On August 9th, 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan to force their surrender, officially ending the second World War. Americans took to the streets in celebration as thousands of youth returned home with a sense of new-found patriotism and national identity. After an impressive two-front victory in World War Two, the balance of world power shifted heavily in America’s favor, bringing her to the status of a superpower – one of only two in the world.
With the end of the war came a new era of American consumerism, in which the growing middle class, populated by men returning from war and their child-bearing wives, had more buying power than ever before. This explosion in demand, combined with the mass exodus of women from factory jobs to rear children resulted in a vacuum in the job market, waiting to be filled by the newly-civilian husbands. Lastly, with no war needing to be supplied, the thousands of factories that had been mass producing tanks and bombs could now be used to mass produced cars and appliances for use in all the new middle-class suburbs. This shift in GDP reinforced the U.S.’s military superiority in the world with an economic one.
For kids and teens, this so called “Golden Age of Capitalism” meant that their families, while not necessarily any more affluent, had more disposable income. This is not to say that they were by any means spoiled, but rather they had significantly more means to continue their childhood into their teenage years, as opposed to the depression and war years, when children were forced to grow up as early as 10 years of age to find a job and help support the family. This shift is largely what allowed for the development of what we now call teenagers.
On May 1st, 2004, the European Union inducted ten new members. With this addition they grew larger and more powerful than the United States in nearly if not every respect. The EU now has more trade than the United States, is richer in GDP than the United States, and the European Union has more votes on the Security Council and on every other international body than does the United States. In many ways this marked the official end of United States supremacy and reign as the sole world superpower (4).
Because of this, the next generation of America's youth is going to be forced to take on a new mindset in terms of international status. We are no longer the only superpower and, as such, can non longer act that way - in foreign politics, in trade, in military actions - in anything. We will in stead be required to adopt a much more global, cosmopolitan mindset, and learn to work with our European counterpart.
We also mustn't forget about India and China entering the ring of first-world countries. As each of these countries grows in population, further industrializes, and gains more share in global markets, they may also become world superpowers. this would level the playing field, pulling away from a bipartisan system in which America and Europe control the rest of the world.
In any case, by the time today's youth are America's Senators and CEO's, the world will likely be a very different place.