How did World War II end the age of European colonialism and empire and usher in the Cold War ? Why did European political and economic dominance decline between 1945 and 1979 yet the ideologies produced on this small continent continue to have such power around the world?
WW2 ended the age of European imperialism by forever repudiating the notion that Europeans and their system were somehow superior and/or more powerful than non-Europeans. This was done primarily through the Japanese empire’s defeat of the colonizing powers in Asia and through a realization by world peoples that Europe’s politics had thrown the world into two destructive world wars.
European political dominance declined after WW2 as America and the USSR rose to the fore and because their nations and economies were stripped of their empires, destroyed by war, and faced the Americans and Russians on the world stage.
Ideologies produced during the European imperial age still continue to have power because they influenced many countries and their behaviors. Japan, previously mentioned, is an example. In order to prevent themselves from being colonized and defeated, they modernized along European lines and became an empire of their own. Furthermore, despite the end of imperialism, the economic imbalances,
artificial states, and socio-political scars that resulted from imperialism still continue to hamper development and success in the post-imperial colonies. This is very noticeable in African post-colonial states, where economic factors, such as a lack of infrastructure, led them to become resource supplying states unable to develop heavy domestic industries and deficiencies in education during the imperial period made forming postwar governments difficult.