1940s

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The 1940s was the decade that started on January 1, 1940 and ended on December 31, 1949.

The Second World War took place in the first half of the decade, which had a profound effect on most countries and people in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. The consequences of the war lingered well into the second half of the decade, with a war-weary Europe divided between the jostling spheres of influence of the West and the Soviet Union. To some degree internal and external tensions in the post-war era were managed by new institutions, including the United Nations, the welfare state and the Bretton Woods system, providing to the post-World War II boom which lasted well into the 1970s. However the conditions of the post-war world encouraged decolonialisation and emergence of new states and governments, with India, Pakistan, Israel, Vietnam and others declaring independence, rarely without bloodshed. The decade also witnessed the early beginnings of new technologies (including computers, nuclear power and jet propulsion), often first developed in tandem with the war effort, and later adapted and improved upon in the post-war era.

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