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The “Good War”. The Roots of Isolationism Nye Committee’s “merchants of death” thesis on WW1 profiteering Neutrality Acts, 1935, 1936, 1937 -- "upon.

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Presentation on theme: "The “Good War”. The Roots of Isolationism Nye Committee’s “merchants of death” thesis on WW1 profiteering Neutrality Acts, 1935, 1936, 1937 -- "upon."— Presentation transcript:

1 The “Good War”

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3 The Roots of Isolationism Nye Committee’s “merchants of death” thesis on WW1 profiteering Neutrality Acts, 1935, 1936, "upon the outbreak or during the progress of war between, or among, two or more foreign states, the President shall proclaim such fact, and it shall thereafter be unlawful to export arms, ammunition, or implements of war to any port of such belligerent states." America First movement 1939 Neutrality Act: “cash and carry” law Gerald P. Nye (R-ND) Charles Lindbergh

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5 FDR and the agony of neutrality “This nation will remain…neutral. But I cannot ask that every American remain neutral in thought as well as deed.” (September 1939) “The US cannot survive as a lone island in a world dominated by the philosophy of force [that fatuous dream is] the nightmare of a people lodged in prison.” (June 1940)

6 “All Outers” v “Isolationists” TWO REPUBLICANS: Henry Stimson, Secretary of War Senator William Borah (R-ID)

7 Churchill and America “If England falls the whole world, including the US and all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age… We shall never surrender…until in God’s good time, the new world, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.” June 4, 1940

8 Four Freedoms Speech, January 1941

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10 The Agonies of “Neutrality” Lend-Lease Bill, March 1941 Churchill: “Give us the tools and we’ll finish the job” “Short of war” strategy pushed to the limits Atlantic Charter, August 1941

11 Dilemmas of 1941 How to convert to war economy; difficult relations between administration and business; proliferation of agencies U-Boat war on Atlantic convoys The implications of Operation Barbarossa; how to deal with Soviets How to contain Japanese expansionism

12 Convoys or Patrols?

13 The Problem of Japan, 1941

14 Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 “…a date which will live in infamy…” FDR to Congress

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16 THE IMPACT OF THE WAR ON THE SIZE OF THE ECONOMY AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT Federal Budget$9 B$100 B Gross Domestic Product$91B$166 B Civilian Federal Employees1 M4 M National Debt$49 B$259 B

17 Rationing, 1943

18 Zoot suit riots, Los Angeles, June 1943 …war mobilisation re-drew racial boundaries

19 World War II

20 A. Phillip Randolph: “…there can be no national unity where one tenth of the population are denied their basic rights as American citizens.”

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23 Women and the war economy 6 million new female workers Most stayed at home 10% of female workforce worked in defence industry Limited challenge to gender roles

24 Women and the war economy 6 million new female workers Most stayed at home 10% of female workforce worked in defence industry Limited challenge to gender roles

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27 “Motherhood’s Back in Style!” Highest Birth and marriage rates of the C20 Baby boom began in 1940

28 Movement, energy, unity, diversity Pressure for integration Racial tension Japanese internment Insulation from attack America on the move: East  West; 8M Americans moved state; rural depopulation

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30 Wartime Politics The End of the New Deal? FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights”, Jan 1944 GI Bill of Rights, June 1944

31 1944 Election: Fala and Dewey and the promise of prosperity

32 Yalta, February 1945 USSR enters war against Japan “Declaration of Liberated Europe” Agreement to set up UN

33 The War against Japan

34 “Arizona war worker writes her Navy boyfriend a thank-you note for the Jap skull he sent her. When he said goodby two years ago to Natalie Nickerson, 20 a war worker of Phoenix, Ariz., a big, handsome Navy lieutenant promised her a Jap. Last week Natalie received a human skull, autographed by her lieutenant and 13 friends, and inscribed: "This is a good Jap - a dead one picked up on the New Guinea beach." Natalie, surprised at the gift, named it Tojo. The armed forces disapprove strongly of this sort of thing." LIFE MAGAZINE, 5/22/44 p.35 "Picture of the Week"

35 Battle of Iwo Jima, Feb-March, 1945 March 20, 1945, death of FDR at Warm Springs, GA

36 “The United States stands at this moment at the summit of the world” Winston Churchill, 1945

37 The Myth of the Good War American memory: a just war waged by a peaceful people American realities: consumerism, prosperity, relatively unscathed (405,399 deaths by far the lowest proportion of belligerents) The war had exceeded the dreams and in some respects confounded the assumptions of the New Deal, but it clinched Keynesianism for a generation


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