Argentina's Economy after World War II
IB Extended Essay: Did the Second World War Improve or Worsen Argentina's Economy?
The German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 was not an isolated event. Instead, it unleashed the biggest conflict in human history whose effects were felt all over the globe (Paz 50). To the European nations directly involved in the conflict the Second World War brought pain, misery, and death. However, as one moves further away from Europe the effects of the Second World War begin to change. Almost 10,000 miles away, in the southern cone of South America, the impact of World War II upon Argentina is not nearly as clear-cut or as grave. Argentina held on tightly to its statements of neutrality for as long as possible and, even after declaring war on the remaining Axis powers, Germany and Japan, on March 17, 1945, she did not take an active part in the war. Therefore, since Argentine troops never took part in the conflict, the effects of the Second World War upon Argentina were purely economic in nature (Paz 130). Yet, this fact in and of itself in no way diminishes the amount of historical inquiry or intrigue; a great debate rages over the question of whether the Second World War improved or worsened Argentina's economy. While it is true that World War II generated a significant amount of currency for Argentina, a careful analysis of the available sources shows that the Second World War worsened Argentina's economy. In fact, World War II slowed down Argentina's economy and created a false sense of security that, in the long run, wrecked the country's economy.
While there is ample evidence suggesting that World War II increased the opportunities for Argentine industrialization and economic expansion, the overall economy of Argentina suffered a setback during the Second World War. In his collection of Essays on the Economic History of Argentina, Alejandro Diaz argues that the Second World War slowed down Argentine economy. A member of the Yale Department of Economics, professor Diaz took part in a study concerning the problem of economic growth in certain Latin American countries. Encompassing field observations, quantitative analysis of a national economy, and comparative cross-sectional studies using data from numerous countries, professor Diaz' work is often cited and used as a starting point by other historians.
Professor Diaz acknowledges the fact that the war opened up new markets for Argentine manufactured goods and expanded the...