During World War II
As the possibility of a second World War arose people began to form opinions on the United States’ role in Europe. The general population disagreed on whether or not to get involved in the conflict with Germany. Some people believed in interventionism, the theory that the United States should do everything it could to support Britain without declaring war on Germany. Along with William Allen White they formed the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies. Others supported the idea of isolationism, which said that the United States should defend itself first. The supporters of isolationism formed the Committee to Defend America First which was supported mainly by pacifists and socialists and well as democrats and republicans. The majority of Americans were against the involvement of the United States. Congress acted on this general opinion by enacting neutrality laws and appropriating little money for the army and navy. Because of its poor funding, in 1939, the United States Army was small and ranked only 39th in the world. Much of its artillery was still drawn by horses (Harris, 17).
After Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor the opinion of the American people drastically changed. Isolationism was eliminated virtually overnight. Most Americans thought they were fighting for President Roosevelt’s four freedoms:
We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression...everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way...everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want...everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear...everywhere in the world.
--President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Message to Congress, January 6,1941 (National Archives and Records Administration)
... middle of paper ...
...is, Mark Jonathan. The Homefront: America During World War II. New York:
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1984.
Jagta, Mary. Telephone interview. 17 Dec. 1998.
Nash, Gary B.. American Odyssey: The United States in the Twentieth Century. Columbus: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 1997.
National Archives and Records Administration. <firstname.lastname@example.org> “Powers of Persuation.” December 17, 1998. <http://www.nara.gov/exhall/powers/freedoms.html> (October 24, 1997)
Stanley, Jerry. I am an American: A True Story of Japanese Internment. New York:
Crown Publishers, Inc., 1994.
Zeinert, Karen. Those Incredible Women of World War II. Brookfield: Millbrook Press,
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