|F.D.R and the Shadow of War
1. Early Examples of American Isolationism from Europe and withdrawal from Asia
London Economic Conference (1933) – what was its purpose and why did FDR
not wish to be involved with it?
- Eur. wanted to stabilize currencies to increase world trade to pull everyone out of
the depression, but to do this would tie FDR’s hands and the inflationary
measures he was looking to take to pull America’s economy out of the depression
Philippines Independence (1934) – (Tydings McDuffie Act) – Why was
Philippine independence given at this point and why was this not the right time?
- Labor unions did not like the Filipino cheap labor sources and sugar companies
did not like the Filipino competition. Thus, they would be given independence
within 12 years. Not the right time for Hirohito and Japanese looking to move in
for they had taken Manchuria in 1931 and were working on China. We were
abandoning them to Japanese fate.
2. Define it and its fundamental change in foreign policy. Why would America
switch course so abruptly?
- Looked to pull back American heavy-handedness and increase good will and
trade with Latin America
- Reversed the Rossevelt Corollary that had spread such ill will.
- Am. had lost much money because of the depression and so there was not as
great an economic stake that warranted massive taxpayer outlays to control
- Wanted to have friends in L.A. if and when shooting began with Europe so they
wouldn’t be predisposed to look to enemy for aid.
3. Examples of the Good Neighbor Policy – Define the issue and America’s actions
Montevideo Conference (1933)- Am. renounces the Roosevelt Corollary and
armed intervention into Latin America / Big Brotherism is dead
Haiti – removed troops in ‘34
Cuba – released from the Platt amendment (Platt Amendment abrogation)
Panama – US relaxed its grip
Mexican Oil Controversy (1938) – Mexico seized Am. oil properties
(nationalized them) – instead of sending in the troops, FDR negotiated though
Am. companies did take a hit
Reciprocal Trade Agreements – Pres. could lower rates by up to 50%
if another country agreed to do likewise (
4. What were the significances of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements?
- increased foreign trade with Latin America and established the free-trade
international economic system that would be the watershed of the world following
World War II.
- Established a mechanism for lowering trade that avoided the Senatorial
logrolling that accompanied all tariff bills and always kept tariffs high since the
American Neutrality and Isolationism
5. US Neutrality –
What did the Nye Senate Committee state in 1934? Why was this significant?
- bankers and munitions makers gained from the war and pulled the US into WW I
- US populace believed and supported legislation that would bar US involvement in
any countries at war.
Define the Neutrality Acts of 1935,1936 and 1937
- No loans, arms to any country declared a belligerent by the President
What is the ironic significance of these acts in comparison to previous Am. wars?
- Am. attempted to keep the world safe for neutrals in previous wars (except in
Embargo Act of 1807) and keep freedom of the seas. “head in the sand”
mentality of the isolationists prevented us from anything that might suck us in and
that means abandoning the seas.
6. Spanish Civil War – 1936-1939 Who was Gen. Francisco Franco? What
happened? What was America’s response and why was it disastrous to the future
events in Europe?
- military Fascist that had backing of Hitler and Mussolini to overthrow Sp.
- Government was overthrown while the US stayed out and did not give supplies
while the Ger. and It. supported Franco. Looked like US would stay out –
message sent to Hitler
7. Totalitarian Aggression in the 1930’s:Define the following events that occur
during this 1930’s -
Japan – Marco Polo Bridge – (1937) – Japanese attack and start full-fledge war
against the Chinese (since the 1931 invasion of Manchuria)
“Quarantine Speech” - US Response – America called for positive
endeavors to stop the aggressors (presumably by economic embargoes)
Panay Incident – (1938) – Japan attacks Am. gunboat 2 killed, but
US Response? Nothing
Italy - Ethiopia (p. 804) – (1935) – Mussolini invades
Germany – ___ Rhineland (1935)
____Sudetenland (1938) – takes this and the whole country of
8. Munich Conference (1938) – What was the issue and how was it resolved?
What significant insight did Hitler gain from this?
