America as a superpower proved itself to be great by being resilient in times of great crisis. Coming out from Great Depression to face a war, America emerged to become the greatest country in the world. But its place as a superpower was threatened by its involvement in the Vietnam War where it lost. Just when everyone thought that America’s greatness will be short lived after losing to the Vietnam War, it proved to be resilient as it recovered quickly and moved on to continue to become the world’s greatest country until today.
There is no question that America is considered to be the world’s greatest country especially in the 1960s. in the 1960s, America was the world’s undisputed superpower both in its economic and military might. From its pastoral economy, it rose to become an industrial country and emerged as an economic and military superpower after the Second World War due to a combination of favorable factors and implementation of good policies. Before the Second World War, America was reeling from the Great Depression where its economy nearly collapsed if not have totally collapsed. By a stroke of genius and good governance, its President then Theodore Roosevelt implemented the New Deal policy where government launched various program to stimulate the economy by increased expenditure on infrastructures and hiring more people to have jobs. The initiative flourished when World War Two broke out as if fueled the military industry in America and created more jobs. The war also intensified research and development in America where it spilled over to the private sector creating new industries and competitive products that were military in origin. The government also supported the private initiative of its entrepreneurs allowing them to flourish which eventually made America the economic and military superpower in the 1960s.
The Second World War may have been favorable for America but not the Vietnam War. Unlike the Second World War where it had a popular support from its citizens, the Vietnam War was largely unpopular where it was met with countless protest back home. The war in Vietnam did not have popular support because it was perceived to be an unnecessary war and only an exercise of American interventionism to contain communism against its perceived threat against US interest. It was also considered one of the costliest war of America where it suffered huge casualties totaling to 58,000 American deaths. Worst, America lost the war in Vietnam (Morelock). The damage of the war took toll on America not only in terms in human life but also in its economy that America’s soar to greatness was deemed to be short lived as it now heads towards falling down. This perspective that America may have already fell down from its position as an economic and military superpower after the Vietnam war is not without basis as great civilizations usually ends or lose their place in the world once they lose a war.
America however, showed that it is truly a great country as it proved to be resilient in dealing with crisis. While it may have suffered tremendously (both in economic and political terms) during the Vietnam War which ended in its defeat, America was not totally damaged as the war was located overseas particularly in Vietnam. True, its finances bled spending more than $120 billion for the war that dragged on from 1965-1973 that caused inflation in America (history.com) and have suffered political backlash after the Vietnam war as its people became bitterly divided about the war. But the engine that propels American growth is still intact. Its industries are still flourishing and American ingenuity still abounds which makes it economy grow. Its citizens may have been divided and its coffers were severely depleted by the cost of the Vietnam War but over time, it was able to recover as it has the means and industries to recoup its losses. The political backlash that was suffered during the Vietnam War was also forgotten with other bigger achievements. Eventually, America moved on to retain its place as the world’s greatest country in the world both in economic and military terms.
In conclusion, the 1960s was a pivotal period for America for it was the time when it became the greatest country in the world both in economic and military terms. This period was also one of the most challenging times in America because it engaged in an unpopular war that cost it a lot of money and human lives. American economy suffered after the war due to its massive spending and caused severe inflation and made American lives difficult. It also suffered from the embarrassment of losing a war to a small country. Losing Vietnam War however, is not enough for America to fall down as it proved its greatness by its resiliency. It learned its lesson from the Vietnam War and moved on and its strong economy helped America to recover where it still remains to be the greatest country on earth until today.
- History.com Staff. (2009). Vietnam War.
- History.com Staff. (2009). New Deal.
- Strategy for Failure: America’s War in Vietnam. (2017, May 11).