Post-World War II Economic Events


After the end of World War II, the United States of Americaexperienced many economic and political changes. Before the war, theUS economy had experienced the great depression for almost twelveyears which was accentuated by the war time regimentation of theeconomy (Vidal, 2015). After the war, US emerged as the worldsuperpower with the best and most powerful military and economicblock. In the following governments, especially during Harry Truman’stenure, national and international security and globalization becamethe centre stage with such programs as Truman Doctrine, Marshall Planand North Atlantic Treaty. The US government also pushed forformation of IMF and World Bank in an attempt to restructure andstabilize international financial arrangements (U.S. Department ofState, 2016).

In order to parallel her international mandate as the superpower, theUS government also enacted many laws to manage domestic economy andensure continued growth. The Employment Act was passed in 1946 topromote employment for the citizens, improve the nation’sproduction and increase the purchasing power of the people. ManyAmericans became white collar workers which led to widespreadformation of workers unions. The nation also experienced majorinternational trade contacts in manufactured goods like electronicsand automobiles (U.S. Department of State, 2016).

The government continued to spend a lot on militarization of defenseorgans through the cold war with Russia where much of the GDP wasspent on scientific and military inventions such as the spaceships,hydrogen bombs and war crafts (Macnair, 2013). The other majorchanges that occurred in post-war period included the Bretton Woodsmonetary system which later collapsed in 1971 baby-boomer periodoil crisis in 1973 and the stock market crash which occurred in1973-74 leading to the concomitant economic recession and collapse ofKeynesian economics at the same period (Macnair, 2013).


Macnair, M. (2013). Keynesianism: Nationalist Ideology. Critique,41(2), 199-213.

U.S. Department of State. (2016). The Post War Economy: 1945-1960.(2016). Web. Retrieved from:

Vidal, M. (2015). Fordism and the Golden Age of Atlantic Capitalism.The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Work and Employment, 283.