, or worse.
    An interesting note about the purges under Stalin is that many young, inexperienced officers were promoted to senior positions. This generation of new leaders would hold on to their office and extend their influence throughout many decades with some even lasting until the fall of the Berlin Wall. While not necessarily a defining characteristic of the Soviet Union’s performance in World War II, the introduction of new, young leaders undoubtedly played a part in the total number of casualties, in my opinion.
    The two pictures of children sitting on rubble are quite powerful. I am not sure which cities the images depict, but it brings to mind what Germany must have been like following the war: completely destroyed. Germany would be rebuilt of course, but not without substantial financing. West Germany took a large chunk of Marshall Plan and the allies quickly set to work reconstructing it and influencing its political environment. That was one of the goals of the Marshall Plan; it was to provide financial aid to states on certain conditions, one of them being that they combat communism in their political systems. This greatly benefited the US as well by providing new markets for products.
    When one looks at the impact of the Marshall Plan against communism, it might become apparent that it was the start of the Cold War, or at least an escalation of already tense feelings. As the United States began funding reconstruction and solidifying relationships with European allies, Russia began using similar tactics and attempted to gain influence over other territories.
    The Berlin airlift was a really ingenious strategy by the US and its allies. Not only did it avoid escalating conflict with the Soviet Union, but it also made them look like the heroes. Following the war it looks as if the US was really focusing its efforts on maintaining an image of it and its allies having the moral high ground. The Soviets would cut off supply access and have thousands die through the winter, yet the US and its allies would work day and night to supply the starving people. The Berlin Airlift accomplished the task of supplying West Berlin, much to the disappointment of the Soviets, while also making the ideology of the West more appealing.

  3. The six pictures represented above show a chilling yet detailed story of what became of Europe after arguably the most brutal war ever fought in world history. It was simply horrifying, and such atrocities are expressed some of the images above. There are two pictures with children hanging out near the destruction of what seems to be a town, and the emotions riddled on their faces seem to be utterly awestruck. Both images leave the viewer wondering what could have possibly been going through such young and innocent children’s minds at this time in history. They had to have been mentally scarred for the rest of their lives. And such a memory as that will live inside you forever. It is interesting to consider these children, and to think what ever became of them. Well, it was the children of this era that would ultimately go on to form the European Union. And for that reason alone I believe that those two images are of more importance than the other four. It was simply an event too horrific that these children never in their lives (as well as their own childrens lives) would ever want to experience such an event again. And that is where this all ties into what we have been learning in lecture. As we know, the EU and its formation was a long and daunting process, where at times it seemed the possibility of this Union was far out of reach. It is no easy task to unionize a whole continent, or even a portion of one. Mainly because history runs deep, and even more so in Europe, where cultural and social differences can be worlds apart. But it was images like these, that would be a constant reminder to diplomats and the like, to always remember, “never again”. Not only do we recognize this emotional response from the pictures of the children as a haunting feeling that will last decades, but it is the sheer enormity of the consequences of the acts of war that we comprehend in the other images. We see the map of the German relocation, and come to realize how vast an impact war can make. When one is literally uprooted from their homeland without a choice, it is terribly sad and depressing. For one to look at this image and try to be optimistic is impossible. How could Europe let such a thing happen? I think the most important thing to take from this. And I what I mean is that the leaders who followed in the next 50 years, really had no choice in coming together as the political entity we know today as the European Union. They did not want to ever come remotely close to what they had experienced as a continent, ever again. And for that reason, among others, they were given the motivation to put aside their differences and self interests to achieve pacification.

    • Very nice – good discussion of the way in which WWII destruction motivated the post-war leaders to create a structure that would ensure such a war could never happen again.

  4. As shown in the middle right and bottom left picture, Europe was in shambles at the end of World War II. The Europeans needed to work together with the US to get themselves out of this mess. The Allies took control of the situation and demanded reparations from Germany in the form of coal, industrial capacities, assets and forced labor. Of course, this did hurt Germany, but it helped everybody else out. Also, The US did allow their forced labor to work in Germany helping to make reparations.
    The top right picture is a grim reminder of just how high the death toll climbed. A total of about 42 million people lost their lives because of the war. Poland lost the highest percentage largely due to the Holocaust, although, Russia lost the most. Russia was willing and did take on the brunt of the deaths. If they had not, the allies may not have won. There was a huge population change. Many countries lost large percentages of their people. The 2 million prisoners of war that were returned to Russia were executed for being traitors.
    Along with the population change came the reconfiguration of German borders. The Germans had gained a lot of land during the war, and now they had to give it all back. Land was returned to Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, etc. The Germans living there were promptly expelled from their homes and land and were forced to flee. The top left picture demonstrates this mass exodus.
    The Germans were not looked upon well then, and now, I think that there is a correlation with that. During World War II, Adolf Hitler saw the Germans as a superior race to any other. He of course saw German as also superior to any other. He wanted to take the lands that belonged to the peoples who spoke the “mother tongue”. (This is shown in the bottom right picture). Now in the European Union, specifically in the European Parliament, There are around 24 languages being used at these meetings. Quite a bit of money is being used to pay all of the translators slaving away so that everyone can understand everything being said. Most, if not all, members of the Parliament can speak either English, German or French. The reason they spend so much money on all of these translators is not because they actually need them, but because they are afraid that if they use only those languages, that they will become superior to their own mother languages. I think that this fear may partly be tied to the fact that Hitler attempted to make German the superior language.
    Another result of WWII is that Germany was divided four ways between Russia, USA, France and UK. Berlin which was in Russian territory was also split between the four countries. Now, Russia was not too happy about this and blocked all of the railroads to keep the American, French and American parts of the city without food for the winter in 1948 (pictured middle left). The US, UK and France all worked together and formed the Berlin Airlift which allowed them to fly food and supplies into the city which helped them to survive through the winter. Russia (now the Soviet Union) eventually had to give up.

    – Brooke Shimer

  5. Brett Blockhus
    EUST 4003
    Dr. Davidson
    Blog Post #1
    The collage of pictures is used to show why and how Europe was able to become such a close-knit entity after the war. They were after a sense of community and togetherness following the wake that was left. With so much death and destruction coming from the war, many Europeans wanted to get away from that for a long, long time. There was definitely room to expand & intertwine, and there was a solid contingency that wanted to, and did act when the chance struck. Europeans began to come together and respect one another after the war, no matter their ethnicity or social class, especially those backing the Allies at the time. With the death tolls at all-time highs at the end of the war, people began to fully grasp what happened throughout Europe, and they never wanted it to happen again. So many innocent lives were lost in such meaningless ways that most saw no reason to not come together, they wondered why anybody would want to go through that again. This was beginning to spur a new style of nationalism for many people of the time, a European nationalism, one as a whole. The photos show the hardships many faced, being forced out of their homes, and onto the streets, becoming homeless. A large number of people were even forced out of their own country, with nothing they could do about it. For many their homes were simply destroyed, and they were lucky to make it out alive. The children still play in the streets, but are confused as to why this is happening, why they are being forced to leave. They wonder why someone would want to bomb their home, and cause so much destruction, tearing their families apart. An astonishing 58% of deaths in WWII coming from Allied civilians, a large portion from the Soviet Union, with over 23 million deaths for the country as a whole. So much was contributed to the wars by all of the Allied countries, and so many innocent lives were taken, something had to be done. That something happened to be the beginning of a sophisticated intergovernmental organization, formally known as the European Union, or EU. The EU was made to let Europeans stand as one, through adversity and diversity. The EU brought everyone together, gave everyone a sense of power, and allowed for countries who suffered the most to be rebuilt and get back into the swing of things. As seen from the last picture, Germans suffered quite greatly, even those not involved. They no longer had a home, with the Treaty of Versailles reclaiming borders and setting strict rules upon the nation, many chose to relocate. The destinations for many were not their ideal choices, having to go all over Eastern Europe to try and find a place to call home, hopefully one where they would not be scrutinized for their nationality. Eventually, the EU would let them in, but for a while many Germans would face some hardships trying to find a new home. To sum it up, these pictures are the basis of what spurred millions of Europeans to come together and agree on a solid sense of European nationalism. Though, these people were seeing it firsthand, the thousands of cities and homes destroyed by bombings and battles throughout the war. Everyone began to take it personally, even if they weren’t specifically affected, the results of the war were all around them and only adding more fuel to the fire of nationalism.

  6. What these images bring to mind at a glance is mass destruction and displacement of people. The loss of forty-two million human lives is unfathomable to the modern generation; just as more than sixty percent of those lost being civilians is unfathomable in modern warfare. There is no doubt that World War II was a cataclysmic and brutal event for all who got caught up in it – combatant or civilian, axis or ally. The numbers are staggering, but the destruction and turmoil left behind for those who lived was almost as bad.
    The bombing of industrial and civilian targets by Germany and Britain left Europe with countless families homeless and no means of production. Germany, more than anywhere else, was a wasteland. Divided in half between the Allied powers and the Soviet Union, even its borders no longer had any integrity. While the Allies worked towards rebuilding West Germany with new and high-tech factories, the Soviet Union swept through East Germany intent on avenging the atrocities of the German invasion. Pillaging, rape, and murder accompanied communist control. The Allies were able to hold onto half of Berlin, which was taken in battle by Russian soldiers, and the Berlin Airlift signaled how committed the United States was to standing up to the Soviet Union, and thus the beginnings of the Cold War.
    War reparations followed Germany’s defeat. The United States acquired all European assets within its borders, and forced German workers to start rebuilding. The Soviet Union took any remaining German factories and resourced they could find, packed them up, and moved them back to Russia. With them they took an immense number of German prisoners of war as forced labor – many never made it back home. The settling of German people across Eastern Europe is interesting, with some Germans spreading out as far as Ukraine. Conflicting cultural ties in Ukraine are a source of major tension today; could this partially be a consequence of German influence over several decades?
    World War II devastated Europe – its population, its cities, its factories and armies and morals, so much damage was done that it took decades to recover, and some scars can still be seen to this day. There are graphs and charts that count up the numbers of human lives lost, and the photographs we have bring us closer to the destruction, but we who didn’t experience it will never be able to truly understand the gravity of what World War II did to Europe.
    Of course, all this ties together as a multitude of reasons to create a more tightly-knit European community, to make sure it doesn’t happen again. What started as a response to the event that crippled Europe for decades has grown into an organization that is constantly making Europe stronger.

