World War two was to a large extent a conflict betwee the two newly-established ideologies of national-socialism and marxism. In spite of heavy casualties, the USSR was an absolute winner and decided to cash in on it's triumph by forcefully imposing it's worldview on Eastern Europe. Christianity and judaism were nor formally banned but had many informal obstacles set before them. Church property was being confiscated and priests arrested on trumped-up charges...The main historical paradox is that such represion in the long run saved christian churches from the fate they now experience in the west. I will return to that a bit later...Soviet propaganda, besides pointing out correctly that it was their country that bore the brunt of the war effort, represented it's ideology as the only possible of fascism and nazism which marxists represented as the extreme product of "capitalist imperialism" which ruled US and Britain.
In western Europe there was still religious freedo. Although the horrors of war and concentration camps lead to a new re-considerations of existing values such thought did not catch root in a large part of the population in spite of the successes communist and other leftist parties in the first post-war elections which were a result of the victorious euphoria exported from the east. What was lacking, however, was an objective analysis of the causes of the secodn war by the western scientific elite which gave way to leftist interpretations. To the left, especially communists, it was not just fascist and nazi ideologies and their abuse of national feelings that were the main culprits for the war but nationalism and national feelings in general. They were proclaimed "аatavistic" and "a genrator of violent behaviour". The logical solution which would bring peace to mankind was self-evident: a break with national roots and the creation of the "citizen of the world". This coincided well with the marxist theory of "proletaire internationalism".
These ideas found fertile ground among the generations born during and right after World war two. Since they were witness to death, destruction and poverty during a very sensitive period of human development their goal became never to go through the hardships of early life again. After finding the root cause of all the trouble in the world in the nation and nationalism they set upon changing it as they saw fit. Concepts such as patroitism, faith, honour, loyalty, morality, were to be cast into the ash-heaps of history since they restrained human expression and divided people and were the basis of all historical conflict. For that end no means was off-limits. It is little wonder that these people were the pounding fist of the 1968 revolution.
The revolution had failed, but their most unrelenting opponents were not quitting. Although from the outside it had seemed that they cooled down and accepted reality they just started to realize their ideas by different means. They decided to take down the "system" from within, by infiltrating political mainstream and especially education institutions in accordance with guidelines set by the Italian marxist Antonio Gramsci. Soon the "68ers" began indoctrinating the future intellectual elite. They were teaching, and still teach, that christian morality is backwards and repressive, that national feelings are a source of criminal instincts and that their ancestors were savages and murderers. With such a worldview, students inherited the positions of their professors and what is more important inflitrated the mass media and reached the broad population . With subtle and other methods(such as branding their opponents fascists and racists) they killed any real debate and got a monopoly in the public. They created a guilt complex in the western nations over colonialism and world wars and any display of national feelings outside the boundaries of political correctness were deemed as racism. Concepts such as sovereignety, national culture and independence were proclaimed obsolete and were replaced with the "ideals of world community", which were set up slowly and gradually creating the impression that they were always there as an integral part of life.
While in the west there was still a facade of political and religious freedoms, east was run by evident marxist dictatorships which used brutal methods to supress traditional values and cultures of peoples they ruled over. This gave birth to a natural resistance of a part of the population which kept connection with their traditions in a semi-legal way. The social and economic insustainability of the marxist ideology lead to the fall of communism and a Christian renaissance in post-communist countries. In this lies the paradox I mentioned earlier,about communism that saved christianity in the long run.
Eastern European countries, however, were not aware of the radical spiritual changes the west has experienced. As far as what they knew of the west, the time has stopped in 1945. Uncritical rush towards the victors of the Cold war lead to more misunderstandings between East and West.
(to be continued)