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Postwar Europe and Japan: October 1945-September 1951


World War II Timeline: June 27, 1948-January 10, 1950

With events like the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), World War II continued to have a global effect in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The timeline and headlines below describe the war's aftermath in 1948-1950.

World War II Timeline: June 1948-January 1950

June 27, 1948: The United States, Britain, and France respond to the Soviet blockade of Berlin by effecting an airlift of supplies to the two million people in the city's western sector.

December 9, 1948: The United Nations General Assembly enacts the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

January 25, 1949: The trial of Axis Sally, who was a Nazi propagandist to American troops in Europe, begins in Washington, D.C.

April 4, 1949: The United States, Canada, and several Western European nations sign the North Atlantic Treaty, establishing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

May 1949: Realizing that their blockade of western Berlin has strengthened the resolve of the other Allies and led directly to the formation of NATO, the Soviets decide to lift it.

July 20, 1949: Israel signs the third of three armistice agreements, with Syria, to end the 1948 war. Agreements with Egypt, Lebanon, and Transjordan were signed earlier in the year.

August 29, 1949: The Soviet Union detonates an atomic bomb at its Kazakhstan test site.

October 1, 1949: In a resounding victory for China's Communist Party, Mao Zedong proclaims the People's Republic of China.

January 1950: The USSR and China recognize the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

January 10, 1950: The Soviet delegate walks off the Security Council in disgust after the UN retains Nationalist China as the holder of China's Council seat.

World War II Headlines

Postwar news in 1948-1950 included the trials of prominent Nazi leaders for war crimes. The headlines below summarize these events.

22 Nazi leaders tried for war crimes in Nuremberg: A total of 13 war crime trials against more than 200 persons were held in Nuremberg, Germany, from 1945 to 1949. The trial that received the most attention was the first, which involved 22 prominent Nazi leaders -- all of whom were tried on one or more of four war-crime counts. Throughout the trial, Hermann Göring was a leader of the defendants, often dictating their responses to prosecution witnesses. Göring used his skills in manipulation to try to outwit the American prosecutor.

Julius Streicher, editor of Der Stürmer, among those hanged: Julius Streicher was the editor of Der Stürmer, the most popular anti-Semitic publication in Germany before and during the war. The June 1939 edition was a typical issue, depicting on the front page a "Jewish devil-snake" attacking a topless Aryan maiden. Streicher was one of the 22 defendants in the first Nuremberg trial -- and among the 12 sentenced to death. He was the most defiant of those hanged, exclaiming "Heil Hitler" moments before his death on October 16, 1946.

Next, read about more post-World War II happenings, from the start of another war -- this time in Korea -- to the division of postwar Germany.

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