America’s involvement in World War Two

involvement in World War Two

When war broke out, there was no way the
world could possibly know the severity of this guerre. Fortunately one
country saw and understood that Germany and its allies would have to be
stopped. America’s Involvement in World War two not only contributed in
the eventual downfall of the insane Adolph Hitler and his Third Reich,
but also came at the precise time and moment. Had the United States entered
the war any earlier the consequences might have been worse.

Over the years it has been an often heated
and debated issue on whether the United States could have entered the war
sooner and thus have saved many lives. To try to understand this we must
look both at the people’s and government’s point of view. Just after
war broke out in Europe, President Roosevelt hurriedly called his cabinet
and military advisors together. There it was agreed that the United states
stay neutral in these affairs. One of the reasons given was that unless

America was directly threatened they had no reason to be involved. This
reason was a valid one because it was the American policy to stay neutral
in any affairs not having to with them unless American soil was threatened
directly. Thus the provisional neutrality act passed the senate by seventy-nine
votes to two in 1935. On August 31, Roosevelt signed it into law. In 1936
the law was renewed, and in 1937 a "comprehensive and permanent" neutrality
act was passed.

The desire to avoid "foreign entanglements"
of all kinds had been an American foreign policy for more than a century.

A very real "geographical Isolation" permitted the United States to "fill
up the empty lands of North America free from the threat of foreign conflict".

Even if Roosevelt had wanted to do more in this European crisis (which
he did not), there was a factor too often ignored by critics of American
policy-American military weakness. When asked to evaluate how many troops
were available if and when the United States would get involved, the army
could only gather a mere one hundred thousand, when the French, Russian
and Japanese armies numbered in millions. Its weapons dated from the first

World War and were no match compared to the new artillery that Germany
and its allies had. "American soldiers were more at home with the horse
than with the tank". The air force was just as bad if not worse. In September

1939 the Air Corps had only 800 combat aircrafts again compared with Germany’s

3600 and Russia’s 10,000. American military Aviation (AMA) in 1938 was
able to produce only 1,800, 300 less than Germany, and 1,400 less than

Japan. Major Eisenhower, who was later Supreme commander of the Allied
forces in the second World War, complained that America was left with "only
a shell of military establishment". As was evident to Roosevelt the United

States military was in no way prepared to enter this European crisis.

Another aspect that we have to consider
is the people’s views and thought’s regarding the United States going to
war. After all let us not forget that the American government is there"for the people and by the people" and therefore the people’s view did
play a major role in this declaration of Neutrality. In one of Roosevelt’s
fireside chats he said "We shun political commitments which might entangle
us In foreign wars...If we face the choice of profits or peace-this nation
must answer, the nation will answer ‘we choose peace’ ", in which they
did. A poll taken in 1939 revealed that ninety-four per cent of the citizens
did not want the United States to enter the war. The shock of World War
one had still not left, and entering a new war, they felt, would be foolish.

In the early stages of the war American Ambassador to London was quoted
saying "It’s the end of the world, the end of everything". As Richard Overy
notes in The Road To War, this growing "estrangement" from Europe was not
mere selfishness. They were the values expressed by secretary of state,

Cordel Hull: "a primary interest in peace with justice, in economic well-being
with stability, and conditions of order under the law". These were principles
here on which most Americans (ninety-four percent as of 1939) agreed on.

To promote these principles the United States would have to avoid all "foreign
entanglements", or as Overy puts it "any kind of alliance or association
outside the Western Hemisphere". Instead the United States should act as
an arbiter in world affairs, "encouraging peaceful change where necessary"
and most and for all