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Thread: Why did America become the worlds richest/most powerful country after WW2?

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    Why did America become the worlds richest/most powerful country after WW2?

    What is it that fundamentally makes a country rich and powerful? why was it that the United States was able to become the richest, most powerful nation in the world as the 20th century progressed. is it purely and simply Americas vast size meaning it has the most natural resources in the world? was it Americas capitalist system which got the best out of the nations economic potential? is America more endowed with water and good, green farm-able land (as opposed to lets say its largely arid/barren but equally huge neighbour canada)?

    What are the main factors involved in a country rich, prosperous and powerful? is it: GEOGRAPHICAL SIZE? POPULATION SIZE? BEING OIL-RICH? GOOD CLIMATE? GOOD ARABLE/FARMING LAND? BIG BUSINESS CAPITALISM? GOOD TRANSPORT LINKS? STRATEGIC GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION? MILITARY POWER? GOOD TOURISM? GOOD EDUCATION SYSTEM? DID WW2 BASICALLY SEND THE EUROPEAN POWERS & JAPAN BACK 50 YEARS (bare in mind USA protected by 2 vast oceans was untouched)?

    discuss............

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    Senior Member Dr Sampson Simpson's Avatar
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    Many factors. For one, our country had all the resources it need. Lush, fertile land for foood, vast spaces, mining, oil, etc. Europe was destroyed, we were the largest producers since their country was in shambles. Our country was intact. We were booming from the war as we produced so many weapons.

    I also think that was the start of US meddling in foreign affairs to make sure we secured other resources, we were the top dog, we got deals on particular products, etc

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    Moderator highway234's Avatar
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    ever read "guns germs and steel"? it's not a coincidence that the big powers of the last century -- the US and the USSR -- were both large countries with lots of arable land, a variety of natural resources, and a significant longitudinal breadth (in other words, both the US and USSR are/were wider than they are "tall," which means that they both have a great deal of land with similar climate).

    it's also not a coincidence that these two nations, so blessed geographically, have at one point or another adopted the attitude that they were the greatest nation on earth and indispensible on the imaginary path to utopia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by highway234 View Post
    ever read "guns germs and steel"? it's not a coincidence that the big powers of the last century -- the US and the USSR -- were both large countries with lots of arable land, a variety of natural resources, and a significant longitudinal breadth (in other words, both the US and USSR are/were wider than they are "tall," which means that they both have a great deal of land with similar climate).

    it's also not a coincidence that these two nations, so blessed geographically, have at one point or another adopted the attitude that they were the greatest nation on earth and indispensible on the imaginary path to utopia.
    Fascinating book, read it a good many years ago.

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    Senior Member Dr.Gently's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detetive Mike Logan View Post
    What is it that fundamentally makes a country rich and powerful? why was it that the United States was able to become the richest, most powerful nation in the world as the 20th century progressed. is it purely and simply Americas vast size meaning it has the most natural resources in the world? was it Americas capitalist system which got the best out of the nations economic potential? is America more endowed with water and good, green farm-able land (as opposed to lets say its largely arid/barren but equally huge neighbour canada)?

    What are the main factors involved in a country rich, prosperous and powerful? is it: GEOGRAPHICAL SIZE? POPULATION SIZE? BEING OIL-RICH? GOOD CLIMATE? GOOD ARABLE/FARMING LAND? BIG BUSINESS CAPITALISM? GOOD TRANSPORT LINKS? STRATEGIC GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION? MILITARY POWER? GOOD TOURISM? GOOD EDUCATION SYSTEM? DID WW2 BASICALLY SEND THE EUROPEAN POWERS & JAPAN BACK 50 YEARS (bare in mind USA protected by 2 vast oceans was untouched)?

    discuss............
    Europe was reduced to ashes, an entire generation of men women and children decimated. Asia was reduced to ashes, an entire generation of men women and children wiped out. The US lost 1700 civilians and apart form the Pearl Harbour bombings was completely untouched. Total US losses were 0.32 percent of population. That's huge, we couldn't imagine losing that many people in a war today.

    0.32% of population.

    Hungary lost 6%
    Japan lost 4%
    Greece lost 11%
    Soviet Union lost 13% of its population.

    Of Allied lives lost, 58% were civilian. More civilians died than military, more civilian wounded than military, and almost none of those civilian casualties were American. Less than a percent. The destruction to infrastructure, again, except the relatively inconsequential attack on Pearl Harbour, occured completely outside of America.

    US and Canadian soldiers foguth, and then came home to their homes and families. Europeans and Asians didn't do that. They fought and then had no homes and no families left.

    There's no comparison to the desctruction Europe and Asia experienced during the war. The US (and Canada, Aus, NZ), on the other hand, came out wealthier and with vastly more infrastructure and development than we'd had before.

    US, Can, Auz and NZ actually profited from the war and came out of it stronger and wealthier. We had 50 years before anyone else could even BEGIN to rebuild enough to catch up. And with half of both other continents Communist... that's a recipe for success for new World anglos.

    It's not a shocking failure if Europe and Asia regain their former influence. It's a normalization after such wholesale destruction.

    If WW2 had taken place in North America, the results would have been opposite.

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    Moderator highway234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Gently View Post
    If WW2 had taken place in North America, the results would have been opposite.
    this would make a great alternate history! has anything like that ever been written, i wonder?

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    Senior Member Dr Sampson Simpson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highway234 View Post
    ever read "guns germs and steel"? it's not a coincidence that the big powers of the last century -- the US and the USSR -- were both large countries with lots of arable land, a variety of natural resources, and a significant longitudinal breadth (in other words, both the US and USSR are/were wider than they are "tall," which means that they both have a great deal of land with similar climate).

    it's also not a coincidence that these two nations, so blessed geographically, have at one point or another adopted the attitude that they were the greatest nation on earth and indispensible on the imaginary path to utopia.
    Yup, good book. I thought it was a bit long winded. By the end of it I was like "OK, I get the point". And makes perfect sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by highway234 View Post
    ever read "guns germs and steel"? it's not a coincidence that the big powers of the last century -- the US and the USSR -- were both large countries with lots of arable land, a variety of natural resources, and a significant longitudinal breadth (in other words, both the US and USSR are/were wider than they are "tall," which means that they both have a great deal of land with similar climate).

    it's also not a coincidence that these two nations, so blessed geographically, have at one point or another adopted the attitude that they were the greatest nation on earth and indispensible on the imaginary path to utopia.
    Guns, Germs and Steel is an excellent documentary also! He explains how one group of humans can develop certain technologies and advancements and others can't. It certainly has nothing to do with the intelligence of different groups of people.

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    Senior Member Moorhuhn Wanted Champion Hollywood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highway234 View Post
    this would make a great alternate history! has anything like that ever been written, i wonder?
    There's an author by the last name of Turtledove that more or less specializes in the alternative history theme. Don't know if he's tackled that particular premise but he did write a book based on the premise of what would have happened to the U.S., and the world in general, had the C.S.A. fought the Union to a cease-fire type of situation such as North Korea/South Korea with frequent outbreaks of fighting. The energy and assests of BOTH sides being consumed by the constant conflict.
    Interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by highway234 View Post
    this would make a great alternate history! has anything like that ever been written, i wonder?
    That would make a great premise to a book! I'm not aware of any book written concerning that subject matter.

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