How Did USA and USSR Become Superpowers?


  • Industrial strength, 2nd largest economy, military strength and harsh authoritarian regime to increase economic production.



  • World’s largest economy and had resources such as steel production, oil fields, coalfields, grain and arable areas and east west rain, east coat to export to Europe.


How Did They Maintain Their Influence?


  • Military, dictatorship, harsh punishments if people didn’t work and worship Stalin, series of 5-year plans, state-controlled farm production to supply food to cities and support from foreign countries; China supported communism.



  • Produced goods and finance to help rebuild Europe after WW2, US dollars was world’s major currency, produced 25% of global GDP and military; helped countries close to communist areas to stop them falling for communism.


Dates They Were Superpower

  • USSR – Stalin 1922-1953, break up of communism in 1991 and USA – 1940s to


IMF Prevented Communism Spreading

  • Gave loans to countries suffering after WW2, stop the countries going to communism and created capitalist societies.


How Successful in Singapore?

  • Very successful rapid recovery of economy and became one of the ‘Asian Tigers’.


How Successful in Japan?

  • Rapid recovery of economy, rising living standards, political stability, power to parliament instead of dictator, broke up powerful interest groups and Japan overtook USSR in 2nd largest economy.


Colonial Rule

  • Imperialism a relationship of political, economic or cultural control between geographical locations including the EU.
  • Colonialism the political rule of a nation by another nation like the British colony over South Africa
  • Colonisation the physical settling of people from a colonial power within their colony such as British people going to live and work in India when they were a colony of Britain.


The British Empire

  • 1600 – 1850 “The Mercantilist phase”.
  • Small colonies set up on coastal fringes and islands, defended by forts.
  • Focus on trade, slaves and raw materials.
  • 1850 – 1945 “The Imperial phase” and coastal colonies extended inland.
  • British culture and religion introduced to colonies.
  • Government and institutions set up to rule Colonial population.
  • Development of more complex trade networks and use of technology to connect distant parts of the empire.


Why Did the British Empire Slowly Decline?

  • After WW2, UK became bankrupt and unable to support the Empire
  • Anti-Colonial movements grew with most colonies independent by 1970.


China – New Superpower?

  • China is growing at 6-7% (2012) and exerting a powerful influence upon the global economy. Significant impact upon America, Europe and Japan in terms of manufacturing, employment and economic arrangements.


What Has Made China So Successful?

  • High population with a large labour force, central location for trade. huge market, large land mass with space to manufacture and cheap labour.


China’s ‘Open door policy’ to Overseas Investment

  • Encourage businesses, accumulate wealth by producing goods and services, capitalist society, 60% increase in world trade and now overtaken USA as world’s largest consumer.


Economic History

  • In the past their main influence was called Mao, and they tried to be self-sufficient, communist.
  • New leader tried to reform China into capitalist state and trade with the rest of the world.




  • China want to have dominant role in the car industry.
  • Chinese car industry is growing by 4% whilst the rest of the world is declining
  • They trade in US dollar, so they can invest in world markets.
  • In 2009, imports of iron ore increased by 41%, copper by 140%, coal by 300% and aluminum by 400%.



  • China plans 85 000 km express ways, connecting Beijing to seven major cities.
  • Building 4000km each year and bringing employment to rural regions.



  • USA rely on China to produce and pearl River Delta is main area for manufacturing, with 18 million people working.


Special Economic Zone (SEZ)

  • Established May 1980, Shenzhen- main zone due to proximity to Hong Kong, 90% of workers are migrants and 4th largest GDP in China.


Successful Reforms?

  • Economic reform introduced in late 1970s, period of spectacular growth.
  • GDP grown average 9.6% between 1979-1993, global average of 2.6%.
  • GDP quadrupled over 15 years- also improved status as trading nation.