EFFECTS OF WWI AND WWII ON THE GEOGRAPHY OF EUROPE 4
World War I and II had significant effects on the geography ofEurope. In 1918, after Germany took responsibility of the WWI, itsautocratic monarch was toppled and part of its territory taken awayas compensation for the damages of the war. This would significantlychange the shape of Germany. Additionally, the Russian empire morphedinto the current Soviet Union after the war. During this process,some Russian Empire territories broke out and formed individualcountries. They were Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania sincethey could not withstand the authoritarian rule in the Soviet state(Lowe, 2014). Moreover, Poland, which had disappeared from Europe,re-appeared after the war. This formation of new countries changedthe geography of Europe substantially. The Austro-Hungary and theOttoman Empires were also disintegrated after the war and thesebrought various changes in the map of Europe. Notably, Romania gainedsome territories from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to double in size.In addition, Hungary lost some of its territories to Italy and shrunkto a third of its former size.
Thesis: The geographical effects of WWI and WWII on Europe areevident today and they changed the economy and political statuses ofthis continent.
It is essential to note that these territorial changes did nothappen automatically. They were imposed upon Europe by the victors inthe war. Some countries such as German were not comfortable with theimpacts of the war and the changes in the territories. Historianshave opined that the discomfort amongst some countries after WWI sowthe seeds for WWII that occurred between 1939 and 1945 (Lowe, 2014).Countries such as Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania that had formedjoined the Soviet Union. After Poland re-emerged, it was forced bythis war to shift westwards. Romania and Germany were also forced tocede territories to the Soviet Union. Hungary was also reconstitutedafter the war.
Primarily, the Second World War resulted in the creation of twoworld powers namely the Soviet Union and the United States. The warswere among the European nations and they were fighting overterritories. After 1945, the European nations were clear that theywould never engage in war again. There was immense destruction ofproperty and everyone in Europe was affected by the war (Lowe, 2014).This realization by the European states gave birth to the idea of aunited Europe. The formation of the European Union emanated from theeffects of the wars. However, it has been noted recently that somestates such as Britain have left the Union due to imbalancedpolitical and economic statuses of the member countries.
While concluding, it is evident that the geography of Europe wassignificantly affected and or changed by the first and second worldwars. The effects of wars can clearly be identified today through theexisting unions such as Soviet Union and the European Union. Notably,Germany appears to have been the greatest loser in both wars aftertaking responsibility for the first war and being thoroughly defeatedand ceding territories in the second war. European nations werefighting amongst themselves with the help of allies outside thecontinent. It is essential to note that Europe was economicallystable prior to the wars. However, the disintegration of some empiresand change of territories by some countries, as well as the formationof new nations resulted in difficult economic times. Countries suchas Lithuania and Estonia hardly took off both politically andeconomically until they rejoined the Soviet Union.
Lowe, K. (2014). Savage continent: Europe in the aftermath ofWorld War II. London: Viking.