Essay on The American People Ch 25

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Chapter 25: World War II

The Twisting Road to War
Foreign Policy in a Global Age * Many domestic difficulties as well as an international crisis * Roosevelt had no master plan in foreign policy or the domestic sphere * He recognized Soviet gov’t in hope that this would create a new market for surplus grain * He supported dictators, especially in Central America, and in a series of Pan-American conferences, he joined in pledging that no country in the hemisphere would intervene in the “internal or external affairs” of any other * When a coup led by Fulgencio Batista overthrew the revolutionary gov’t, the US recognized Batista and gave a large loan and agreed to abrogate the Platt Amendment (which made Cuba a virtual protectorate of the US) in return for the rights to the Guantanamo naval base * Trade Agreements Act of 1934 – gave the president power to lower tariff rates by as much as 50% * The Good Neighbor policy was good business for the US, but increased trade did not solve the economic problems for either the US or Latin America

Europe on the Brink of War * Hitler came to power in Germany around the same time FDR was elected president * Hitler was a corporal in WWI and was anger about the Treaty of Versailles * He blamed Germany’s defeat on Communists and Jews * He became leader of National Socialist party (German-National Sozialist Nazi) * In 1923, he led an unsuccessful coup and imprisoned. During this time he wrote Mien Kampf (“My Struggle”), which laid out is visions of racial purity and his hatred of the Jews * He wanted to rearm Germany (violation of ToV) and wanted to make German Third Riech * In Italy, Benito Mussolini came to power and started building a powerful military. He threatened to invade Ethiopia * Senator Gerald P. Nye of ND turned to an investigation of the connection between corporate profits an American participation in WWI * College students joined the Veterans of Future Wars and Future Gold Mothers to protest the presence of the Reserve Officers Training Corps on their campus

Ethiopia and Spain * In May 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia after rejecting the LoN’s offer to mediate the difficulties between the two countries * Neutrality Act – authorized the president to prohibit al arms shipments to nations at war and to advise all US citizens not to travel on belligerents’ ships except at their own risk * It was used to impose an arms embargo * Isolation became difficult when a civil war broke out in Spain in 1936 (General Francisco Franco led revolt) * Mussolini had joined forces with Germany to form the Rome-Berlin Axis in 1936 * The war in Spain polarized the US. * US gov’t tried to stay neutral * Another Neutrality Act was passed in 1937

War in Europe * FDR was not an isolationist, but wanted US out of conflict. When he announced, “I hate war,” he was expressing a deep personal belief that wars solve few problems * Unlike Teddy, FDR didn’t feel that war was a test of manhood * In March 1938, Hitler annexed Austria and then as a result of the Munich Conference, occupied the Sudetenland. Within 2 months he controlled the rest of Czechoslovakia * Nazi-Soviet pact. When Germany invaded Poland WWII officially started * Hitler set aside his alliance with the Soviets and in June 1941 invaded Russia * In Aug. 1939, Albert Einstein, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, and other distinguished scientists warned the president that German researcher were at work on an atomic bomb * Fearing this, Roosevelt funded secret project to build an American bomb first * With Germany attacking on west and Soviets on east, Poland was done in a month * GB gave several divisions to help French against probable German invasion * With massive air strikes, the German Blitzkrieg swept through Belgium, Luxembourg, and Netherlands * Committee to Defend America by Aiding the…