  7. The pictures represent the overall destruction that was seen following World War II. In these pictures you can also see the devastation that the Germans faced during, and after the war. Many Germans were displaced to the Eastern block of Europe during the war and continued to face travesty. Even while trying to return back to Germany after the war had ended many Germans were killed by gunman who did not want them to return back to Germany. Following the war even though Germans were allowed to go back to Germany the cities were so destroyed that they did not have homes or businesses to return to. Many cities had been left in complete ruble with few areas left acceptable for occupation.
    The death toll from WWII is astonishing, so many lives were lost that WWII will forever be remembered and reflected on in hopes of preventing another war to this magnitude. As you look at the death toll you can see the amount of lives taken were far too many. The Soviet Union faced highest amounts of deaths during WWII and without them doing so the war would have ended in a very different way. The Soviet Union was able to withstand the staggering death toll to wear down the German opposition that they were facing. Although the Soviet Union was able to withstand the constant battle with Germany the overall toll it took on the Soviet Union’s population is staggering. The Soviet Union alone lost around 11 million military personnel and around 13 million Civilians. The amount of lives lost by the Soviet Union would be nearly comparable to if the whole state of Texas was wiped out.
    Along with the Soviet Union many other areas also faced harsh death tolls. One striking realization that I had looking at the WWII death tolls was that only 17% of the death toll effected the Axis powers while the other 83% of deaths were from the Allied forces. Many Allied countries lost a large amount of Civilians and a few of the larger countries also lost military forces the smaller countries only lost civilians who did not even have a choice of whether or not to be involved in the conflict.
    While the America, Britain, France, and the Soviets had occupation of Germany following the war tensions were still really high. Since Berlin was split between the four countries and also surrounded by the Soviets it was a source of contention in Germany. Since the Soviets had all the land surrounding Berlin they tried to cut off all transportation into the American, French, and British zones however they underestimated the ability of the Allies to be able to supply goods with the air lift. After the Allies successfully supplied their portions of Berlin during the winter months the Soviets realized that there was no point in trying to prevent the Allies from supplying Berlin.
    Following the end of the war many Germans wanted to return home, but they were not exactly welcomed with open arms. While they were not welcomed easily they were also forced out of the areas they had occupied during WWII. Many families choose to flee Germany and move to some of the closer countries to the East after the war was over. Even today in Germany the feeling that was left behind from the Nazi period, and all Europeans watch the growing power in Germany to reassure there will not be a repeat of WWII.
    Erica Kaylor

  8. Connor Thompson
    Blog Assignment 1

    Nobody argues the fact that World War 2 is seen as possibly the most devastating war in human history in terms of the sheer number of deaths. What the pictures show is a pretty clear representation as to why this was the case. The first picture is the most tame in the fact that it doesn’t show large scale destruction, like what was happening in the major cities. What it does show is a large group of people leaving their homes behind, probably for the last time, in search for a better life. The second picture, of the boy sitting on the pile of rubble, is very touching. It shows just how heavily the people of Europe were affected. He has nothing left, except for the clothes on his back, as was the case for many Europeans. The third picture of the children also shows how devastated the continent was after the war. Not only was the loss of land bad, but the extreme loss of life, as illustrated in the first graph, was tremendous. The death totals for China and the Soviet union are not surprising, although they are so high. To me, they seem representative of great governmental change. Both nations had, and were going through, revolution around that time period, and both governments would do whatever was necessary to maintain relative stability within their borders. The Russians took that idea to an extreme though, the government was willing to protect their country at any cost, short of being occupied, and they proved that in their defensive strategy. The highly developed allied powers like the US and the UK had comparatively lower numbers because although they knew that defense was necessary, both were separated from the continent and so therefore had to do less to be able to protect their lands and people. The two maps showing post World War 2 Europe, especially the last picture, show just how much land was redistributed. The Germans, who before had wanted an international empire, lost so much as a result of their aggression. German people were spread out all over eastern Europe, and they became a landless people at the end of the war. Losing the land to the east and west definitely was a sore spot for the Germans. The third image that shows the map of Europe, and showing the divided Germany is definitely the most telling as to what the future would hold. The Soviet Union had extended itself all the way into central Europe, and that would set up the building blocks for the cold war well into the future. The Soviet Union felt a bit snubbed at the end of the war with concerns to how resources were divided, especially considering what they lost, and therefore they would be slightly ticked, and aggressive into the future. Not only with the division of Germany, but the division of Berlin became extremely problematic. Obviously the capital couldn’t be just a Soviet possession because they would be then able to extend the reaches of communism, and so dividing up the city, but having it in the German zone led to conflict which furthered the tensions of the cold war. The Soviet tried to blockade Berlin, which obviously was sidestepped by the allies as they airlifted in food and supplies in the winter. Neither side wanted an actual war, but the Soviets wanted complete control of Berlin, and therefore blocked off the railroads, and so there was no other way for the allies to get in supplies outside of air, which was smart, although not the most efficient. The sheer amount of supplies provided in the Berlin airlift is surprising. The allies had picked a smart strategy, because they could provided aid to Berlin, but if the Soviets tried to intervene, by shooting down a plane, would have been an act of aggression, and then start another war, which nobody wanted, although they were (at least the US) prepared to finish it. The Soviets were exhausted, and really didn’t want to see it go to war, and the threat of mutual destruction really eased some of the tensions.

    • Excellent, really nice discussion of the impacts of war deaths and the post-war territorial settlement on the European mindset after the war. Next time, though, paragraphs would be nice.

  9. The first image that I was drawn to is the image of a boy sitting on rubble by himself on the middle right portion of the collage. He looks extremely grief stricken, and the fact that he is alone in the photo could mean that his family was killed in an airstrike. In class we discussed “The Blitz” that occurred from September 1940- May 1941, and was Germany’s strategic bombing of Britain in hopes that they would surrender. There is not a distinguishing landmark in the photograph so it could be in Germany or in Britain, and the viewer of the photograph is left to draw their own conclusions. The next image I looked at was the photo of the three young children sitting in front of more rubble, who also appear to be extremely emotional.
    The next photo I was drawn to was the photograph of World War II deaths. The Soviet Union last a staggering number of both civilian and military deaths. In class, I was not surprised to hear that the Soviet Union was willing to make sacrifices in order to win the war that no other country would have been able to make. More than one in ten Soviets died during this time, which I’m sure was extremely devastating for the country. With such large casualties, it is not a surprise that Russia objected to the Marshall Plan (which actually was to prevent communism) or the Berlin Airlift that supplied Western Berlin. I was surprised to see how many lives China during World War II because I do not hear them discussed like Russian or Poland deaths are. The fact that they lost almost one fifth of their population astounds me. I was also surprised to see the high percentage of Lithuanian and Latvian deaths considering they are all civilian deaths.
    The image of Europe after WWII is interesting because Switzerland somehow managed to stay neutral even though they were right in the middle of the two competing sides.
    The image in the bottom right hand corner of the places where Germans settled in Eastern Europe is surprisingly large. I knew they had an attempt to bring Germans into Poland by bribing Germans with new homes that were taken from Poles and Germanized, but I thought the area that the Germans actually settled in was relatively small. I was surprised at how far East Germans managed to settle considering a large majority of the area was a part of the Soviet Union, which the Germans unsuccessfully invaded.
    The image in the top left hand corner of dozens of civilians walking away from houses in the background is powerful. I assume that they have packed up all of their belongings into small bags that they are carrying. The amount of strollers is also powerful. Children are usually perceived as the essence of innocence. To see so many children having to leave their homes, most likely because their lives were in danger, shows the true sadness of war. All of their heavy coats indicate that it is winter, which will be a particularly difficult time to survive outside of shelter.

  10. The pictures work together to illustrate the history of early 20th century Europe. The devastating effects of World War I and World War II caused many leaders to pursue European unity and integration to ensure peace on the continent.
    After WWII, Berlin was divided into four sectors. The United States, France, and Great Britain controlled West Germany, and the Soviet Union controlled East Germany. Not only was Berlin divided physically, but Europe was divided between capitalist ideology in the West and communist ideology in the East. Each side feared the expansion of the other’s ideology. To stop the spread of communism, the United States implemented the Marshall Plan, which gave funds to help rebuild Europe. The idea was that economically stable countries would not fall to communist revolutions.
    When the United States, France, and Great Britain united their sectors of Berlin and introduced a new currency, which they said would help trade, Joseph Stalin cut off all rail and road links into Berlin in an effort to prevent unification. The blockade of Berlin was one of the first major international crises after WWII. The Soviets believed that whatever happened to Berlin would happen to Germany, and whatever happened to Germany would happen to Europe. To avoid an overt act of aggression that might start another war, the Allies organized an airlift of 5,000 tons of food and fuel a day for nearly a year until the Soviets dropped the blockade. The airlift was significant because it escalated Cold War tensions and showed the Allies’ willingness to cooperate to stop the spread of communism in Europe.
    The two pictures of children sitting on piles of rubble show the physical destruction of Europe after WWII. Despite the damage to European cities, the war ruined Europe’s economies, and many states were dependent on financial aid from the United States through the Marshall Plan for reconstruction. As part of Europe’s reconstruction effort, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands formed the Economic Coal and Steel Community to coordinate the coal and steel industries of the member states. The idea was that if European economies and industries were sufficiently tied together, states would avoid going to war with each other because it would be financially disastrous. Additionally, the union allowed member states to monitor German reconstruction to prevent rearmament. The ECSC was the first step in the process toward European integration, and it was so successful, the rules of integration were extended to other industries.
    As demonstrated by the picture on the top right, the war’s effect on the population was significant. Not only did millions in the military die, but millions of civilians died as well. In fact, the Germans intentionally targeted civilians in the Blitz in an effort to make them force the British government to capitulate. Overall, more than 42 million people died, and nearly half of the total casualties were Russian. Germany’s war against the Slavs in the East was much more brutal than the war in the West. In retaliation, Russia committed atrocities against Germans in the East after the war.
    Germans were treated poorly by other Eastern European states after the war as well. The top left and bottom right pictures show the Germans who were expelled from Eastern European countries, such as Poland and Czechoslovakia, after the reconfiguration of German borders. During WWII, German expansionism was motivated by the concepts of Lebensraum and Irredentism, which stated that a state is like an organism that must grow or shrink and that everyone who speaks German must live under the same state. Germany was also motivated to reconquer territory they had lost after WWI. After WWII, nearly 12 million Germans were expelled from Eastern Europe. This caused problems, such as food shortages, in the new German state because the Allies had not expected to feed so many people.
    Through the hardships of the first two world wars, Europeans realized the dangers of nationalism. After the war, examples of cooperation, such as the Berlin Airlift, showed leaders how much could be accomplished by working together. With the daunting task of reconstructing the continent, Europeans realized that it was sometimes more beneficial to give up national interests for the greater good of Europe.

    • Excellent – really nice discussion of the ways in which pre-war geopolitical ideas fed into German expansionism and how the destruction of the war allowed Europeans to pull together and form the EU.

