WWII had tremendous global implications for every country in the world due to the large scale of the conflict and the amount of resources needed to mitigate the threat of the Nazi regime dominating the world. Furthermore, although some countries, such as the U.S., could not support the Alliance fully due to their geographical location, most of the resources have been drained from every single country in the world to juxtapose something to the increasingly strong power that Nazi troops gained. However, after the German military was defeated and demolished by the Alliance forces, Germany had to face an even greater trial.
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Specifically, while Germany still lost in WWII, the state managed to update its economic, political, and sociocultural factors in the way that would encourage the further development. Therefore, by paying close attention to the nature of sociocultural, political, and economic factors affecting its performance in the local and global markets, Germany managed to stay afloat and even continue to exhibit impressively positive results in the context of the global economy. Moreover, shifts in the perception of the social class and its role in establishing the societal hierarchy were effectively addressed.
The effects of WWII on Germany’s economic, political, cultural, and social landscapes have been studied extensively by a range of scholars. Specifically, O’Reagan (2021) addresses the economic implications of the war, insisting that dividing the country into East and West Germany contributed to stunted economic growth in its East part. Namely, the impact of the Soviet Union and its conflict with the capitalist principles resulted in most companies fleeing East Germany.
In turn, the extensive political impact on post-WWII Germany was examined by Shoshan (2016), who concluded that the country had to pay multiple retributions and stand the Nurnberg trial in order to clean its record and pay the price for its WWII delusions. Finally, Verheyen (2018) exposes the specifics of the cultural and social transformations occurring in Germany after WWII, pointing to the development of the sense of guilt and shame in German people, as well as the natural process of mending the rift between different social classes.
Books: Key Points.
Politically, the implications of WWII were quite dire for Germany since it had to yield as the losing side and concede to the penalties imposed on it by the Alliance. Locating the greatest political change that Germany experienced after WWII, one must mention the fact that the country was literally divided into two parts. Namely, the split into West Germany controlled by Europe and East Germany controlled by the USSR must be listed among the crucial changes that affected the country to the greatest extent (Shoshan, 2016). Due to the inability to communicate and cooperate, being separated by the Berlin Wall, the two parts of the state evolved each at its own pace defined by the political, economic, and sociocultural influences to which it was exposed.
Shoshan (2016) also mentions the political and legal persecution of the people responsible for the implementation of the Nazi regime in Germany. Namely, the infamous Nurnberg trials, during which those accused of planning, contributing to, or participating in war crimes committed by Germany in 1939-1945 faced appropriate legal charges (Shoshan, 2016). The described trials produced an enormous effect on Germany, where the very concept of Nazism was eradicated from its very political framework and was not supported by any political party in its political landscape.
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Needless to say, WWII was economically devastating for every state involved, including Germany itself. As a result, in addition to the political alterations observed across the state, the outcomes of its capitulation were also noticeable in its economic performance. In addition, t is noteworthy that, due to the influence of the Soviet Union on East Germany and its economy, a massive exodus of East German commercial organizations into West Germany, as well as other European countries, was observed (O’Reagan 2021). The described change was facilitated by the inapplicability of the Soviet economy principles to the context of the free capitalist market, which East Germany represented at the time. Consequently, the eastern part of Germany also witnessed a significant economic decline due to the lack of opportunities for development, as O’Reagan (2021) explained in his book.
Cultural and Social Change
Notably, the transformation in the cultural sphere of Germany was also tremendous due to the global condemnation of the Nazism policies and philosophy. Namely, Verheyen (2018) mentions the development of the sense of shame and guilt, which became intrinsic to most German people as a response to the ethical awakening that Germany had after WWII ended. According to Verheyen (2018), from the social perspective and, particularly, that one of social class, it could be argued that WWII had a levelling effect on the German population. Specifically, due to the losses that Germany suffered, the class difference was effectively levelled, leading to a significant change within German society.
Furthermore, the described outcomes have contributed to the phenomenon of upward mobility within the German community. Typically defined as the ability to achieve a higher social rank, upward mobility implies a shift in one’s social position and the perceived social value (). Applying the described concept to the German social setting of the post-WWII era will show that the state was experiencing a rapid shift in the perception of social status, as Verheyen (2018) explains. Therefore, from a social perspective, the transition from the Nazi ideology to the acceptance of the basic principles of democracy represented the transformative experience that allowed for social change within Germany.
When evaluating the contribution that the three resources under analysis have provided to a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the effects of WWII on Germany, one should mention the fact that each of the studies at and pointed to the presence of a positive social shift within the German hierarchy. The described change should be seen not only through the prism of eliminating specific social classes and promoting equality, but also as the direct effect of the adverse effects that WWII had on German people, as well as the incredible effort that it took to alter their philosophy and cultural perspective shaped by Adolph Hitler (O’Reagan, 2021).
Indeed, all of the sources used for this paper indicate the significance of the sociocultural shift that occurred within German society and the significance of German people accepting the fact that the Nazi regime was entirely atrocious in its nature. Therefore, when considering the extent of the social change, it appears to be unbelievable compared even to the rest of the indicates. In turn, all of the three resources used for this paper, including the books, emphasize the significance of the observed social change, which makes their arguments quite homogenous (Verheyen, 2018). Nevertheless, each of the authors manages to show their appreciation for the change that Germany managed to make at the time in a unique way (Shoshan, 2019).
At the same time, it could be argued that each of the sources considered for this analysis focused on one particular area instead of embracing all five factors determining the well-being of the state. Although the specified approach allows for a more in-depth assessment of the change, it still creates a rather one-sided impression of the German community and the challenges that it experienced after the end of WWII.
Although Germany suffered a devastating defeat in WWII and experienced unimaginable difficulties in its aftermath, trying to rebuild the society, German people have also managed to accomplish an incredible change, thus, gaining an opportunity to start from scratch. As a result, the state experienced a massive change in its sociocultural environment. In addition, despite the fact that the economic and financial outcomes of WWII were also massively adverse for the German community the state was eventually rebuilt to support the economic framework that helped it to regain its spot in the global economy. Finally, the political setting of the state was altered to incorporate healthier attitudes toward the position that Germany took in the global political context at the time. Overall, it could be argued that most of the changes occurring in Germany after WWII represented the premises for future improvements.
O’Reagan, Douglas M. 2021. Taking Nazi Technology: Allied Exploitation of German Science after the Second World War. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Shoshan, Nitzan. 2016. The Management of Hate: Nation, Affect, and the Governance of Right-Wing Extremism in Germany. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Verheyen, Dirk. 2018. The German Question. New York, NY: Routledge.