Post-War Europe 1945–52

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Map Code: Ax01070

After World War II, Europe faced a refugee crisis. The International Refugee Organization was formed in 1946 to manage these displaced persons. The Cold War was just beginning and heightened tension between the Soviet Union and NATO members made discussions about repatriation difficult. Many refugees were Polish, Ukrainian, Yugoslav and from the Baltic states, who had fled the Soviet Red Army or been interned in German labour camps, or kept as prisoners of war. Many returned to the Soviet bloc (voluntarily and involuntarily) but large numbers emigrated or remained in the refugee camps that spread from northern Germany to Sicily. By 1952, 2.2 million Germans, many ex-Nazis, had been repatriated from eastern Europe to Germany. Many thousands of European Jews, survivors of the concentration camps, settled in the new state of Israel, formed in 1948, or made homes in western Europe, South Africa, Australia and the USA.

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