10 April 2013
Exam 4 – Part 1
When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the United States knew that another World War was coming on. After World War I America decided that they did not want to be involved in another war due to the devastation that it had caused before. However President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided differently. With competing views among the isolationists and the interventionists, FDR concluded that the only way for the Great Depression to end was to become involved in another war. The Great Depression destroyed the economies of the United States and Europe. Economies were struggling worldwide and were running out of options. The outcome of World War I “led to a major repositioning of world power and influence.” This shift in power towards the United States laid the grounds for the emergence of totalitarian governments in Europe. Since World War I, the struggle for world power became a popular subject among governments. World War II exemplifies the power struggle among Germany, Italy, and Japan and also gave American political leaders such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman the chance to prove their true leadership abilities domestically and internationally.
At the beginning of World War II, America introduced legislation called the Neutrality Acts. From 1935 to 1939, the United States was determined to stay out of the war. However, American citizens were not neutral with their support and made it obvious that they supported the Allies more than the Axis powers. More aid was supplied to the Allies than the Axis powers with war-related goods and aid in legislation such as the Lend Lease Act. With the war worsening, FDR moved the United States from a state of neutrality to a state of preparedness. Roosevelt believed that the United States should be “the great arsenal of Democracy” and went full-fledged into World War II after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor that contained most of America’s navy ships. Roosevelt believed that the Japanese would attack the Indies, Malaya, and the Philippines but he was shocked when they went for a United States naval base first. Five eighths of American ships were either sunk or sinking after the attack. It may seem odd that there would be that many naval ships at a base at once but Roosevelt did so in order to try to throw off the Japanese. He was wrong and the attack on Pearl Harbor left Roosevelt no other chance than to angry the isolationists and go to war with both Germany and Japan.
The Axis powers made up Germany, Italy, and Japan. Each country had different objectives and goals they hoped to achieve from World War II. As stated before, the Great Depression affected the whole world, especially Japan. The depression ruined the silk markets for Japan and left them hungry for raw materials and bigger markets. All three countries however depicted themselves as inferior to the United States and other parts of Europe. They believed that they were “unjustly handicapped” and had to compete even harder for new markets, raw materials, and colonies. In order to offset their small ego, Japan, Germany, and Italy began to look for other lands to conquer in order to find their fair share of raw materials and markets. Japan did so by invading China in 1931 in a desperate attempt to stay afloat economically. Linked to the Great Depression, widespread poverty led to the emergence of the Communist and National Socialists parties. In 1919, Germany set up a republican form of government but the German citizens disagreed with it for accepting the harsh punishments from the Treaty of Versailles. As poverty rose, so did the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. Each country had different objectives to try to achieve as a dictatorship. Adolf Hitler of Germany set goals to seize all of Europe and North Africa in order to obtain control over the Mediterranean and to exterminate Communism and...