FDR and the Shadow of War

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					FDR and the Shadow of War
  The epidemic of world lawlessness is spreading. When an
 epidemic of physical disease starts to spread, the community
 approves and joins in a quarantine of the patients in order to
   protect the health of the community against the spread of
disease…There must be positive endeavors to preserve peace.
                            FDR 1937
 The London Economic Conference
• Roosevelt’s willing to be an
  isolationist if it would help the
  domestic economy.
• LEC purpose- international
  coordinated attack on global
  depression (stabilize values of
  nation’s currencies)
• FDR pulls out- because
  agreeing to stabilize currencies
  could affect the dollar, could be
  sacrificing US recovery for
  international cooperation
• US pull out results in- global
  trend of nationalism, which
  further hurts international trade.
          Freedom for the Filipinos
• Global depression slows
  down US imperialism
• Tydings-McDuffie Act in
  1934-Provided for the
  independence of the
  Philippines after a twelve-
  year period of economic
   – Gave up army bases, but
     keep Naval bases
• Imperialistic Japan
         Recognition of Russia
• US recognizes
  Bolshevik regime,
  despite protests from
  anti communists
  factions and Roman
  Catholic factions.
• Why was this done?
   – 1. Trade
   – 2.?
       Becoming a Good Neighbor
• US and Latin America
• In 1933, FDR renounced
  armed intervention in Latin
  America at the
  Seventh Pan-American
  Conference in Montevideo,
  Uruguay, and the following
  year, U.S. marines left Haiti.
• Mexico seizes US oil
  companies- FDR bargains
  with them rather than send
• Good Neighbor policy is
  huge success
 Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act (1934)
• Sec of State. Cordell Hull
• Trade is a two way street
• This act whittled down the most
  objectionable schedules of the
  Hawley-Smoot law by amending them,
  lowering rates by as much as half,
  provided that the other country would do
  the same toward the United States.
• President had authority without
  consulting Congress.
• Reverse high tariff policy in place since
• Paves way for Free trade movement (post
                 Rise of Dictators
• Europe is in ruins, the state
  becomes more important then
  the individual
• USSR- Joseph Stalin
• Italy- Benito Mussolini
• Germany- Adolf Hitler
• AH biggest threat- best speaker,
  “big lie”
• Rome Berlin Axis 1936-
  Germany and Italy are allies
• Japan also a big threat- quit L
  of N in 1935
• 1936 BM attack Ethiopia, L of
  N fails to intervene
               American Isolationism
• Why didn’t America Act?
   – Distracted by the depression
   – Vividly recall the losses of WWI
   – feel safe behind the protection of
     two oceans,
   – largely believed that what
     happened in the rest of the world
     didn’t effect them.
• Rise of fascists increased
  desire to avoid entanglement
• The 1934 Johnson Debt
  Default Act forbade any
  countries that still owed the
  U.S. money from borrowing
  any more cash.
      Congress Legislates Neutrality
• WW 1- Nye Commission blames
  US bankers and arms dealers for
• Congress passes Neutrality Acts
  in 1935, 36 and 37
• Which stated that when the
  president proclaimed the
  existence of a foreign war,
  certain restrictions would
  automatically go into effect: no
  American could legally sail on a
  belligerent ship or sell or
  transport munitions to a
  belligerent, or make loans to a
     American Dooms Loyalist Spain
• Spanish Civil War similar
  to bleeding Kansas
• Republican Government
  (Backed by Russia) vs.
  Francisco Franco (Backed
  by Germ and Italy)
• Abraham Lincoln Brigade-
  American volunteers
  fighting against Franco
• NA’s = arms embargo
• US forces aren’t strong
  enough to deter aggressors-
             Appeasement: Japan
• 1937- Japan attacks China
  – (Rape of Nanking)
• US avoids calling it a
  declared war
• 1937- FDR Quarantine
• Goes over terribly in US
• 1937- American ship Panay
  shot down by Japan- Japan
  apologizes and pays money
  (think about the Maine)
            Appeasement: Germany
• 1935 breaches Versailles
  treaty by reintroducing the
• 1936 marches troops into
  the demilitarized Rhineland
• Hitler begins to persecute
  and discriminate against the
• 1937 starts building the
  military at an aggressive
• March 1938 Hitler marches
  without resistance into
• Hitler then begins making
  demands for the
Appeasement: Germany
           Munich Conference 1938
• Allies desperate to avoid
• Democracies have no real
  leverage. Appeasement
• Germany gets Sudetenland,
  promises not to take over
  any more lands
• 6 months later, Hitler takes
  the rest of Czechoslovakia
• Appeasement is a failure
• Neville Chamberlain:
  “Peace in our time” British
Hitler's Belligerency and US Neutrality
• Hitler Stalin Pact- Rus and
  Germany are allies
• Surprised World- ppl thought
  only thing from preventing
  more German expansion was
  the threat of Russia (two front
• Hitler now wants Poland
• In 1939, Hitler invaded Poland,
  and France and Britain finally
  declared war against Germany,
  but America refused to enter the
  war, its citizens not wanting to
  be “suckers” again.
          The Neutrality Act of 1939
• Knows that European democracies are woefully
  unprepared and will not win on their own.
• Wants to lift the arms-sale restrictions entirely.
• But, knows that neither the nation nor Congress is ready
  for that.
• European nations to buy war materials, but only on a
  “cash-and-carry” basis, which meant Europeans
  had to provide their own ships and pay for the arms in
  cash. (Favors France and GB because they control the
• Huge boost to US economy- ( WWII will end the Great
  Depression, not the New Deals)
Hitler Takes over Europe
            • April 1940 Hitler
              attacks Denmark and
            • May attacks
              Netherlands and
              Belgium, then France.
            • June 1940 France is
              forced to surrender
               Miracle of Dunkirk
• Very significant because
  saves a huge chunk of
  British army.
• US is shocked by quick fall
  of France
• Now England is the only
  constitutional government
  in Europe
• If Germany takes England,
  manufacturing power and
  naval will be un stoppable
                  The US begins to Arm
• FDR calls for building of huge air
  fleet and a two-ocean navy that would
  check both Germany and Japan.
• Congress approves 37 Billion
   – More than the cost of WWI and 5-times
     larger than any annual budget for New
• Congress passes a conscription law,
  Sept. 1940.
   – America’s first peace-time draft.
• Havana Conference 1940- Newly
  conquered European states leave
  colonies in South America in trouble-
  US promises to uphold Monroe
        Refugees from the Holocaust
• Nazis promote Anti-
• Kristallnacht- night of
  broken glass- basically the
  start of concentration camps
• 1939- Ship St. Louis- has
  Jewish Refugees- denied
  entrance to Cuba, than go to
  US, denied there because of
  strict immigration laws and
  opposition from Southern
   Refugees from the Holocaust
• 1942- US becomes
  aware of genocide
• War Refugee Board-
  saves Hungarian Jews
• 150,000 German and
  Austrian Jews find
  refuge in US
                  Bolstering Britain
• US starting to question
• Battle of Britain- England
  defends British Isle, Hitler
  postpones invasion
• Radio broadcasts from
  England- help change
  public sentiment
• The big question- assume
  “fortress America” and
  take defensive position or
  aid Britain by all means
  short of war
                   Bolstering Britain
• Advocates for aid
   – Committee to Defend
     America by Aiding
   – Appeal to both sides
   – “Britain is Fighting our
     Fight” and “ All
     methods short of war”
• Isolationists
   – America 1st Committee
   – “England will fight to
     the Last American
   – Build up our defense
   – Charles Lindbergh big
                   Destroyer Deal
• Britain was in dire need for
  destroyers, and on September 2,
  1940, FDR boldly moved to
  transfer 50 old-model, four-
  funnel destroyers left over from
  WWI, and in return, the British
  promised to give the U.S. eight
  valuable defensive base sites
  stretching from Newfoundland
  to South America.
• These would stay in American
  ownership for 99 years.
• Caused some controversy, but
  FDR is sick of isolationism
  Shattering the 2 term tradition
• Republicans select
  surprise candidate
  Wendell Willkie –
  magnetic personality
• Platform- condemn
  dictatorship of FDR
  and costly confusing
  zig zags of New Deal
• “The rich man’s
     Shattering the 2 term tradition
• FDR announces he will
  run for third term,
  wanted to retire, but
  awful situation required
  his experience
• “Better a third term than
  a third rater”
                 Election of 1940
• Both promise to say out of
  war, and strengthen nations
• Willkie could have made us
  divide much worse, but
  instead doesn’t attack
  FDR’s intervention, only
  his tactics
• The US wants experience,
  not a rookie
             Lend Lease Law
• “If your neighbor’s
  house is on fire, you
  don’t sell him a hose,
  you give it to him.
  Then, you take it back
  after the fire is out.
  This helps your
  neighbor and makes
  sure the fire doesn’t
  spread to your house.”
                 Lend Lease Law
• Brits are low on money
• Roosevelt didn’t want
  all the hassles that came with calling back debts, so he
  came up with the idea of a lend-lease program in which
  the arms and ships, etc. that the U.S. lent to the nations
  that needed them would be returned when they were no
  longer needed.
• The lend-lease bill was argued over heatedly in Congress,
  but it passed, and by war’s end, America had sent about
  $50 billion worth of arms and equipment.
• Before, German submarines had avoided attacking U.S.
  ships, but after the passage, they started to fire upon U.S.
  ships as well, such as the May 21, 1941 torpedoing of the
  Robin Moor
            Joy for the Allies
• 1940 France falls,
  1941 Hitler attacks
• World is happy, hopes
  the two will kill each
  other off
• US starts sending
  money to the Reds
           Atlantic Conference 1941

