Future historians may well regard the first half of this century as a time of almost continuous war. We say that World War I was over in 1918, and World War II began in 1939. But in those years of so- called peace, there really was none nor has it truly existed in the years since 1946 when hostilities nominally ended. The harsh provisos of the Treaty of--Versailles, the Russian Revolution, the failure of the League of Nations--all intensified national differences and conflicts of interest. War-impoverished peoples, desperate men everywhere, were rallied to seemingly great causes by Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler. The United States, basking in a false postwar prosperity, was rudely shocked by the stock-market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Depression, calling upon its own great man, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to see it out of trouble. Each nation and people became intensely concerned with its own affairs, looked with suspicion and hostility on peoples outside its national boundaries, built up high tariff walls, restricted immigration, often imposed harsh censorships--and inevitably fell into the holocaust of World War II.
Its aftermath has been a cold war, the world divided into two armed camps, with continuing and futile negotiations to reduce tensions and to further a one-world concept. New nations carved from old empires have proliferated, and the organization of the United Nations has attempted to mediate differences. The world has become an infinitely smaller place than ever before, with transportation and communication bringing even the remotest regions swiftly together.