The East-Central European Region: An Historical Outline

By George H. Hodos | Go to book overview

7
People's Democracy: Theory and Practice

THE ATTEMPT TO BRIDGE EAST AND WEST

The East-Central European region collapsed with the war's end. The collapse was all-encompassing, human as well as material, sociopolitical as well as economic. Including the 4 million Holocaust victims of the region, about 9.5 million people perished, 10 percent of the total population. Estimates of 10 to 15 million people became displaced and had to begin their new lives in a new place, a new country, even a new continent. The material damages were estimated to be $40 billion in 1938 dollars. In Poland and in Yugoslavia, the two most devastated countries, the value of damages was nearly four times that of their total national income. Sociopolitical structures disintegrated: interwar ruling classes, political, and cultural elites, were decimated, killed, arrested, or deported first by Germans, then by Russian occupiers, murdered by fascist puppet regimes, or perished in civil wars and resistance movements. In the wake of the defeated German army, thousands of politicians, administrators, civil servants, and military and police forces, thoroughly compromised by their connections to the Nazis, fled to the West or were executed as war criminals.

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