  11. London Lundstrum
    EUST

    These images represent the destruction and division that was brought about by the end of World War II. Representing primarily Germany’s situation after the war, these pictures display the various social, economic and political problems within that nation which would become a microcosm for representing the larger continental and global tensions. Throughout the introduction of this course, we have been looking at the historical contexts for the development of the European Union, which stemmed directly from the various issues aforementioned. These images represent social devastation and upheaval; such as German speaking peoples as well as Germans who emigrated from surrounding regions which were affected after the border shifts which occurred at the end of the war. Along with border shifts and an influx of German immigrants, Germany was divided between the four main Ally powers; England, the US, France and Russia. Nevertheless, this attempt to keep Germany from retaliating again (as they had after World War I, hence World War II) would ultimately result in creating two separate states, West Germany and East Germany which would represent the division between the Communist and the Democratic world. What once was Germany then became the poster child for the stark divisions between the East and West and the desperate need for some kind of cohesion. Along those same lines, these images also represent the economic turmoil within Germany, that if not handled properly by the occupying states, would then go on to devastatingly affect the rest of Europe. As we have discussed, the Marshall Plan allowed for (democratic) European states to rebuild after the war. West Germany was able to do this, whereas East Germany was not (at least not as quickly). Russia had uprooted factories and materials from East Germany and moved them wholesale into their own lands. This crippled the economic recovery of East Germany. On the other hand, Russia had lost the most amount of people throughout the war.
    These post war tensions highlighted the need for some kind of cohesion. As we have studied the development of the modern state, we have highlighted how nationalism and loyalty to the state became a reality of geographical demarcation. People were loyal to the state that governed their boundaries and the extreme power of nationalism resulted in not one, but two world wars (that is not to say there were no other factors but it was certainly viewed as something important). There was a need to create a new kind of loyalty that superseded national interests. The European Union would do just that, however, initially the interests of the major players in Europe was an economic union. The lofty ideological goals of uniting Europe under a supranational organization were set to the wayside, as the need for economic stability came first. Nevertheless, looking through an historical lens, it becomes apparent that the social, political and economic climate of the post war world would lead to the development of an institution such as the European Union. The ECSC and the EEC were economic predecessors which would eventually morph into the EU we know today.

  12. The graph of WWII deaths surprised me. In class, it was noted that the Soviets had by far the most deaths as it soaked up pressure from Germany. It is also well known that Poland had high casualties due to concentration camps held there. However, the casualty rates in countries like China, Lithuania, and Latvia was not something I had grasped before. The graph clearly shows that China was to Japan what the Soviet Union was to Germany. Perhaps because China is in the East this is not something I had ever been taught and greatly astounded me. Lithuania and Latvia also surprised me with the high percentage of their overall population lost during the war. These countries (besides Poland and Soviet Union) had the largest proportional losses in their overall population. Apparently the high percentages of death were due to Nazi concentration camps held in these areas, similar to Poland but not as well-known or documented.
    While China, Lithuania, and Latvia stunned me with their high casualty rates, the opposite can be said for Italy, the US, and UK. These three countries are always talked about during discussions of WWII (unlike China), yet their death rates are particularly lesser. Also, in the US and UK, the deaths are completely military based, without civilian losses. The graph plainly shows individual countries like India, Indonesia, and Yugoslavia experienced more loss as a result of the war than the US and UK combined.
    The two pictures of children sitting next to rubble alongside this information from the death rates graph mentioned earlier helps to show how closely the destruction affected citizen’s lives; this was not a war where only soldiers died. In both pictures, the children are literally sitting on the debris left behind from some sort of bombing. The pictures focus on the children with the debris clearly in the background, no adult is anywhere around. In this way, the pictures help to symbolize how many children lost their parents as well as their homes from the devastation of the war.
    The final image shows the areas Germans ceded to the allies through the Treaty of Versailles as well as the regions settled by Germans after this area was lost. Not surprisingly, most Germans fled East after the war, mainly into Poland and the Czech Republic. However, the map also shows that many made it as far East as modern-day Ukraine and as far South as Serbia (exceedingly far away). This huge migration away from Germany shows how much the Germans wanted to forget about the war. Also, it perhaps shows that many did not want to relieve another Weimar Republic in the aftermath of war. It was probably assumed by most Germans that their economy would again crash and as a result they had to leave. In class, we learned that this did not occur as severely as after the First World War in part because of the Marshall Plan. The United States’ interference, as a result of containing Communism, actually sped up the recovery across Europe and as a result more Germans could have stayed. However, as the map shows, many decided to leave their country and the war behind altogether and start over somewhere new.

  13. The image of the World War Two deaths puts into perspective on how the allied forces ended up defeating the Axis powers, while a part of this was the United States entering the war alongside of the Allies, bringing fresh troops, supplies, and technology. The Soviets however could be seen as the unsung- hero of the war with their ability and willingness to utilize its entire population in the effort against Axis aggression, sustaining the highest civilian and military casualties the Soviets were able to siphon much of the Axis’s fighting power through shear willingness to keep pouring troops into the conflict, and to keep on with the war effort even with immense loss of non-combatant life. This then leads to the post war power struggle between the two victors of the war, The United States and The Soviet Union, the U.S wanting to attain more power in the area and the Soviets attempting to not loose influence in both Soviet and former Soviet areas.
    Directly after Europe dealt with many economic hardships: among them being food shortages, rations, and food shortages, and would lead to an area ripe for Soviet and US agendas. With the war over the fight over the economic and political markets of the war torn Europe began between Soviets and United States, coming to its height in the divide of Germany and the capitol Berlin all being divided amongst various winners of the war. The United States issued the Marshall plan in order to enhance the European economy, while increasing its own exports. It did the through the use of Tide Aid, which gave large sums of money to the states but forced those states to purchase American exports with the money, thusly bolstering the US economy at the expense of other states. It also was enacted in order to combat the growth of communism in the fragile regions, due to the rise of the Soviets following the war. No other place showed this divide so clearly then did post war Belin, being divided and also surrounded by the Soviets, it proved itself by the Allies ability to sustain the area throughout the winter after supply lines were cut.
    Until the end of World War Two Germans shared a common identity, whether they lived in Germany itself or in the neighboring states, a German unity was expressed. With the conclusion of World War Two this identity was put to the test as they were removed from non-German territories and forced back to either East or West Germany. This created a diaspora of many people from Europe being removed from their lands and sent back to a un-unified land caught in between the power struggles of other nations. The images of the children amongst the rubble helps show the post war problems facing Europe that being the immense need to rebuild whole cities which were flattened in the war due to carpet bombings by both the Allies and the Axis forces, a tactic which attempted to scare the populace to want to end the war.

  14. The first image that jumps out to me is the data showing the total deaths per country in WW2. I remember in class hearing that the Soviet Union had the highest death tool, and this graph reflects that. If it weren’t for the Soviet Union taking most of the damage then the Allies probably would have lost the war. Germany was distracted by the Soviet Union, this lead to the Allies being able to have many victories in other parts.
    The pictures of the destroyed cities remind me of the Marshall Plan. In WW1, Germany was punished by the victors and had to say that they started the war and it was their entire fault. Historians argue about if this was a good thing or not. Many think that this punishment of Germany leaded them into starting another war. Germany was in a bad place after the First World War and that lead to Hitler being in power. Once WW2 ended, the allies didn’t want to make the same mistake so that is why they drafted the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan gave Germany money to rebuild after the war. Of course, they had to buy American products. This seems like a win-win situation, considering America still gets money from Germany buying products. Also, Germany starts to rebuild with the help of the allies, instead of letting the end of the war destroy them slowly. If it weren’t for the Marshall Plan, Germany would definitely not be in as good of a position as it is now.
    The picture of the areas settled by Germans reminds me of the hate felt towards the Germans after WW2 by the Russians. Many German civilians lost their lives when they were resettling because of the hate felt by the Russian people. Since Russia lost so many people, they took out their anger on German civilians after the war.
    The Treaty of Versailles did also not help things after WW1. Besides making Germany state that the war was their fault it did many other harms. Including forcing Germany to disarm their weapons, pay countries that were affected by Germany invading and Germany also lost a lot of territory. The effects Treaty of Versailles is one of the reasons why Germany was in a place to get into another war years later.
    The Iron Curtain symbolizes the ideological differences between the west and the Soviets after WW2 ended. The Soviet side was Communist while the west was Democratic. It was called the Iron Curtain because the people that were living on the Soviet side were blocked from the benefits of democracy. Winston Churchill used the term “Iron Curtain” because it made the Soviets seem brutal and shut away from the rest of the world. The Berlin Wall was the actual object that was put up to separate the east from the west. The Soviets said that the wall was there to keep the western fascists from influencing them. Of course, it was actually put up to keep their citizens from fleeing to the west. It would be many years till the Iron Curtain fell apart.

    Tyler Arkes

  15. Megane Tafforeau – – Gourdeau
    Blog Assignment #1

    The pictures emphasize the fact that the “postwar Europe” was suffering on both a material and a human level. As we can see in pictures 2, 4 and 5 the apogee of centuries of conflicts and tension was reached. The Second World War left more than 40 million dead people, European cities lay in ruins, food was rationed… One of the consequences of those two world wars was that the States saw the urgency to build the best interstate cooperation to ensure permanent safety, stability and peace. Indeed, the States appeared to be unable to guaranty them only though violence and war.

    Since 1945, the State had been used as a tool to unify. Through the States advocated feeling of territory belonging, we can describe ourselves by what we weren’t and create a sense of nationalism that is shared with the citizens of our same nation. This particular vision of the State was for the first time questioned at the end of the Second World War, when people realized States failed to act for the benefit of all their residents. Pictures 1, 2, 4, 5 and even 6 portrayed this idea and show us both poverty and social division at that postwar time. This poverty was even more present because the occupants of the 4 zones in Germany had underestimated the number of people migrating to the east, because of the change in Germany’s borders – see picture 6. Indeed, those people didn’t want to stay in Poland but wanted to go back in the new (and smaller) Germany.

    Before the European State government could reassert, this “Zero hours” was the best opportunity to break with the past and create an interstate cooperation in order to avoid the prewar system being built again. Politicians didn’t start from nothing because the idea of “Europe” has been present for a long time. The efforts however, date back only after World War II, thanks to theories about the European integration. The first step that leads to it was the announcement on the 9th of May of 1950 made by the French foreign minister Robert Schuman, which is a plan where the national coal and steel of European industries would be brought together and put under the administration of a single authority. The European Coal and Steel community was founded in 1952 with 6 member States – Italy, France, West Germany and the Benelux -. By spillover, this first specific interstate pact reached a broader political integration because it lead to economic, social and also cultural integration in Europe. This community is now seen as the starting point of the “European Union”.

