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THE SHADOW OF WAR From Isolationism to Intervention IB History of the Americas.

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Presentation on theme: "THE SHADOW OF WAR From Isolationism to Intervention IB History of the Americas."— Presentation transcript:


2 THE SHADOW OF WAR From Isolationism to Intervention IB History of the Americas

3 GUIDING QUESTION ● To what extent did the United States adopt an isolationist policy in the 1920s and 1930s?

4 Diplomacy Defined ● Diplomacy is the practice of conducting negotiations between nations and involves having skill in handling affairs without arousing hostility

5 Isolationism Defined ● Isolationism is the twentieth-century term used for America's traditional noninvolvement in European wars and avoidance of "entangling alliances.“ ● It assumed the United States' interests and values were different from and superior to those of Europe and held that America could lead the world toward freedom and democracy more effectively through example than through military action.


7 Dr. Seuss and Isolationism



10 The Diplomacy of the New Era / 1920-1929 ● League of Nations was an international organization founded as a result of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919–1920. From 1934-1935, it had 58 members. ● “Unofficial Observers” League goals included: disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes between countries through negotiation, diplomacy and improving global quality of life. ● The League lacked its own armed force and so depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, keep to economic sanctions which the League ordered, or provide an army, when needed, for the League to use.

11 Diplomacy of the New Era: Failure of the League of Nations ● "League of Victors” Created by the winners of WWI. ● The League required a unanimous vote of its Council to enact a resolution; conclusive and effective action was difficult, if not impossible. ● Member states. Most notably missing was the position that the United States of America was supposed to play in the League, not only in terms of helping to ensure world peace and security but also in financing the League. The League was the cornerstone of Wilson’s Fourteen Points, yet the US Senate vetoed US membership.

12 Punch Magazine December 1919

13 DIPLOMACY IN THE 1920S: ENGAGEMENT WITHOUT ENTANGLEMENTS ● Peace with Germany, 1921 (The Locarno Era) ● Washington Naval Conference (1921) ● Kellogg-Briand Pact (Pact of Paris) (1928) ● Dawes Plan (1924)

14 Washington Naval Conference 1921  Scrap 2 million tons of existing shipping. OK. What?  U.S. goal to negotiate an end to the global naval arms race.  Five-Power Pact 1922 limited naval tonnage and armaments, US & GB-5 tons, Japan- 3 tons, France & Italy- 1.75 In effect, Pact gives Japan control of the Pacific. How and to what ends?  Nine Power Pact continue Open Door Policy on China  Four Power Pact US, GB, France, and Japan promise to respect each other’s Pacific Territories and cooperate to prevent aggression  Significance: battleships and aircraft carriers only; no enforcement mechanism

15 Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928  Also known as the “Pact of Paris”  US & France alliance aimed at Germany banning war as a instrument of foreign policy. Eventually 48 nations sign on  Enforced by “moral force” of world opinion  Problems: what about “defensive wars”, no enforcement mechanism

16 Debt and Diplomacy ● US leaders assume that US economic expansion abroad will create a stable world ● By 1920s, US is a prominent world creditor, manufacturer, exporter, and investor ● US products, including movies, saturate globe; foreign reaction to Americanization is mixed ● US Government assists cultural and economic expansion (Pan American Airlines including Latin America)

17 Dawes Plan 1924 ● U.S. primary overseas market was Europe (still recovering from the Great War)  Great Britain and France owed the U.S. creditors 11 billion dollars  Germany was strapped with 32 billion in reparations to Allied Powers ● Dawes Plan 1924  U.S. make loans to Germany so that it could pay reparations to GB and France. GB and FR would reduce the payment amounts.  Reparations payments to GB and France were used to pay its debt to U.S. banks

18 THE TRIUMPH OF ISOLATIONISM ● Nye Commission investigation of arms industry concluded that bankers and munitions makers had dragged the United States into WWI  DuPont’s earnings had increased from $5 million in 1914 to $82 million in 1916

