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Winston Richards

on 15 March 2013

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Chapter 27: The Global Crisis, 1921-1941 The Diplomacy of a New Era Throughout the 1920s many Americans who had supported Wilson were upset by the lack of US intervention world wide, being called isolationists. In fact, the US had played a bigger role in world affairs in the '20s than it had at any previous time. Replacing the League When Harding took office it was clear the US membership in the League of Nations was no longer a realistic possibility. Secretary of State Charles Evan Hughes secured legislation from congress declaring the war with Germany at an end, and proceeded to negotiate separate peace treaties with each of the Central Powers. Hughes was committed to finding a replacement for the league as a guarantor of world peace and stability. Washington Conference of 1921 Sec of State Hughes created the Washington Conference of 1921, which set limits on naval armaments in response to the arms race between the US, Britain, and Japan. The Five-Power, Nine-Power, and Four Power act regulated naval tonnage, maintained China’s open- door policy, and kept stability in the Pacific, respectively. The Kellogg-Briand Pact, a multilateral treaty, outlawed war as a form of national policy. Debts and Diplomacy American diplomacy was most concerned with keeping potential for overseas trade expansion limitless. The most effective way to do that was to prevent war and arms races, as well as international financial health. America was owed $11 billion in loans from the Allies, and did not want to relieve them. Circular Loans Charles G. Dawes, American banker and diplomat, proposed that American banks would loan to the Germans to help pay off their Allied reparations, and in turn the Allies would reduce those reparations. The result was a system of circular loans that survived only because of the monstrous amount of European debt. America as a result had more economic power in Europe than ever before, which continued until 1931. America had similar expansion into Latin America, which was just as reckless. Hoover and the World Crisis Hoover lacked the capability of dealing with the chaos that was leading to war. He tried to promote goodwill in Latin America by recognizing any sitting government, regardless of how it came to power. Hoover’s economic diplomacy was ineffective in Europe, which was in turmoil. Hitler and the rise of the Axis In the late 1920’s and early 30’s, both Mussolini’s fascist regime and Hitler’s National Socialist (Nazi) party were gaining control. Hitler’s belief in Aryan racial superiority, his commitment to living space for Germans, his anti-Semitism and his militarism all posed threats to German peace. Manchurian Crisis Manchuria, formally a part of Chiang Kai-Shek’s china, but economically controlled by the Japanese. When Kai-Shek began to try to exercise more control in the region, Japan staged a coup and a later invasion in fall of 1931.In early 1932, the conquest of Manchuria was complete, and Japan pushed into shanghai, killing thousands of civilians. US Intervention in Manchuria Secretary of State Henry Stimson was left with few options to deal with the Japanese when Hoover forbade him to cooperate with the League of Nations. His only real tool was refusing to recognize the new Japanese territories. America’s stab at a peace policy based on voluntary cooperation from nations had failed. America had two options: a more vigorous internationalism and alignment with other countries, or a more vigorous nationalism and dealing with problems alone. Both styles would be employed in the following years. Depression Diplomacy Hoover had committed America to attend the World Economic Conference in June 1933 to discuss how war debts and reinforcing the gold standard could help the American economy. Yet by the time the conference assembled, Roosevelt was president and had already rescinded the gold standard. At the conference, Roosevelt issued a famous “bombshell”, chastising the orthodox views of the delegates and rejecting Western currency stabilization (not until 1936 did the administration agree to stabilization negotiations). FDR and Depression Diplomacy Though Roosevelt was not interested in currency stabilization or war debts, he was interested in America’s position in world trade. He approved the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act of 1934, which provided for treaties between nations concerning mutual tariff reduction. By 1939, 21 nations had signed treaties and American exports had increased by 40%, however, these treaties only admitted products into the US that did not compete with American products, so foreign nations were not obtaining American currency to buy American products or pay debts to America. America and the USSR After the Bolshevik Revolution tension and open hostility emerged between the US and Russia. The US saw a trading partner in Russia, while the Russians saw an ally against the expanding Japanese. In 1933, Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Livitnov reached an agreement with FDR. Soviets would end propaganda efforts in the US and would protect US citizens, if the US would recognize the communist regime. However, by 1934, relations had deteriorated due to a lack of trade expansion into Russia by America and no interest from America to stop Japanese aggression. Good Neighbor Policy In an effort to appease Latin America the Good Neighbor Policy was created. During the 1930’s, America increased its exports to and imports from all Latin American countries by over 100%. At the Inter-American Conference in Montevideo, 1933, Secretary of State Hull signed a formal convention stating “ no state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another.” This affirmed the trend that Hoover had started of no military influence in Latin America. FDR kept this pledge throughout his office, but Americans still dominated Latin America through economic influence. Part of Sino Japanese War
