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American Isolationism & Foreign Policy in the 1920s & 1930s

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1 American Isolationism & Foreign Policy in the 1920s & 1930s

2 Foreign Policy in the 1920s & 1930s
After WWI, the U.S. assumed a selective isolationist foreign policy Americans wanted to maintain the economic boom of the 1920s & desperate for an answer to the depression in the 1930s But, the U.S. did play an active role in attempts at international disarmament & economic stability Add content from Out of Many, pg 826 Not really isolationist foreign policy (active but selective)

3 Foreign Policy: Economic Policy
In 1924, Hoover negotiated a reduction in German debt, an extended time period to repay debts, & U.S. loans to help Germany make payments to France & England Foreign Policy: Economic Policy The U.S. Foreign Debt Commission canceled a large portion of these debts, but insisted that some of the money be repaid In the 1920s, the most divisive international issue was war debts: European nations owed the U.S. $10 billion; Attempts to reclaim these debts led to anti-American sentiment in Europe When Germany could not repay $33 billion in reparations, the U.S. negotiated the Dawes Plan The Dawes Plan helped stabilize the German economy, allowed Germany to repay the Allies, and helped France & England repay their debts to the United States

4 Foreign Policy: International Peace
The USA, England, Japan, Italy, & France signed the Five-Power Treaty & agreed to limit construction of battleships & aircraft carriers But, neither the Nine- or Four-Power Acts had provisions to enforce these agreements The Nine-Power Treaty reaffirmed the Chinese Open-Door Policy England, USA, Japan, France signed the Four-Power Treaty agreeing to collective security The USA never joined the League of Nations, but did play a role in attempts to avoid future wars: At the Washington Disarmament Conference in 1921, world leaders agreed to disarmament, free trade, & collective security In 1928, almost every nation, including the USA, signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact, renouncing war as a tool of foreign policy

5 Foreign Policy: International Peace
These agreements did not last: Japan needed raw materials to continue its industrial expansion Japan began to create an Asian empire by attacking Manchuria in 1931 & China in 1937 In both occasions, the League of Nations reprimanded Japan but chose no punitive measures

6 Totalitarian Regimes: Hideki Tojo & Emperor Hirohito

7 Totalitarian Regimes: Benito Mussolini

8 Totalitarian Regimes: Hitler

9 The Munich Pact “Peace in our time”

10 Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis

11 Foreign Policy: International Peace
In the 1930s, FDR & Congress were preoccupied with the Great Depression to adequately plan for new world conflicts involving totalitarian dictators The rising threat of war in Europe & Asia strengthened Americans’ desire to avoid involvement in another world war

12 The Neutrality Act of 1936 banned loans to any warring nation
The Neutrality Acts The Neutrality Act of 1935 banned arms sales to nations at war & warned citizens not to sail on belligerent ships The Neutrality Act of 1936 banned loans to any warring nation The “merchants of death” charges were led by North Dakota Senator Gerald Nye from 1934 to 1936: Reaction to the Nye Committee report led to popular support to avoid making the same mistakes that led America to enter WW1 Congress passed 3 neutrality acts to avoid future wars The Neutrality Act of 1937 made the 1935 & 1936 acts permanent & required all trade to be on a cash & carry basis

13 The Road Towards American Intervention

14 From Neutrality to Undeclared War
But…FDR was able to get $1 billion from Congress to expand the U.S. navy As Europe headed toward war, FDR openly expressed his favor for intervention & took steps to ready the U.S. for war In 1937, FDR unsuccessfully tried to convince world leaders to “quarantine the aggressors” Everything changed in with the Nazi-Soviet Pact & the German invasion of Poland


16 From Neutrality to Undeclared War
“The destroyer-for-bases deal is the most important action in the reinforcement of our national defense that has been taken since the Louisiana Purchase” —FDR When WW2 began in 1939, Congress imposed a cash & carry policy to aid the Allies: The U.S. would trade with the Allies but would not offer loans The U.S. would not deliver American products to Europe In addition, FDR traded 50 old destroyers with England for 8 naval bases in Western Europe FDR responded with all-out aid to the Allies but did not call for war Based upon the Neutrality Acts of

17 From Neutrality to Undeclared War
“The future of western civilization is being decided upon the battlefield of Europe” —CDAAA chair, William Allen White Isolationists Were appalled by this departure from neutrality & FDR’s involvement of the U.S. in foreign war Their “fortress of America” idea argued that Germany was not a threat to the U.S. Interventionists Groups like the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies called for unlimited aid to England They argued that the events in Europe did impact the security of U.S. St. Louis Dispatch headline: “Dictator Roosevelt Commits Act of War”

18 From Neutrality to Undeclared War
By 1940, “interventionists” had the majority of American public sentiment on their side: in 1940, Congress appropriated $10 billion for preparedness FDR called for America’s first ever peacetime draft In the election of 1940, FDR was overwhelmingly elected for an unprecedented 3rd term

19 From Neutrality to Undeclared War
By 1940, England remained the only active opposition to Hitler but was running out of money FDR called for a Lend-Lease Act: U.S. can sell or lend war supplies to Allied nations Congress put $7 billion to allow England full access to U.S. arms U.S. Cash and Carry Program X

20 From Neutrality to Undeclared War
England desperately needed help escorting U.S.-made supplies through the u-boat infested Atlantic FDR allowed for U.S. patrols in the western half of the Atlantic German attacks on U.S. ships in 1941 led to an undeclared naval war between USA & Germany U.S. Cash and Carry Program X X

21 From Neutrality to Undeclared War
In 1941, FDR & Churchill met to secretly draft the Atlantic Charter: The U.S. & Britain discussed a military strategy if the USA were to enter the war They discussed post-war goals of free trade & disarmament In 1941, Germany broke the Nazi-Soviet Pact & invaded Russia

