Liberalism and The consequences of World War II
Ayomide A Adaranijo
History 3100; Diplomatic History
Dr. Oreste Foppiani
Although the term liberalism, in the political sense, became very popular in the early 1970’s, actions that would qualify as liberalism had begun to take place since, at the latest, after the Second World War, and probably before that time. The aftermath of the Second World War was the beginning of wide spread international cooperation, and the period immediately after the war signified the beginning of international organizations and the beginning of political and economic cooperation amongst the most powerful countries at the time. Because of the effects of the ...view middle of the document...
One of the most important results of this cooperation is the Bretton Woods conference that took place in New Hampshire in 1994. The main purpose of this conference was to “facilitate the resumption of international trade after the war”. The conference resulted in a new trade system, the Bretton Woods system. This system marked the beginning of widespread international cooperation and was a significant move towards the liberal, globalized economy that we have today. The fact that these countries decided to cooperate in order to revive themselves economically shows the increasing importance of international relations at that time. Individual economies realized that in order to prosper in the long run, there were going to have to consider the effects of their actions on other countries and not just on their own economy. International relations became a lot more important than it was before the Second World War.
The Bretton Woods conference led to the creation of two very important international organizations, which still hold as much, or even more, importance in the international economy as they did when they were first created. The two organizations are The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The IBRD and four other organizations make up the World Bank of today. Participation in these two organizations required cooperation with the rest of the group and sometimes consideration of the international system before individual economies. The IMF, one of the organizations formed at the Bretton Woods conference, consisted of a pool of money, which was provided by member state. This pool of money was to be used to to save countries when they were in financial trouble. The second organization, IBRD, was created specifically to help war-torn Europe in its recovery efforts. This Bank gave large loans to European countries in order to help them recuperate from the effects of the war. This means of financial collaboration between countries is classic liberalism. Countries were cooperating in order to promote international peace, and more importantly, development. These participants may have been able to recover from the effects of World War II on their own, however it would have taken a longer time, and may have cost a lot more money. Essentially, liberalism, in the form of cooperation, saved these countries.
Shortly after the Bretton Woods system was created, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was created; it has now been replaced by the WTO. The creation of this institution drastically changed international trade relations and its effects are still visible today. The GATT, unlike the other economic international organizations, had specific agreements that all parties were to adhere to. Although, unlike the WTO, there was no existing body that could enforce these rules, it was in the best interest of the participating countries to adhere to them. These rules promote...