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The U.S. Enters WWII. Because of WWI and the Red Scare, many Americans had isolationist attitudes about America. Define “isolationist” Isolationists were not necessarily pacifists, but wanted to stay out of European affairs and preserve American autonomy

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The U.S. Enters WWII

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The U.S. Enters WWII

  • Because of WWI and the Red Scare, many Americans had isolationist attitudes about America.

  • Define “isolationist”

  • Isolationists were not necessarily pacifists, but wanted to stay out of European affairs and preserve American autonomy

  • FDR was NOT an isolationist. He defeated the isolationist Hoover, not on the issue of foreign policy, but on the domestic issues of the Great Depression

  • The Neutrality At of 1935 made it illegal to ship arms to the port of any warring state.

  • Why would the Neutrality Act only hurt Italy in Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia?

  • Ethiopia could not afford to buy arms, and Italy could.

  • FDR urged businesses to voluntarily stop shipments of oil to Italy. Few listened. Why?

  • America, in it’s isolationist viewpoint regarded Italy and other European and African countries as far away, and not able to affect America.

  • How did remaining neutral favor the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War?

  • The Fascists were armed by Italy and Germany.

  • FDR was not an isolationist and did not want to be neutral. He was alarmed at the spread of totalitarian governments and viewed them…Germany and Italy…as a threat to democracy everywhere

  • After the Japanese invasion of Manchuria (China), FDR gave his “Quarantine Speech”, in which he called on the free nations of the world to quarantine the aggressor countries and stop the spread of war

  • Many isolationist politicians viewed FDR’s Quarantine Speech as dangerous and advocating setting up America to police the world

  • 1938 - Seeing war in America’s future, FDR obtained approval from Congress to build more war ships.

  • FDR established the “Cash and Carry” policy, to allow some countries to buy arms if they shipped them themselves…why?

  • Cash and Carry allowed the US to sell arms to England and France without endangering US shipping and personnel

  • German victories in 1940 convinced FDR to start a “all aid short of war” policy to aid Britain. Isolationists opposed this, but were too weak to stop it

  • The U.S. traded 50 aging war ships for bases in England. Why was this a win-win for England?

  • In the election of 1940, FDR decided to run, in spite of a tradition of no president serving more than two terms…it was not law (Emerson was off on this one!) This tradition went back to George Washington choosing to serve only two terms.

  • FDR’s opponent was Wendell Willkie, whose foreign policy views were much like FDR’s. The voters stuck with FDR

  • In late 1940 the U.S. congress approved Lend-Lease, which allowed the U.S. to send arms to England

  • 1941 - FDR and Winston Churchill meet in secret to sign the Atlantic Charter, agreeing the it is in the best interests of both countries to oppose Hitler. (duh)

  • Charles Lindbergh and his America First Committee were leading opponents of the president’s policy.

  • What was America First?

  • As Lend-Lease took effect, German U-boats began to sink increasing numbers of US ships. The USS Rueben James and the USS Kearny, and American destroyer were attacked and over two hundred Americans were killed.

  • Still, Americans did not want war

So..what changed America’s attitudes and view of war?

  • What led up to the attack:

  • Japan’s militaristic society had become increasingly aggressive, invading China and committing atrocities in Manchuria.

  • The U.S. and other countries had moved to cut off and limit Japans supply of resources, including oil.

  • The Japanese felt they had to act to preserve their way of life

  • On December 7, 1941 the Japanese, in a surprise attack and without a declaration of war attacked the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu in Hawaii

  • FDR, furious with the Japanese, asked Congress to declare war.

  • Americans were outraged and fearful. Civilians strung barbed wire on beaches on the west coast, and soon the U.S. government began the internment of Japanese-American citizens.

  • The nation was at war.

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