63 pages 2 hours read

Francis Fukuyama

The End of History and the Last Man

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1992

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Historic Context: The End of the Cold War

Fukuyama wrote and published The End of History and the Last Man at a time of a major transition in the world: the end of the Cold War. His analysis of what he believes to be inexorable historic progress could be described as the initial reaction from the standpoint of Liberal ideology to this paradigm shift. For this reason, it is important to examine the Cold War period and its end in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

When the Second World War ended in 1945, both the Soviet Union and the United States rose to superpower status. During that war, the two countries were part of the Grand Alliance, along with Britain. The alliance had significant ideological differences: Britain was an old colonial power, the U.S. subscribed to liberal-democratic capitalism, and the Soviet Union was socialist (Communist). On an ideological level, the Second World War could also be described as a war between an alliance of Liberalism and Communism against Fascism.  Despite these differences, the Allies were victorious in Europe in May 1945 and in the Asia-Pacific theater in August of that year.