As we have seen, the nature of the modern world had been brought into sharper focus as a result of the First World War and its influence over developments in the next two decades. Old patterns of political, social and economic domination had been undermined; beliefs, both religious and secular, had been thrown into disarray and new channels of thought and expression had been developed. The USSR, under Bolshevik and Stalinist control, had emerged as a major industrial and ideological power in the east of Europe. National Socialism in Germany, Fascism in Italy, and similar right-wing radical movements throughout Europe turned not only against socialism, with its international outlook, but also the liberal democratic regimes which represented in concrete terms the ideals embodied in the post-war settlement. Germany, after 1933, posed a continuous challenge to the territorial provisions of the Versailles Treaty. Meanwhile in Asia, Japan, an Allied Power in the First World War, began to establish a power basis on the continental mainland, in Manchuria and China, posing a potential threat to the west European imperial powers, and the position of the United States in the Pacific.
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