Hoover’s Policies

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Hoover’s Policies

  1. When the stock market crashed, nobody could foresee how long the downward slide would last

  2. President Hoover believed the nation could get through the difficult times if the people took his advice about exercising voluntary action and restraint

      1. Hoover urged businesses not to cut wages, unions not to strike, and private charities to increase their efforts for the needy and the jobless

  3. Until 1930, Hoover hesitated to ask Congress for legislative action on the economy, afraid that government assistance to individuals would destroy their self-reliance

      1. The president gradually began to recognize the need for more direct government action

      2. Hoover believed public relief should come from state and local governments, not the federal government

Responding to a Worldwide Depression

  1. Through trade and the Dawes Plan for repayment of war debts, European prosperity was closely tied to that of the United States

  2. Hoover’s first major decision concerning the international solution was one of the worst mistakes of his presidency

  3. Hawley-Smoot Tariff (1930) – established the highest tariff rates in history

    1. Purpose was to satisfy U.S. business leaders who thought their markets would be protected from foreign competition

    2. European countries enacted higher tariffs

    3. The effect was to reduce trade for all nations – national and international economies sank further into depression

  4. Debt moratorium – by 1931 conditions were so bad that the Dawes Plan could no longer continue, Hoover proposed a suspension on the payment of international debts

    1. Britain and Germany accepted, France balked

    2. International economy suffered from loan defaults, banks on both sides of the Atlantic scrambled to meet demands of their many depositors withdrawing their money

Domestic Programs – Too Little, Too Late

  1. By 1931, Hoover was convinced that some government action was needed to pull the U.S. economy out of its doldrums

    1. Hoover supported and signed into law programs that offered assistance to indebted farmers and struggling businesses

  2. Federal Farm Board – created in 1929, but its powers were enlarged to meet the economic crisis

    1. Board was authorized to help farmers stabilize prices by temporarily holding surplus grain and cotton in storage

    2. The program was too modest to handle the continued overproduction of farm goods

  3. Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) – federally funded government-owned corporation was created by Congress early in 1932 as a measure for propping up faltering railroads, banks, life insurance companies

    1. President reasoned emergency loans from RFC would help stabilize key businesses

    2. Benefits would then “trickle-down” to smaller businesses and ultimately bring recovery

    3. Democrats scoffed, saying it would only help the rich

Despair and Protest

  1. By 1932, millions of unemployed workers and impoverished farmers were in a state bordering on desperation

    1. Some decided to take direct action to battle the forces that seemed to be crushing them

  2. Farmers banded together to stop banks from foreclosing on their farms and evicting them from their homes

    1. Farmers in the Midwest formed the Farm Holiday Association, which attempted to reverse the drop in prices by stopping the entire crop of grain harvested in 1932 from reaching the market

      1. The effort collapsed after some violence

  3. In the summer of 1932, thousands of unemployed World War I veterans marched to Washington, D.C., to demand immediate payment of the bonuses promised to them at a later date (1945)

    1. They were joined by thousands of other veterans who brought their wives and children and camped in impoverished shacks near the Capital

    2. Congress failed to pass the bonus bill they sought

    3. When two veterans were killed in a clash with police, Hoover ordered the army to break up the encampment

    4. General Douglas MacArthur, the army’s chief of staff, used tanks and tear gas to destroy the shantytown and drive the veterans from Washington

    5. The incident caused many Americans to regard President Hoover as heartless and uncaring

The Election of 1932

  1. The depression’s worst year, 1932, happened to be a presidential election year

  2. The disheartened Republicans re-nominated Hoover, who warned that a Democratic victory would only result in worse economic problems

  3. Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt pledged a “new deal” for the American people, to repeal of Prohibition, aid for the unemployed, and cuts in government spending

