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Humanities LibreTexts

14: Postwar Society

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  • Once the Cold War began in 1947, Europe was just one of the stages on which it was played out around the world. Cold War divisions were perhaps stronger in Europe than anywhere else, however, because the European subcontinent was geographically divided along the lines of the Cold War: in the west the prevailing political and economic pattern was of democracy and a regulated market capitalism, while in the east it was of Soviet-dominated communist rule and command economies. The contrast was all the more striking in that both sides of the Cold War divide began in similar circumstances - devastated by World War II - yet within a decade the west was in the midst of an unprecedented economic boom while the east descended into relative economic stagnation.

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