News from around the world post-WWII

News from around the world post-WWII

After world war two ended everyone worked hard to return to normality. Here is what was going on in around the globe then ...

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Hometown boy Jean-Pierre Wimille is the crowd favourite at the European Grand Prix in Paris.
Photo: Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Grand Prix returns

Paris - Good news for motor racing fans: the Grand Prix is back in action after taking some time off for the war effort.

September 9 will mark the first instalment of the European Grand Prix since 1939. The recently liberated city of Paris will host the big race, over the winding, tree-lined road of the Bois de Boulogne. It should be a very popular event, as the city is still packed with foreign servicemen.

Motorcycles will start the day, but fans are most interested in who will win the main race. The crowd favourite is definitely hometown boy and war hero, Jean-Pierre Wimille.

A two-time champion of the 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, Wimille gave up his racing career to help his nation when the Nazis invaded. He joined the Special Operations Executive along with fellow Grand Prix race drivers Robert Benoist and William Grover-Williams. Wimille was the sole survivor of the three, and hopes to reclaim his glory next Sunday, when he takes to the course in his modified Bugatti sprint car.


The UN Charter is signed at a ceremony held at the Veterans' War Memorial Building in San Francisco on June 26, 1945.

United Nations ready to go

San Francisco - The fledgling United Nations organisation is developing swiftly. Following the successful signing of the charter at the United Nations Conference on International Organisation in San Francisco, new member states are joining the group each day.

Plans for the conference went back to 1941, when then-US president Franklin Roosevelt drafted a declaration of the UN with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was visiting the White House at the time.

Originally meant to include only the Allied forces of the war, the formal UN charter has since been signed by 50 countries around the world.

The United Nations expects to hold its first meetings later this year, so the Security Council - made up of the US, Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the Republic of China - can formally ratify the charter. There's no word yet as to where the representatives of the 50 nations will meet, whether the UN will have touring conferences, or set up a permanent home in one city.

One hopes that this new United Nations will be more effective than the ill-fated League of Nations, which was born out of the ashes of the first world war, yet failed to prevent this most recent tragedy.


Spring is a wonderful thing

Philadelphia - New research and innovations from the war are certain to give the world some wonderful advancements in technology - and they've already begun!

Richard James, a 31-year-old naval mechanical engineer, was working on a device to keep equipment stable during stormy weather at sea, when he found himself entertained by some of the springs. James noticed that a spring of the right tension could fall off a stack of books, gather itself up, and take another step or two.

When he brought some home, the neighbourhood kids were amazed to see these springs "walking" down the stairs, and James knew he was in business.

He and his wife Betty took out a US$500 loan to make the first 400 Slinkies, priced at US$1 each. The toys are available now, but the couple is planning to formally launch the mechanical delight at next year's American Toy Fair.


(L-R) Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohandas Gandhi.

Leaders meet on independence

Delhi - As Britain recovers from the war, the country will be forced to pay close attention to developments in India, known as "the jewel in the crown" of the British empire. 

In June, political activist Jawaharlal Nehru was released from his ninth stay in prison. He was arrested in 1942 - along with all other members of the Congress party of Bombay - for his part in the "Quit India" campaign, aimed at driving the British government out of the country.

Mohandas Gandhi was also imprisoned with the congress members, though he was released in 1944 due to his poor health. Now that both leaders are once again out of prison, they have started talks on creating a free and independent India. Joining them is Muhammad Jinnah, who has led the All-India Muslim League since 1913. 

It is Jinnah's opinion that the people of India should hold a referendum, and that the large Muslim population should be given the right to form a separate state, known as Pakistan.

If all sides follow Gandhi's approach of non-violence, then it is certain that a peaceful agreement can be reached.


Soviets shoot down American B-29

Seoul - Korea is in ruins, but not to worry: their big brothers, the Soviet Union and the United States, are here to help restore the nation to its former glory. Despite working together in the second world war, these two superpowers have an uneasy alliance. Therefore, the Soviets will take care of rebuilding Korea north of the 38th parallel, while the US military will help out in the south.

That fact that two countries are sharing the burden has already caused some tension and violent incidents. On August 29, an American B-29 was flying a goodwill mission to deliver food and medical supplies to Allied prisoners-of-war, in Soviet-controlled territory. As the aircraft approached, it was surrounded by four Soviet fighter jets, who mistakenly opened fire, forcing the American air crew to abandon the plane. 

Fortunately, all the servicemen survived to hear that the Soviets had simply made a mistake, and would issue an apology. With any luck, the two nations will learn to work together.


Ho Chi Minh establishes new country

Hanoi - In the wake of the Japanese surrender, Viet Minh troops poured into Hanoi on August 30. Emperor Bao Dai, who had opposed the group, has fled to the southern city of Saigon. Yesterday the leader of the rebel fighters, Ho Chi Minh (pictured), declared the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The new country comprises the majority of Vietnamese territories north of the 17th parallel.

France is definitely not happy about this, as Vietnam is made up of its territory. Japan took control of the region while France was fighting the Germans in Europe. With the war now over, France is eager to reassert its colonial dominance.

Ho Chi Minh and his new nation have at least one major ally: the United States. As a former colony, the US is sympathetic to the people in the region, and hopes they will remain independent from any colonial takeover for years to come.


Peace talks with rebel communists

Chongqing - Many are wondering if China's civil war will re-ignite, now that the two sides have no common enemy to fight. The war between the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) has led to the death of more than two million people since it began in 1927.

After several attempts at peace, the KMT and CPC joined forces briefly to fight the Japanese. Even then, CPC forces reported ambushes by the KMT that killed thousands of their troops.

The most recent talks took place on August 19, when Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek met in Chongqing to discuss an end to the fighting.

They are expected to meet again in October to finalise the agreement, with hopes of long-lasting peace.

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