Establishing Democracy in Postwar Western Europe

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Establishing Democracy in Postwar Western Europe Written by Kyle Subik Kyle Subik Hist. 229 4/8/05 Prof. Dumont Research Paper The end of the Second World War left not only much of Europe in ruins, but many of its countries with no political identity. The monumental task of rebuilding Europe and establishing democracy where authoritarian dictatorships had failed was taken on by the Allied forces and mainly the United States. Establishing democracy in the Western European countries of France, Italy, and West Germany would prove to be the most difficult of all Western European countries. Before the Second World War France had actually had a democracy in place called the Third Republic. The government had a constitution, but was seen even before the war as an ineffective government. It was then abolished when Germany defeated France. The new government established was called the Vichy Regime which was a form of authoritarian rule under Germany’s puppets Pierre Laval and Petain Marshal[1]. During the Vichy Regime much of the working class, middle class, and the elitist class all suffered the harshness of a country stricken by famine, poverty, and the German occupation itself. Some of the major causes for such social strife before and during the war was the economic depression experienced during the 1930’s, authoritarian rule putting down any attempt by workers to unite for the betterment of themselves, and the fact that war itself was reducing the population drastically[2] The classes had never been able to unite in any form of unity to better oneself position in the troubled times. The war was, however teaching them a valuable less in what they wanted things in the future to look like as far as a well structured government with the people’s interests in mind. With the
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