Why weren't Britain and Germany a Superpower after WW2? Watch

HenryKenry
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why was the USSR and America?


Also was USSR and America classed as superpowers STRAIGHT after the war or did it take a few years?
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by HenryKenry)
why was the USSR and America?


Also was USSR and America classed as superpowers STRAIGHT after the war or did it take a few years?
Germany wasn't a super power as it was a broken ruin divided into 4 zones of occupation.

We (the uk) were bankrupt but bowed out of the superpower stakes on a high.

America and Russia because they had large standing army's and huge resources to back it up. (America, financially, technologically and with the nuclear bomb. Russo because of it large military footprint.
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MrJAKEE
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Multiple factors (essentially what mature student said).

Britain (and Germany) were essentially bankrupt.

Britain was only a superpower because it had an empire (primarily India but also Australia, Canada etc). It had a relatively strong economy and control of a vast amount of people prior to the war but due to the war effort Britain didn't have the resources to defend other territories (leading for these territories to defend themselves), but also lead to other cases of say, mass famines (like the Bengal famine). It lead to independence movements in countries like India (Gandhi etc) and made Britain's control over these countries untenable. It consequently lost these territories and so global influence. Our domestic economy was also quite terrible, leading to things like the Marshall Plan where the Americans lent large amounts of money to European countries. We essentially became subservient to the Americans (way before 1945 btw) and lost a lot of integrity and influence. The global political scene became more about East vs West too, so the US and USSR were the key countries involved.

I would have said that we were still a 'great power'. We eventually developed nukes and had a large intelligence network. Former territories looked at Britain as a model for democracy and saw it as some sort of paternal figure. We still had some sort of influence in those countries.
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The_Mighty_Bush
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There was no way Germany could be a superpower with all the laws and restrictions against it. They had half of their country given over to the communists.
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Howard
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Well, Germany got flattened and Britain ended up practically bankrupt.
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Howard
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(Original post by MrJAKEE)
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Multiple factors (essentially what mature student said).

Britain (and Germany) were essentially bankrupt.

Britain was only a superpower because it had an empire (primarily India but also Australia, Canada etc). It had a relatively strong economy and control of a vast amount of people prior to the war but due to the war effort Britain didn't have the resources to defend other territories (leading for these territories to defend themselves), but also lead to other cases of say, mass famines (like the Bengal famine). It lead to independence movements in countries like India (Gandhi etc) and made Britain's control over these countries untenable. It consequently lost these territories and so global influence. Our domestic economy was also quite terrible, leading to things like the Marshall Plan where the Americans lent large amounts of money to European countries. We essentially became subservient to the Americans (way before 1945 btw) and lost a lot of integrity and influence. The global political scene became more about East vs West too, so the US and USSR were the key countries involved.

I would have said that we were still a 'great power'. We eventually developed nukes and had a large intelligence network. Former territories looked at Britain as a model for democracy and saw it as some sort of paternal figure. We still had some sort of influence in those countries.
Correct. Britain lost it's world power status long before WWII came along. It began to wane in the 1880's and by the time it got to other side of WWI it was seriously compromised as world power.
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Observatory
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Britain was considered a superpower for about 5-10 years after the war. This rested in large part on the assumption that the Commonwealth would remain united and distinct from the United States. That assumption proved to be mistaken, but if we grant it then calling the British Commonwealth a superpower is not so unreasonable. A combined Commonwealth nation-state consisting of perhaps the UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand would have had a GDP roughly equivalent to that of the USSR or Japan, and bigger than Germany, without the military and foreign policy restrictions of the latter two. The US would still have been clearly ahead, but the British Commonwealth would have been more than just a European power, with a strong voice of its own and capable of pursuing independent policy.

The main reason this didn't happen is that the non-UK parts of the Commonwealth were not very much interested in pursuing an independent policy. It was therefore more convenient for them to align with the United States, and forgo paying for their own defence.

The first modern use of the term superpower to mean the US, USSR, and British Commonwealth appeared before the war even ended, but after it had become clear that the United Nations were going to win, in 1944. It's worth pointing out that at this time one obtained superpower status almost by default - of the pre-war powers (US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, USSR, Japan) the three superpowers were simply the only ones which had not been conquered or would not soon be conquered.

Germany obviously was not a superpower - or even a sovereign country - because it lost the war.
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