19 THE TRIUMPH OF ISOLATIONISM ● Walter Millis, Road to War: America, 1914-1917 (1935): advanced thesis that British propaganda, heavy purchases of American supplies by the Allies, and Wilson’s differing reactions to violations of neutral rights had drawn U.S. into war ● March 1935: Hitler instituted universal military training and denounced settlement of Versailles ● May 1935: Mussolini threatened Ethiopia

20 THE TRIUMPH OF ISOLATIONISM ● Neutrality Act of 1935: forbade the sale of munitions to all belligerents whenever president declared a state of war existed  Americans could travel on belligerent ships but at their own risk ● October 1935: Italy invaded Ethiopia  FDR invoked the neutrality law  Secretary of State Cordell Hull asked American businesses for a “moral embargo” on goods (oil especially) not covered by the act  Ignored, and oil shipments to Italy tripled between October and January ● Italy annexed Ethiopia EMPEROR HAILE SELASSIE of Ethiopia, with his pet dog, Bull Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection [reproduction number LC-USE6- D-008743 DLC (b&w film nitrate neg.)]

21 THE TRIUMPH OF ISOLATIONISM ● February 1936: second Neutrality Act: forbade loans to belligerents ● Summer 1936: civil war broke out in Spain  Reactionary General Francisco Franco, backed by Hitler and Mussolini, sought to overthrow the government ● FDR had Congress extend arms embargo to include civil wars  March 1937 poll showed 94 percent of Americans thought U.S. should keep out of foreign wars

22 THE TRIUMPH OF ISOLATIONISM ● April 1937: Congress passed third Neutrality Act that continued embargo on munitions and loans, forbade Americans to travel on belligerent ships, and gave the president discretionary authority to place the sale of other goods to belligerents on a cash-and- carry basis ● In 1938: Congress defeated the Ludlow amendment, which would have required voter approval for a declaration of war

23 WAR AGAIN ● July 1937: Japan resumed conquest of China  FDR did not declare it a war, thereby allowing arms shipments to continue ● October: FDR, in a speech in Chicago, condemned nations that were creating international instability  Suggested only solution was to quarantine the aggressors  Isolationist response from Americans forced him to back down

24 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman © 2008

25 FROM ISOLATIONISM TO WAR ● Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (August 1939) ● Invasion of Poland (Sept 1, 1939) ● blitzkrieg  Denmark  Norway  France  Dunkirk ● Battle of Britain (Aug. 1940 – June 1941) ● Invasion of Soviet Union (June 1941) ● ●Soviet Aggression  Eastern Poland (Sept 1939)  Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania (1940) ●“moral embargo” against USSR

26 FROM ISOLATIONISM TO WAR ● FDR’s “Quarantine” speech (1937, after Japanese invasion of China) ● “Preparedness ” ●Change in US Policy  Most alarmed by German conquests, but wanted no part in war  FDR: Britain essential to US defense; began chipping away at neutrality legislation any way he could to assist GB ●cash-and-carry policy (1939) ●Selective Service Act (Sept 1940) ●Destroyers for Bases Deal (Sept 1940) ●Election of 1940  Wendall Willkie Anti-Third Term Buttons, 1940

27 Gallup Polls: European War and World War 1938–1940

28 FROM ISOLATIONISM TO WAR ● “Arsenal of Democracy” ● Lend-Lease Act (March 1941) ● America First Committee ● “shoot on sight” (July 1941) ● Atlantic Charter (Aug 1941) America First bumper sticker: "Keep Our Boys at Home" (Herbert Hoover Presidential Library) Roosevelt and Churchill at Atlantic Charter Meeting, 1941 (Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)

29 Japanese Aggression 1931-1941

30 Japanese Aggression through 1941

31 FROM ISOLATIONISM TO WAR DISPUTES WITH JAPAN ● economic pressure on Japan (steel, oil) ● Pearl Harbor (Dec 7 1941)  2400 killed (over 1100 on Arizona), 1200 wounded;  20 warships sunk or severely damaged; 150 planes destroyed The U.S.S. West Virginia, Pearl Harbor (U.S. Army) FDR before Congress asking for a Declaration of War against Japan, Dec. 8, 1941


33 Japanese Expansion and Early Battles in the Pacific

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