W CS 17

Achievements and Crises (1900-1945)

The first half of the 20th century was one of rapid technological advances. It was a period when the tensions between industrialized nations resulted in World War I and set the stage for World War II. While World War II transformed the balance of world power, it was the most destructive and costly war in terms of human casualties and material resources expended.

Content Statement

17. World War II devastated most of Europe and Asia, led to the occupation of Eastern Europe and Japan, and began the atomic age.

Content Elaborations

World War II caused not only physical damage, but also social damage (e.g., refugees, casualties), cultural damage (e.g., lost works of art, residue of Nazi education), and economic damage (e.g., loss of infrastructure, loss of employment).

Positions of armed forces at the end of the war led to zones of occupation and competition for political influence amongst the former Allies. World War II also changed the nature of warfare by introducing the use of atomic weapons. These weapons set the stage for an era of political tension.

Expectations for Learning

Describe how World War II devastated most of Europe and Asia, led to the occupation of Eastern Europe and Japan, and started the atomic age.