Research topic: USA
Since the end of the Cold War, the USA has been the completely dominant military and economic superpower.
The USA’s position as a superpower in competition with the Soviet Union was partly due to rapid economic, technological and military developments during the Second World War and partly to the European superpowers undermining their own position by fighting two world wars for global hegemony. The wars led to Germany’s collapse and the dissolution of the European colonial empires. The Soviets survived for a further fifty years, and contributed to the Soviet Union being able to challenge the USA in the struggle for hegemony.
The USA was a developing superpower from the end of the 1800s, and established itself with its own colonies and territories in the Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean and Southeast Asia. Especially in China, the Americans sought to expand their own power and influence and to limit those of the European empires. They also sought to open colonial empires to American economic and idealistic interests.
After the collapse of Germany in 1945 and the Soviet Army’s dominant position in Europe, the old Western European superpowers invited the USA to contribute to restraining the perceived Soviet threat against the security of the USA and Western civilisation’s possibility to survive. It was the point of departure for the close transatlantic cooperation during the period after 1945, a cooperation which is no longer as close after the disappearance of the Soviet threat. It also has a connection with the USA being a global power, while the old imperial powers in Europe have primarily regional interests to a much greater extent. In relation to the world outside Europe, the positions of the USA and the former European superpowers have been reversed.