Aftermaths – Antony Beevor

Antony Beevor writes about the aftermath of the Second World War and how, even 75 years later, the effects of this global war are still being felt.

japanese soldier

A dejected Japanese soldier the day after the surrender. AWM 096134

The Second World War was the most brutal war in history, killing more than 50 million people. The true number will never be known. It was the first time in warfare that civilian casualties far outweighed military deaths. Caught between the brutal ideologies of Nazi Germany, Communist Russia and the militarist Japanese, the civilian populations of many nations suffered untold horrors. Some rose up against their oppressors and fought their own war, but so many others never got that chance.

The West, despite often being at odds ideologically with one another, fought to preserve and maintain democracy, and paid a heavy price in doing so. Veterans of the Second World War still believe, and rightfully so, that their sacrifices were worth it to maintain the freedoms which we still enjoy and that are still worth fighting to preserve.

The Second World War does offer a very rich source for the study of moral choice, the corruption of power politics, and both individual and mass tragedy. On the positive side, there are also many glowing examples of self-sacrifice, compassion and endurance.

To read Antony Beevor’s article, you can purchase your copy of Wartime here.