How do the conflicts within European countries concerning the European Union reflect both their fears and hopes in today’s world?
Controversial banking industry history about secret bank accounts and
banking relations with the Nazis involving Jewish funds seized from Jews
during the World War II Holocaust.
After its defeat in 1945, Germany is divided into West Germany allied to
the West, and East Germany allied to Russia. There are ways in which
Germany comes to terms with its Nazi past, and the ways in which it does
not. U.S. motivation for helping former Nazis escape punishment. The
contrast between development in West Germany and East Germany. The
Berlin Wall dividing the two Germanys comes down after the collapse of
the Soviet Union in 1991, and Germany reunifies. Since then the German
leadership variously veers right and left, assets its independence,
leaving relations with the U.S. somewhat tenuous. Its opposition to the
U.S. invasion of Iraq is an example. Germany will continue to be a
central element in future world events.
Victorious in World War II but is left in ruins. Expects friendly
borders in East Europe. Makes accommodations with the West because of
weakness and self-interest. After Stalin's death in 1953, Khrushchev
emerges as his successor. In a stunning move he soon reveals publicly
the full extent of Stalin's crimes, creating the sense of a "thaw,"
Encouraged, a Hungarian Revolution succeeds briefly but is
brutally crushed by Russia. The episode of lost opportunity for
further detente between U.S. and Russia when President Eisenhower's
initiative is aborted by Russia's discovery of clandestine C.I.A. spy
planes over their territory, which Ike is unaware of. The Cuban missile
crisis is the closest the world comes to nuclear war, and ultimately
leads to Khrushchev's downfall. His successor, Brezhnev, enacts some
treaties to lessen the chance of war with the U.S., but suppression
continues enforced by a class of entrenched bureaucracy. Russia
rebuilds from the rubble of World War II into the second most powerful
country after the U.S. Its effort to guarantee the people's everyday
needs has its bright side and its dark side. After Brezhnev, a new
leader emerges who becomes a crucial figure in Russian history, Mikhail
Gorbachev. His goals are reform and openness while maintaining a
socialist society and dealing with the U.S. He plays a positive role in
ending the Cold War. He bears the burden of the rapid collapse of
Communism, which he did not intend. Boris Yeltsin takes power and
applies the shock therapy of the free market and a move to unfettered
capitalism. It is mostly a disaster. Life for the average Russian
becomes harsher because of loss of guaranteed benefits. Widespread
corruption. A few become wealthy from acquiring state property.
Vladimir Putin becomes leader in 1996, yet major elements of
dictatorship remain. Growth of ultra-nationalism and increase in
anti-Semitism. The issue of the safety of nuclear power. Russia's
brutal actions in Chechnya and Afghanistan. Russia is an unfinished
story. Will it become a new dictatorship? --a major world power? --a
liberalized potential for creative life?
Victorious in World War II but much weakened. The Labor Party comes to
power after the war ends in 1945, remaining until 1951. Ushers a golden
age for the average worker with universal health care and employment
benefits. Power shifts back and forth between Labor and Conservative
governments. Collapse of the British Empire in the 1940s and 1950s is
hard to accept. The Suez Canal crisis with Egypt in the 1950s.
Economic growth and the welfare state continue. England comes to grips
with being second-fiddle to the U.S. Margaret Thatcher's Conservative
Party rules in the 1980s, is a parallel to the Reagan years during the
same period. The government takes no responsibility for large numbers
of workers displaced by technology, especially in the heavily
industrialized north, and the workers suffer greatly. This is now a
free market period of unfettered capitalism. The Falkland Islands War
with Argentina is a British show of international force. The Labor
Party is back in power with Tony Blair who moderates the conservative
years of Margaret Thatcher, but is to the right of traditional Labor.
England's relationship with U.S. and Blair's strong support of the U.S.
invasion of Iraq. Scotland, which becomes part of the U.K. in the
1700s, is granted more autonomy in response to rising Scottish
nationalism. Wales, with its distinct ethnicity and language also
exerts nationalistic pressures.
Its long history is scarred by excessive tragedy. Ireland remains
neutral during World War II. Ireland's literary tradition. Continued
impoverishment and loss of population. The country remains mostly rural
outside of Dublin. North Ireland, which has been Protestant since the
1600s, is divided from Ireland,
generating ongoing violence. This conflict is based on class as well
as religious hatreds. Prospects for conciliation are uncertain.
Ireland is modernizing despite the Church's traditional resistance to
change. There is economic progress in the technical area. Irish youth
are now more willing to stay, mainly in the cities where economic
development is happening. These changes are helping Ireland to better
take its place in Europe and the world.
Major Issues in Modern Europe
A response to extreme poverty. Although wage scales may lower in the
host countries, immigrants see it as an improvement in their lives.
Traditionally they work hard to help families left behind. They bring
different ethnicities, traditions, and values. Clashes in host
countries are based on xenophobia. European
business want immigrants as cheap labor. Immigration is a source
of ongoing struggle and problems.
The need to create an economic bloc to compete with the U.S. as the one
superpower. Problems include nationalism and economic conflicts.
Barriers from the Cold War affect the role of East European countries
with their sense of fear and uncertainty. Yet, there is also a sense of