Evaluate the short-term political impact of two wars, each chosen from a different region.

 The 20th century was characterised by monumental conflicts that brought seismic political shifts around the world. The Second World War (1939-1945) and the Vietnam War (1955-1975) were two such conflicts, representing different regions - Europe and Asia respectively. This essay will evaluate the short-term political impacts of these wars, assessing how they catalysed change in the international political order and influenced the domestic politics of nations involved.

The conclusion of the Second World War marked the dawn of a new political era. The world, which had until recently been under the sway of various colonial powers, found itself primarily divided between two superpowers - the United States and the Soviet Union. The Yalta and Potsdam conferences of 1945 underscored this division, as the victors sought to negotiate a peace that would reflect their newfound global influence. The conferences ended with an agreement to divide Germany into four occupation zones, each controlled by an allied power. However, ideological differences between the democratic West and the communist Soviet Union soon hardened into a political stalemate that resulted in the division of Germany into the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in 1949. This was a significant short-term political outcome of the war as it represented a pivotal moment in the inception of the Cold War, which would dominate global politics for the next four decades. Historian John Lewis Gaddis in "The Cold War: A New History," contends that the disagreements at Yalta and Potsdam over the future of Germany were the first signs of the Cold War, illustrating the war's immediate political impact. Within the countries involved in the war, significant political changes were also evident. Britain, having borne the brunt of the war, underwent a political transformation when Winston Churchill, the war-time leader, was voted out of office in July 1945. The Labour Party, under Clement Attlee, rose to power promising social reforms and initiated the development of a welfare state. This demonstrated the extent to which the war had altered Britain's political landscape, leading to shifts in public attitudes towards social justice and welfare. 

Shifting focus to Asia, the Vietnam War had profound short-term political consequences. On an international level, the outcome of the war was a blow to American prestige. The US's failure to prevent the fall of Saigon to communist forces in 1975 led to a reassessment of its foreign policy approach. Domestically, the Vietnam War precipitated a major political crisis in the US. The widespread protests against the war and the public disillusionment following the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers strained the credibility of the US government. The War Powers Act of 1973, which limited the President's ability to commit US forces without Congressional approval, was a direct response to the perceived abuses of executive power during the war. Historian George C. Herring, in his work "America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975," argues that the Vietnam War had a significant short-term impact on American politics, ushering in an era of scepticism towards government, reflecting a marked shift in the relationship between the government and its citizens. In Vietnam, the end of the war in 1975 led to the reunification of North and South Vietnam under communist rule, marking a significant shift in the country's political trajectory. The victory of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces effectively ended over a century of Western influence in Vietnam, dating back to French colonial rule, and marked the start of a new chapter in Vietnam's political history.

In conclusion, the Second World War and the Vietnam War had significant short-term political impacts in their respective regions and beyond. The end of the Second World War marked the beginning of the Cold War era, reshaped the political landscape of Europe, and ushered in political shifts within countries such as Britain. Similarly, the Vietnam War led to substantial political changes, both in the international standing of the US and its domestic politics, and resulted in a significant political shift in Vietnam itself. It is clear from these examples that the impact of war extends beyond the immediate destruction and loss of life, deeply influencing the political trajectories of nations and the global political order.