    Other postwar priorities were economic constructions, preventing European nationalism leading once more to conflict, and the need of security because the cold war was threatening. As we can see in picture 3, the Second World War blew European’s power and influence away, creating in the meantime a bipolar balance of political influence between the Western bloc and the Soviet and also communist bloc. The Allies didn’t really know what to do with their German territory, so they unified their 3 zones of occupation in June 1948 and created a new West Germany State. Because of the tension between the two blocs, the Soviets decided to respond to the unification with a blockade around West Berlin. However, picture 3 clearly shows us that a massive western airlift structure was built to supply the city. At the end, the Soviets decided to give up.

  16. Cody D. Rader
    EUST 4003
    Blog Assignment #1

    I find the pictures to be a perfect illustration of what we went over in class, the end of World War II and the following changes and consequences of the war.
    I always find it surprising the devastation of some of the European cities during the war. Like in the case of Stalingrad and Berlin few if any buildings escaped the ravage of bombers and artillery. I could not imagine having to live and rebuild during the late 40’s. Furthermore millions were left homeless, jobless and the only possessions they had were the ones they carried. Without the Marshall Plan funds it is very doubtful that Europe could have come out of the and rebuild as quick as it did. Likewise with the addition of the European Coal and Steel Community, which allowed better coordination of Marshall Plan funds, the coordination of Europe’s coal and steel industries and helped Europe to rebuild, Europe would likely only be a shadow of the power we see today with the EU, which the ECSC led to. As Fukumoto points out, it is from the experience of WWII, the destruction and devastation of Europe that allows new opportunities and paves the way for the EU.
    The second picture also shows the massive deaths of the war, which I find absolutely appalling. I also, like Austin Hudson points out, find it interesting that the Soviet Union filled a pivotal role in winning the war through their leadership’s willingness to take so many casualties. Hudson also brings up a good point about the domestic response the U.S. would have to the Soviet Union’s staggering losses in that due to the purges any domestic response would probably have been hidden or put down. The purges saw millions killed and any response surely would have been met with the same response or a trip to Siberia.
    Likewise another interesting fact that the pictures show is the major restructuring of Europe that occurred after the war. As the two pictures of Europe show, many of the boarders have drastically changed. Poland has essentially been scooted over into former German territory, Germany and Berlin are divided among the victorious powers (America, France*, Britain and Russia) with each having a zone of influence. The only reason Poland at this point even continued to exist was because the Soviet Union wanted a buffer state between it and Germany, though it is important to note that up until the later 40’s and early 50’s the Soviet Union was on board with reuniting Germany but as a result of the Cold War tensions would not happen until the fall of the Soviet Union and Berlin Wall.
    The final picture brings up an important topic that we discussed in class, the mass migration of Germans from former German territories and native German communities across Eastern Europe. Millions of Germans fled, some forced to leave, to East and West Germany hoping to escape persecution and to make new homes where they would be relatively safe, unless you were in the East German side where following the war many Russian troops took revenge on the German populations for German atrocities during the war. What the pictures do not show though were the mass amounts of German workers taken to work to repay and rebuild Europe.

  17. The first image is incredibly poignant. Men, women and children (some dressed fairly nicely) compelled to resettle following the destruction of World War II were hallmarks of change. Movements like nationalism are difficult to propagate when so many are forced to migrate. This entire set of images reminds me that institutions like the ECSC and programs like the Marshall Plan were born out of necessity; they would have been entirely unnatural in a Europe that had not gone through two world wars. The final image of the German diaspora forces one to wonder how many other people-groups moved following the destruction of homes, villages and cities. It seems only natural in such a demographically diverse environment for there to be economic, military and political alliances.
    Pictures of children juxtaposed with ruins only further emphasize the necessity for state cooperation and foreign aid. Newer generations would likely not have had xenophobic tendencies like their parents, but rather would grow in states traumatized by war. The harsh reality of millions of corpses were a pertinent factor in the creation of organizations like Euratom and the ECSC; by reaching international consensus on major policies the young in Europe were shielded from having to bear the weight of casualties in a way the old could never forget. I am struck particularly by the high amount of civilian deaths. So often in the Western world veterans of WWII are romanticized for their valor in combat, but countries like France, Greece and Germany had innumerable civilian deaths as well. Surely policy-makers sought to rejuvenate Europe through a policy of international intervention and cooperation as to avoid the mistakes of Versailles. Infrastructure development through the intensified use of steel, coal, and focused German labor (in the form of war reparations) allowed Europe to begin both reconstruction and the creation of a supranational European identity which the European Union strives to maintain.
    With the restructuring of Germany (and consequentially many of the central-European states) came the widespread realization of the threat the U.S.S.R. posed to both capitalism and European political alliances. The distinct zoning of Germany only further clarified the passive-aggressive relationships held between the West and the U.S.S.R. Naturally the U.S. saw opportunity in the chaos of Soviet-controlled Germany to gain influence tied through aid in the form of the Marshall Plan. I find it interesting that at such an early point in the development of the “new” Europe the U.S. began to effectively shield a war-torn Europe from the spread of communism and the loss of American influence that would follow.
    The general European movement from some of the radical policies of the U.S.S.R. only further cements the emerging notion of a European identity. Instead of othering European states as had been standard under the propaganda of nationalism many Europeans began to other communist tendencies. While some fears within Europe remained in programs such as the Monnet Plan surely most states became far more inclusive following the displacement of an extraordinary amount of people. The birth of the Iron Curtain provided a much clearer “scapegoat” to fear, allowing people throughout Europe a clear picture of a “them” and an “us”.

    • Excellent discussion, your focus on the way in which the trauma of the war created the need to rebuild without the previous generations’ use of nationalism and exclusion is particularly insightful.

  18. Dr. Davidson
    EUST 4003
    In response to the death chart, although I have seen the numbers in many classes but the reality of the magnitude of the loss of life is unimaginable. The axis powers were more capable of inhumane destruction because they responded to the will of few as opposed to many of the allied forces. But in view of that we see that China and the Soviet Union which were under autocratic leadership were more willing to suffer greater civilian and military losses because they saw population as dispensible, whereas countries like France surrender almost immediately after Germany invaded unlike Russia who battled at Stalingrad until Russia was able to push Germany back into Berlin.
    After Berlin was separated under allied rule, Russia attempted to starve out the city by blocking roads and rails, but through immense cooperation the allied forces were able to supply the entire city with the needed rations to not only east but also provided heating elements so that they didn’t freeze through the winter. What began with 5,000 tons of supplies per day turned into 8,000 tons a day. There were planes landing or taking off in Berlin every 30 seconds. The blockade ended in May but the airlift continued until September just incase the blockade was reinstated. The blockade made the Soviets look cruel and fueled the cold war, thus adding to the need for NATO to form. The Soviets believe that if they were able to starve the west out of Berlin they would be able to inhibit the unification of West Germany, they also didn’t want a capitalist city in the middle of the Soviet Bloc.
    Top left picture – The amount of people that were displace by the war and by the war ending likely created many scenes like this when people made their journeys back to their former homes. However daunting the trip may have seemed the overall relief can be seen on their faces as they know that the war is over.
    Bottom right – During the war Germany citizens moved all over Europe, because of the concept of Lebensraum. Germans relocated all over Europe in order to provide for the agricultural needs of Germany and to spread German Nationalism into their new territory, however when the war ended and those people were forced out of their new homes back into West Germany because the soviets did not want them in East Germany. The conditions under which many of these citizens moved out of their homes was monstrous from entire trains being slaughtered to villages killing the German villagers before they were even able to leave.
    Destruction and Rubble – World War 2 was the first war in which the bombing of civilian centers became the battle plan, although the blitzkrieg may have started as an accidental bomb dropping on London in an effort to bomb northern England Air Bases, it became a full out plan to demoralize the population of England to try to force England into surrender. But had Germany continued to bomb air force bases it would have made continued to severely cripple the British Royal Airforce but instead the Airforce was able to recover and they began bombing German cities.
    Blake Woodson

  19. Lance Cummings
    EUST Blog Assignment #1
    The pictures depicted in the blog show the aftermath of World War II and the immediate problems Europeans were faced with following the war. The first picture shows the migration of Europeans. Germany had spread its territory throughout most of Europe, and following the war, many of them were forced to relocate back to their homeland. WWII brought the displacement of many different ethnicities and nationalities in Europe. Mass migration of peoples was a very common event during this era. The second picture shows the staggering amount of lives lost throughout the war. Though the Allied powers won the war, they suffered enormous amounts of military and civilian casualties. This directly relates to the reparations imposed on Germany following their surrender to the Allied powers. Looking at the representation of lives lost, one would think that the Axis powers dominated the war. For a large portion they did. The amount of civilian casualties would lead to an overwhelming dissent amongst the world population towards future German militarization and government. The third picture depicts the struggle of efficiently handling Berlin during the spread of communism and the Cold War. Berlin, the capital of Germany, was deeply buried in Soviet territory and behind the Iron Curtain. With the threat of nuclear war, and the clashing of ideologies, it was incredibly difficult to provide aid to people living within the Allied powers territory of Berlin. The next two pictures can be combined to show the devastating damage that World War II had not only to infrastructure within Europe, but also the living and economic standard of European society. The children depicted are covered in dirt and filthy clothes, and they are surrounded by rubble that used to be buildings. Rationing throughout Europe following the war saw the starvation of millions of people, primarily in Germany. Because of the reparations imposed by the Soviet Union, Germany experienced horrible food shortages. People would spend nearly all of their money on a single loaf of bread. The final photo depicts how far Germans reached in their efforts during WWII. German expansionism created an ideology that caused Germans to live in far regions that were not native to their nationality. Creating a great German population in other countries also left strong ties to future German initiatives. However, with the amount of damage imposed by the German military throughout WWII, the popular dissent of Germans from other Europeans left these German societies in great harm. Lebensraum and Irredentism called for German expansionism Even though they went far beyond actually needed living space, and infiltrated borders of nations that had no ties to Germany once so ever. The pictures depicted directly relate to class and Europe would develop over the next half century. The redevelopment of Germany would become a major focus of European affairs and how to keep the devastations of World War II from ever occurring again. World War II could be seen as the key element behind the creation of the European Union. War has cursed the European continent throughout all of history, and most of the nations that make up Europe have had enough of it. World War II was what it took for these nations to band together and develop a super nation to directly link all of them together making war within Europe virtually impossible.

  20. Reblogged this on Neverending Wanderlust and commented:
    These images reveal the devastating effects that World War II had on the European continent. A few of the images reveal the massive physical destruction that occurred due to bombings and other military offensives, while others reveal the effects of the war on European populations.

