‘Good neighbors’? The United States and the Americas, 1900–45
In retrospect this seems hardly an accident. Already at the turn of the century the United States was, by any economic, geographic or population measure, one of the Great Powers. It had a population of more than 75 million in 1900, a domestic marketplace that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific (and north to Alaska), and an increasingly influential position in the world’s financial markets. A key ingredient in the growth of American power was its ability to utilize, almost
at will, not only its own remarkable material resources but those of its southern neighbours as well. This unquestioned American dominance of the Western Hemisphere in the first half of the twentieth century is the central theme of this chapter. It will highlight the ways in which the United States penetrated deeply into Latin American, and particularly Central American and Caribbean, affairs.