The British Empire was doomed by WW2 and Britain is now running the risk of becoming a US puppet. IMO Bretton Woods sealed the fate of Britain as a major power and it would never have happened without WW2,
Germany and possibly Japan as well, would likely be even more powerful today without the war. Germany would have a larger territory and Japan would probably not have Korea to worry about as a competitor, Japan might also get a bit more democratic on it's own if the war faction lost power but the process would hit a wall against the divine emperor, they would never question that by themselves.
Hitler's economy was brittle, but probably less so than Tooze's "accountant's approach" would have us believe, so a collapse can probably be avoided and there was nothing wrong with the industrial capacity, the possible fly in the ointment could be the personal empire building by people like Goering and Himmler that could lead to open conflict with disastrous results, we are talking "armed to the teeth rival corporations" here.
The USA emerged as a superpower, a large population base, cemented by the war, and an undamaged industrial base enriched by war spending that removed the last traces of the crisis made them by far the strongest nation in the West.
The USSR was devastated by the occupation, no way I would say a country that suffered millions of deaths a "winner" but could count on a huge army, an ideology that appealed to the ex colonies, or at least enough to the leaders of the local revolutionaries to be their choice, and a big power void,
Amongst the European nations all the ones that fell into the Soviet orbit didn't do too well, the Rumanians didn't profit from the increase of oil prices as other producers did, centralized planning was inefficient and not likely to give satellites a priority, there was also a considerable Russian population pressure towards the border areas sponsored by the Soviet leadership. that lead to the current friction points in areas such as Ukraine, Byelorussia, Moldavia and the Baltics. But it was not totally consistent as the move of Crimea to Ukraine shows.
The other European countries lost their empires, partly because WW2 had destroyed the myth of white superiority, France in the sixties was the dominant EU force, but could not keep up with German economic powerhouse.
Edited by TiredOldSoldier, 27 April 2016 - 06:23 AM.