  4. Roosevelt carried all but six traditional Republican states in the Northeast

    1. Both houses of Congress were to have large Democratic majorities

  5. For the four months between Roosevelt’s election and his inauguration in March 1933, Hoover was still president

    1. Hoover was a “lame duck,” powerless to cope with the depression, which continued to get worse

    2. Hoover offered to work with the president-elect though the long period, but Roosevelt declined, not wanting to be tied to any of the Republican president’s ideas

  6. The Twentieth Amendment (known as the “lame-duck” amendment), passed in February 1933 and ratified by October 1933, shortened the period between presidential election and inauguration

    1. The amendment set the new date, January 20, for the start of a president’s term in office

Franklin Roosevelt

  1. In the midst of promising career, Roosevelt was paralyzed by polio in 1921

  2. Although he was wealthy enough to retire, he labored instead to resume his career in politics and eventually regained full power of his upper body, even though he could never walk again unaided and required the assistance of crutches, braces, and wheelchair

  3. Roosevelt’s greatest strengths were his warm personality, his gifts as a speaker, and his ability to work with and inspire people

  4. In 1928, campaigning from a car and in a wheelchair, FDR was elected governor of New York

    1. In this office, he instituted a number of welfare and relief programs to help the jobless

  5. Eleanor Roosevelt emerged a leader in her own right

    1. Became the most active first lady in history, writing a newspaper column, giving speeches, and traveling the country

    2. Though their personal relationship was strained, Eleanor and Franklin had a strong mutual respect

    3. She served as the president’s social conscience and influenced him to support minorities and the less fortunate

New Deal Philosophy

  1. In 1932, FDR offered vague promises but no concrete programs

    1. He did not have detailed plan for ending the depression, but he was committed to action and willing to experiment with political solutions to economic problems

    2. FDR promised to help the “forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid”

  2. During the early years of his presidency, it became clear that his New Deal programs were to serve three R’s:

    1. relief for people out of work

    2. recovery for business and the economy as a whole

    3. reform of American economic institutions

  3. In giving shape to his New Deal, President Roosevelt relied on a group of advisors who had assisted him while he was governor of New York

    1. Roosevelt turned to a group of university professors, known as the Brain Trust

    2. The people that Roosevelt appointed to high administrative positions was the most diverse in U.S. history, with a record number of African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and women (Francis Perkins)

The First Hundred Days

  1. Immediately after being sworn in on March 4, 1933, Roosevelt called Congress into a hundred-day-long special session

  2. During this brief period, Congress passed into law every request of President Roosevelt, enacting more major legislation than any single Congress in history

    1. So numerous were the laws and agencies that they were commonly referred to by their initials (alphabet soup)

  3. In early 1933, banks were failing at a frightening rate, as depositors flocked to withdraw funds

    1. As many banks failed in 1933 (over 5,000) as had failed in all the previous years of the depression

    2. To restore confidence that these banks were still solvent, the president ordered the banks closed for a bank holiday on March 6, 1933

    3. He went on the radio to explain that the banks would be reopened after allowing enough time for the government to reorganize them on a sound basis

  4. The new president kept a campaign promise to enact repeal of Prohibition and also raised needed tax money by having Congress pass the Beer-Wine Revenue Act, which legalized the sale of beer and wine

    1. In 1933, the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, bringing Prohibition to an end

  5. The president assured his listeners on the radio with his fireside chats


  1. Emergency Banking Act (1933) – authorized the government to examine the finances of banks closed during the bank holiday and reopen those judged to be sound

  2. Federal Emergency Relief Act (1933) – offered outright grants of federal money to states and local governments that were operating soup kitchens and other forms of relief for the jobless and homeless

    1. Harry Hopkins was the director

  1. Public Works Administration (1933) – allotted money to state and local governments for building roads, bridges, dams, and other public works

    1. Directed by Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes

    2. Such construction projects were a source of thousands of jobs

  2. Civil Works Administration – was added to the PWA and other New Deal programs for creating jobs

    1. This agency hired laborers for temporary construction projects sponsored by the federal government

  3. Civilian Conservation Corps (1933) – employed young men on projects on federal lands and paid their families small monthly sums

