Rare photographs taken at the end of World War II, 19451947

At the end of the war, millions of people were dead and millions homeless, the European economy had collapsed, and much of the European industrial infrastructure had been destroyed.

The Soviet Union, too, had been heavily affected. Borders were redrawn and homecomings, expulsions, and burials were under way. But the massive efforts to rebuild had just begun.

Despite their wartime alliance, tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States and Great Britain Allies during World War II, the USA and the USSR became competitors on the world stage and engaged in the Cold War, so called because it never resulted in overt, declared hot war between the two powers but was instead characterized by espionage, political subversion and proxy wars.

Western Europe and Japan were rebuilt through the American Marshall Plan whereas Central and Eastern Europe fell under the Soviet sphere of influence and eventually an “Iron Curtain”. Europe was divided into a USled Western Bloc and a Sovietled Eastern Bloc.