The United States of America, being away from the main theatres of war, had faced an excellent opportunity to advance in political and economical power in the postwar world. The least military casualties among the Allies and Axis either, a never-ruined industry that had advanced rapidly due to the large numbers of government military orders, an untouched infrastructure and weakening of political and economical rivals had brought the opportunity to become the dominant power in the world for the USA. And due to effective steps taken by the Government this opportunity was not lost.
World War II and its aftermath had the United States emerge as a developing world power. Answer: True World War II and several years after the War have changed position of the United States on political and economical maps of the world greatly. There are several major reasons why the United States has met the opportunity to advance in power and to become one of the ultimate forces in the world. The first reason is that the United States had never seen enemy troops on its territory during the World War II.
There were no devastating battles on the US lands, no occupation, so the military and civil infrastructure of the USA remained unharmed, whereas the USSR and European allies faced a situation that was quite the contrary. Their territories were often ravaged, cities and villages destroyed by heavy bombing, important industrial objects and transportation networks seriously damaged or destroyed entirely in battles or later, during the time of occupation. The United States was among the countries with the lowest casualties. According to “The History Place” (http://www.
historyplace. com) US casualties were roughly 0. 4% of prewar population of the country, or 500 000 of men. All of these were military casualties, and, unlike the other Allies nor Axis countries, there were no civilian casualties in the USA. Concerning the economical situation, the United States, being far away from the main theatres of war, had made good use of the situation and reached an extraordinarily high production rate growth. Lend-lease military supplies were an inexhaustible source of orders for industrial companies.
It is not surprising, so, that during the war years, industrial production and national income of the USA have doubled, according to Visualizing Economics. At the end of the World War II, the United States had successfully accumulated two thirds of the world’s gold reserves and the industrial production of the USA came to two thirds of the world’s. According to Alan S. Milward (1979), “the United States emerged in 1945 in an incomparably stronger position economically than in 1941″…
By 1945 the foundations of the United States’ economic domination over the next quarter of a century had been secured”. The US was also undoubtedly techonogically superior to the rest of the world, as well. By the end of the War, US dollar was the most stable currency, and so it became the world’s main circulating medium on an equal level with gold. That was the introduction of so-called “gold-dollar standard”, and, with establishment of the International Monetary Fund it brought the USA one step closer to becoming the world’s most powerful country.
According to Economic History, “Even before the war ended, the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 determined key aspects of international economic affairs by establishing standards for currency convertibility and creating institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the precursor of the World Bank. ”
And the economical aids to Europe and Japan (the so-called “Marshall Plan”) helped dominate the world economically even more: American aid to Europe ($13 billion via the Economic Recovery Program (ERP) or “Marshall Plan,” 1947-1951) and Japan ($1.8 billion, 1946-1952) furthered this goal by tying the economic reconstruction of West Germany, France, Great Britain, and Japan to American import and export needs. In postwar years, the USA took an active part in creation of international political and military blocks – the United Nations Organization (UNO) and the Northern-Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the latter as counterbalance for the growing influence of the USSR in the Eastern and Central Europe.
Thus, all the premises confirm the statement that United States in the postwar years took first steps to becoming the dominating world power country.
1. Milward, Alan S. War, Economy, and Society, 1939-1945. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979. 2. The History Place (www. historyplace. com) (n. d. ) Statistics of World War II (Including the European and Pacific Theaters) Retrieved December 17, 2007 from http://www.historyplace. com/worldwar2/timeline/statistics. htm 3. Visualizing Economics (http://visualizingeconomics. com) August 15, 2006 Average Income in the United States. Retrieved December 18, 2007 from http://visualizingeconomics. com/2006/08/15/average-income-in-the-united-states/ 4. Economic History (http://eh. net) The American Economy during World War II. Retrieved December 18, 2007 from http://eh. net/encyclopedia/article/tassava. WWII