1946 : the making of the modern world / Victor Sebestyen
- New York : Pantheon Books, 2014
Includes bibliographical references (pages 381-395) and index
- First American edition
"A narrative account of the world-changing negotiations of the post-World War II era draws on new archival material and interviews to analyze the influences of discussions surrounding such events as the development of the atomic bomb, Britain's withdrawal from India and the creation of the Israeli state."--NoveList.
A revelatory book about the year that would signal the beginning of the Cold War, the end of the British Empire, and the beginning of the rivalry between the United States and the USSR. Victor Sebestyen reveals the events of 1946 by chronologically framing what was taking place in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, with seminal decisions made by heads of state that would profoundly change the old order. Whether it was the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the Bikini Atoll underwater atomic bomb test, or the Great Calcutta Killings in India, 1946 was a year of seismic events. Sebestyen begins the week before Christmas 1945, when Stalin announced that the USSR would not withdraw its troops from Iran, and ends with Emperor Hirohito's official unveiling of Japan's new constitution. 1946 would see the map of Eastern Europe redrawn, Chinese communists gaining decisive victories, and the birth of Israel. Though Truman, Stalin, Churchill, MacArthur, Ben-Gurion, Hirohito, and Menachem Begin are part of the story, Sebestyen also writes about the enormous suffering and ongoing persecution of civilians in the aftermath of the war: the ethnic cleansing of the German population from Czechoslovakia and Poland; the rise of a violent new anti-Semitism; the civil wars in China and Greece; the mass starvation in Japan, Eastern Europe, and Germany on a scale not seen since the Middle Ages; the spread of diseases; and such total desolation that schools, government, and transportation were nonexistent and currency was worthless. Drawing on personal testimonies and new archival research, Sebestyen has written a vivid narrative that evokes the beginning of the Cold War in a devastated landscape of dystopian horrors.--Adapted from book jacket.
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