    The middle right and bottom left images are the hardest to look at, since they reveal the effects of the war on Europe’s children. Many people often fail to consider the effects of war on children, and only think about the adults. The bottom left image shows children from London sitting in rubble that used to be their home until the Nazis bombed it during the Blitz. During World War II, the British implemented a major evacuation of children away from major cities (especially London) and other targets into the countryside to keep them safe from Axis bombs. The middle rights image shows a young boy among the rubble in the aftermath of the bombing of Warsaw in 1939. Unfortunately, this image foreshadows the massive effects that the war will have on the entire continent.

    The rest of the images all deal with the aftermath of World War II. The top left and bottom right images both depict the expulsion of Germans from areas that had been a part of the Third Reich, but were taken away from Germany at the end of the war. Germans remaining in these territories, like the Sudetenland, were forced to leave and return to Germany after the conclusion of the war. As the map shows, Germans had spread across much of Eastern Europe in the early 20th century and therefore had a long journey ahead of them at the conclusion of World War II. It would be interesting to see a follow up to this map showing the distribution of Germans across Eastern Europe today to see how many of these German communities (if any) remain today.

    The chart in the upper right shows the extreme effects of World War II on European populations. European countries tended to have higher percentages of their populations die in the war than other countries. Allied countries also accounted for 83% of deaths during the war, compared to the 17% for Axis countries. The Soviet Union had the largest number of deaths overall, but Lithuania lost the largest percentage of its population in the war. Had the Allies not had the Soviet Union available to willingly absorb so many deaths, it would have been much more difficult for them to win the war.

    The map on the middle left shows the routes taken by western planes during the Berlin Airlift. After the Soviets cut off ground access to West Berlin in an attempt to starve it and eventually take it over, the British, French, and Americans began bringing supplies into West Berlin by air. The western countries were eventually successful and the Soviet Union unblocked ground routes into West Berlin. The Berlin Airlift served as a foreshadowing of the Cold War, which would dominate the continent and the world for the rest of the century.

  21. Brit Jacobson
    Professor Davidson
    EUST 470v

    As we have learned from the class lectures, the end of World War Two marks the beginning of the European Union. The six pictures in question paint a vivid picture of the conclusion of the Second World War. I feel that the pictures above can be broken into two basic groups: the charts and graphs, that reflect the statistics and outcome of the war, and the black and white photos, that show it.
    As the charts and graphs display, the war’s end was a little bit rocky. Forty-two million Europeans died during the war and the vast majority was civilian. Of these deaths, the USSR lost the most as is shown in the graph making up the second picture. As discussed, an argument can be made that the war would not have had the same outcome without the Soviet Union’s involvement. As another result of the war, Germans had settled in many new locations in Eastern Europe. The map of the last picture gives a good idea as to the settlement locations of Germans. When the war finally ended, and borders were once again moved, mass migration ensued. This mass migration caused even more deaths to occur. An additional effect of the war was a shift in the state borders. Germany for instance, was broken into four different zones with a section going to the Soviet Union, Britain, France, and America. The latter three sections later merged together as one, and the Soviet zone became known as East Germany. Before this occurred however, an event known as the Berlin Airlift transpired. This event is demonstrated in the third picture. The necessity of the Berlin Airlift was caused by a multitude of things such as food shortages, fuel shortages, revengeful actions by the Soviets in the east, and finally one of the most severe winters on record in Europe. The shortages were due to an underestimation of the German population, which had increased due to the mass migration.
    When considering the black and white photos, I was struck with how powerful each one was. Despite the information given in the charts and graphs as well as the accounts given in class, numbers do not often reflect the reality of an incident such as a war. Numbers give the statistical account, but often overlook the implications of what the statistics actually mean for humanity. This is especially true when considering the two pictures of the children. In both pictures, children are seen sitting in rubble, possibly crying. It is easy to infer that they lost their homes to the war, and since there are no adults in the pictures, possibly their families as well. I am unsure as to where exactly these pictures were taken, however I would not be surprised if they were results of the Blitz bombing. As discussed in class, The Blitz was a series of bombings that targeted civilian areas such as London. Many buildings and lives were lost due to The Blitz. In the other black and white photo, a glimpse of the mass migration that was considered above can be seen. In an ordered line, which stretches beyond the camera’s view on either side, people walk. These people seem happy and many of them are smiling for the camera, which led me to the conclusion that this is not necessarily a forced walk. They are however, wearing some sort of tag, and it appears that while they don’t have much, are carrying all of their possessions. To me, this powerful image reflects the perseverance of the people of Europe.

  22. Jessica Cadle
    Dr. Davidson
    EUST 4003
    European Studies Colloquium

    All of the images convey the aftermath of World War II, both statistically and emotionally. Times really started change as borders were shifted, power positions changed, as well as nations starting to experience loss for the first time in numbers like never seen before. With numbers such as high as twenty three percent of population loss due to war (both civilian and military deaths), there wasn’t a citizen that survived that was left unaffected by the travesties of World War II. Post war casualties reached a total of forty two million for every nation involved. Other after World War II repercussions was the reparation that were owed. As stated in class, Germany owed to the USSR, United Kingdom, France and United states in payments of coal, industrial capacity, assets and forced labor. Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Finland and Italy owed to USSR, Greece and Yugoslavia payments of coal, oil, and forced labor.
    Specifically the map on the left in the middle shows the routes of planes taken during the Berlin airlift to replenish the people the Soviets had tried to starve off. This Berlin Blockade lasted almost a year, from June of 1948 to May 1949. The USSR blocked rail and road routes into West Berlin in efforts to control western sectors. Since ground access was very restricted, The French, British and U.S. brought supplies by air. The allies organized airlifts that brought up to 5,000 tons per day of food and fuel. This strategy eventually made the West look better and better as the Soviets looked worse and the Berlin Wall came to an end in 1989.
    Emotional connects can be made of the black and white children sitting in what’s left of what could have been their homes. Even though there were evacuation plans in play to keep civilians, especially children, out of harms way from bombs, it couldn’t protect them from the aftermath that they would return to in which their homes and towns were absolutely destroyed from war efforts. The black and white photo at the top left is also an emotional depiction of after the war. After the treaty of Versailles and World War I, Germans dispersed a lot. Other conditions of the Treaty of Versailles were demilitarization, territorial losses, reparations, and the guilt clause to which they had to take on all guilt of the war. Germans had spread across much of Eastern Europe at the end of World War II as well leaving whatever little was left.

    • Some good points about the repercussions of the war, but you have some timeline issues (Berlin Airlift and Berlin Wall are not really related) and you’re mixing up the aftermath of WWI and WWII at the end of your commentary.

  23. The pictures show the consequences of WW II in Europe.
    Germany’s goal in WW II was to unify all the German speaking areas in Europe. Based on the idea of Lebensraum by Ratzl they created the Kleindeutschelösung. The Theory of Lebensraum says that a country is like an organism, it has to expand or it will shrink and disappear. Germany already had territorial losses after WW II, so according to the theory of Lebensraum Germany has to expand again otherwise it will “die”. The plan didn´t work out and the Germans lost the war and had further territorial losses. As the map in the right corner shows were German population after the war spread through Europe.
    WW II brought massive changes in population, in total 42 million people died. Although, the Soviet Union had most of the losses. They were willing to sacrifice the most people to defeat the Axis Alliance.
    World War II destroyed Germany and after the war it was occupied by the US, France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Berlin was divided by all of them, to divide the power. The Soviet Union tried to occupy whole Berlin to get more power. They tried to block the roads and railways to access West Berlin, that people there couldn’t be supplied with food and other necessities. In order to that France, Britain and the US supplied the people in West Berlin through the Berliner Luftbrücke. This situation continued for nearly a year.
    The goal of the Marshall Plan was the European recovery plan. The Marshall Plan had three main goals. The first goal was to help the starving German population. Because of the war and the destruction the economy was shattered. Another goal was to stop the Soviet Union and the expansion of communism. Although the US and the Soviet Union had an alliance during the war, after Germany surrendered the alliance between them broke. During the war their difference of opinion was covered by the common goals. And the third goal was to create a market for the US products. The US needed a place to sell their products and to stronger their own economy. I think it is very interesting, that Turkey and Greece were the first countries which got the Marshall plan.
    Thanks to the Marshall plan West Germany could be rebuilt fast. But the Marshall plan also strengthen the iron curtain and the division between Western Europe and Eastern Europe.

  24. It’s always so difficult to see pictures and numbers next to each other like this. Whenever I go to a Holocaust exhibit or something, the pictures followed by a description with a number really hit home. This image set really does that, it puts faces with the name “WWII.” It’s not just an acronym when you look at it like this. Its millions of dead soldiers, civilians, children… people. With names and faces. And in morbid reality, this really wasn’t that long ago.

    In class we’ve talked pretty extensively about WWII, and this probably isn’t the first time any of use have been exposed to imagery from that period in time. It takes on such a different meaning when you aren’t just dealing with the American perspective anymore, but also the European perspective. As other’s have mentioned, the Blitz took place in London. Civilians and children were killed. Parts of civilian, non-offensive cities were bomber and people died. In the masses. This was not a pleasant time to be alive, but this is what people were going through. This is what war looks like.

    I think the maps also offered some interested insight. It’s really astonishing to look at how many places the Germans actually settled. Coming from a US perspective, these are such tiny countries in areas of land, and how Germany managed to stretch its legs and take hold that far is quite amazing, and also quite terrifying, when you think about the potential a country as big as so… oh…Russia, might possess. They invaded homelands, and so many civilians were affected.

    It’s interesting to see, laid out on paper how close all of the countries are together, and how some of them bordered with the enemy. I can’t imagine living during that time period, and all of the warfare that was fought on home soil for some of these people. The children in those photos grew up around actual warfare, and it’s difficult to grasp how terrifying that must have been for them, but that was life. Living through warfare, and producing the materials at whatever costs to continue to fight and hopefully win the war.

    Another interesting fact was how many deaths were actually lost in China. I think a lot times we tend to focus on the Blitz, the Holocaust and Pearl Harbor as major bloodshed events from the US perspective, but so many Chinese died as well. Another humbling figure on that chart was how the country of Lithuania was absolutely obliterate in terms of percentages. That blue line stretches so far across the chart. Their population was absolutely devastated, and it’s no wonder just looking at where they were located on the map.

    These six images bring the content we’ve learned in class to light. Putting numbers next to pictures really has a dramatic and sobering affect. You see a number of how many people died, next to the actual people who were affected by it. People smiling carrying their bags, and children seated among the rubble of the bombed homes. It’s chilling, sobering, and truly makes you appreciate the times we live in today, but question how people who a living in modern war torn countries are braving.

