period between 1945 and 1968 saw the first stage of United
States global hegemony and domestic affluence. This status
was achieved largely because of participation in the Allied
victory in World War II, the massive strength of the U.S.
economy in 1945, in contrast to the rest of the world, and
the possession of the atomic bomb. That post-war period was
characterized by the rapid expansion of U.S. state and corporate
economic interests throughout the capitalist world and continued
economic growth. Furthermore, the United States represented
approximately 4% of the world's population, but controlled
over 50% of the world's resources. Explicated, U.S. policy-makers
had the luxury to make political decisions while commanding
an expanding economy and were faced with very few international
constraints. This meant Washington had access to enough resources
to facilitate large profits for corporations, promote a "full
employment" economy (considered to be no less than 3%
unemployment) with high-wages, and expand military and social
spending (guns and butter).
was also an attitude prevalent in the late 1950's and the
first half of the 1960's, owing to the power the U.S. enjoyed,
that the state could afford reform, thus allowing it to incorporate
(or co-opt) disenfranchised groups without significant social
upheaval. In 1945, the U.S. also assumed the role of global
policeman to protect the overall interests of world capitalism.
This was implemented through anti-communist policies (and
rhetoric) which aimed to isolate the Soviet Union and prevent
social revolutions in the Third World. This animation displays
the ideological strains situated along the liberal spectrum
in America between 1945-1968.