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America's Isolationism: Prelude to War
Transcript of America's Isolationism: Prelude to War
Observation: to make up for being late in the first two world wars, America will be damn punctual for the next one.
America’s isolationism was a reaction to World War I
Many people felt that the USA had cleaned up Europe’s mess.
Tariffs and protectionist policies were the economic expression
The failure to join the League of Nations was the political response
As challenges to world peace arose, particularly from aggressive fascist governments, the guiding principle for the US was non-involvement
Japan, Italy, and Germany all engaged in political and military aggression in the ‘30s
The American Congress, driven only by the desire to avoid war passed the Neutrality Acts.
This act forced an embargo on nations involved in war and made no distinction between aggressor and victim, treating both equally as "belligerents"
Roosevelt needed to offer assistance to the nations on the front line resisting fascism
In order to support Britain, he traded destroyers for leases on bases
The ‘cash and carry’ provision allowed any nation with the funds to purchase materiel
The Lend Lease Act allowed the President to extend credit to “any country whose defense the president deems vital to the defense of the USA”
These policies helped Britain (and later the USSR) continue the resistance against fascism until December, 1941 when the USA entered the war on the Allied side
This ended the last period of American isolationism