(World War Ii) How America Came To War How America Came to War By James A. Gillmore Introduction On December 29, 1940 Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave a speech to the country that was like a fireside chat but was not. Roosevelt talked about in his speech statements about Germanys plans to engulf the world during World War II: The Nazi masters of Germany have made if clear that they intend not only to dominate all life and thought in their own country, but also to enslave the whole of Europe and then to use the resources of Europe to dominate the rest of the world. This speech was one of many that FDR gave to put an end to the isolationism of the 1920s and 30s. Although most of Europe was battling in World War II during the late 30s and 40s, America was convinced to stay neutral.
Despite the fact that most Americans did not want to go to war, FDR thought war was inevitable. The US did not enter the war until they were truly directly affected by the war. But many countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific were fighting in the war to defend their countries against the aggressive powers. The aggressive powers were called The Axis; they included Italy, Germany and Japan. Those countries formed an alliance because of their similarities: they were all ruled under a totalitarian government , they shared the same goals, they were very aggressive and ambitious countries in search of new land and its resources, and they at around the same time all began conquering parts of the world near to them.
The question is how did the war get started? First, the war was ignited when the separate countries of the Axis began to fulfill their ambitious dreams to conquer land for themselves. They did this with aggressive actions against other countries. For example, Germany under their dictator Hitler attacked Czechoslovakia, Poland, Austria and other small countries around Germany early in the war. Now when three different countries are attacking many other different countries around the world, little wars sprout up all over the place. For Germany, the harsh circumstances left from the Versailles Treaty of World War I planted seeds for a future war.
The Versailles Treaty was really just a chance for the Allies to get revenge on Germany, not solve the problems of the past. Consequently, many problems and conflicts were left over from World War I for Germany and Italy. So at that time those three aggressive powers began building up their military again although they were not allowed to according to the Versailles Treaty. They then began to expand their individual empires, which kicked in the alliance system again because countries like Britain and France backed the invaded countries, thus starting a new World War. Between Wars (WW I and WW II) Twenty-one years before World War II began World War I ended. The Central Powers lost against the Allies and were severely punished. Germany alone was in debt for 33 billion dollars.
In total, 10 million soldiers and civilians were lost their lives in World War I. World War I was caused by great tension between many closely packed nationalistic, imperialistic and militaristic countries which were in need of living space. Unfortunately these problems were not solved by the war and were carried on to World War II. According to George Washington in 1796, Europe has a set of primary interests which to us [America] have none or very remote relation. That was the beginning of what we call isolationism.
America lived by that precedent until World War I when the US felt it was legitimate to mediate the situation in Europe. After World War I, the United States went back to their old principle, We shun political commitments which might entangle us in foreign wars, as FDR said in 1936 during the Great Depression . This was Americas strategy in the 1930s because Americans had their own problems to deal with, not affairs across the world that did not concern them. The United States went through a lull between the wars, from 1918 to 1939. First, the twenties were a time of prosperity. The twenties were called the Roaring Twenties because of the booming industries, the rising stock market and the wealth of Americans.
The twenties were basically happy times, but all good things must come to an end. In 1929 a chain reaction from downward up to the crashing of the stock market began the Great Depression. The Depression made life even worse for the Germans who had a difficult time rebuilding after the war. But America was hit the worst by the Depression. The Germans turned to Hitler because he promised to bring the country back together.
Hitler thought War was the answer to Germanys problems, thus, he began to build up his military. Hitler assembled the Nazi Party and became dictator of Germany. In 1932 over five million people were jobless in Germany and in 1936 fewer than 1 million people were jobless, plus the economy was much better. Nazism brought Germany out of the Depression and prosperity back to the country. As a result, Germans joined and supported the Nazi party. To solve Italys problems Benito Mussolini became dictator of Italy and built the Fascist movement . Mussolini also thought war would bolster his countrys economy.
He invaded Ethiopia and Albania to distract his countrys people from their problems at home. At that point both Italy and Germany invaded new territory. Throughout the 1930s Japan became a very imperialist and militaristic country. While Japan is a small island country, it needs more raw materials and it also needs more living space. Japan seeks its natural resources and land to the west in Asia.
In 1932 the Japanese took over Manchuria in northeastern China. Many Pacific islands and parts of China were to follow. Now the world had a total of three aggressive countries, which were ready to pounce on any country that came their way. These three countries all did not please the American interests. Those countries had non-democratic governments, they were rearming, and they were not being peaceful.
Why America Entered World War II The Allies dismissed the aggression of the Axis, which consequently led to more aggression because the Axis then believed they could walk on water as they say for people who think they can do whatever they want and not get punished. The isolationist mood the US took in the 1930s actually encouraged the aggressive countries. The appeasements Britain and France made to the Axis also encouraged the Axis. Like in any war when you are not the aggressor, but the defender, to enter the war you have to be provoked. In this case, Italy, Germany and Japan provoked the United States.
Those countries have so far provoked America directly, but mildly, and those countries also defied Americas interests and attacked Americas allies. The US was afraid that the situation with the Axis could escalate so far that the Axis could take over the world or a good portion of it. By now, Japan had attacked Manchuria, China and many islands surrounding Japan. Italy had invaded Ethiopia, Albania and Northern Africa. Germany had control over the Rhineland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria and lots of other territory in Europe. The Axis made an agreement to move simultaneously or to take turns, on aggressive actions against other nations.
The Axiss overall plan now was to try to dominate the world. In 1936 the US learned of the Axis plans. The US of course wanted to solve this problem peacefully. Japan became an aggressor because they needed space and raw materials, and they got that by taking places that had what they wanted. For many years before World War II Japan had been using imperialistic and militaristic ways to acquire land. The United States would not do anything to stop the Japanese, but condemn them and assault them verbally.
When the Japanese attacked and killed many people on a US gunboat in Asia called the Panay, the US did nothing. Japan attacked and occupied various islands in Pacific. The Japanese invaded the following places in the Pacific: Burma, Philippines, Midway, Quadalcanal, New Guinea, Tarawa, Kwajalein, the Mariana island of Manila and lastly, Okinawa. Before Pearl Harbor was attacked, America was very scared that Japan might attack the US because of all the neighboring islands in the Pacific that were assaulted. The US was right; Japan planned to attack America. On November 1, 1941 the Japanese leaders met to plan an attack on the US.
They planned the battle to be in early December at Pearl Harbor, where the Pacific Fleet was. The Japanese were kind of shaky on going to war with America though. When can we go to war and win? asked a leader …