The death toll of the war was unprecedented, and most of the dead were civilians. Millions more were left homeless and displaced, especially in central and eastern Europe. As a whole, Europe was in shambles, with whole cities destroyed, and even the victorious Allied nations were economically crippled. In addition, much to the world's growing horror, the true costs of Nazi rule were revealed in the closing months of the war and in the months to follow, as the details of what became known as the Holocaust were discovered. Simultaneously, the world was forced to grapple with the fact that human beings now had the ability to extinguish all life on earth through atomic weapons. These two traumas - the Holocaust and The Bomb - forced "Western Civilization" as a whole to rethink its own identity in the aftermath.
Image Citations (Wikimedia Commons):
Chamberlain and Hitler - Creative Commons License
Maginot Line - Creative Commons License
Pearl Harbor - Public Domain
Eastern Front Map - Gdr
Mushroom Cloud - Public Domain