ADVANTAGES

With the armistice of 11 November, 1918 quiet descends on Europe for the first time in over four years. Among the casualties the First World War is liberal idealism and confidence in the achievements of science and technical advance to further the progress of man. Into the void will come a new and darker idealism forged in the fires of war and destruction. With the unhappy peace treaty of Versailles, come the arbitrary drawing of lines on a map, the sundering of empires and peoples, the creation of convenient catch-all nations, the treachery of politics. The flowering of Fascism in Italy emboldens those who have similar designs in other countries. Political unrest and instability quickly devolve into the inflation of 1923 and after a brief period of recovery, when the nations seemed to have found their footing, to the Great Depression of 1929.
As the world struggles into the 1930's the democracies of the west will suffer a crises of confidence, and the fledgling Weimar Republic of Germany will be guided onto the rocks of totalitarianism by an unhappy concurrence of men and events. The League of Nations, the only real achievement of the victors of the Great War is never properly empowered by it's member nations who do not wish to surrender any bit of sovereignty in the interest of collective security and will sputter out of existence. The stage is set for the emergence of Hitler, the evil of Stalinism and the brutal militarism of the Japanese Army and it's savaging of China. The democratic West, under seige by doubt, division and economic hardship will prove to be not equal to the demands of peace and as the thirties come to a close, Europe and the world are again plunged into war. The violence of total war will be hurled onto soldier and civilian alike. Nearly all of Europe and half of China and the vast Pacific regions will feel the terrors of war before the final victory of the Allied Nations. When the dust settled in 45, some 60 million people had died in the war and in the worst crime that ever happened, the holocaust.
This time, the mistakes of Versailles will not be repeated after the war as the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of the devastated nations is implemented. Still it is an uneasy peace, beset with fears of tyranny and nuclear anihilation that blankets Europe, America and Asia as the frightening realites of the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union take hold. Eventually the West will demonstrate that it has well learned the folly of appeasement win the face of aggression. When Soviets try to bully Berlin into their occupation zone, they are defeated by the Berlin Airlift. With this, Western Germany is reassured of it's future and it's place with the Western democracies, the period of Soviet expansionism shifts from Europe to other places, setting the stage for the Cold War.

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