The years 1942 to 1946 saw the acceleration of World War II, its conclusion and the construction of a post-war order that was to culminate in the Cold War. Andrew Baker here examines the expansion of US political and economic power and hegemony during this period, and the extent to which smaller states, particularly Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, contested this expansion. The changes most vital to the construction of a new post-war order were a changing balance of power, changing technology (particularly aviation), and the emergence of small states keen to elucidate norms of sovereignty and to protect their property rights in the post-war world. This idea of post-war order challenges the America-centred 'Cold War world' as a characterisation of post-war politics by proposing an economic and political framework which helps explain the evolution of an international society based around sovereign states. Andrew Baker considers the contribution of small states - especially the former 'white dominion states' - to wartime negotiations and conferences. While these states were unable to impose their preferences on the great powers, they were often able to make contributions at important points which collectively helped fashion a post-war framework more conducive to the rights of states than to empires; they also structured their relations with the great powers in a way that was to prove advantageous to other post-colonial states. What was distinctive about this post-war order was precisely that Americans did not found a new empire, while the origins of the Cold War lay in the Soviet determination to do so. This did not necessarily reflect any greater American virtue; Americans were simply more successful at adapting themselves to the technological and political realities they found while competing for influence in the shattered periphery of European world order. This original and important analysis of the period immediately after World War II will appeal to scholars and students of history and international relations, as well as those interested in the political economy of the post-war world.
Constructing a Post-war Order
The Rise of US Hegemony and the Origins of the Cold War