World War II and America

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					World War II and America

   The Isolationism Dilemma
        Author’s Purpose
Before writing, authors must first
understand what purpose or purposes they
hope to achieve with regard to their readers.
Typically, writers write for one of three
                  to inform
                 to persuade
                 to entertain
What purpose do you think these
      writers had in mind?
What about this author?
Theodore Geisel
        Theodore Geisel, or Dr.
        Seuss, wrote both of
        those books.

        His children’s books were
        not the only place he
        tried to inform and
        persuade his audience.
Theodore Geisel
        This man vehemently op-
        posed isolationist atti-
        tudes in America with
        respect to World War II.
        He published a great deal
        of artwork in PM, a New
        York newspaper, de-
        signed to convince the
        people of the United
        States to abandon
        isolationist policies.
In August of 1935, President
Franklin Roosevelt signed
what would be the first in a
series of Neutrality Acts.
These Congressional Acts
were attempts to stop the
United States from becoming
involved in foreign affairs in
order that we might focus
our attentions on domestic

This idea was referred
to as isolationism or
         Charles Lindbergh
This man was a very
outspoken isolationist.
He started a group called
“America First” whose
mission was to convince
the United States
government to stay OUT
of World War II in the
interest of protectionism.
         Charles Lindbergh

Lindbergh used his fame as a pilot and national
hero to gain audience for his isolationist ideas.
               The Dilemma
It is November 1941. You are an American living at
a time when the vestiges of the Neutrality Acts are
still selectively enforced by the government. Your
friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers are all
discussing the state of the world and America’s
place in it.

Should the United States maintain an isolationist foreign
             policy per the Neutrality Acts,
          or should we scrap it and go to war?
           The Dilemma
Paragraph 1 – Introduce yourself.

          What is your name?
           Who is your family?
     What do you do for a living?
 Where in the United States do you live?
      What is your life like there?
           The Dilemma
Body Paragraphs – Introduce the facts. You
must be able to support EVERYTHING that
you include in the body with a documented
Build your position by answering the
following questions based on your
knowledge from this course and the primary
sources provided.
     The Dilemma – the Questions
1.   What is happening in Europe and Asia at this
     point in history?

2.   How is America reacting?

3. What positions do people in the public eye take
   on the issue (President Roosevelt, Lindbergh,

4. How do they support their positions?
              The Dilemma
  Concluding Paragraph – Add it all up.

• After thinking about the different options,
  what do you think America should do?

• Why do you think so?
• What do you think will happen in America
  and in the world if our nation follows your
The Primaries
“America First” distributed literature that explained the
groups point of view. The following is a brochure that was
distributed by the group.

                     1. Our first duty is to keep
                        America out of foreign wars.
                        Our entry would only destroy
                        3. In 1917 we sent our
                        democracy, not save it.
                           American war is a false
                        “The path to ships into the war
                        5. zone and this aid is to war.
                        path to freedom.led us the duty
                            of a strong, free keep our
                           In 1941 we must country at
                 acts of build a merchant
                              We convoys abroad
                    2. Notnaval must war anddefense, for
                            peace. With proper
                            by preserving the so strong
                            safeguard for and of the
                       but vessels onshores, distribution
                              our own this side
                              that democracy at
                       extendingno foreignshould feed
                            of supplies, we power or
                       home can we aid democracycan
                              combination suffering
                            and clothe theof powers and
                             freedomourother lands.
                              invade in country,
                       and needy people of the by sea,
                            occupied countries.
                              air or land.
Dr. Seuss published more than 400 editorial cartoons for
PM between 1940 and 1948. The following examples
specifically address isolationist policy and philosophy.
    The New York Times followed Lindbergh’s speaking
engagements quite closely. The following are excerpts from
 Times articles reporting on Lindbergh’s public statements.
Excerpt from the New York Times, September 16, 1939, covering a
                September 15 radio broadcast.
The editorial board of the New York Times published this
              commentary on May 20, 1940.
On May 22, 1940, the New York Times published letters to the editor by readers who
weighed in on the May 20 editorial from differing perspectives. A sample of those
                             letters appears below:
Article from the New York Times, October 31, 1941, covering a
      rally of “America First” at Madison Square Garden.
Excerpt from the New York Times, October 31, 1941 (continued).
•   The Dr. Seuss Collection in the Mandeville Special Collections Library at the University of California, San

•   Portrait of Dr. Seuss by Everett Raymond Kinstler (1982)

•   Charles Lindbergh – American Aviator

•   Academy of Achievement

•   Kansas State University

•   ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2003)

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