  4. Tennessee Valley Authority (1933) – huge experiment in regional development and public planning

    1. As a government corporation, it hired thousands of people in one of the nation’s poorest regions, the Tennessee Valley, to build dams, operate electric power plants, control flooding and erosion, and manufacture fertilizer

    2. The TVA sold electricity to residents of the region at rates that were below those of previously charged by a private power company

  5. Works Progress Administration (1935) – much larger than the relief agencies of the first New Deal, the WPA spent billions of dollars between 1935 and 1940 to provide people with jobs

    1. It employed 3.4 million men and women who had formerly been on the relief rolls of state and local governments

    2. It paid them double the relief rate but less than the going wage for regular workers

    3. Most WPA workers were put to work constructing new bridges, roads, airports, and public buildings

    4. Unemployed artists, writers, and actors were paid by the WPA to paint murals, write histories, and perform in plays

    5. One part of the WPA, the National Youth Administration (NYA), provided part-time jobs to help young people stay in school and college or until they could get a job with a private employer

  6. Resettlement Administration (RA) – provided loans to sharecroppers, tenants, and small farmers, helped establish federal camps where migrant workers could find decent housing

Recovery Measures

  1. National Industrial Recovery Act, 1933 – an attempt to guarantee reasonable profits for business and fair wages and hours for labor

    1. With the antitrust laws temporarily suspended, the NRA could help each industry (steel, oil, paper) set codes for wages, hours of work, levels of production, and prices of finished goods

    2. The law creating the NRA also gave workers the right to organize and bargain collectively

    3. The complex program operated with limited success for two years before the Supreme Court declared the NRA unconstitutional (Schechter v. U.S.)

  1. Home Owners Loan Corporation, 1933 – provided refinancing of small homes to prevent foreclosures

  2. Federal Housing Administration, 1934 – gave both the construction industry and homeowners a boost by insuring bank loans for building new houses and repairing old ones

  3. First Agricultural Adjustment Act, 1933 – encouraged farmers to reduce production (and thereby boost prices) by offering to pay government subsidies for every acre they plowed under

    1. The AAA met the same fate as the NRA, it was declared unconstitutional in a 1935 Supreme Court decision

  4. Second Agricultural Adjustment Act, 1938 – passed in response to a drop in farm prices, government paid farmers to store portions of overproduced crops until the price reached the level of 1909-1914 prices

    1. In spite of New Deal efforts, America’s farmers did not regain prosperity until the 1940s, when World War II brought increased demand for food

  5. Resettlement Administration, 1935 – aided farmers in moving from worn-out lands to more fertile lands

  6. Soil Conservation Act, 1936 – raised farm prices by curtailing production through soil conservation programs

Reform Measures

  1. Glass-Steagall Act, 1933 – law created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which guaranteed individual bank deposits up to $5,000

    1. The law increased the powers of the Federal Reserve Board so that it had more control over speculation on credit

  2. Securities Exchange Act, 1934 – created to regulate the stock market and to place limits on the kind of speculative practices that had led to the Wall Street crash in 1929

  3. Social Security Act, 1935 – reform that, for generations afterward, would affect the lives of nearly all Americans

    1. Created a federal insurance program based upon the automatic collection of taxes from employees and employers throughout people’s working careers

    2. The Social Security trust und would then be used to make monthly payments to retired persons over the age of 65

    3. Also receiving benefits under this new law were workers who lost their jobs (unemployment compensation), persons who were blind or otherwise disabled, and dependent children on their mothers

  4. National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act), 1935 – major labor law replaced the labor provisions of the National Industrial Recovery Act, after that law was declared unconstitutional

    1. The Wagner Act guaranteed a worker’s right to join a union and a union’s right to bargain collectively

    2. It outlawed business practices that were unfair to labor

    3. A new agency, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), was empowered to enforce the law and make sure that workers’ rights were protected

