Wikijunior:World War II/Aftermath of the war

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Germans leaving what is now Czechoslovakia after the war

The war left millions dead, millions more homeless and much of Europe destroyed. Even though Britain had not suffered invasion, bombings left much of Britain destroyed too. The United States gave Europe 13 billion dollars to help aid reconstruction. Britain, France and the Soviet Union wanted Germany to pay for the damage caused by the war. Germany was forced to give up factory machines, coal, land and to provide workers. The United States also took many German scientists, some of whom had worked on the V1 and V2 rockets.

France, Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union occupied and took control of Germany. Some parts of Germany were given away to other countries. Millions of Germans who lived in these places were ordered to leave. Up to two million more Germans died during this time. Some died from starvation, others from wounds, but many were killed by local people taking revenge as they marched by.

In 1949 the three parts controlled by the Western Allies were joined together and became the Federal Republic of Germany, which was often known as West Germany. The Soviet Union renamed their part the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany. East and West Germany would become one again in 1990 as modern day Germany.


The Japanese surrender to the United States on the battleship USS Missouri

Japan surrendered before the allies invaded, but after the surrender the United States sent soldiers to take control of the country. Over the next seven years a new system of government was set up, the Japanese weapons factories were destroyed and the Japanese army shut down. In 1952, the allies left. Even today Japanese law does not allow their soldiers to fight outside of Japan - the army is for their own protection only.



Korea was split between the United States and the Soviet Union. Just five years later, the Korean War began when the Soviet controlled North Korea invaded South Korea with China's help. Even today the two parts of Korea remain apart.



Before the war, parts of China had been controlled by other countries for nearly 100 years. After the war, China was free. But soon two different groups in China began to fight in the Chinese Revolution. This ended in 1949 when the original rulers left for Taiwan. Even today China believes Taiwan is part of China, but the Taiwanese believe they are not and run it as a separate country.

The Soviet Union


The Soviet Union wanted a greater say in running eastern European countries that it freed from German occupation. The Soviets replaced German occupations with their own in countries like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In other countries, the Soviets set-up governments that were controlled by and did what the Soviets wanted (a "puppet" government").

Unlike the Soviet Union, the Western Allies had planned to withdraw from countries they had occupied. This started "The Cold War", a 40 year "stand off" between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union.

Changing Borders in Europe


As well as parts of Germany being taken away, other changes were made. The Soviet Union took over parts of Poland, Japan and Finland. Poland took over parts of Germany. Part of Germany was given to France. All these changes lead to 15 million Germans and 4 million Poles being forced to leave their homes as their homes were now in a "foreign country".

End of the Empires


Before the war many countries in Europe had empires. They controlled countries in other parts of the world. The British empire was the largest of all - the modern countries of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and many others were part of the empire. These countries all sent soldiers to help in the war. India sent nearly seven million men. In in every seven Australians joined the war.

After the war, these countries wanted to be set free to run themselves. Their rulers in Europe had enough of their own problems and many were set free by agreement - like the Philippines, India and Pakistan. Others though had to fight for their freedom.