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Modern history

World history since 1945

The United Nations Assembly General in 2007The United Nations Assembly General in 2007World War II left up to 85 million people dead and countless cities in Europe and Asia in ruins. Six million Jews and many more regarded by the Nazis as “undesirable” had been murdered in the Holocaust. To ensure that such a war could not happen again, in 1945, 50 nations signed the charter of the United Nations. But the world was soon dividing into two opposing military alliances again, the United States-led NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. 

US president Kennedy with Soviet premier Khrushchev US president Kennedy with Soviet premier Khrushchev

Two postwar
superpowers

At the end of the war, it was clear that two countries—the United States of America and the Soviet Union (USSR)—had become the world’s leading powers, the “superpowers”. However, these two superpowers had deep political and economic differences.

The Soviet Union, which was formed in 1922 when Russia joined with other territories, was under Communist rule. Communism aims at creating a classless, moneyless society in which everyone shares ownership of businesses, factories and farms. The USA and its allies were capitalist economies, in which businesses are privately owned, with goods and services produced for profit.

 

Cold War

Immediately following the partitioning of India into the separate states of Pakistan and India, 7,226,000 Muslims went to Pakistan from India, while 7,250,000 Sikhs and Hindus moved to India from Pakistan.

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