President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Decline of US Neutrality

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In the 1930’s, neutrality was the United States’ chosen international policy. After World War I, the American population did not want to be involved in another military conflict. Neither did the government. There were, however, events going on in the world that gave reason for the American government to take precautions. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a small step away from true neutrality, addressed a precaution in the form of “quarantine.” When talking about the growing conflict in the world, President Roosevelt equated such conflict as an epidemic of physical disease, and when such disease spreads “the community approves and joins in a quarantine” for the purpose of containing the epidemic and the “health of the community.” Roosevelt was making a case for continued US neutrality, while acknowledging the conflict burning its way across Europe and Asia. Roosevelt, while not desiring American involvement in another war, was cognizant that the international community needed to do something to quell the spread on conflict. This idea is further expounded upon with the Lend-Lease program. In 1940, President Roosevelt took a larger step away from true neutrality by initiating the Lend-Lease Act. Lend-Lease allowed the United States to supply military hardware to its allies. This was done, in theory, as a way to protect US neutrality. By strengthening the European powers and China, those countries could stop the spread of armed conflict, preventing it from involving the United States. If you are supporting one side of a conflict, especially by providing war materials, you are no longer a neutral party. Roosevelt had no intention of remaining neutral. If he did, the Lend-Lease Act would not have been enacted. In his December 29th radio address in 1940 , President Roosevelt was trying to appeal to the American citizens. He restated that he was not
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