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Presentation on theme: "WORLD WAR II IN THE USA AN INTRODUCTION TO WARTIME FOREIGN POLCIES 1920-1941."— Presentation transcript:


2 Q UICK F ACTS WAR COSTS US Debt 1940 - $9 billion US Debt 1945 - $98 billion The war cost $330 billion -- 10 times the cost of WWI & as much as all previous federal spending since 1776


4 W HEN ? 1939 Sept.1 - Germany invades Poland (official start to the war ) Sept. 3 - Britain & France declare war on Germany Dec. 7 – Japan bombs Pearl Harbor; US enters the War 1941 May - Germans Surrender Sept. - Atomic Bombing Japanese Surrender 1945 1939-1945 US involvement 1941-1945

5 T HE A FTERMATH OF THE G REAT W AR In the aftermath of the Great War, as American troops came home from Europe, the United States became permeated by a sense of disillusionment as people observed the turmoil continuing in Europe in the years following that terrible conflict.

6 WASHINGTON NAVAL CONFERENCE 1921 Convened in November 1921 Secretary Charles Hughes declared that “the way to disarm is to disarm,” and that the time to begin was immediately. Japan attended the Washington Conference (1921-22) with both hope and concern. Global reduction of naval capacity was welcome for Japan which was facing a fiscal crisis.

7 W ASHINGTON N AVAL C ONFERENCE 1921 The agreement that was finally reached would limit the ratio of capital ship tonnage among the five major powers: United States (5) Great Britain (5) Japan (3) France (1.67) Italy (1.67)

8 F IVE -P OWER N AVAL T REATY Signed in February, 1922, and was to remain in effect until 1936. The treaty placed a limitation on the numbers and sizes of major warships It did not affect smaller vessels such as destroyers, submarines and cruisers It called for a construction “holiday” of ten years.

9 C ONTINUED … The conference also agreed on a four-power treaty in which Great Britain, the United States, Japan, and France agreed to respect each other's interests in the Pacific. Finally, a Nine Power Treaty endorsed the Open Door policy in China.

10 Kellogg-Briand Pact 1927 France approached the United States with a proposal that the two nations enter into a defensive alliance an obvious attempt to provide protection in advance in case of German retaliation.

11 Kellogg-Briand Pact Secretary of State Kellogg, not wanting to become snarled in an alliance, suggested a wider pact that would “outlaw” war. The resulting Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed in 1928, though many realized that its goals were illusory, since its intent was indeed to make war illegal.

12 A MERICAN INTEREST IN EUROPE Interest in the German situation resulted from the fact that the allies owed large sums of money to the United States. It was clear that if Germany could not indemnify the allies, they would not be in a position to repay the United States. But by the 1930s with the world depression affecting everyone, all debts were eventually defaulted or cancelled.

13 T HE G OOD N EIGHBOR P OLICY The U.S. had a history of intervention in Latin America By the 1920s Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt and many others slowly began to recognize the basic unfairness of America’s Latin American policy. President Hoover rejected Wilson’s interventionist policies and went on a goodwill tour after the 1928 election.

14 T HE G OOD N EIGHBOR P OLICY The gradual removal of all American occupying forces began and was completed by 1934. The United States also renounced its right to intervene in Cuban affairs by terminating the Platt Amendment. Many problem areas still existed, and the U.S. had to resolve with various individual nations The Good Neighbor policy improved relations enormously, so that by World War II the Western Hemisphere was reasonably unified

15 T HE G OOD N EIGHBOR P OLICY The United States was still seen as the “colossus of the North.” In 1936 President Franklin Roosevelt attended the Buenos Aires Inter-American Conference.

16 T HE G OOD N EIGHBOR P OLICY FDR’s address to the delegates was well received—he called himself a “traveling salesman for peace” and preached “mutual safety.” The Lima Declaration of 1938 reinforced inter- American solidarity.

17 T HE T RIUMPH OF I SOLATIONISM During the crisis years of 1931-1939 Americans found themselves in the depths of the Great Depression did not want to think of further war, so the country retreated into a deeper position of isolationism. Americans saw themselves as “innocent bystanders” in world affairs and began to feel as trouble arose in Europe that America’s participation in the First World War may have been a waste.

18 T HE T RIUMPH OF I SOLATIONISM In 1933 the U.S. finally recognized the Soviet government and established formal relations with the USSR—primarily for business reasons. By 1936, as Hitler was beginning to menace Europe, Americans wanted to stay out of it, but how?

19 T HE T RIUMPH OF I SOLATIONISM Secretary of State Henry Stimson claimed: “The only sure way to stay out of war is to prevent it.” But how was the United States, which had refused even to join the League of Nations and had reduced its armaments to a dangerously low level, supposed to accomplish that?


