21.5 The Industrialized World

The collapse of communism ended decades of division between communist Eastern Europe and democratic Western Europe. Conditions were favorable for the spread of democracy. Trade, business, travel, and communications across the continent became easier. At the same time, many European nations had to deal with issues such as large-scale immigration from the developing world, growing discrimination against foreigners, and rising unemployment.

Photo of modern city at night with skyscrapers and lit docks surrounding a bay.

Hong Kong has long been a major trading center of East Asia, thanks to its splendid harbor. Since 1997, when it was returned to China, it has emerged as a prosperous manufacturing and financial center of the new, modernized China.


  • Examine social, political, and economic trends in Europe since the Cold War.
  • Describe how the breakup of Yugoslavia led to war and genocide.
  • Analyze the challenges facing Russia since the end of the Soviet Union.
  • Summarize economic developments in Asia.

Key Terms

  • European Union (EU)
  • euro
  • default
  • Vladimir Putin
  • surplus
  • deficit
  • Pacific Rim
  • Northern Ireland
  • Good Friday Agreement
  • Chechnya
  • multiethnic
  • Slobodan Milosevic
  • ethnic cleansing

A New Europe

A Reunited Germany

In 1990, after 45 years of division, East Germany and West Germany were reunited. Germans welcomed reunification, even though it brought many challenges. Prosperous West Germans had to pay higher taxes to finance the rebuilding of the east. At the same time, East German faced a difficult transition to a market economy. Still, more than 25 years after reunification, Germany remained an economic giant and a key European leader.

Reunification brought social problems. A few right-wing extremists revived Nazi ideology. Seeing the answer to hard times in racism and hatred, these neo-Nazis viciously attacked foreign workers. Most Germans condemned such actions.

Changes in NATO

With the collapse of communism, the Warsaw Pact dissolved. Many democratic nations of Eastern and Central Europe joined NATO, including Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Today, NATO includes 28 member nations. Russia disliked NATO's expansion, but agreed to a NATO-Russia Council to consult on issues of common interest.

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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments