9. The Second World War
The expansion of the authoritarian regimes, like those of Germany, Italy and Japan, and the weakness and hesitation of the democratic powers (Great Britain and France) to face them, led to the beginning of the Second World War in 1939.
After invading Poland, Germany occupied easily through the Blitzkrieg tactic a great part of Europe during 1940.
In 1941 the war got a new world-wide dimension. After the German invasion, the USSR entered the war. On the other hand, as a result of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the USA declared war on Japan.
The first phase of the war (1939-1942) was characterized by the victories and occupations of the Axis powers (Germany, Italy and Japan). On the opposite, in the second phase of the war (1942-1945) the offensive of the Allied forces (the USA, Great Britain and the USSR) took place and they won the war in 1945.
The victors organized the new world order and created an international organisation that had to watch over the world peace: the UNO. The USA and the USSR emerged as new world powers.
The economic and demographic impact of the WWII was gigantic. Europe and Japan remained destroyed and there were 55 million dead.The great destruction achieved, the Holocaust and the dropping of the atomic bombs caused a great moral impact over the victims.
10. The Cold War
After the end of the WWII, a new world order was created in which two opposing blocs were confronted. These blocs were led by two superpowers: the USA and the USSR.
The Cold War was an international relationship system that was based on a sustained state of tension between the two powers.
During the Cold War the two powers avoided confronting directly, and they competed for its areas of influence, by means of supporting other countries in conflict.
The two powers established military alliances with other countries, and they began an arms race whose aim was to dissuade the opposing of a nuclear attack.
The Western Bloc was composed of United States, the democracies of Western Europe and Japan.
The Eastern Bloc was composed of the Soviet Union and the popular democracies of Eastern Europe.