21 F RANKLIN D ELANO R OOSEVELT AKA FDR Democratic President from 1933- 1945, after Herbert Hoover, and followed through till the end of WWII (died three weeks before Nazis’ surrender) Very focused on the domestic front in the beginning, and preferred neutrality (Neutrality Acts 1935-39) His consent to give US aid to the Allies (‘destroyers-for-bases’, Lend-Lease, technological advancements, convoy) secured the turn of the tide in their favor, and America’s entry to war brought about the loss of Germany

22 H ISTORIOGRAPHY Conrad Black – Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, 2003 FDR understood that the war wasn’t just a struggle between nations but it was a fight for democracy FDR’s deep belief in the ideals of democracy united the American peoples to this realization as well

23 H ISTORIOGRAPHY Waldo Heinrichs – Threshold of War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Entry into WWII, 1990 Goes against the popular portrayal of a hesitant and impulsive man Portrays FDR as a great leader who acted with extreme caution and deliberation

24 H ISTORIOGRAPHY Bryce Wood – The Making of the Good neighbor Policy, 1961 FDR advocated for isolationism from the rest of the world and had “no desire for conquest, or need for defense” America felt that is it aided its neighboring nations and was indeed a good neighbor it would receive the same aid from other nations

25 T HE N YE C OMMITTEE H EARINGS In 1934 Senator Gerald Nye of North Dakota began a series of hearings that tried to show that munitions makers had made “huge” profits during World War I Therefore they were somehow responsible for America’s involvement in the conflict. They were called the “Merchants of Death.” The results of the Nye Committee investigation were inconclusive

26 T HE N YE C OMMITTEE H EARINGS However the isolationists won the day and several Neutrality Acts were the result. The Committee concluded that American freedom of the seas doctrine had become unreasonable because of the submarine. Neutrals, they concluded, should keep out of war zones.

27 T HE N EUTRALITY A CTS As the hearings went forward, the isolationists were in control. Reading the political winds, FDR asked the Nye Committee to prepare legislation.

28 T HE N EUTRALITY A CTS 1935 Forbade sale of arms to belligerents. Civilians would enter war zones on belligerent ships at their own risk. FDR signed the bill in August 1935.

29 T HE N EUTRALITY A CTS 1935 The Arms embargo on all nations portion of the bill was opposed by FDR because it made it impossible for the U.S. to influence the action. The Act was non-specific on trade. Cordell Hull called it a “moral embargo,” but there were problems in execution of the Act.

30 T HE N EUTRALITY A CTS 1935 The Neutrality Act was invoked in 1935 when Italy invaded Ethiopia. No neutrals were allowed on belligerent ships. Italy was insulted.

31 T HE N EUTRALITY A CTS 1935 Lesson learned: Don't go around insulting belligerents when trying to stay out of war. Half-hearted sanctions made things worse. Historian A.J.P. Taylor said, “Fifty two nations opposed Italian aggression, and all they accomplished was that Haile Selassie lost all of his country [Ethiopia] instead of only half.”

32 T HE N EUTRALITY A CTS Further neutrality acts were passed in 1936 and 1937 The net result of those laws was to handcuff the United States Even if it had a legitimate desire to assist nations that were victims of international aggression. President Roosevelt made no attempt to block this legislation, but refused to invoke the laws when Japan invaded China, thereby allowing China to buy arms from the United States.

33 S UMMARY OF N EUTRALITY A CTS 1935 General embargo on arms and war materials with all parties in war “Moral” embargo against belligerents (decided by FDR whether they were good or bad), called after Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia, covered other trade 1936 Renewed 1935 act Forbade loans to belligerents 1937 US ships forbidden from transporting passengers or items belonging to belligerents US citizens could not travel on belligerent nations’ ships 1939 Allowed for arms sales on a cash and carry basis 1935 and 1937 acts repealed

34 C ASH AND C ARRY S EPTEMBER 1939 Allowed sale of material to belligerents as long as they used their own ships to transport and paid up front with cash

35 D ESTROYERS FOR B ASES S EPTEMBER 1940 Exchanged 50 US Navy destroyers for rent-free leases on British bases such as in Newfoundland, and in the Caribbean

36 L END -L EASE M ARCH 1941 Allowed for the sale of war goods to the Allies (including China) Provided aid for Allies without actually entering the war **Decisive step away from American isolationism to European intervention

37 L END -L EASE M ARCH 1941 End of the Neutrality Acts Allowed the sale or lend or leasing of defense materials (war goods) to any country’s government which FDR deemed would be vital to US’s defense as well

38 T HE L URE P ACIFISM Looking back at World War I as a meaningless effort, many Americans sought security in pacifism as well as in legal neutrality. They wanted a way to ensure that the United States would not be drawn into another European conflict. Most Americans suspected that they had been duped by the politicians, munitions makers and bankers into going to war in 1917 and resolved never again to fight a meaningless war.

39 T HE L URE P ACIFISM Romantic notions of pacifism were not exclusive to the United States: in Great Britain college students pledged that they would never again fight in any kind of war. Many of those same young men would die during World War II A gradual breakdown of attempts at international cooperation developed as militaristic nations asserted their will with no regard for consequences or for maintaining the peace—conquest and revenge were their motives.

40 T HE L URE P ACIFISM The concept of collective security was, in effect, the same idea as the old “Concert of Europe,” but a toothless League of Nations brought nothing but head- in-the-sand optimism, not action. Aggressor nations ignored the League.

41 R EASONS FOR I SOLATIONISM Belief that the depression had been caused by World War I Belief that Europe was unworthy of our support Belief in Pacifism—people hated and abhorred war Belief that arms manufacturers, bankers had caused World War I Belief that World War I had been a tragic mistake for the U.S.


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