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View series: The second World War, 1939-1945

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Allied Decisions after the War

This map is part of a series of 15 animated maps showing the history of The second World War, 1939-1945.

Unconditional surrender by Germany on 8 May 1945 and by Japan on 2 September marked the end of the Second World War and left the Allies victorious, under the leadership of the United States, USSR and Great Britain.

The most disastrous conflict of all times had led to the death of more than 50 million people, of whom half died in the USSR alone.

The vast number of casualties, the Jewish genocide and the use of nuclear weapons caused terrible trauma everywhere.

As a result, it was decided to establish a new political and moral world order; in June 1945 the United Nations Charter was adopted at the San Francisco Conference, and, during the months that followed, the trials in Nuremberg and Tokyo found Nazi and Japanese leaders guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, condemning them to heavy sentences.

A series of conferences, Cairo in November 1943, Yalta in February 1945 and Potsdam in July-August the same year, allowed the victorious Allied Powers to make major decisions on the allocation of territories.

In Asia, Japan was occupied by the Americans, and it had to give up all territories conquered since 1910.

Korea became independent, but was occupied by the Soviets in the north and the Americans in the south.

China regained sovereignty over all its provinces, including Taiwan and Manchuria.

A treaty between Japan and the USSR required that the Kurile Islands and Sakhalin were handed over to the Soviet regime.

In Europe

- conquered Germany was occupied and lost its sovereignty.  Its territory was substantially reduced, particularly to the east where the frontier now ran along the Oder-Neisse line. Austria was separated from Germany and also occupied.

- The Soviet Union took advantage of its victory to push its borders further to the west.  The Baltic countries disappeared from the map, while Poland’s borders were adjusted, shifting the whole country further to the west than prior to the war.

- Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were also reinstated. The first was cut away from Carpathian Ruthenia, and the second incorporated Istria.

- Hungary returned to its pre-1938 frontiers.

- Bulgaria obtained Southern Dobruja from Romania.

- Italy lost Istria and had to give up its conquests in Albania and Greece.

- France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark and Norway regained their pre-war frontiers.

These newly drawn borders also led to substantial movements of population.

Many millions of Germans were moved out of Silesia, East Prussia and Pomerania, now part of Poland, and also Bohemia and other Central European countries.

One and a half million Poles were transferred from territories in the East, now under Soviet control, to the new western territories abandoned by German families.