- Germany wanted to complete his connection of all German people (at least this
is what he said) by taking the Sudetenland
- Chamberlin (Bri.) and Fr. agree
- 3 weeks later he takes all of Czechoslovakia
9. Nonaggression Pact (1939) – Soviets and Ger. agree not to attack eachother and
agree to divvy up Poland when Hitler attacks. (Soviets later take eastern parts of
10. Invasion of Poland (1939)
How long did it take? 3 weeks
(blitzkrieg ?) – “lightening war”)
- How did the Bri. and France respond? they declare war
11. Neutrality Act of 1939 How did it revise the earlier neutrality acts?
- “Cash and Carry” basis for provisioning the Allies – thus changes the belligerency
- Pres. would declare “danger zones” where Am. ships couldn’t travel.
12. Fall of France -
When did it happen?
What happened at Dunkirk?
What was the US response to the fall of France and Britain being the only
democracy left in Europe?
What was the Havana Conference?
- June of 1940
- Bri. army able to be saved from France.
- US preparedness campaign starts – 37 billion (5 times larger than any New Deal
budget) was passed to build a 2-ocean Navy and huge airfleets.
- conscription law passed – 1.2 million and 800,000 reserves
- 21 L.A. countries and the US mutually agree to uphold the Monroe Doctrine
end of the “Big Brother” concept
13. Polarization of America – define these two groups and their positions on getting
involved in the war :
Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies vs.
America First Committee (“Fortress America”)
- CDAA – Give all aid “short of war” to the Allies to keep the war in Eur.
- AFC – Keep our arms here and boys alive. Make Am. so strong that the dictators
would never attack.
14. What was the Battle of Britain (1940)?
- - Germany’s air war against the Bri.
What was the Destroyer-Bases Deal?
- Am. gave 50 destroyers to Bri. in
exchange for 8 bases from Newfoundland to S.Am.
How do FDR’s actions illustrate his thinking on the subject of neutrality?
- Did now want to subject this to a vote so he did it under the authority of being
Commander in Chief – they needed aid.
15. 1940 Election:
Who was the Republican candidate? Wendell Wilkie
What was the Republican platform?
- attacks the Roosevelt dictatorship – his heavy-handedness/inefficiencies of New
Deal/ attempting a 3rd term/ stay out of the war
What was the Democrat (FDR’s) platform?
- Stay out of war/keep Am. boys home/ Need his experience in this crisis
What was the outcome?
- Am. believed they needed FDR to fend off Hitler
16. Lend-Lease Act (1941)– Why did FDR propose it and what were its provisions?
Why was it significant?
- Britain was broke and couldn’t afford.
- US would lend/lease armaments to the Allies and they would give them back
after using them
- Prevented the great war debts that plagued nations after the war
17. Hitler’s attack on Soviet Union – When did it take place and why did Hitler do
- June of 1941 – Ger. needed the oil and resources of the USSR and then he could
turn his full attention to Britain
18. Atlantic Charter (Aug.1941) – What was it and what were its provisions?
- Bri. and US agree an 8-point charter that would address the creation of a more
- self-determination for all peoples
- regain gov’ts abolished by dictators
- permanent system of security (future UN)
19. U-Boat attacks –
What was the “convoy system”?
– July, 1941-US Navy would convoy Am. ships carrying goods under Lend-Lease
to Icleand and the Bri. Navy would pick them up there.
What was significant about the Reuben James?
– US destroyer torpedoed – 100 lost (Nov. 1941)
What change in merchant ship policies occurred because of it?
- They could arm themselves.
20. Why did the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor?
- Either they would acquiesce to Am. demands and pull out of China and gain back
some of their economic benefits with the US or they would stay and fight the
Americans to gain territory.
21. What is the day that will “live in infamy”? Dec. 7, 1941 – attack on Pearl Harbor