Second World War Essay

Second World War Essay

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Second World War

My generation has already witnessed a day of infamy, less than two short years ago (or so CNN tells us). My grandfather would remember a different day, a morning marked by another surprise attack on America. That ambush, said Japanese General Yamamoto, awakened a “sleeping giant.” Analysis of American foreign policy begs the question: what if the giant had spurned its peaceful slumber? Instead, the behemoth could have chosen to lumber about. Odds are that the footsteps would not have fallen lightly, the reverberations spreading across the globe- all this, only had Wilsonians been at the helm of American foreign policy.

The Jacksonian tradition steered the United States to victory in the Second World War. Once lulled from the comfort of its isolationism, the Americans sealed the fate of the Axis powers. But had the Wilsonian tradition, a formidable current here at Swarthmore and among today’s democrats, directed American foreign policy leading up to and during the war, it seems likely that history would tell a different tale. As it stood in 1941, the United States was undoubtedly entrenched in the Jacksonian camp (here at Swarthmore, I can count their sympathizers on one hand). Jacksonian policies of the United States in the 1930s and 1940s proved decisive for the Allied victory, yet reflection on a reorientation of these policies toward the Wilsonian camp reveals that the Second World War could have been avoided. In this context, German domestic and foreign policy- a brutish, perverted mix of the Jacksonian and Wilsonian traditions- will then be discussed.

An understanding of the Jacksonian doctrine clarifies the reasoning of the United States leading up to the war. This tradition was, and remains, stron...

... middle of paper ...

...h: do we really want to provoke the Jacksonians of this world?

Works Cited

Bell, P.M.H. The Origins of the Second World War in Europe. 2nd edition. NewYork: Longman, 1997.

Césaire, Aimé. "Discourse on Colonialism." Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory. Ed. Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.

Kennedy, Paul. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. New York: Random House,1987.

Kindleberger, Charles P. The World in Depression 1929-1939. 1973.

Kurth, James. "The American Way of Victory: A Twentieth-Century Trilogy," The National Interest, Summer 2000, pp. 5-16.

Kurth, James. “War, Peace, and the Ideologies of the Twentieth Century,” Current History, January 1999, pp.3-8.

Mead, Walter Russell. "The Jacksonian Tradition and American Foreign Policy," The National Interest, Winter 1999/2000, pp. 5-29.

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