Rise of Superpowers After WWII

Essay by Anarchy123Junior High, 8th gradeA+, May 2004

download word file, 15 pages 4.0

Downloaded 119 times

It is often wondered how the superpowers achieved their position

of dominance. It seems that the maturing of the two superpowers,

Russia and the United States, can be traced to World War II. To be a

superpower, a nation needs to have a strong economy, an overpowering

military, immense international political power and, related to this,

a strong national ideology. It was this war, and its results, that

caused each of these superpowers to experience such a preponderance of

power. Before the war, both nations were fit to be described as great

powers, but it would be erroneous to say that they were superpowers at

that point.

To underezd how the second World War impacted these nations so

greatly, we must examine the causes of the war. The United States

gained its strength in world affairs from its status as an economic

power. In the years before the war, America was the world's largest

producer. In the USSR at the same time, Stalin was implementing his

'five year plans' to modernise the Soviet economy. From these

situations, similar foreign policies resulted from widely divergent


Roosevelt's isolationism emerged from the wide and prevalent

domestic desire to remain neutral in any international conflicts. It

commonly widely believed that Americans entered the first World War

simply in order to save industry's capitalist investments in Europe.

Whether this is the case or not, Roosevelt was forced to work with an

inherently isolationist Congress, only expanding its horizons after

the bombing of Pearl Harbour. He signed the Neutrality Act of 1935,

making it illegal for the United States to ship arms to the

belligerents of any conflict. The act also stated that belligerents

could buy only non-armaments from the US, and even these were only to

be bought with cash.

In contrast,