History 416

Pearl Harbor

November 21, 2005



I. 1937

1. Legacy of Court-Packing (judicial; constitutional; political)


            2. FDR and Race (traditional view; revisionist view—seeding cases?)


3. Changing World Order (Stalin and Popular Front; Spanish civil war and international response; Anschluss; US role)


II. World War II Begins

            1. Road to Munich (the Czech question: symbolic importance—fate of central European democracy; strategic importance—alliances, military strength; diplomatic importance—role of USSR, start of purges; vulnerabilities—ethnic tensions, parliamentary structure, role of Beneš; fall of Blum and rise of Daladier; Chamberlain’s strategic vision, domestic realities, and cultural mindset; war scares; Chamberlain gambit; