U.S.: A World Power Between 1890-1974


The path toward the United States emerging as a global power is based primarily on two aspects: industrial capacity and military proliferation. The United States also experienced a dramatic increase in population betwen the years 1890-1974 which enabled an increase in the labor force and in the ranks of the military. Although many observers probably feel that the creation of nuclear weapons must be considered a primary focal point of the emergence of America as a “superpower,” the fact remains that nuclear weapons are only one part of the previously held global position of power that was part of America’s history in the twentieth century. A closely connected influence was, obviously, World War Two because the United States emerged from the war with a mobilized work-force, a strong economy, and a powerful military which was deployed all around the world.

Because so many countries suffered from de-habilitating damage to their  industrial bases during the war, the ascension of the United States as a global power was almost inevitable. Add to this, the fact that NATO and strong alliances with other powerful nations emerged for the United States after World War Two. The combination of a robust economy, a technologically superior military, a strongly functioning and growing infrastructure, and a growing population helped to raise America to the status of a global power. The proliferation of American power also resulted in its ability to tap natural resources domestically and abroad. Due to its powerful military, the United States was able to put forward the beginnings of a global economy that basically served its interests while at the same time protecting its trade-routes and allies. While it would be too simplistic to suggest that American military power was the “reason” for America’s emergence as a superpower between 1890 and 1974, the reality is that America’s strong military was instrumental in preserving the economic and political power that was accumulated during these years.