Changes in American Foreign Policy from 1920 Through 1940

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The United States' foreign policy between 1920 and 1940 was based on the idea of creating peace and protecting the country as well as the other nations from getting involve in another international conflict. Even though these were the principals of the foreign policy, it was constantly changing and establishing slightly different ideas and points of view on how the U.S' relationship with other countries should look like throughout that period. After World War I U.S was strongly discouraged by war and absolutely sure they don’t want to be involved in any European affairs anymore. Therefore they did not ratify the Versailles treaty and did not join the League of Nation in 1920. Warren G. Harding in his speech on October 1920 claimed that “League strikes a deadly blow at our constitutional integrity and surrenders to a dangerous extent our independence of action”.1 If U.S had joined the League of Nation the country would be obligated to make things and act in a way they don’t necessarily always want to. In 1921 Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes called for the Washington Naval Conference to “relieve humanity of the crushing burden created by competition in armament” as he said on November 12.2 The purpose of the Conference was to make a break in military efforts, decrease the production of warships and protect the relationship with China. In 1922 The Five-Power Naval Treaty was signed in which U.S, Great Britain, Japan, France and Italy agreed to limit the number and sizes of major warships. After that a four-power treaty with United States, Japan, Great Britain and France agreeing to respect each other in the Pacific and finally nine-power treaty was signed, endorsing Open Door policy in China and respect for their independence and integrity. Washington Naval Conference was a clear sign for the world that U.S foreign policy is to create peace, good relationships with other countries and control the forces that tended to lead to any kind of war in the future. Followed World War I, U.S had big plans of getting back the money they lend to different countries during war. In 1924 the Dawes Plan was created which was an attempt to collect war repatriations debt from Germany. Germans not only borrowed money from U.S but also from other countries, which disregarded the fact that Germany did not have enough money to pay back so fast, wanted them all right away. When Germany defaulted on fuel deliveries in January 1923, French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr. This action contributed to economic collapse in Germany and also to French financial crises in 1924 and 1926. Charles Evans Hughes than said to the former premier Raymond Poincare of France: “Here is the American policy. If you turn this down, America is through.”3 France accepted the Dawes Plan and agreed to evacuate from the Ruhr the troops that Poincare had sent in to enforce payment of reparations by Germany. The Plan was to give money loans to Germany in order to help their economy and make their country able to pay all the reparations. It was beneficial both for the U.S and France because they all wanted Germany to pay their money back. In the same year (19240 the Immigration Act was created including National Origins Act which was the first permanent limitation on immigration into the United States. The Act effectively ended the immigration of all Asians into the United States and undermined the earlier "Gentlemen's Agreement" with Japan. In the letter written by Luis Marshal to Calvin Coolidge (who signed the Act) he writes: “At the Disarmament Conference there was complete cooperation, and the desire on the part of Japan for maintaining amicable relations toward us has been consistently sincere”.4 Even though Japan was willing to keep good relations, the U.S decided to pass the Act and severely end immigration. During that time Americans were strongly against the war after seeing the aftermaths of the World War I and its significant...
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