Effects of World War 1 And 2 on America: Economic and Social
One of the prevailing premises of modern times states that wars accompanied by its associated military spending have crafted positive economic outcomes for the American economy in addition to improving the country’s social and global perspective as a ‘superpower’. Since the turn of the 20th century, the U.S has taken part in an estimated 41 international wars from Border War in 1910 to the Yemen civil war that remains active to date. However, the war period between 1914 and 1945 seems to have the greatest impact on the US profile
From an economic point of view, it may be complicated to justify war particularly when casualties are involved. Nevertheless, as indicated by Tanzi (1983), the U.S exports earning to Europe in 1917 were estimated at $4.062 billion as opposed to$1.479 billion in 1913. Additionally, during the time the unemployment fell considering that in total 4,791,172 Americans served in World War I (Barro, 1989). Over the period between 1916 and 1918 when the U.S actively participated in WW1, federal spending rose from $477 million to$8,450 million respectively (Broadberry and Harrison, 2005). A similar trend can be seen during the WW2 period, a time when the nation was still recovering from the great depression. As narrated by Barro (1989), prior to the U.S involvement in WW2, which the country officials greatly avoided, the unemployment rate was estimated at 25%; however, over the involvement of the war, factories were restocked in an effort to produce goods for the forces abroad subsequently unemployment dropped to 10% in the process. As indicated by Broadberry and Harrison (2005) the U.S GDP rose by about 17% in 1942 due to the increase in federal spending; nevertheless, investment and consumption rates contracted in the process particularly due to the government’s tendency to control raw material.
The war period between 1914 and 1945 saw the United States cement itself a social power. According to Meyer, Boli, Thomas, and Ramirez, (1997), the U.S asserted itself as a country of social order from the moment it joined the War as well as the ‘League of Nations’ in 1920. The U.S constant fight against fascism and communism during the war period saw the country be a symbol of freedom. According to Nedelmann and Sztompka, (1993), the World War 1 and 2 played a significant role in most nations looking for help from the U.S a factor that contributed to the nations official critics for not intervening in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Barro, R. J. (1989). The Ricardian approach to budget deficits. Journal of Economic perspectives, 3(2), 37-54. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jep.3.2.37
Broadberry, S., & Harrison, M. (Eds.). (2005). The economics of world war I. Cambridge University Press. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=rpBbX3kdnhgC&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=US+federal+spending+during+world+war+1&ots=aA6G-5GeIF&sig=GeDDWXJwmlA39Xqu4XzKrP_302A
Meyer, J. W., Boli, J., Thomas, G. M., & Ramirez, F. O. (1997). World society and the nation-state. American Journal of sociology, 103(1), 144-181. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/231174
Nedelmann, B., & Sztompka, P. (Eds.). (1993). Sociology in Europe: In search of identity. Walter de Gruyter. https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=_Y-DJdUWcFMC&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=world+war+1+sociology&ots=91t6mvKXt-&sig=VnzYlGRCW7GLxcht1uTYWZO7VPU&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=world%20war%201%20sociology&f=false
Tanzi, V. (1983). The underground economy in the United States: annual estimates, 1930-80. Staff Papers, 30(2), 283-305. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2307/3867001