  25. The images shown here all have the purpose of showing the physical toll that the second world war had on the continent and help to show the lasting impact of the war’s outcome. In the context of what we have been discussing in class this is important because out of the war comes the emergence of a more integrated Europe. In the images we can see that examples of various problems which sprung up in Europe following the war which we know from class resulted in the growth of the European Union.
    The top right image for example, gives a glimpse into the movements of people following the war as borders shifted in response to the coming of the Cold War. From class we know that following the war many people found themselves on the wrong sides of newly formed borders. This spreading of the different populations is emblematic of the times but also foreshadows the movement of people within the European Union today. Furthermore in the bottom image of the map of german immigrants shows the numbers of displaced peoples following the war and represents the this changing population map.The chart of the war casualties also presents another factor which our lectures have shown to have influenced the growth of the Union. The middle right image offers a view of the map of Europe which give us a sense of the divisions within Europe which the show an environment ripe for economic unification. During this period of a bipolar world it seems like an obvious scenario which would be beneficial to the formation of the European Economic Community and ultimately the European Union. The East vs. West mentality emerging from the war served to drive the western European countries in to a unified social and economic community. In several of the images children are shown sitting on the rubble in the aftermath of the war as they look dejected. The point of these images is to show the feeling of many of those coming out of the war and helps to set the emotional basis for which the founding of the European Community would be able to come to life. The emotional cost of the war caused many to do what they could to prevent this sort of costly war again and caused the solidification of relations between the western European. That seems to be the gerbil trend of all these images, the movement to try to prevent the horror of the Second World War and to improve the conditions of Western Europe, altering the social and economic status after the war.
    With these images there is a visual representation of the causes for the greater unification of Western Europe and later Eastern Europe. In class we have looked at the reasons why and how the European Union came into being, that is, what where the driving forces toward greater European cohesion. The overall theme of althea images is that dramatic forces brought the European Union together out of the losses of the Second World War.
    -Luke Mooberry

  26. During the first few weeks of class, we have learned about the history of Europe. The six images shown on the blog portray the effects that World War II had on the European continent. There were two images that portrayed young children sitting on the destructive left behind by World War II. Seeing images of young children makes you realize how truly devastating war can be to ones country. Both of these images shows how devastating and destructive the war was to Europe. Another picture given to us showed the effects World War II had on the European population, specifically how many deaths were in each. The Soviet Union had the most deaths followed by China and then Germany. One map, in the middle left, shows what paths the Berlin airlift took. We learned in class that the Berlin airlift supplied vital necessities to West Berlin by air with the help from the United States because the Soviet Union cut off ground access to West Berlin. Eventually, the Soviet Union had to unblock the routes. The other two images illustrate statistics of people that had to leave Germany and an image of children and adults walking on foot. People were forced to leave parts of Germany that had been a part of the Third Reich after the war ended. Germans that were forced to leave began to spread across Eastern Europe.

    Alexis Gamewell

  27. Cameron Clark

    The six images depict the reality of European life after World War II. Europe was left in economic and social turmoil. The war was the turning point in convincing the European nations of their need for collaboration to create a better Europe and return the balance of powers.
    Two of the images of the children sitting amongst the rubble demonstrate the effect of the unbelievable number of casualties from the war. The total number reaches an estimate of 42 million. The new use of air warfare contributed to the extreme amount of civilian casualties from the bombings. World War II was the beginning of the average citizen having to directly suffer from the war, not just those in the battle. The Germans bombed London in attack on the British and the British responded with bombing Berlin. The graph of death totals by countries shows how a great number of the casualties were from civilians not even in battle. The USSR lost 14% of its population to casualties from World War II. The Soviet Union lost more lives than any other state involved in the war. The Marshall Plan was created as a recovery plan to rebuild what these images show as destroyed from the war. The plan became the basis for US aid for the next 50 years following the war and the push for the United States to put a stop to communist influence in Germany and Eastern Europe.
    In addition, the picture on the middle left demonstrates the fight against communist government in Berlin. At the close of the war, Germany was divided into sections to rebuild the nation after all the turmoil and to keep an eye on it. The map shows the trail of the Berlin airlift. The plan was a successful counter to the Soviet Union’s attempt to block the roads going into the city, in an effort to put an end to the United States and other nations’ influence in Germany. As the image shows, planes came in from Hamburg, Hanover, and Frankfurt to supply the city of Berlin. Ultimately this collaboration was a demonstration that the European Nations needed to collaborate to maintain the balance of powers once again and compete against the United States in the world economy.
    The map on the bottom right demonstrates the migration of Germans after 1945. Germans spread out in sections across Eastern Europe. The map also shows which of the German territory was lost as a result of the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty gave territory back to the nation-states that Germany took it away from during the war. It indicates the German influence in Eastern European culture as a result of World War II.
    Together the images depict how World War II affected Europe as a whole. Each nation-state saw more casualties than ever before. The system of alliances caused fighting across all of Europe. The end of the war eventually led to the creation of The Six, the beginning of the European Union.

  28. The pictures within this blog are obviously related to World War 2. In class we have discussed World War 2 at length due to its historical relevance in international relations theory and history. The first picture seems to me to be of the evacuation of some sort of village during World War 2 when fighting drew close by. This could relate to our discussions about nationality and nationalism from how citizens might have fled their home countries during the world wars. It might also relate to German settlement during World War 2 or possibly Jewish exodus during the same time period. The second picture is of course a graph relating the sheer casualties of World War 2 which we have specifically touched on and how Europe as well as the Soviet Union was devastated by the war. Economically and resource wise. It also touches on east vs west policies. Or simply on eastern conflict and subsequent eastern political procedure. The third picture is especially interesting in that it shows Europe post world war 2. It shows the demarcation of east and west or communism and democracy. This is also relevant to the cold war in many ways though we have not touched on it as much in class. The berlin airlift shown in this picture is another topic we have discussed in class and what an important political move it was. This picture also gives a clear view of the central European Union members and in many ways how their influence has shifted. It could also somewhat show eventual political party affiliation across Europe, another topic in class. The fourth picture obviously can be related to the sheer destruction of Europe post world war 2. Indirectly it might refer to the extensive famine and crippling depression that later struck the world as a result in large part of world war 2. It could also refer to the many newly necessary social programs brought out because after the war to help rebuild. Not the least of which included social welfare, GI bills, social security structures, etc. Another possible topic would be the Marshall Plan and the European Recovery Program. The fifth picture seems to be no different than the fourth showing the destruction post WW2. This one might refer more to the reconstruction of Europe than the destruction. From either of these pictures we could also relate to the topics from our lectures of the building of the EU and the influences leading to such like the prevention of more world wars, among other things. The final picture shows the aftermath of the expanded german empire and the extension of the German people into other countries. This could relate directly to the EU foreign citizenship policies. Or it could relate to several other topics including borders, or the separation of communism from west Europe. You might even be able to relate it to EU treaties. This picture like the others could also refer to the economic and social problems following World War 2.
    – Camden Lynch

    • Some good points, but instead of suggesting a variety of things the pictures COULD relate to, you are allowed to give your own opinion about what the pictures actually mean.

  29. Cortney Paege
    EUST 4003

    The six pictures depict the aftermath of World War II with 3 charts showing the total “war deaths from each county, areas settled and lost by Germans after the war, and alliances with who controlled which parts of Germany. The other 3 pictures show buildings destroyed and people immigrating after the war. The war had caused over 40 million casualties, huge population movements, border changes, and economic struggles throughout Europe. World War II and the devastating aftermath that followed is what lead to the idea of the European Union or a European community. Their hope was a European community would prevent war within Europe. Their plan with an economic community was that if all the major European countries were in one giant economically controlled community that no one country could get too power to start war with another. Or that no one would be able to start an arms race and weapons build up without another country knowing.
    This all starts when France, Russia, the Soviet Union and Britain finally began to pull out of the territory they were monitoring in Germany after World War II. France did not want to give up its control of the Ruhr and Saar but the U.S. would not allow France to control these areas so they were internationalized. However, in 1951, Germany joined the ECSC through the Treaty of Paris and were again able to control the Ruhr. The ECSC, European Coal and Steel Community, was created to monitor German reconstruction after the war. This community contained the original 6 of the European Union: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg.
    This plan was also greatly supported by the U.S. because it created a way for Europe to efficiently utilize the Marshal Plan. Two of these pictures show complete destruction of cities after World War II. Hundreds of cities were completely demolished. With little money to repair all the damages mad by the war, the U.S. stepped in with the Marshal Plan. This plan was made with the intent of stopping the spread of communism but was also made to help Europe recover from the war by giving them money to buy U.S. products.
    Another purpose of a European community was to create a European nationalism rather than individual state nationalism. Too much nationalism in one country can be dangerous. This is what led to the start of World War II with Hitler’s extreme German nationalism. With Europeans having more nationalism towards Europe rather than towards their own country, this can help one country from thinking that they are superior to everything else. The European Union has its own flag, holiday, anthem, etc. to help create stronger European nationalism.
    In conclusion, what we have been mainly covering in class is what events led to the European Union. The six pictures show us the damages and aftermath of World War II. The war and its damages is what led to the creation of the idea that a European economic community could be the best way to avoid war. The beginning of the European Union started off as the ECSC, and its main goal was to monitor Germany’s reconstruction after the war in hope that they would not again be able to gain enough power to start another war as devastating as World War II.

  30. Brittney Stump
    EUST 4003
    Dr. Davidson
    European Studies Blog Post #1

    After World War I, The Treaty of Versailles claimed Germany was at fault for the war and was forced to demilitarize, give up territory, and pay reparations of £4.99 billion. The consequences of the treaty and World War I led Germany to economic hardship, humiliation, and gave the German government the title of “November Criminals” because of their surrender without ever being invaded.
    World War II changed European society in various ways. The largest disruption of European society was the population change. 42 million people died during the war and after the war, thousands were placed in forced labor throughout Europe and Russia. Also, there were border changes amongst countries, like Poland. Germany was divided into four occupation zones-Britain, France, Soviet Union, and United States.
    Europe suffered from post-war economic and social problems. There were food shortages because of the increased migration of the expulsions from the East. Rationing began in 1940 and ended in 1954. Fuel shortages arose along with soviet atrocities in the east. The Soviets decided to take revenge against the Germans because of the treatment Germany had given to their prisoners of war during World War II.
    The European Recovery Program came into effect July 1947 (also known as the Marshall Plan). The plan was designed to stop communism and was a basis for United States “tied-aid.” The “tied-aid” meant that countries receiving aid via the Marshall Plan were requires to purchase United States products. The Marshall Plan gave the United States political leverage over its borrowers. In all, the United States provided $13 billion in aid and Turkey and Greece were the first countries to receive support.
    In June 1948, the Soviet Union blocked rail and road routes into West Berlin to control western sectors. The Soviet Union wanted to control all of Berlin because it would give the Soviet Union Germany, which in turn gave access to Western Europe. The Allies organized an airlift which brought 5,000 tons of food and fuel a day to Western Berlin. The Soviets could not stop the Allies’ actions because it would be an act of war and they could not afford another conflict.
    From 1947 to 1952, the Monnet Plan was implemented to reconstruct France and Western Europe after World War II. The Monnet Plan anticipated American funding and from 1948 was financed by capital made available to France under the Marshall Plan. The Monnet Plan set goals for six economic sectors: coal, iron, steel, electricity, cement, agricultural machinery, and transport. Part of the Monnet Plan was to limit German industrial capacity by putting the Ruhr and Saar under French control. In 1946, France took control of the Saar but returned it to Germany in 1957, though the area was still economically linked to France until 1981. The United States did not allow France to take control of the entire Ruhr because it needed to be internationalized. To deal with the need to international, the European Steel and Coal Community was born in 1951.