22 From Neutrality to Undeclared War
FDR brought U.S. to the brink of war & opened himself to criticism: In Sept 1941, polls showed 80% of Americans supported remaining neutral in WW2 FDR had to wait for the Axis to make a decisive move…which Japan delivered on Dec 7, 1941

23 Pearl Harbor

24 Showdown in the Pacific
The U.S. now faced a possible 2-ocean war… Japan took full advantage of the European war to expand in Asia: Attacked coastal China Seized French & Dutch colonies in East Indies & Indochina Signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany & Italy in 1940 FDR retaliated against Japan with fuel, iron, & oil sanctions …but Germany was still seen as the primary danger

25 Showdown in the Pacific
In 1941, the U.S. & Japan were unable to diplomatically resolve their differences, so the USA: Froze all Japanese assets in USA Banned all oil sales to Japan Hideki Tojo sent an envoy to negotiate for a resolution…but secretly ordered an attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor This was really a stall tactic intended to hide Japanese military preparations for an attack on Pearl Harbor U.S. wanted the Japanese removed from China Japan wanted an end to sanctions & a free hand to China

26 On Dec 7, 1941, the U.S. naval fleet in the Pacific was crippled by the attack; 8 battleships were sunk & 2,400 Americans were killed On Dec 7, 1941, the U.S. naval fleet in the Pacific was crippled by the surprise attack; 8 battleships were sunk & 2,400 Americans were killed

27 Showdown in the Pacific
After Pearl Harbor: Congress declared war against Japan on Dec 8, 1941 Italy & Germany declared war on the U.S. on Dec 11, 1941 American public opinion was now fully behind the war effort to defeat the fascist threat in Europe & to seek revenge against Japan

28 Mobilizing an “Arsenal of Democracy”

29 The Home Front WW2 impacted all aspects of American life:
FDR hoped the U.S. would be the great “arsenal of democracy” The boost of wartime industry ended the Great Depression The war altered the lives of women, African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, & Mexican-Americans

30 The power to create new gov’t agencies to censor the press
Mobilization The Office of War Information directed press, print, radio, & film propaganda The power to create new gov’t agencies to censor the press The Office of War Mobilization coordinated the draft, consumer prices, & the labor force to limit civil liberties & seize personal property To win wars in Asia & Europe & meet civilian demands, the U.S. gov’t grew to its largest size ever: The War Powers Act gave the president unprecedented power New bureaucracies were formed to direct the economy, create propaganda, sell war bonds, & prevent enemy subversion The Office of Strategic Services gathered enemy intelligence & conducted espionage The U.S. gov’t spent $250 million per day from 1941 to 1945 This is 2x as much as all previous gov’t spending combined

31 Mobilization: The Demand for War Equipment & Soldiers

32 Buy, Buy, Buy, Buy a Bond: It Will Lead to VICTORY!
War bonds helped raise $187 billion to support the war effort

33 War Rations

34 Victory Gardens: Grow Your Own

35 Propaganda: Fighting the Enemy on the Battlefield & on the Home Front

36 Fear Propaganda

37 U.S. made 2x more goods than Germany & 5x more than Japan
The Wartime Economy The most decisive factor for Allied victory was America’s ability to outproduce both Germany & Japan Heavy industry was converted to war & was directed by the War Production Board (WPB) 15 million U.S. soldiers fought but 60 million workers & farmers supplied them with supplies U.S. made 2x more goods than Germany & 5x more than Japan

38 Ford’s Willow Run Factory
Ford made one B-24 bomber every hour

39 WW2 Changed American Society
FDR Video time min

40 Women The war presented new economic opportunities for women:
Dramatic rise in employment (14 million to 19 million by 1945) Most new female workers were married, many middle-aged Entered “exclusively male” fields Temporarily redefined “woman’s sphere” from “just at home”

41 “Rosie, the Riveter”

42 S..t..r..e..t..c..h That Food!

43 Join the Women’s Army Corps (WACs)
Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) Women’s Army Air Corps Pilots

44 Banned discrimination in defense industries & gov’t
African-Americans Banned discrimination in defense industries & gov’t 1 million blacks served in U.S. military but few saw combat Discrimination in the workforce led A. Philip Randolph to pressure FDR to create a Fair Employment Practices Committee Continued black migration into the North & West made race relations a national issue

45 Segregated units…again
Tuskegee Airmen

46 Double V: Victory at Home & Abroad
A. Philip Randolph threatened a “March on Washington” to protest war time discrimination Other groups, like the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), staged sit-ins in restaurants in major cities to protest discrimination

47 Mexican-Americans Mexican-Americans:
Served in quasi-segregated military units, often in the most hazardous branches Mexican-American workers found jobs in SW agriculture & west coast industry Faced discrimination, especially during the Zoot Suit Riots

48 “Zoot Suit” Riot in Los Angeles

49 Japanese who were not American citizens living in the U.S.
Japanese-Americans Due to Pearl Harbor, many in the U.S. feared Japanese-Americans were helping prepare for a Japanese invasion in the West Civil liberties were restricted: Issei had their assets frozen Used racial stereotypes (“Japs”) In 1942, FDR ordered 112,000 Japanese-Americans moved to internment camps Japanese who were not American citizens living in the U.S.

50 Japanese- American Internment Camps
Families were given one week to close their businesses & homes 442 Combat—when your division is in trouble “Call in the Japs” (to save your butt)

51 Win-the-War Politics In 1944, FDR used the war to strengthen his leadership: “Mr. New Deal” had shifted to “Mr. Win the War” Opponent Thomas Dewey made communism & FDR’s health the focus of the election FDR switched VPs from liberal Henry Wallace to moderate Harry Truman to gain appeal


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