Why did the US economy grow in the post-World War II setting?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that the 1950s brought with it unprecedented economic progress because the war generated enough production as the wheels of industry moved after a long silence.  The Great Depression had caused industry to shut down and be invisible.  Yet, the need for war production and consumption helped to restart this process, causing a high level of material prosperity in America following the war.  At the same time, the United States was the unquestioned world economic leader.  Europe had been decimated by World War II, and the new nations that emerged from colonization were fledgling, at best.  Japan was crippled following the dropping of the atomic bombs, and China was not a world power.  The Soviet Union was seen as a militaristic adversary to the United States, but one that could not rival its wealth and material prosperity.  In the end, this world status also contributed to the expansion of the economy because there were new markets to be conquered internationally.  The market for exports was unprecedented as every nation sought to "buy American," for its own nation could not produce what was needed.  These factors led to the United States' economy expanding so quickly in the period after the Second World War.