Isolation in the United States: Causes

American entry into World War I, Kellogg–Briand Pact, Neutrality Acts of 1930s

Isolation or Involvement in WWII: Debate
As our nation’s sixteenth President once said, “Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose- and you allow to make war at pleasure”(Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy 38). This quote from Abraham Lincoln exemplifies the time before the United States joined into World War 2. Many American citizens wanted to stay out of WWII and European affairs. Although President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not “invade” a nation, America did help the Allied Powers against Germany for a second time.

Why should America aid the Allies in the war? Why could the Allies not support themselves against Germany and its allies? We may never no a correct answer. But the Allied Powers should have learned a lesson from their battles in World War I. After millions of people died on the battlefields, after ships and supplies were destroyed; the Allies still had not learned from their past experiences.

There has always been a strong isolationist streak in American political life. Americans separated by two great oceans have since the Revolution seen ourselves as different and apart from the rest of the world. From the beginning of the Republic, President Washington warned of entangling foreign alliances. For much of our history, Britain was seen as the great enemy of American democracy and of Manifest Destiny. World War I was America's first involvement in a European War and the United States played a critical role in winning that War. Had the Germany not insisted on unrestricted submarine warfare, in effect an attack on American shipping, it is unlikely that America would have entered the War. Many Americans during the 1920s came to feel that America's entry into the War was a mistake. There was considerable talk of war profiteering. Many were determined that America...
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