  31. Mike:
    The photos are very powerful because they show images of the aftermath of WW II in Europe. It is obvious that Europe was reduced to rubble in most places, and the rebuilding of the war torn areas must have been an enormous and comprehensive undertaking. After Germany surrendered, it was divided into four zones; American, British, French and Soviet. Berlin was also divided into four regions. This division must have been very difficult for the people of Germany; separating families and friends for a long period of time that nobody ever anticipated. Not only was Germany reduced to rubble from the bombing, but it was financially bankrupt which was obviously very difficult for the people of Germany. Hyperinflation also occurred and prices rose dramatically after WW II. Food and essential items were in short supply and this is what made the Berlin Airlift necessary. The opposing economic structures of communism and capitalism both were powerful at the end of WW II and this eventually leads us into the Cold War. The Berlin Airlift was able to bring much needed supplies to West Germany when the Soviets tried to block supplies from getting in. It also helped people of the world to see the West more positive since they were coming to the aid of people who were starving and in desperate need to supplies.

    The Marshall Plan was an effort to begin economic reconstruction of Europe. It offered financial support and to combat communism. It also helped to establish positive and firm relationships with all European Allied countries. It helped to put the countries of Europe back on their feet and helped starving homeless people. The Marshall Plan helped to lay the foundation for NATO and eventually the European Union. The Marshall Plan also helped to contain the spread of communism in Europe.

    Even though the Allies won the war, it is really shocking that most of the casualties came from the Allies and not the Axis. The Soviets definitely had the most casualties. Another of the images shows the German relocation after the war. Germany had to pay war reparations and lost a lot of key land when they surrendered. The people there had to move to other areas and rebuild their lives. Many Germans died being forcibly moved from their homes due to Allied countries taking over the land. I think this really shows how hard it must have been for people to leave their homes and lives behind just because a new border line was drawn. It also makes us wonder if these people questioned who they were and what country they even belonged to. Many were embarrassed to be known as “German” and also had to prove they were not affiliated at all with the Nazi party in order to keep good standing in society.

    These images clearly show the devastation of Europe after WWII in terms of destruction of property, identities, and the emotional distress of having to rebuild lives after so much loss.
    Mike Overdorf

  32. As shown in the middle right and bottom left picture, Europe was in shambles at the end of World War II. The Europeans needed to work together with the US to get themselves out of this mess. The Allies took control of the situation and demanded reparations from Germany in the form of coal, industrial capacities, assets and forced labor. Of course, this did hurt Germany, but it helped everybody else out. Also, The US did allow their forced labor to work in Germany helping to make reparations.
    The top right picture is a grim reminder of just how high the death toll climbed. A total of about 42 million people lost their lives because of the war. Poland lost the highest percentage largely due to the Holocaust, although, Russia lost the most. Russia was willing and did take on the brunt of the deaths. If they had not, the allies may not have won. There was a huge population change. Many countries lost large percentages of their people. The 2 million prisoners of war that were returned to Russia were executed for being traitors.
    Along with the population change came the reconfiguration of German borders. The Germans had gained a lot of land during the war, and now they had to give it all back. Land was returned to Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, etc. The Germans living there were promptly expelled from their homes and land and were forced to flee. The top left picture demonstrates this mass exodus.
    The Germans were not looked upon well then, and now, I think that there is a correlation with that. During World War II, Adolf Hitler saw the Germans as a superior race to any other. He of course saw German as also superior to any other. He wanted to take the lands that belonged to the peoples who spoke the “mother tongue”. (This is shown in the bottom right picture). Now in the European Union, specifically in the European Parliament, There are around 24 languages being used at these meetings. Quite a bit of money is being used to pay all of the translators slaving away so that everyone can understand everything being said. Most, if not all, members of the Parliament can speak either English, German or French. The reason they spend so much money on all of these translators is not because they actually need them, but because they are afraid that if they use only those languages, that they will become superior to their own mother languages. I think that this fear may partly be tied to the fact that Hitler attempted to make German the superior language.
    Another result of WWII is that Germany was divided four ways between Russia, USA, France and UK. Berlin which was in Russian territory was also split between the four countries. Now, Russia was not too happy about this and blocked all of the railroads to keep the American, French and American parts of the city without food for the winter in 1948 (pictured middle left). The US, UK and France all worked together and formed the Berlin Airlift which allowed them to fly food and supplies into the city which helped them to survive through the winter. Russia (now the Soviet Union) eventually had to give up.
    – Brooke Shimer

  33. Lauren Kamp
    The six images in the post capture the state of Europe after World War Two, particularly foreshadowing the reshaping of Europe that would occur after. They show how shaken Europe was after the war; there were great changes in population, both because of death and of migration; changes in borders, political regimes; and destruction, destruction of government, cities, industry, families, and of life. It is because of the large toll the war took on so much of Europe that the decades that followed saw the changes that it did. Europe becoming the connected community that it is today is a direct result of several countries recognizing the problems that led to the war and working together to prevent another war on such a scale from happening again. These countries first worked to booster each other’s economies and making it easier to trade amongst each other, which first helped to rebuild their economies and second by tying each other together economically meant declaring war in the future to be more difficult. As this union grew and more countries began to join, they expanded their focus and expectations in to other areas, one such area being humanitarian rights. The gross mistreatment, sheer cruelty and evil that occurred during the war was not to happen again; even on the smaller scale such as torture in prison. These European countries saw their continent after a terrible war and did not like what they saw, and so they took steps to grow and rebuild, becoming a much stronger and integrated community than ever before.
    As discussed in lectures, and shown in the second picture on the left, Germany was divided in the East and West after the War. The East, under soviet control, was part of the Communist Bloc. Europe essentially was split between democratic in the west and non-democratic in the east. The bar graph of the deaths from the war really shows the disparity between the sheer numbers the Soviet Union lost to those of the rest of Europe. In both World Wars Russia was able to provide large numbers of soldiers due to its great population, and in both wars they suffered large losses. However the Battle of Stalingrad in World War Two was a significant battle for the Allies, and if it wasn’t for the Russians, the outcome might have been different. Seeing the bar graph portraying the losses of the war, and how large Russia’s loss was is a reminder of how much Russia contributed to the war effort. Both the photo in the top left and the one if the bottom right portray the immigration that occurred after the war. As discussed in class there was a mass migration of new Poland, eventually all the Germans left new Poland. The image in the top right shows the death toll of the war and resulting change in population as discussed in class. The vast majority of deaths were civilians and this devastating loss played its part in Europe wanting to avoid going to war ever again. This desire to prevent war facilitated the emergence of what became the European Union as it was necessary to establish greater ties amongst the members of the European community. It would have been interesting to see in the collection of images one depicting the economy after the war. Perhaps a graph showing inflation growth across the board of European countries, or the millions each country spent on the war, or an image of people in line for rations. Given how the state of the economy was after the war its representation in the blog post of images could have contributed more. Especially how this state after the war was the basis for several economic plans and treaties (The Marshall Plan, Monnet Plan, ECSC), eventually leading to the European Community, and as of now, almost all European Countries belong to or are trying to join the European Union.

  34. The various images depict the aftermath and consequences that befell the different nations in Europe because of World War II. Most importantly, the images bring into light the fact that ALL nations were affected in different ways because of the war and that the people were the ones that suffered the most. Postwar problems were faced by all especially because of the high casualty numbers and the fact that the area of battles stretched throughout different countries. Such destruction is apparent in the image where a small boy is surrounded by rubble and the remains of what seem to be a structure. People of all ages were affected by the fighting and many were forced to migrate to different territories. Germans in particular were affected by the redistribution of German territory and the different border changes that occurred following Germany’s defeat. The map on the bottom explains the extent of the movement of Germans that took place as a cause of the changes of the German borders. The first image presents a large group of people who appear to be relocating homes because they are all carrying their belongings and headed towards the same direction. Because of the relative proximity between the different nations on the European continent, the movement of people became a simple feat, although restrictions still existed among the different nations in regards to their borders. These significant movements would eventually hint at the need to integrate the countries because people from differing nations would settle in different territories throughout the years. Today, large populations of Turks can be found in Germany for example and the distribution of large numbers of groups calls for the need to integrate languages and ideas of different backgrounds. The image also expresses the idea of solidarity, which is a concept that is also perceived in the image of the three children. Despite the problems that the war may have brought onto these individuals, they still stand together in solidarity and express a form of hope for the future following the end of the war. Post World War II in Europe was a time when the countries aimed to rebuild themselves and to create and establish measures that would ensure that such catastrophe would not occur again. Initiatives were taken with the Monnet Plan and the Marshall Plan to aid such restructuring efforts and the one that really brought various nations together in an attempt to work together to ensure that some form of transparency existed among them was the European Coal and Steel Community. The Schuman Declaration, proposed in 1950, was presented with the intention to oversee the reconstruction of Germany and ultimately was responsible for the creation of the ECSC as well as the European Economic Community (EEC), which brought about economic integration. A system of integrated nations was thus formed and the superstate that came into creation with the EU and other institutions is exemplary of the fact that the nations needed to come together in some way and work together. The other map presents us with the fact that nations already coexisted in some way because of the differences between the Soviet bloc and those that followed Western ideologies. This would be another postwar threat that would eventually have to be addressed because of the clashing ideas of communism and the West. Following the fall of the Soviet Bloc, the nations that were once under Soviet rule were forced to find some form of stability and sought to integrate themselves with the countries that had come together under the EU because of perceived advantages. The countries of Europe suffered extensively as a cause of the Second World War and the aftermath of the war called for the reevaluation of a system that would potentially benefit them all in the future and create a peaceful community of nations.

  35. Robert Dalby

    These images are a stirring reminder of just how deadly and destructive World War II really was. Looking over these photos, maps, and the chart, Europe clearly suffered from vast population changes, complications from migrations, and the mass destruction of property. It is apparent that the European continent had truly just endured the most catastrophic war in human history.

