By going through these Maharashtra State Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 9 The World Since 1945 – I students can recall all the concepts quickly.

Maharashtra State Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 9 The World Since 1945 – I


This chapter provides a survey of major world events since the end of the Second World War (1945 – 1959). The focus is on the U.N.O. i.e., its purposes, organs, etc, the Cold War i.e., it’s dimensions and phases and the establishment of military alliances. We will also study about Regionalism.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 9 The World Since 1945 - I

League Of Nations

The League of Nations was created after the First World War (1914 – 1918) to establish peace and stability in the world. However, it could not succeed in it’s objectives. The Second World War (1939 – 1945) had several consequences that became the foundation of the world order post 1945. Some of these changes are –

1. End of the primacy of Europe – European imperialism and colonialism had led it to enjoy a dominant position in the 19th century and early 20th century. The Second World War had seen the defeat of Germany, Italy and devastation in France and England. USA and USSR emerged as major powers and hence the world ceased to be ‘eurocentric’.

2. Division of Europe – During the Second world War, Soviet forces occupied parts of Eastern Europe e.g., Poland while Western Europe was occupied by UK, France, USA. By the end of the war, Europe was divided into East Europe and West Europe.

3. Role of Ideology – The Bolshevik Revolution in October 1917 established Communism in Russia. Hence, East European countries that were under Soviet influence also adopted communist ideology while West European countries mainly adopted the Capitalist ideology.

4. Establishment of United Nations Organization (UNO) on 24,h October, 1945. It was to replace the League of Nations. The main purpose of the UNO was to maintain international peace and security. It had six main organs viz. General Assembly, Security Council, ECOSOC, Trusteeship Council (suspended operations in 1994), International Court of Justice, Secretariat (headed by a Secretary- General). The UNO has 193 members at present.

5. Rise of Asia – Asia and Africa witnessed many anti-colonial struggles for self-determination, leading to many sovereign nations being created e.g., Indonesia, India, etc.

Cold War

In the Second World War, the allied forces led by USA. USSR and UK had defeated the Axis Powers consisting of Germany, Italy and Japan. The end of the war led to the emergence of USA and USSR as “super powers” with superior military technology. The east-west division of Europe led to tensions between the USA and USSR. The hostile relations between the USA and its’ allies and the USSR and its’ allies along with ideological conflict between them is called the ‘Cold War’ or Bipolarity. The dimensions of the cold war included —

  • Political dimension – Areas under U.S. influence included UK, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, West Germany, etc. while areas under Soviet influence were Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, East Germany, etc.
  • Ideological dimension – Allies of the US had democratic governments and adopted capitalist ideology while countries under Soviet influence lacked democracy and followed a socialist ideology.
  • Economic dimension – In the capitalist countries, private sector and profit making were significant while in the socialist bloc, public sector and welfare state were considered significant.
  • Security dimension – A number of military alliances were created by both groups such as NATO by the USA and Warsaw Pact by the USSR.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 9 The World Since 1945 - I

Phases Of The Cold War (1945 – 1959)

Phase I (1945 – 1950) .
In this formative phase of the Cold War, the focus was on the ideological, military, political and economic division of Europe (East – West division). NATO was created. In 1947, the first Asian Relations Conference (25 nations) was held in New Delhi.

Phase II (1950 – 1959)

  • In 1949, China adopted communism under chairman Mao Zedong and in 1950 it signed a military alliance with USSR.
  • The Korean War was the first proxy war of the Cold War. In 1945, Korea was divided along the 38th parallel into North and South Korea. In June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. The North was helped by China and USSR while UN sent in armed forces to defend South Korea. The war ended in 1953, restoring the borders.
  • Many military alliances were created in Asia such as SEATO (1954), CENTO (1955), etc.
  • Warsaw Pact (1955) created by USSR had Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, East Germany, etc. as its members.
  • In 1953, Nikita Khrushchev became leader of USSR. He brought in the policy of ‘peaceful co-existence’ between the two blocs of the Cold War.
  • Growth of regionalism in Asia and Africa e.g., Bandung Conference (1955) had 24 participating nations of Asia and Africa.
  • Camp David Summit (1959) between President Eisenhower (USA) and Khrushchev (USSR) was the first attempt at seeking a dialogue. It is a turning point in the history of the Cold War.