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Word Count: 1,513
What if anything is surprising about the post-war economic recovery of Europe In the immediate period after VE Day there was a realization by all sides of the conflict that the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919 had itself been one of the main catalysts to the Second World War This meant that a new approach would need to be taken to reconstruct Europe and it would need to do so with a broader view of Europe as a whole The Second World War inflicted appalling loses on resources infrastructure and above all human lives The war cost anything up to fifty million lives and displaced millions more However although conditions were anything but propitious for economic growth a dramatic transformation took place over the next 30 glorious years Both Eastern and Western Europes economies were massively distorted by the demands of war normal production ground to a halt and trade decreased further weakening Europes position in the world economy The subsequent result of the unprecedented destruction was starvation and inflation together with a legacy of conflict that left Europeans mentally and emotionally exhausted The fact that the war was the first to be directly targeted at civilians both through ethnic genocide and warfare in urban areas most destructively from the air meant that economics would need to be at the core of any peacetime solutions There were three elements to the economic impact that affected Europe and the measures that were introduced to solve these crises paved the way for the turn-around that Europe experienced between the late 1940s and early 1970s The first factor was the disruption to Europes productive assets a rise in military production had exhausted capital stocks and many factories were themselves destroyed by the conflict Industrial capitals such as transport and communication infrastructures were also debilitated The second effect was of Capital loss the colonial powers had been forced to dispose of foreign assets and had simultaneously accumulated huge
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