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Before 1959


  • During the Second World War, the birth rate, after a clear decline during the harsh years of the economic crisis, again increased markedly. Demographers referred to the phenomenon as the Baby Boom.
  • The end of the Second World War marked the onset of what the French referred to as "the thirty glorious years" (1945-1975) and the Americans as "the golden age". The period was characterized by the emergence of an affluent society, sustained economic growth and relatively low unemployment.
  • Everywhere in the Western World, the postwar period heralded social and political reformism. Governments were called upon to oversee the economic and social security of their populations and take an active part in national economic planning. It was the birth of the welfare state.
  • As soon as the 1939-1945 conflict was over, the world embarked on what historian Eric J. Hobsbawm referred to as the Third World War, or Cold War, during which friction between the two super powers, the URSS and the United States, reached new heights.

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