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The Outbreak of WWII.docx

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Political Science
POLI 346
Mark Brawley

The Outbreak of WWII War in Europe Begins  Roosevelt said they had an interest in Europe and that they needed to be engaged in the European situation  FDR announces American neutrality – September 5, 1939  yet FDR refuses impartiality – wants US to be „non-belligerent‟ - making it clear that the US does favour one side  the Fourth Neutrality Act (Nov. 1939) allows for sale of arms and ammunition to belligerents (“Cash and Carry” provisions  no loans on arms deals)  Congress passes rearmament budget, plus first peace-time draft as a precaution  but US primarily buck-passing - looking after their own interests first - making no commitments to anyone else - had no part in rebuilding Europe after WWI, no part in the emerging insecurity in Europe in the interwar years - RTAA and Tripartite Agreement signalled that things were going to be different… but then they weren‟t  incoherence in policy? “The Arsenal of Democracy”  FDR coins this phrase in December 1940 - Germans conquer the West (Belgium, Netherlands, … France) - FDR pushes for the US to support the lone country now fighting Nazi Germany  Britain  public opinion swings - if Britain doesn‟t survive we are on our own - Britain will do the fighting but we will provide them with ammunition, and other supplies  already signed “Bases for Destroyers” - FDR did not sign a treaty because he didn‟t want to pass it through Congress  signs an executive agreement - Britain is in desperate straights, pulling their supplies, men, and weapons out of their bases around the world  Britain and the US do not want someone else to take over the bases  the Americans takeover the bases  the Lend-Lease Act - eventually covered some $50 billion worth of goods by end of WWII - FDR‟s analogy  neighbour‟s house is on fire, you‟re going to help them out, give them a hose, not ask the neighbour for money for the hose - secret military staff meetings in Washington also begin - FDR views the threat that if Britain falls, the US will be fighting the Germans somewhere in the Americas  US assumes responsibility for defence of Greenland and Iceland - FDR instructs the Navy (secretly) to defend the convoys to Iceland  avoid Congress‟ knowledge of operations - shots are fired with American casualties before Pearl Harbour The Atlantic Charter, August 1941  Roosevelt and Churchill meet  discuss their joint aims - US and UK seek no new territory - they seek no changes of territory for others - they respect the right of self-determination, and will seek to restore it - they will seek to liberalize trade - they will seek to promote improved living conditions  to foster economic development in the rest of the world - they seek to secure a lasting peace - such a peace includes freedom of the seas - future disar
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