Us In WWII Essay Research Paper America

Us In WWII Essay, Research Paper

?America Re-enters the Arena: Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was determined to protect the national security of

the United States. At first, Roosevelt felt that it was in the best interest of

the United States to avoid involvement in the war. However, he knew ?sooner or

later, the threat to the European balance of power would have forced the United

States to intervene in order to stop Germany?s drive for world domination? (Kissinger

369-370). But this was not Roosevelt?s main problem; Roosevelt had to prove to

the American people that unlike World War I, US involvement was necessary. He

had to ?[transform] the nation?s concept of national interest and [lead] ?a

staunchly isolationist people? into yet another global war? (handout).

Initially, Franklin Delano Roosevelt?s main goal was to protect US National

Security by not intervening in the war. Roosevelt and the rest of United States

government did not want to make the same mistakes of WWI. Thus, all of the

situations that caused the United States to enter WWI were taken into

consideration when the Neutrality Acts were passed. Prior to the outbreak of the

war Franklin Roosevelt signed the Neutrality Acts, which ?prohibited loans and

any other financial assistance to belligerents (whatever the cause of war) and

imposed an arms embargo on all parties (regardless of who the victim was).

Purchases of nonmilitary goods for cash were allowed only if they were

transported in non-American ships? (Kissinger 378). In fact, Roosevelt felt

that he should instead focus his time and energy at the depression.

On the other hand, Franklin Roosevelt was always pro-democracy and had a

history of rejecting these aggressive countries (mostly the dictatorships). As

the war developed and the desperation of the Allies increased, Roosevelt

realized the need to support the allies (the non-aggressive democracies that he

was ideally tied to) or face a group of unreceptive countries in the postwar

world. However, his American people had set up a barrier of isolationism between

the US and any foreign involvement. Roosevelt understood their view but he said,

?[it would take time to] make people realize that war will be a greater danger

to us if we close all doors and windows then if we go out in the street and use

our influence to curb the riot? (Kissinger 381).

As a result, Roosevelt decided to persuade his people slowly until they

realized the evil strength of Hitler and his power. The first sign of this came

during his Quarantine Speech; ?it was the first warning to America of the

approaching peril and [Roosevelt?s] first public statement that America might

have to assume some responsibility with respect to it? (Kissinger 379).

>From this time onward Roosevelt tried to justify outer involvement

(helping the allies which was not direct involvement) in the war. Consequently,

in April of 1939, when Hitler took Prague, Roosevelt declared, ?the continued

political, economic and social independence of every small nation in the world

does have an effect on out nation safety and prosperity. Each once that

disappears weakens our national safety and prosperity? (Kissinger 383). Also

during this month, Roosevelt sent a message directly to Hitler and Mussolini

that asked them not to ?attack some thirty-one specific European and Asian

nations for a period of ten years? (Kissinger 384). Hitler obviously inquired

with all of these nations and they obviously denied any type of concern.

However, ?Roosevelt achieved his political objective. By asking only Hitler

and Mussolini for assurance, he had stigmatized them as the aggressors before

the only audience that, for the moment, matter to Roosevelt ? the American

people? (Kissinger 384).

However, this shift from neutrality to a gradual helping of the allies did

not stop there. On November 4, 1939 Roosevelt added the Fourth Neutrality Act,

which ?permitted belligerents to purchase arms and ammunition from the United

States, provided they paid in cash and transported their purchases in their own

or neutral ships? (Kissinger 385). However, as France fell into the hands of

Hitler, Roosevelt knew that the British could not defeat Hitler alone. As a

result, Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to rid the Fourth Neutrality Act of the

cash requirement and instead suggested that the American people accept the

Lend-Lease Act, which ?allowed the President discretionary authority to lend,

lease, sell, or barter under any terms he deemed proper any defense article to

?the government of any country whose defense the President deems vital to the

defense of the Untied States?? (Kissinger 388). This clear favoritism led to

the isolation of the aggressors and the view that the US would eventually be

drawn into the war.

By this time Roosevelt had already taken strategic steps to be involved in

the war ? even though the United States were not directly involved in the war.

By this time he had set up a project that allowed the British and French to

assemble planes (of which the components would be supplied by the United States)

in Canada. The Neutrality Acts technically allowed this project since the

component parts were civilian built. Roosevelt also made an agreement with Great

Britain. The agreement was that the British navy would protect the Atlantic

while the United States protected Great Britain?s Asian interests in the

Pacific. In a addition to all this, in April of 1941,

?Roosevelt took another step war by authorizing an agreement with the

Danish representative in Washington?to allow American forces to occupy

Greenland?At the same time, Roosevelt privately informed Churchill that,

henceforth, American ships would patrol the North Atlantic west of Iceland ?

covering about two-thirds of the entire ocean ? and ?publish the position of

possible aggressor ships or planes when located in American patrol area?? (Kissinger


All the way up until Pearl Harbor Roosevelt tried his hardest to support the

allies without being drawn directly into the war (the US people didn’t want to

be dragged into a war and so supported FDR’s policy). Even though Roosevelt did

not want to get directly involved in the war, he knew it would happen sooner or

later. Roosevelt also knew that the hardest group to convince was his own

American people. Kissinger best describes this idea in the following excerpt

from ?America Re-enters the Arena: Franklin Delano Roosevelt,?

?In less than three years, Roosevelt has taken his staunchly isolationist

people into a global war. As lat as May 1940, 64 percent of Americans has

considered the preservation of peace more important then the defeat of the

Nazis. Eighteen months later, in December 1941, just before the attack on Pearl

Harbor, the proportions had been reversed ? only 32 percent favored peace over

preventing triumph? (Kissinger 392).

Therefore, when Pearl Harbor was bombed war was justified due to the

aggressors. The United States then declared war on Japan and Germany declared

war on the United States. Roosevelt?s job was done; ?by initiating

hostilities, the Axis powers had solved Roosevelt?s lingering dilemma about

how to move the American people into the war? (Kissinger 393).