Isolation in the United States: Causes

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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 should avoid war at any cost. This feeling was intensified with the Depression of the 1930s and the country's focus was on domestic issues. With the growing military might of a rearmed Germany, war talk in Europe began. Isolationist leaders opposed any war (The Roosevelt Diplomacy and World War II 21). The United States of America after World War I had decided to start focusing on itself rather than focusing on foreign affairs. The United States cut all formal diplomatic ties to foreign countries. America had entered a period of total Isolationism, in which they refused to even contact the foreign powers of Europe and Asia. The overall economy of America was falling. This was due to multiple problems that were caused by WWI. Businessmen who made loan offers to the Allies, were not getting paid back. The farmers of America, who supplied grains and other rations to the Allies, were overproducing. This lead to the decline of the farmer as he could not sell his excess products anymore. This only strengthened America’s focus on itself. Its leaders knew that things had to be fixed and amended in America before it should try to interfere with foreign affairs (Shebar 108). George Washington once said, “The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or very little remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities" (Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy 30). America should heed Washington’s warning. Although we did get involved in WWI, we learned from our past experiences. There are a few main reasons...
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