  5. Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938 – this law set a minimum wage (originally 25 cents per hour) and a maximum work week (originally 44 hours) for workers in industries involved in interstate commerce

    1. The law also banned child labor in interstate commerce

    2. It is one of the many examples of New Deal legislation passed using the power given to Congress to regulate interstate commerce

Election of 1936

  1. The economy was improved but still weak and unstable in 1936

  2. Because of his New Deal programs and active style of leadership, the president was now enormously popular among workers and small farmers

    1. Business generally disliked and even hated him because of his regulatory programs and pro-union measures such as the Wagner Act

  1. Alf Landon, progressive-minded governor of Kansas, criticized the Democrats for spending too much money but in general accepted most of the New Deal legislation

  2. Roosevelt swamped Landon, winning every state except Maine and Vermont and more than 60% of the popular vote

  3. The Democratic party could now count on the votes of a new coalition of popular support

    1. Through the 1930s and into the 1960s, the Democratic coalition of popular support would consist of the Solid South, white ethnic groups in the cities, Midwestern farmers, and labor unions

    2. In addition, new support for the Democrats came from African Americans, mainly in northern cities, who left the Republican Party of Lincoln because of Roosevelt’s New Deal

Dust Bowl and Black Blizzards

  1. After the drought of 1933, furious winds whipped up dust into the air, turning parts of Missouri, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma into the Dust Bowl and forcing many farmers to migrate west to California (ala The Grapes of Wrath)

    1. The dust was very hazardous to the health and to living, creating further misery

  1. The Fazier-Lemke Farm Bankruptcy Act, passed in 1934, made possible a suspension of mortgage foreclosure for five years, but it was voided in 1935 by the Supreme Court

  2. In 1935, FDR set up the Resettlement Administration, charged with the task of removing near-farmless farmers to better land

  3. Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier sought to reverse the forced-assimilation policies in place since the Dawes Act of 1887

      1. He promoted the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (the Indian “New Deal”), which encouraged tribes to preserve their culture and traditions

      2. Not all Indians liked it; 77 tribes refused to organize under its provisions (200 did)

The Extremists: Long, Coughlin, Townsend

    1. Roosevelt’s moderation provoked extremists on both the left and right

    2. The most formidable was the “Kingfish,” Huey Long, a senator from Louisiana

      1. Although he never challenged white supremacy, the plight of all poor people concerned him

      2. After initially supporting Roosevelt, Long split from the administration and introduced his “Share Our Wealth” plan, intended to redistribute the nation’s wealth

    3. Less powerful than Long but more widely influential was Father Charles E. Coughlin, the “Radio Priest”

      1. Coughlin urged currency inflation and attacked the alleged sympathy for communists and Jews within Roosevelt’s administration

      2. Coughlin’s program resembled fascism more than anything else

    4. Dr. Frances Townsend proposed “old-age revolving pensions,” which would give $200 per month to the nation’s elderly on the conditions that they not hold jobs and that they spend the money within thirty days

    5. The collective threat of these radical reformers forced FDR to adopt a bolder approach toward solving the problems of the depression

Nine Old Men on the Supreme Bench

  1. The 20th Amendment had cut the lame-duck period down to six weeks, so FDR began his second term on January 20, 1937, instead of on March 4

  2. He controlled Congress, but the Supreme Court kept on blocking his programs, so he proposed a shocking plan that would add a member to the Supreme Court for every existing member over the age of 70, for a maximum possible total of 15 total members

    1. For once, Congress voted against him because it did not want to lose its power

  1. Roosevelt was ripped for trying to be a dictator

The Court Changes Course

  1. FDR’s “court-packing scheme” failed, but he did get some of the justices to start to vote his way, including Owen J. Roberts, formerly regarded as a conservative

  2. So, FDR did obtain his purpose of getting the Supreme Court to vote his way

  3. However, his failure of the court-packing scheme also showed how Americans still did not wish to tamper with the sacred justice system

