I have been thinking about this a lot over the past few days. Despite the fact that WW2 cost a massive amount of life and crippled many economies, there were a number of positive outcomes of it. I am not trying to justify the war or claiming that everything about it was good - I just wanted to point out a few key benefits of the war.

The Second World War was probably humanity's greatest period of technological and social advancement. To understand what I am trying to say, let me briefly go over some of the key problems with the world before the war began. Europe was a mess; the various nations were constantly in dispute; their economies were stagnating and the colonial system which had kept so many countries rich, powerful and comfortable was beginning to fail. Not to mention Germany - crippled by the sanctions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles; inflation was rampant and entire families were starving after seeing their life's savings disappear overnight. To make matters worse, then came the Great Depression. Europe was a powder-keg, and all it took was a spark in the form of Hitler and his Nazi Party to set things ablaze.

Asia on the other hand was far different; the Japanese were fighting for no other reason than to satistfy their Imperial ambitions - ambitions loosely hidden behind a claim that they were merely "liberating" Asia from the colonial system. As soon as these countries were “liberated” these lies were revealed for what they were. The Japanese did not want to destroy the colonial system, they merely wanted to take the place of the old colonial masters.

That should have provided enough background, so let me try and illustrate some of the benefits of World War II:

  • Stability
  • Technological advancement
  • Opening of new economies
  • Higher priority given to diplomacy rather than waging war
  • The end of the colonial system
  • The increased knowledge of other countries and cultures that the soldiers brought back.
  • So let me try to expand briefly.

    Stability: Germany and Japan had long histories of waging war on other nations, yet after WW2 they became two of the most peace-loving and stable countries on the planet. If WW2 hadn’t happened another war would have, and it is debatable as to whether any positive outcomes would have arisen from it. There would have been many more wars albeit at a smaller scale, but they wouldn’t have had the same effect.

    Technological advancement: Pretty self explanatory - WW2 resulted in the rapid advancement of aircraft designs, the world’s first computer, radio, and much more. All of these things were originally made for military use but have since migrated to civilian applications.

    Opening of economies: Post WW2 countries started trading much more between each other. It wasn’t an immediate effect, but over time tariffs were removed and global trade emerged. Consequently, this resulted in globalization - where companies looked at opportunities world wide and not just in their home country, forcing people to learn more about the world outside their own. This dispelled much of the insular cultures that existed prior.

    Diplomacy over War: A direct result of WW2 was the formation of the United Nations - a body whose purpose is to monitor the world’s diplomacy by getting itself involved worldwide in conflicts and arguments as a mediator. The UN itself has no power; its power is derived from the power of its member countries and act as an impartial adjudicator.

    End of the colonial system: It took many years to completely end, but when it did many countries in Asia gained a national identity where none had really existed. They were no longer merely colonials, they were Singaporeans or Malaysians or part of any one of many countries that have since been formed. This allowed them to have a government which was chosen by them and represented them (although this already existed to a certain extent in some colonies, they were still subject to the Colonial masters). This resulted in the resurgence of their heritage and culture which was “hidden” while they were a colony. Although not all countries have been successful since the system ended, they are at least now their own country.

    Knowledge of the outside world: This was a direct result of all of the above.

    As you can see, not all the outcomes of WW2 were negative - much of it was, but not all. Although the cost was high it has sped up our development as a race immeasurably. The world was too insulated within its own culture to develop quickly; all countries were suspicious of one another and every other year one of these unstable nations would attack the other. Although countries still invade each other, they usually do so with support from countries other than their own; and if the invasion is for the wrong reason, the international community now steps in and gets involved instead of simply letting it be.

    Some of the benefits are small yet some are also immeasurably huge - imagine yourself to be a citizen of one of the colonies. You would have no rights; no representation in government; your taxes go to another country and decisions which affect you are made by someone who has no idea of the conditions in your country. When you think of it that way, surely you can see some good came from the war.

    If you have any comments please /msg me, this is one of my first nodes here.