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Why we’re so lucky that we won the Second World War

May 1, 2018

It’s interesting to think about “What could have been.”

Matthew Wright

This week marks the 73rd anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. To me the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945 was one of the pivotal points in what Eric Hobsbawm has called the ‘short’ twentieth century – the era from 1914 to 1992 that began with the First World War and the collapse of the old European order, and ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery decorating Soviet Generals, Berlin, 12 July 1945. Public domain, via Wikipedia.

The notion of framing centuries around broader social developments rather than calendar dates is appealing because it underscores the human meanings. Hobsbawm saw the century as a three-part transformation in which capitalism, fascism and communism played out their oppositions over the 80-odd years between 1914 and 1992.

However, to me, if we’re to adopt…

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