• The Atlantic Charter- US
  and England accept, USSR
  endorses it a year later
• Similar to Wilson’s 14
  – Pledges that countries will
    not have borders changed
  – Self determination and
    return to pre-war
  – League of nations type
   U.S. Destroyers And Hitler’s U-boats
• 1941- FDR states that the navy
  will escort lend lease shipments to
  Iceland, British would have to
  pick them up from there
• Clashes with Subs—
   – 9/41—Greer attacked without
   – 10/41—Kearny attacked but not
   – 10/41—Reuben James sunk with
     loss of more than 100.
• Congress pulls Neutrality
  legislation and authorizes the
  arming of Merchant ships.
               The US and Japan
Japan is heavily dependent on US steel,
oil, gasoline and other war supplies. If
US cuts them off, Japan is toast.
1940 US does impose sanctions.
1941 freeze Japanese assets and ends all
oil shipments.
US has broken code and knows that Japan
plans to attack somewhere.
Warnings from US to Pearl Harbor are
late in arriving.
                    The US and Japan
• Dec 7 1941- “A day which will live
  in infamy”
• Surprise attack on pearl harbor
   – 8 battleships, most of aircraft,
      3000 casualties.
   – But, three US carriers were out
      to sea and were spared.
   – Japanese failed to destroy repair
      facilities, allowing US to stay at
      Pearl and repair the fleet. Big
• Japan and Germany are allies—
  Germany and Italy then declare war
  on US. U.S. declares war on
  Germany. We are in.

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