Figure 3 shows the changes of global economic power over time. There are many reasons for the shifts in economic power such as the Second World War and the collapse of the British Empire.
In 1913, Britain had a GDP almost twice the size of The USA's and made up 37% of the world's economy. By 1950, Britain's economic influence had decreased, its GDP now making up only 7% of the global economy. During this period The USA had become the world's largest economic power, making up 27% of the world's economy compared to the 19% in 1913. The First and Second World Wars that occurred during the British Imperial Era may explain the decline of Britain as an economic power by 1950. During these wars, Britain had to invest heavily in munitions and equipment, borrowing heavily from the US to help fund its expenditure. With Britain indebted to America, and struggling to maintain an empire after the economic impact of the Second World War, it is unsurprising to see a decline in Britain's economic strength, with an increase in American economic influence. During the Cold War era, the USA's economic position may have been strengthened due to its increasing political influence as one of the world's leading powers alongside The USSR, which had a GDP that made up 10% of the world's economy in 1950. The competition between these two dominant powers served as motivation for them to increase and solidify their super power status through militaristic, scientific, political and economic means.
By 1998 The USA remained the world's leading economic power with Japan having the second largest economy, constituting 13% of the world's GDP. It can also be seen that The USSR had lost its position in the top 4 due to the collapse of communism – negatively impacting on Russia's economy as it was no longer bolstered by its buffer states in Eastern Europe that contributed to Soviet industry. With the end of the Cold War, western countries may have benefited economically, perhaps accounting for Japan's rise as an economic power. Also it can be noted that Germany, which was the 4th most economically powerful country in 1913 and 1950, remains an