The Rise of a Nation: United States Becomes the Number One Super Power

The United States experienced many different world events that helped propel it to becoming the world’s super power. From the Monroe Doctrine which would help the United States isolate itself from the Colonialism of the European nations and set itself as the super power of the America’s, to the Spanish American War which ended Spanish rule in the America’s as well as helped the United States acquire its own territories, to the first and second World Wars which ultimately bankrupted all of Europe, to the rise and fall of Communism and the ending of the Cold War. So why were these events so important to the rise of the United States?

As the Spanish began losing its territories to independence in Central and South America, the United States adopted the Monroe Doctrine to help isolate these American countries from outside European nations so it could become the dominant nation in the America’s. The Monroe doctrine helped the United States set up puppet nations in Central and South America who were loyal to United States business and political interest. From the Monroe Doctrine many Central American and Southern American countries gained their independence from Spanish rule; the doctrine stated that any European nation that tried to force its rule upon the rebelling central and southern American nations would also have to face United States intervention.

The United States was able to keep these new nations from really prospering while exploiting their natural resources for American business. Take for example the Panama Canal; put in place by the American government and funded by American business. It helped fuel the American economy; as well as showed the United States military might, and made it clear that the Monroe Doctrine was not a joke. This helped the United States become the super power of the America’s. This also helped fuel the start of the Spanish American War. The Spanish American War was the first step to the United States becoming the world power we see it as today. Although the war was short, only lasting 109 days, the United States showed the rest of the European nations that it had a genuine navy by effectively defeating Spanish fleets in the Philippines and Cuba. The Spanish although a crumbling world power at the time was still seen as a powerful force; with the United States ability to defeat a world power it showed the world that the United States was a growing nation: economically, politically, and militarily.

With the Treaty of Paris effectively ending the war the United States also gained some territory from the Spanish including Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam. These islands helped the United States gain strategic military outposts that would prove to be very effective during the next century as the world would experience both world wars as well as the rise and fall of Communism and the ending of the Cold War. At the turn of the 18th century European colonialism was at its height as each nation had stretched its military forces all throughout the world from Africa and all throughout Asia. As alliances and pacts become rampant throughout Europe the breakout of war was becoming more and more eminent. In 1914 that strain broke and World War I began.

Although it was a global war most of the fighting took place in Europe, although there were fighting in Asia as Japan began its military conquest of Asia taking advantage of Russian, American, and Australian involvement in Europe. Isolationist feelings in United States kept the U.S. out of the war until April 1917 a little over a year before the war ended. The United States involvement came by mostly through economic aid to Britain until the suspicious bombing and sinking of the Lusitania. After which the United States shipped forces to help the Triple Entente forces of Britain, France, and Russia. With this late entry American forces didn’t suffer the amount of casualties the other warring nations encountered. Also bombing raids and ground fighting wrecked havoc on Europe and its business industry. Leaving most of Europe struggling against bankruptcy after the war had ended. This helped the United States grow into an economic powerhouse because the U.S. was able to loan money to these rebuilding nations.

Although this prosperity didn’t last and the world went into the great depression in 1929 and lasted until 1940 when the United States began again to aid Allied forces during WWII. The United States began heavy military buildup to Britain and other Allied forces until it was bombed in 1941 by Japan and was forced into the War. Again the United States stayed out of WWII for a long as it could and therefore didn’t lose as many casualties as the other fighting nations. Moreover, like WWI the United States was never attacked on its mainland, just Hawaii. There were no significantly devastated cities like there were in Europe, Russia, and Asia.