If we default like 1933 Germany will we be back on top in a few years like 1939 Germany when they were poised to rule the world? Quoting: Anonymous Coward 44534076
That's the big question. Will there be a return ever again?
Note though that Germany was not the economic engine of the world at the time WWI started, and it definitely wasn't when it defaulted. It was in the middle of an economic depression when Hitler came to power and started his rabble rousing. Painting one group as the ones to blame for all the problems they were suffering.
The closest historical comparison we have really is the fall of the Roman Empire in my opinion. Unfortunately that isn't even a good comparison because the Empire didn't span the globe, wasn't indebted to foreign powers, and had other pressures acting on it at the time of the split.
Could Rome happen again? In theory we could split into component nations (either 50 states or 4-5 regional entities as has been proposed would happen), but who then would shoulder the debt? This would be treated as debt not incurred by the new nations and thus ignored, causing a massive shockwave throughout the world, after which it could take decades before international trade recovers to anything worth calling such.
This of course belittles other things that would come up with the removal of the world's superpower. So basically anything could happen, but we know that 99.9999999% of the possibilities range from bad to mushroom clouds.