The Twilight of the New Deal

  1. During Roosevelt’s first term, the depression did not disappear, and unemployment, down from 25%, was still at 15%

    1. In 1937, the economy took another (brief) downturn when the “Roosevelt recession,” caused by government policies, occurred

    2. Finally, FDR embraced the policies of British economist John Maynard Keynes

  2. In 1937, he announced a bold program to stimulate the economy by planned deficit spending

  3. In 1939, Congress relented to FDR’s pressure and passed the Reorganization Act, which gave him limited powers for administrative reforms, including the key new Executive Office in the White House

  4. The Hatch Act of 1939 barred federal administrative officials, except the highest policy-making officers from active political campaigning and soliciting

New Deal or Raw Deal?

  1. Foes of the New Deal condemned its waste, citing that nothing had been accomplished

  2. Critics were shocked by the “try anything” attitude of FDR, who had increased the federal debt from $19.487 million in 1932 to $40.440 million in 1939

  3. It took World War II, though, to really lower unemployment, but the war also created a heavier debt than before

FDR’s Balance Sheet

  1. New Dealers claimed that the New Deal had alleviated the worst of the Great Depression

  2. FDR also deflected popular resentments against business and may have saved the American system of free enterprise, yet business tycoons hated him

  3. He provided bold reform without revolution

  4. Later, he would guide the nation through a titanic war in which the democracy of the world would be at stake

The Role of Roosevelt

  1. How much credit for New Deal policies belongs to Roosevelt is debatable

    1. Roosevelt left most details and some broad principles to his subordinates

  1. His knowledge of economics was skimpy, and his understanding of many social problems remained superficial

  2. Nevertheless, Roosevelt’s personality marked every aspect of the New Deal

      1. His ability to build and manipulate coalitions made the program possible

  3. He personified the government and made citizens believe that the president cared about the condition of ordinary Americans

Blacks and the New Deal

  1. Blacks suffered more than other people from the depression

    1. Unemployment rates were much higher

    2. Before 1933 they were often excluded from state and local relief efforts

  1. Blacks did not benefit from many New Deal relief programs, but about 40% of black workers were sharecroppers or tenants who suffered from the provisions of the first AAA

  1. FDR was afraid to endorse legislation such as anti-lynching bill for fear of alienating the southern wing of the Democratic Party

  1. Eleanor Roosevelt supported civil rights, and a “Black Cabinet” of advisors was assembled in the Interior Department

  2. More blacks were appointed to government positions by Roosevelt than ever before

  3. In 1941, A. Philip Randolph, the president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, proposed a black march on Washington to demand equal access to defense jobs

  1. To forestall such an action, FDR issued an executive order establishing the Fair Employment Practices Committee to insure consideration for minorities in defense employments

Native Americans and the New Deal

  1. Congress repealed the Dawes Act of 1887 by passing the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934

    1. The law restored tribal ownership of lands, recognized tribal constitutions and government, and provided loans to tribes for economic development

  2. The Indian Conservation Program, a Native American CCC for projects on the reservations, was formed

Women During the New Deal

  1. The burden of the depression fell on women as much or more as it did on men

  2. Wives and mothers found themselves responsible for stretching meager budgets by preparing inexpensive meals and patching old clothing

    1. “Making do” became a slogan of the period

  1. More women had to supplement or provide the family income by going to work

    1. 1930 there were 10.5 million working women compromising 29% of the work force

    2. 1940 there were 13 million and 35%

    3. Areas of female employment such as retail sales were not hit as hard as heavy industry (male fields of work)

  2. There was much criticism of working women based on the idea that they deprived men of jobs

Unions During the First New Deal

  1. The National Industrial Recovery Act gave labor unions new hope when Section 7a guaranteed the right to unionize

    1. During 1933 about 1.5 million new members joined unions

  1. In 1934 there were many strikes, sometimes violent, including a general strike in San Francisco involving about 125,000 workers