The Rise of Isolationism In order to prevent the US from being dragged into looming European war, the Neutrality Acts of 1935, 1936, and 1937. They established military arms embargos against both victim and aggressor in any military conflict and warned citizens that travel on ships of warring nations was at their own risk. The 1937 act created the cash and carry policy, which allowed belligerents to purchase nonmilitary goods only with cash and transport them away with their own vessels. Cause for Isolationism When Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in October 1935, the League of Nations protested, and Mussolini responded by withdrawing Italy and joining the Axis. This strengthened support for isolationism. The Spanish Civil War also strengthened both US isolationism and neutrality FDR and Isolationism FDR did not fully agree with isolationism. He was especially concerned with Japanese aggression. In a 1937 speech in Chicago, he warned that Japan should be “quarantined” from the global community if they continued. Public response was hostile to his anti-isolationist view. However, only months later, Japanese zeroes bombed the US gunboat Panay in China as it sailed the Yangtze River. Though it was in broad daylight and the ship had a large American flag on it, Japan claimed it was an accident and isolationists seized the Japanese apology and pressured the administration to overlook the attack. Failure of Munich Hitler began German expansion when he occupied France and pressured Austria into a union. Willing to prevent a crisis at all costs, leaders of France and Britain met with Hitler in Munich on September 29, 1938. France and Britain had agreed to Hitler’s claim in Czechoslovakia if Hitler swore to expand no farther. Prime Minster Neville Chamberlain was credited with assuring peace for Europe. However, Munich “appeasement” failed when Hitler conquered Czechoslovakia in March and in April began threatening Poland. Non Agression Act and
the Start of WWII Britain and France assured Poland that they would support them if Hitler followed through on his threats, and they tried to get Stalin to provide mutual defense. Angered that he had not even been invited to the Munich Conference, Stalin ignored their requests and signed a nonaggression pact with Germany in August 1939.With Russia out of the way, Germany staged an incident on the border of Poland, claiming he had been attacked and launched a full-scale invasion of Poland. Britain and France declared war two days later, September 3, 1939. World War II began. Hitler mocking FDR about German Expansion Neutrality tested FDR wanted to help the Allies by making armaments available to them. He had the Neutrality Acts allow sale of arms to warring nations. American ships were still not allowed into war zones, but belligerents could purchase military items on the same cash and carry basis as previously stated with nonmilitary items. Taking advantage of the war, the Soviets overran Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania and later invaded Finland. The US stopped shipments of arms to Russia, but little more than that.
From Neutrality to Intervention Spring 1940, Hitler launched an invasion of Western Europe, taking Denmark and Norway, then Netherlands and Belgium, and finally, after Italy joined the war, France. The Allies were futile against the Nazi blitzkrieg. France fell quickly, and on June 22nd, Nazi forces marched into Paris. FDR quickly began increasing both US defenses and support to the Allies, notably Britain. He did so without opposition because of shifting public opinion. Most people saw Germany as a direct threat to the US. FDR also instituted the first peace time draft. American Committees Several groups arose to lobby for their opinions. The Committee to Defend America supported increased support for America; the Fight for Freedom Committee wanted an immediate declaration of war; America First Committee was totally isolationist and supported by many prominent Republican leaders (as well as fringe Nazi supporters and anti-Semites). The Third Term Campaign FDR broke tradition and ran for a third term. Since the issue of the 1940 election was the war, FDR took a moderate stance, favoring neither extreme isolationism nor intervention. Because of this, the Republicans had to nominate a moderate as well that being businessman, Wendell Willkie. Both parties took the same stance of assistance to the Allies but keeping America out of war. Though Willkie attracted more Republican support than anyone in decades, FDR won decisively, 55% of popular votes and 449 electoral votes to Willkie’s 82. Neutrality Abandoned In December 1940, Britain was broke and could no longer meet cash-and-carry requirements. FDR created the “lend-lease” system to continue aid to them, so they could lend and lease armaments to any nation deemed vital to the US’s defense. To protect supplies from Nazi U-boats, America began patrolling the Atlantic as far east as Iceland and radioing British ships about Nazi submarine locations. Roosevelt argued this was “hemispheric defense,” and all US boats were still in a neutral zone. Aid to USSR and Naval War Fall 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. When they did not surrender, FDR extended lend-lease privileges to the USSR. Now that the US was aiding German enemies on two fronts, Nazi submarines began a campaign against US ships. After several successful U-boat attacks, US merchant vessels began to be fully armed and sent all the way into belligerent ports, in effect creating a naval war with Germany. Pearl Harbor In September 1940, Japan signed the Tripartite Act, extending the Axis into Asia.When Tokyo failed to respond to FDR’s harsh warnings against continued Japanese aggression, he froze all Japanese assets in the US and established a complete trade embargo, war was imminent. Intelligence foretold of a Japanese attack on November 29th.On Sunday December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers took off from aircraft carriers and bombed Pearl Harbor in two waves. The US lost 8 battleships, 3 cruisers, 4 other vessels, 188 airplanes, and several vital shore installations. More than 2000 soldiers and sailors died, and another 1000 were injured.
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