THE CONTEMPORARY AGE
After the end of World war II there is the problem of physical and moral reconstruction of destroyed cities. The Labour party won with Attle, and the United States proclaimed the Marshall Plan, an economic support for the country to increase productivity, and nationalized the major industries, so the Welfare State born, thanks to the economist Keynes (he was in Bloomsbury group too). The Welfare State is composed by a series of measures of the State to support people, for example the National Assistance Act and the National Health Act, so there were higher wages, better life conditions, people were encouraged to spend money, and this signed the beginning of the consumer society. After the death of Gorge VI, Elizabeth II came to the throne, and the Conservative party won the elections with Churchill, but in this period there’s the end of British empire, because it lost India, Palestina, and the Suez canal nationalized by the President of Egypt, so Britain invaded Suez Canal but it is forced to leave country because of the intervention of NATO.
With the born of NATO (1949 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in which if one country was attacked so every country entered in war) and the Warsaw pact (1955 which united communist countries) the world is divided in two blocks: a western block ruled by USA, and an eastern one ruled by URRS, so begins the Cold War. (The commander of NATO became Eisenhower, who had led the US troops in Europe during World War II, then he became 34th President of the USA). In the Sixties won the Labour party with Wilson, who tries to enter in EEC (European economic Community), and in the meanwhile British troops were sent in Northen Ireland, where there is the fight between the catholic minority and the protestant majority (orangist, so called because of William of Orange). So Britain had an economic boom, young people were angry, they believed in individual freedom, there were hippies, pacifists.
While in the Seventies The conservative party was elected, it wanted the re-privatization and there was an economic recession because of the increasing price of Arab-oil, so Britain finally enters in EEC, but with the election of Labour party the Welfare state is too expensive and so there was a general strike. The conservative party won again with Margaret Tatcher, a strong woman who wanted to destroy the welfare State, she made cuts in public expenditure and denationalized the major industries, in the meanwhile Britain invaded Falkland islands, because they were its dominion but Argentina claimed them and Britain won the war, but criminality and hooliganism grow because with Tatcher’s reforms and cuts it seemed that these reforms required sacrifices only from the poor. Then she introduced the poll tax, in which every adult had to pay a new fixed tax, so Mrs Tatcher brought social tension, and she was forced to resign her commission,
and in the Nineties John Major took her place with less rigidity, but then won the Labour party with Tony Blair who had to face contrast with France and Germany, and the decision to join the United States in their war against Iraq.
THE UNITED STATESWith the end of World war II there was a period of prosperity in the USA, and they also had great part in the European reconstruction with the Marshall Plan. The cold war had negative effects in the USA because Americans believed that they were victims of communist conspiracy, so this led to an atmosphere of witch-hunt, with the most anti-communist politician, McCarthy, who invented communist conspiracy. Watergate is the edifice of the democratic party, here two journalists of the “Washington post” knew that the President, Nixon, had used illegal contributions to win elections and so he was forced to resign his commission.
CULTURENow artists felt the desire to be involved in the reconstruction of the world destroyed by the war, man’s goodness is in trouble, pessimism can’t be overcome, scientific power can be used to evil purposes. The philosophy of Existentialism is affirming with the French philosopher Sartre who thinks that the universe is not rational, it defies explanation, he influenced the Theatre of the Absurd.