  2. The passage of the National Labor Relations or Wagner Act in 1933 resulted in a massive growth of union membership but only at the expense of bitter conflict with the labor movement

Literary Developments

  1. The writers and intellectuals who had expressed disdain for the middle class materialism of the 1920s found it even more difficult to deal with the meaning of the crushing poverty in America and in the rise of fascism in Europe during the 1930s

  2. Some turned to communism

Popular Culture

  1. There was an increase in games and sports among family groups and friends

    1. The WPA and CCC constructed thousands of playgrounds, playing fields, picnic areas, and the like for public use

  2. FDR and Harry Hopkins wanted to develop an appreciation for culture by having the WPA produce murals in buildings, traveling plays, concerts, and exhibits, and with community art centers

  3. Radio was the favorite form of entertainment during the depression

  4. By 1939 about 65% of the people went to the movies at least once a week

    1. The movie industry was one of the few which did not suffer financially from the depression

    2. Movies were the great means of escape, providing release form the pressures of the depression by transporting people to a make-believe of dancers and beauty, mystery, or excitement

  5. The popular music of the decade was swing, and the big bands vied for public favor

  6. Comic strips became a standard newspaper feature as well as a source of comic books during the decade

The London Conference

  1. The 1933 London Conference of the summer of 1933 was composed of 66 nations that came together to try to make a worldwide solution to the Great Depression

      1. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt at first agreed to send Secretary of State Cordell Hull but withdrew that agreement and scolded the other nations for trying to stabilize currencies

      2. As a result, the conference adjourned accomplishing nothing, furthermore strengthening extreme nationalism

Freedom for (from?) the Filipinos and Recognition of the Russians

  1. With hard times, Americans were eager to do away with their liabilities to the Philippine Islands, and American sugar producers wanted to get rid of the Filipino sugar makers due to competition

  2. In 1934, Congress passed the Tydings-McDuffie Act, stating that the Philippines would receive their independence after 12 years of economic and political tutelage, in 1946

    1. Army bases were relinquished but naval bases were kept

  3. Americans were freeing themselves of a liability, creeping into further isolationism, while militarists in Japan began to see that they could take over the Pacific easily without U.S. interference or resistance

  4. In 1933, FDR finally formally recognized the Soviet Union, hoping that the U.S. could trade with the USSR and that the Soviets would discourage German and Japanese aggression

Becoming a Good Neighbor

  1. In terms of its relations with Latin America, the U.S. wanted to be a “good neighbor,” showing that it was content as a regional power, not a world one

  2. 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

  3. U.S. also lifted troops from Panama, but when Mexican forces seized Yankee oil properties, FDR found himself urged to take drastic action

    1. However, he resisted and worked out a peaceful deal

    2. His “good neighbor” policy was a great success, improving the U.S. image in Latin American eyes

Secretary Hull’s Reciprocal Trade Agreements

  1. Secretary of State Hull believed that trade was a two-way street, and he had a part in Congress’s passing of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act in 1934, which activated low-tariff policies while aiming at relief and recovery by lifting American trade

    1. This act whittled down the most objectionable schedules of the Hawley-Soot law by amending them, lowering rates by as much as half, provided that the other country would do the same for the United States

  2. The Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act reversed the traditional high-tariff policy that had damaged America before and paved the way for the American-led free-trade international economic system that was implemented after World War II

Impulses Toward Storm-Center Isolationism

  1. After World War I, many dictatorships sprang up, including Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union, Benito Mussolini of Italy, and Adolph Hitler of Germany

    1. Of the three, Hitler was the most dangerous, because he was a great orator and persuader who led the German people to believe his “big lie,” making them think that he could lead the country back to greatness and out of this time of poverty and depression

  1. In 1936, Nazi Hitler and Fascist Mussolini allied themselves in the Rome-Berlin Axis

  2. Japan slowly began gaining strength, refusing to cooperate with the world and quickly arming itself by ending the Washington Naval Treaty in 1934 and walking out of the London Conference.

