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11-08-2015, 19:35

The United States

As soon as the Germans surrendered, Truman cutoffLend- Lease to Russia. Stalin's protests revealed the fundamental difference in actual power between the two countries. The American giant overflowed with prosperity and optimism. The population had grown in the war despite the death toll and the mobilization of millions of men. Full employment had been achieved. National income had doubled in five years and the national budget was balanced, although national debt had quadrupled. Production had advanced in every sector, 33 per cent in agriculture, 40 per cent in petroleum, 400 per cent in iron ore. Ninty-five million tons of steel left the furnaces. The shipyards were launching two times as many ships each year as were sunk by the German submarines during the worst days of the Battle of the Atlantic. America had become the largest naval power in the world, and she had almost a monopoly on intercontinental air navigation. Bv the end of the war 60 per cent of the world's gold reserves were lodged in the reserve banks of the United States, and the dollar was the only gold-based currency left. Although commercial overproduction yielded large surpluses, and profits were large, wealth was unevenly distributed. Workers' standard of living had improved, but they objected to huge profits distributed by manv businesses. Some regions, the South in particular, were slightly poorer at the end of the war. Some sectors of the population - Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and the French Canadians —were relatively deprived and underdeveloped. The American influence prevailed throughout the world. Everyone owed America something. Canada and South America were completely under her power, although South America did not adjust easily to the American way of life, which benefited only a privileged minority of the population. At the end of the war, many soldiers returned with the idea that an era had ended, that America would turn her back on the world and settle down again to isolationist indifference. Her leaders, including President Truman, were uncertain how to proceed, but America was now too large a power to escape heavy foreign commitments. She still had to come to terms with this. The end of the war marked the rise of a new form of American involvement, in Asia especially, as well as in Europe.