Us Foreign Policy 1939-1941

1279 Words6 Pages
The USA hasn’t always been the US we know today. It took many years of intervening and gaining confidence on a global scale to reach the point they are at today. This essay will attempt to answer the question, to what extent can the United Stated be considered neutral in the time period 1939-1941? This essay will look at foreign policies made by the united states such as embargos and the lend lease. It will show how these policies didn’t make them neutral. This essay will not look at the foreign nations reactions nor will it look at policies made by them against the US. This essay will also not look at how these foreign policies benefitted or hurt America domestically. The US first removes neutrality from their title by limiting Japanese expansion…show more content…
FDR, in a radio statement had said that America should be the Arsenal of Democracy. He said that it’s America’s duty to expand democracy, all linking back to the Monroe Doctrine. To begin, the Neutrality Act of 1939 shifted American foreign policy from a strictly neutral to partly neutral. Roosevelt enacted the Neutrality Act of 1939 which allowed Cash & carry. This meant that countries in the Europe could buy and take arms and supplies. In 1939, America needed money and Britain needed supplies and since Britain had control over the Atlantic at that time, Roosevelt thought it was a way to help every country while assisting Britain more. This marked the beginning of their intervention. Furthermore, in 1940, Roosevelt agreed to give Britain 50 destroyers in return for 8 bases around the world. Britain needed destroyers in order to fight the battles of the Atlantic. Although this was a simple trade, it marked that America was in direct contact with Britain for their needs to win the war, which makes them a non-neutral country. Ultimately, it was a smart move by the English because if Britain was captured, Germany and the Axis powers would have to fight Americans in ex-British colonies around the world. Moreover, in 1941, Britain found itself out of supplies and out of money. Roosevelt at that time declared that the “Defence of Great Britain is the defence of the…show more content…
America first started to cut off Japans power in the pacific sphere and then moved on to directly aiding the democracies in Europe. In the end, due to their frequent involvement in world conflicts, the United States of America cannot be considered neutral between 1939 and 1941. This essay shows the concept of Toynbee as the United States was faced with a challenge and had to response. They were faced with the challenge of remaining neutral but still keeping the democracies alive. And their response? They had to step out of the neutral jurisdiction in order to survive. Historian Howard Zinn said that, even though between the years of 1939 and 1942 only 19% of the US population believed that FDR had went too far in aiding Britain, in the big picture it is evident that America was doing as much as it could to help defeat the axis
Open Document