  3. In 1935, Mussolini attacked Ethiopia, conquering it, but the League of Nations failed to take effective action against the aggressors.

  4. America continued to hide behind the shell of isolationism, believing that everything would stay good if the U.S. wasn’t drawn into any international embroilments

    1. The 1934 Johnson Debt Default Act forbade any countries that still owed the U.S. money from borrowing any more cash

  5. In 1936, a group of Princeton University students began to agitate for a bonus to be paid to the Veterans of Future Wars (VFWs) while the perspective front-liners were still alive

Congress Legislates Neutrality

  1. The 1934 Nye Committee was formed to investigate whether or not munitions manufacturers were pro-war for the sole purpose of making more money and profits, as the press blamed such producers for dragging America into the First World War

  2. To prevent America from being sucked into war, Congress passed Neutrality Acts in 1935-37, acts 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 belligerent

    1. The flaw with these acts was that they were designed to prevent America from being pulled into a war like World War I, but World War II would prove to be different

America Dooms Loyalist Spain

  1. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), Spanish rebels led by the Fascist General Francisco Franco rose up against the leftist-leaning republican government

    1. In order to stay out of the war, the U.S. put an embargo on both the loyalist government, which was supported by the USSR, and the rebels, which were aided by Hitler and Mussolini

    2. The U.S. just stood by while Franco smothered the democratic government, letting a fellow democracy die just to stay out of war, and it also failed to build up its fleet, since most people believed that huge fleets led to huge wars

      1. It was not until 1938 that Congress passed a billion-dollar naval construction act, but then it was too little too late

Appeasing Japan and Germany

  1. In 1937, Japan essentially invaded China, but FDR didn’t call this combat “a war,” thus allowing the Chinese to still get arms from the U.S., and in Chicago of that year, he merely verbally chastised the aggressors, calling for “a quarantine” of Japan (through economic embargoes, perhaps); this was his famous “Quarantine Speech”

    1. However, this speech angered many isolationists, and FDR backed down a little from any more direct actions

  2. In December 1937, the Japanese bombed and sank the American gunboat, the Panay, but then made the necessary apologies, “saving” America from entering into war against it

    1. To vent their frustration, the Japanese resorted to humiliating White civilians in China through slappings and strippings

  3. Meanwhile, Hitler was growing bolder and bolder after being allowed to introduce mandatory military service in Germany, take over the German Rhineland, persecute and exterminate about six million Jews, and occupy Austria—all because the European powers were appeasing him

    1. They hoped that each conquest of Germany would be the last

  4. However, Hitler didn’t stop, and at the September 9138 Munich Conference, the Allies agreed to let Hitler have Sudentenland of neighboring Czechoslovakia, but six months later, in 1939, Hitler pulled the last straw and took over all of Czechoslovakia

Hitler’s Belligerency and U.S. Neutrality

  1. On August 23, 1939, the USSR shocked the world by signing a nonaggression treaty with Germany

    1. Now, it seemed that Germany could engulf all of Europe, especially without having to worry about fight a two-front war in case war occurred

  1. 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

    1. They were anti-Hitler and anti-Nazi and wanted Britain and France to win, but they would not permit themselves to be dragged into fighting and bloodshed

  2. European powers needed American supplies, but the previous Neutrality Acts forbade the sale of arms to nations in war, so a new Neutrality Act of 1939 allowed European nations to buy war materials, but only on a “cash-and-carry” basis, which meant that they’d have to provide their own ships and pay for the arms in cash

    1. Since the British and French controlled the seas, the Germans couldn’t buy arms from America—as it was intended

Aftermath of the Fall of France

  1. After the fall of Poland, Hitler positioned his forces to attack France, leading to a lull in the war (so that men could move) that was pierced only by the Soviet Union’s attack and conquering of Finland, despite $30 million from the U.S. (for nonmilitary reasons)

