VII. The Contemporary Period, 1945–2000 > A. General and Comparative Dimensions > 2. International Relations
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1947, Feb. 10)
2. International Relations
International relations in the 50 years following World War II were dominated by the cold war between the two superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States. The half century was a time of increasing globalization in all areas of life, so international relations also reflected those transformations in social and religious life, changes in the networks of economic relations, the rise of nationalism and decline of the old empires, and many other developments. The period can be divided into two eras, with the beginning of the 1970s marking a time of transition in the cold war, a change in the global economic system, and a shift from the old empires to newly transformed nationalisms.  1
a. Rise of the Cold War and End of Empires
The main lines of development in the period following World War II involved the organization of international institutions to manage global affairs, the U.S.-Soviet rivalry, the rise of nationalism, and the growing globalization of human life.  2
1945, April 25–June 26
SAN FRANCISCO CONFERENCE. Drafted the Charter for the United Nations Organization, an international body that would be the successor to the League of Nations as the main organization for international relations on a global scale.  3
July 17–Aug. 2
POTSDAM CONFERENCE. The leaders of the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union, Harry S. Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin, met to discuss postwar arrangements in Europe. These involved the disarmament and occupation of Germany and trials of war criminals.  4
Sept. 2
FORMAL SURRENDER OF JAPAN with the signing of terms on the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay. The Japanese home islands were placed under U.S. military occupation, but the emperor remained as the head of state. Korea was placed under Soviet and U.S. occupation, pending the establishment of a democratic government. The Kurile Islands and the southern part of Sakhalin Island were ceded to the Soviet Union.  5
Oct. 24
United Nations formally came into existence when the twenty-ninth member government ratified the Charter. New York City was chosen as the site for the permanent seat of the organization.  6
Dec. 27
The International Monetary Fund was established (See Evolution of International Economic Structures).  7
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.