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America Re-enters the Arena: Franklin Delano Roosevelt”

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“America Re-enters the Arena: Franklin Delano Roosevelt” Franklin Delano Roosevelt was determined to protect the national security of the United States. At first, Roosevelt felt that it was in the best interest of the United States to avoid involvement in the war. However, he knew “sooner or later, the threat to the European balance of power would have forced the United States to intervene in order to stop Germany’s drive for world domination” (Kissinger 369-370). But this was not Roosevelt’s main problem; Roosevelt had to prove to the American people that unlike World War I, US involvement was necessary. He had to “[transform] the nation’s concept of national interest and [lead] ‘a staunchly isolationist people’ into yet another global war” (handout). Initially, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s main goal was to protect US National Security by not intervening in the war. Roosevelt and the rest of United States government did not want to make the same mistakes of WWI. Thus, all of the situations that caused the United States to enter WWI were taken into consideration when the Neutrality Acts were passed. Prior to the outbreak of the war Franklin Roosevelt signed the Neutrality Acts, which “prohibited loans and any other financial assistance to belligerents (whatever the cause of war) and imposed an arms embargo on all parties (regardless of who the victim was). Purchases of nonmilitary goods for cash were allowed only if they were transported in non-American ships” (Kissinger 378). In fact, Roosevelt felt that he should instead focus his time and energy at the depression. On the other hand, Franklin Roosevelt was always pro-democracy and had a history of rejecting these aggressive countries (mostly the dictatorships). As the war developed and the desperation of the Allies increased, Roosevelt realized the need to support the allies (the non-aggressive democracies that he was ideally tied to) or face a group of unreceptive countries in the postwar world. However, his American people had set up a barrier of isolationism between the US and any foreign involvement. Roosevelt understood their view but he said, “[it would take time to] make people realize that war will be a greater danger to us if we close all doors and windows then if we go out in the street and use our influence to curb the riot” (Kissinger 381). As a result, Roosevelt decided to persuade his peo... ... middle of paper ... ...ort the allies without being drawn directly into the war (the US people didn't want to be dragged into a war and so supported FDR's policy). Even though Roosevelt did not want to get directly involved in the war, he knew it would happen sooner or later. Roosevelt also knew that the hardest group to convince was his own American people. Kissinger best describes this idea in the following excerpt from “America Re-enters the Arena: Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” “In less than three years, Roosevelt has taken his staunchly isolationist people into a global war. As lat as May 1940, 64 percent of Americans has considered the preservation of peace more important then the defeat of the Nazis. Eighteen months later, in December 1941, just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the proportions had been reversed – only 32 percent favored peace over preventing triumph” (Kissinger 392). Therefore, when Pearl Harbor was bombed war was justified due to the aggressors. The United States then declared war on Japan and Germany declared war on the United States. Roosevelt’s job was done; “by initiating hostilities, the Axis powers had solved Roosevelt’s lingering dilemma about how to move the American peo
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