  2. Then, in 1940, the “phony war” ended when Hitler overran Denmark and Norway, and then took over the Netherlands and Belgium

    1. Blitzing without stop or mercy, he then forced a paralyzing blow toward France, which was forced to surrender by late June of that year

    2. The fall of France was shocking, because now, all that stood between Hitler and the world was Britain: if the English lost, Hitler would have all of Europe to operate, and he might take over the Americas as well

  3. Finally, Roosevelt moved and called for the nation to massively build up its armed forces, with expenses totaling more than $37 million, and he also had Congress pass the first peacetime draft in U.S. history on September 6, 1940

    1. 1.2 million troops and 800,000 reserves would be trained

  4. At the Havana Conference, the U.S. warned Germany that it could not take over orphan colonies in the Americas, as such action wouldn’t be tolerated

Bolstering Britain with Destroyer Deal (1940)

  1. Now, with Britain the only power fighting against Germany, FDR had to decide whether to remain totally neutral or to help Britain

    1. Hitler launched air attacks against the British in August 1940 and prepared an invasion scheduled to start a month later, but the tenacious defense of the British Royal Air Force stopped that

  1. Those who supported helping Britain formed the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, while those for isolationism (including Charles A. Lindbergh)were in the America First Committee, and both groups campaigned and advertised for their respective positions

  2. 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

    1. These would stay in American ownership for 99 years

    2. Obviously, this caused controversy, but FDR had begun to stop playing the silly old games of isolationism and was slowly starting to step out into the spotlight

FDR Shatters the Two-Term Tradition (1940)

  1. At first, it was thought that Robert A. Taft of Ohio or Thomas E. Dewey would be the Republican candidate, but a colorful and magnetic newcomer who went from a nobody to a candidate in a matter of weeks, Wendell L. Willkie, became the Republican against Democratic candidate…Franklin D. Roosevelt, who waited until the last moment to challenge the two-term tradition

    1. Democrats felt that FDR was the only man qualified to be president, especially in so grave of a situation as was going on

  2. Willkie and FDR weren’t really different in the realm of foreign affairs, but Willkie hit hard with his attacks on the third term

  3. Still, FDR won because voters felt that, should war come, FDR was the best man to lead America

Congress Passes the Landmark Land-Lease Law

  1. Britain was running out of money, but 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

    1. Senator Taft retorted that in this case, though, the U.S. wouldn’t want them back because it would be like lending chewing gum that was chewed, then taking it back

  1. 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

    1. The lend-lease act was basically the abandonment of the neutrality policy, and Hitler recognized this

    2. 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

Hitler’s Assault on the Soviet Union Spawns the Atlantic CharterUB

  1. On June 22, 1941, Hitler attacked Russia, because ever since the signing of the nonaggression pact, neither Stalin nor Hitler had trusted each other, and both had been plotting to double-cross each other

    1. Hitler assumed his invincible troops would crush the inferior Soviet soldiers, but the valor of the Red army, U.S. aid to the USSR (through lend-lease), and an early and bitter winter stranded the German force at Moscow and shifted the tide against Germany

  2. The Atlantic Conference was held in August 1941, and the resort was the eight-point Atlantic Charter, which was suggestive of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points

    1. There would be no territorial changes contrary to the wishes of the natives

    2. The charter also affirmed the right for people to choose their rulers (i.e. no dictators)

    3. It declared disarmament and a peace of security, as well as a new League of Nations

  3. Critics charged that “neutral America” was interfering, ignoring that America was no longer neutral

U.S. Destroyers and Hitler’s U-Boats Clash

  1. To ensure that arms sent to Britain would reach there, FDR finally agreed that a convoy would have to escort them, but only as far as Iceland, as Britain would take over from there

  2. There were clashes, as U.S. destroyers like the Greer, the Kearny, and the Reuben James were attacked by the Germans

  3. By mid-November 1941, Congress annulled the now-useless Neutrality Act of 1939.

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