Us Involvement In Wwii Essay, Research Paper
U.S. Involvement in European Conflict
In the year 1939 when World War II broke out, President Roosevelt was quick to declare the United States a neutral party in the conflict. He felt this best for our nation, as did the American citizens. We wished to avoid all foreign entanglements. On December 7th, 1941 the public outlook changed with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Soon after, Germany declared war on our nation. Through the use of propaganda, videos and posters alike, the U.S. government soon had the American people backing the war effort. We soon saw and understood that Germany had to be stopped. The United States was by no means the soul contributor to the downfall of Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany, but without our support, technology, and manpower, the Axis powers would have dominated the European continent.
Even before the United States entered the war, we supported the British and Soviet forces. The staple of their war effort originated in the Lend-Lease Program. Instated by President Roosevelt in 1941, this act supplied Britain with a quarter of their munitions and Russia with just over a tenth of theirs. These goods were not seen as credits or loans, rather given freely to the nations fighting against the Axis powers in the interest of national defense (Dear 677). This secured a staging ground for all attacks on Southern Europe. During the war in Northern Africa, the Lend-Lease Act provided General Montgomery with nearly 700 tanks, weighing the battles in his favor and aiding in securing his victory against Rommel and the Afrika Corps (Dupuy 21). This program not only supplied countries with munitions and vehicles, but also with food. One-tenth of Americas entire crop yield was spent on supporting Britain while they were being cut off by German U-Boats. Also, at this time, nearly two thirds of all oil production used by the Allies came from wells in Texas and California. This was yet another vital component of the war against the Nazis and was also supplied through the Lend-Lease Act. This policy was a key component in the Allied victory and, without it, Britain and Russia would have surely fallen to the Axis Powers early in the war.
The second aspect of America s involvement in World War II that secured German defeat was technology. An extremely underrated aspect of U.S. Technology in WWII was invented by a company in Louisiana named Higgins Industries. It was named the Higgins Boat after its founder. First tested down in the Bayou, this PT boat was an amphibious landing craft that allowed for access to nearly any shoreline in Europe. General Patton first put it to use in the invasion of Northern Africa during Operation Husky (Dupuy 60). From Tunisia, they were used to launch attacks on Sicily and then on Southern Italy. They played the key role in the attack on Normandy during Operation Overlord and, finally, during the invasion of Southern France. Without this innovation brought into the war by America, nearly all assaults on the European continent would have been impossible.
A second example of the superior technology brought to Europe by the U.S. was massive, high-quality fuel production. Chemists made it possible for America to produce 80 million liters of 100-octane aviation fuel on a daily basis. This made the P-51 and Allied bombers faster, gave them a better climb rate, and more maneuverability. This aircraft innovation made possible the Combined Bomber Offensive or CBO (Dear 1182). This aerial assault into Germany seriously dampened Germany s industry and also completely annihilated their existing missile technology, another key factor in keeping Britain alive. With both of these innovations combined, the United States had the option of either aerial or amphibious assault, further complicating the two-front war Germany was attempting to carry out.
The third and final factor which proved the United States the deciding factor in the outcome of the Second World War was the sheer manpower and industry they produced. The U.S. produced 325,000 aircraft while involved in the war; 87,000 tanks; 315,000 artillery pieces; 2.5 million trucks; and 5,200 merchant vessels (Liberty Ships) to supply the war effort from across the Atlantic. Furthermore, we produced more than %50 of all armaments used against Germany and Italy during WWII. All of this, however, was still not enough. Secretary of War, Henry Stimpson, said that we cannot permanently be in the position of toolmakers for other nations fight. We needed also to provide men and command (Dear 679). America sent upwards of 16 million men into WWII, losing only 2 million. People may say that Russia contributed so much more to the sheer numbers on the field against Germany which may be true, but, with superior leadership, we made our troops count for more. We had amazing mobility. This allowed us to move our troops from one battlefront to another depending on where the battle was. For example, the Big Red One fought in North Africa and was dominated by the Germans at the Battle of Kasserine Pass (Parker 323). Although the units were in shambles, they were able to regroup and quickly move on to Sicily, Italy, and Normandy. We also fought decisive battles. We wasted no manpower. Every soldier was used to his full extent. For example, Omaha and Utah Beach, where we landed over 1 million troops, each unit playing a specific role in the outcome of the invasion. Our strategically placed forces insured the weakening of the Axis powers whenever possible.
Each one of these three aspects of war taken separately, would prove that the United States a key feature in WWII. When combined, however, it is obvious that America and its people were responsible for the Allied victory. No other nation dealing with the European Campaign shared our speed or decisiveness or had the means to produce the quantity and quality of industry necessary to destroy Hitler and the Third Reich.