Year Zero

Year Zero

A History of 1945

Book - 2013
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A history professor describes the events during the year World War II ended, beginning a new era of prosperity in America, rebirth and rebuilding in Europe, and the start of the Cold War era.
A global history of the pivotal year 1945 as a new world emerged from the ruins of World War II. Regime change had come on a global scale: across Asia (including China, Korea, Indochina, and the Philippines, and of course Japan) and all of continental Europe. Out of the often vicious power struggles that ensued emerged the modern world as we know it. In human terms, the scale of transformation is almost impossible to imagine. Great cities around the world lay in ruins, their populations decimated, displaced, starving. Harsh revenge was meted out on a wide scale, and the ground was laid for much horror to come. At the same time, the euphoria of the liberated was extraordinary. The postwar years gave rise to the European welfare state, the United Nations, decolonization, Japanese pacifism, the European Union, and the Cold War.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : The Penguin Press, 2013
ISBN: 9781594204364
1594204365
Branch Call Number: 940.5314 Bu
Description: 368 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: Year 0

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IndyPL_RyanD Mar 01, 2020

Year Zero focuses on the aftermath of the destruction in Europe and Asia at the end of World War II. Author Ian Buruma provides great analysis on the end of the war from a wide variety of factors. The author discusses topics such as the initial jubilation stemming from the defeat of fascism and the Axis Powers in both Europe and Asia. He also documents the differing political and ethnic factions fighting for control in Greece and Yugoslavia in the aftermath of the Nazis being defeated in those two countries. Buruma also writes a good overview on the attempts of Britain and France to regain control or maintain influence over their colonies after the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945.

Another interesting aspect of the book centers on the socialist and central planning political movements that took place in Britain and Europe at the end of the war in an effort to improve healthcare and society as a whole. Buruma’s analysis allows for some connections to be made to the eventual creations of the British National Health Service and the nationalized healthcare systems in Europe that exist today. The author concludes by summarizing how nations like Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States did try to work together initially to rebuild the world together but became split along communist and anti-communist ideals as both sides began to compete for control and influence of the world.

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Janice21383
Oct 11, 2016

I'm almost tempted to describe this book as a joyous, optimistic celebration of a world chastened and enlightened by war. Yes, its story is so important, I might stoop to mislead the light history enthusiast into reading this course of shock therapy between two covers. Buruma is an even-handed and witty writer, but he has created a work of deep anger and disdain for the illusions and pretensions that arrived with the peace, with which we still struggle today. To be blunt, the world after WW II was almost as bad as during WW II, and it is truly astonishing that we have been able to rebuild and progress as far as we have.

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