    The death chart is particularly intriguing because it puts the numbers of casualties we discussed into perspective. As we learned, the Soviet Union was far more willing to sustain huge military and civilian casualties that the other allied nations could not stomach, and this chart remarkably illustrates just how much of their population was wiped out. The Soviet Union’s losses were colossal in comparison with the other Allied powers involved in the European Theatre, and the only other combatant in Europe that comes close to touching their numbers was the leader of the Axis forces, Germany. It is obvious that Hitler’s Third Reich was also quite willing to throw as many bodies as they could muster at the war effort, giving credence the sad reality that these brutal regimes were prepared to do all that they could to win the war at almost any cost.

    The map of how Europe, Germany, and Berlin itself was divided after the war is particularly helpful in understanding just how deep the divide was between the Soviet aligned countries and the West. The way Berlin was surrounded by Soviet controlled East Germany highlights just how strained and difficult the situation had to be in the years following the war. It is clear that the USSR would have been able to easily and completely cut off the Western controlled sectors of Berlin as they attempted to do with the Berlin Blockade, and if it were not for the guaranteed air corridors that allowed for the Berlin Airlift, the city would have been lost to the Western bloc.

    As we learned in class, there were large population movements throughout and after the war, and the map of where Germans had settled shows just how spread out they were. After the war, all of the areas in Eastern Europe where Germans had migrated came under Soviet control, and it is evident that the mass murder and expulsion of Germans by the Soviets after the war was an enormous task to undertake.

    Finally, the three photos serve as a substantial visual depiction of the challenges Europe had to face in the wake of the great crusade. The photo of the people on the road is a familiar image if you have ever watched a WWII movie with scenes depicting post-war conditions, and it reinforces the hardships of population displacement caused by the war. The two images of the children among the rubble provide a stark insight into just how ruinous the war turned out to be. Not only had tens of millions of people lost their lives, many more lost their homes, businesses, towns, and cities to bombs and battles. These pictures remind us that when the dust settled, much of Europe literally had to be re-built.

  36. Tori Scott

    The image that I was drawn to first was the bottom left of the three children. This makes me feel horrible for these children who are so young and innocent and have most likely had their homes destroyed by the war. Also a lot of their parents or at least fathers have died in this war somehow. And even though they are so young this is an experience that will be with them for the rest of their lives. This is also shown in the middle right. At the end of World War Two Europe as a whole has to rebuild a lot of their homes. The Allies had to work together to help repair themselves and Germany. The United States had to come in and help rebuild, but this gave them jobs. But these images will assure them that this is something they never want to experience again or for their children to experience. I think that this helped them all come together as a whole to form the European Union. The formation of the European Union took a long time to come together fully. A lot of people thought that it may not even happen because this is a very large task to unionize this many different countries. Also there are twenty-four languages that are spoke in the European Union, they have to use translators to just be able to speak. But they don’t want to pick just a certain language or languages because along with language comes culture. Hitler thought that Germany spoke the “Mother Tongue” and that they were better and deserved all the land that they wanted. I think that the European Union doesn’t want to be seen that way and still remembers the affects that picking a “superior” language can have.
    The image in the top right shows how high the death toll was for World War Two. There were 42 million deaths. This is an insane number. Poland had the highest percentage wise, this is because of the Holocaust. But Russia lost the most. This was because they were willing and able to make this sacrifice. Russia had more than one in ten die. Without Russia sacrificing like they did the Allies wouldn’t have been able to win this war, or at least not as quickly. Also Russia had about two million prisoners or war return to Russia that were killed for being traitors, this adding to the already massive amount of deaths.
    The reconfiguration of German borders caused a little of a population change. They were required to give back a lot of the land that they had taken and you can see in the middle left picture. The top left picture I think shows the a lot of the Germans getting kicked out of their houses after Germany had to give back that land. Even though I understand why it was done it still makes me feel bad for them because it seems like most of them are families and there are a lot of younger kids that now have no where to live. In class we talked about this mass migration that they had to do. A lot of them had to flee hoping to escape persecution.

  37. Mallory Smith
    The images for this blog assignment bring a lot of emotions to mind when I see them. As an American, we have never had a war fought on our soil and it is hard for us to even imagine. I remember the first time I learned about World War I and World War II in school and my mouth dropped in disbelief at the turmoil endured. I saw a similar picture as the one here, of a boy my age playing in the rubble. I remember thinking that I’ve never even seen a building destroyed like that – nor any real kind of destruction at that young of an age. I remember specifically that this boy I saw was playing and running through this debris from a bomb hitting a church in his small town somewhere in Germany. He looked as happy as he ran with his arms out like a bird. Yet, the image was grey and somber and you could see some other people in the background looking at him displeased by his enjoyment or lack of respect. Our teacher turned the picture into almost the actual environment post-WWII. A sense of relief experienced yet among the destruction it seems uncomfortable and the boy is unable to really be truly free yet, an unknown for further events to become. I was able to relate to that image and thought more than anything about this era. Everything becomes more emotional when one tries to relate it back to their own life. These pictures bring back those same emotions I experienced when I first studied this. I think it is important to note that what happened after World War II was not just this great boom from the Marshall Plan or some economic triumph from capitalism (as perhaps overstated in American schooling as well). Another important figure from this would be the one titled, “Home Away From Home”, showing all the movement from the east to the west. Along with the destruction was confusion and confusion on where one could live safely or where one could make a living again. The continent of Europe experienced mass “chaos” be that from entire political systems deteriorating to the physical breakdown of major capitals and notorious cities. To say that Europe was a “mess” would be an understatement and I don’t think that is something that is taught or explained well in the American school systems. This chaos experienced after World War II provoked a massive change in the way that Europe was going to conduct themselves for the time following. This chaos provoked a change that only can arise from the destruction endured from the two world wars and the aftermath that these images can’t even begin to describe. Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” It is the courage that rose from these post-war ashes that have fueled a new generation in Europe and a united European nations under the European Union.

  38. The story of Germany is a sad, short, and times a horrendous and utterly unbelievable affair. After the great Franco-Prussian war of 1870 the Germanic region of Europe United to become the new nation of Germany. A young nation, Germany would rise to become an industrial powerhouse, as well as having one of the most modern and well trained land armies of the day. Germany was powerful, but Emperor Wilhelm the second wanted to give Germany its day in the sun. This ambition would lead Germany down a dark and turbulent path that in 1945 would culminate into a world having survived two back to back global wars. At the end of the first World War, Germany was left broken and hated by the rest of the world. The country lost a good amount of territory it had acquired and had reparations to pay that put Germany deep into debt. The humiliation and guilt destroyed the inside of Germany. When the depression hit the world, Germany alone had to deal with unbelievable un-employment rates. Then came a man, by the name of Adolf Hitler, who claimed he could bring glory back to Germany, he promised jobs, wealth, and security. At first, he was a brilliant leader who helped solved Germany’s problems but he proved to be maleficent, defiant, and power hungry. Thus, beginning the second World War. In the image “Home Away from Home” we see that Germans had populated various parts of Eastern Europe. The western rim of Czechoslovakia shows a dense population of Germans and areas surrounding cities like Budapest, Friedenstal, now present day Mirnopolje, and Kronstadt, now named Brasov, had a noticeable German influence. Hitler wanted to reclaim all land he thought should rightfully belong to the Germans. Germans had a high sense of ethnic pride and wanted Germany to encompass all areas populated by them. Hitler wanted there to be room for the “ethnically pure” to grow. During the war he took most of Western and Eastern Europe but fell short in the Soviet Union and was stopped at the
    English Channel. Hitler’s and Germany’s downfall was upon them. At the end of this war more than 60 million people had lost their lives. In the images provided we see a chart of the death toll with countries like Russia and China leading in most people lost. However, the ones that shocked me the most were countries like Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania. Although their death tolls are fairly low, we see indicated by the blue line that their population as a whole took a tremendous blow. My opinion as to why this was is because these countries stood between Germany and the Soviet Union and were often the battle grounds between the two forces. The charts even indicate that most deaths were in fact civilian in these countries. A couple of images show kids sitting in rubble due to bombings, this was one of the first wars where civilians were directly targeted. With the close of World War 2 the Iron Curtain fell dividing Germany between the Western allies and the Soviet Communists. Not only did it divide Germany and Berlin, but also left Europe divided as well. Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Romania were now part of the USSR. Austria, a country of neutrality, found itself torn by the Iron Curtain as well.

  39. After World War I, the European superpowers learned the hard way that a treaty of demands was not going to suffice when it comes to European peace. The Treaty of Versailles demanded Germany to hand over much of their territory, their money, and their dignity. As an effect, Germany suffered economic hardship, immense humiliation, and harnessed the need for revenge. When Adolf Hitler finally began to fulfill that revenge, no one would have guessed what new devastation would come to Europe. These images show the varying effects that relay this devastation to the people and the lands after World War II.
    The first image is assumed to be those that were forced to migrate as an effect of the reconfiguration of Germany’s borders after the war. The varying faces of the people are very telling of the ranging optimism, and lack thereof in the obligatory migration. The move itself was no doubt difficult, but it represents a change of life completely in that these people were leaving behind their families, their homes, and their cultures for the dangers of their unknown destinations. With the changing of Germany’s borders, German people went to bed in Germany, and woke up in places like Poland. The bottom right image shows all of the many different places that German populations either found themselves in due to border changes or were forced to migrate to during the aftermath of the war. Many of the places where they settled harnessed inevitable residual hatred for German people post-war. In turn, many Germans were murdered either en route or at their destinations as a result of this hatred.
    A total of 46 million people lost their lives during the Second World War, and the second image (top right) provides a graph of the distribution of those deaths by country in terms of military, civilian, and percentage of deaths. As with any graph, this gives us numbers, but does not clearly put into perspective truly what all of this death really means. In many ways, our generation, unfortunately so unattached to the World War II era, may never understand. We can look at images like the middle right and bottom left, and feel sadness for these small children surrounded by rubble, but we can’t fully know what it means. We won’t understand what it meant to have to undergo food rationing, and loss of life so grand that it’s unfathomable. While this makes our view perhaps blindly positive, it gives us the ignorance that western peace is a given.
    After World War II, Europe knew it needed more than a Treaty of Versailles to keep itself from another travesty. The European Coal and Steel Community began as a way to prevent further European Wars after the Second World War. Europe had seen the tearing up of physical infrastructure, the tearing up of families due to casualties and migration, and the tearing up of cultures. These images depict each type of destruction mentioned, and serve as a continual reminder for the need of what became the European Union.

    • Very nice, good discussion of the way WWII was an inevitable consequence of the end of WWI and how difficult it is to achieve perspective on these events from our perspective sixty years later.

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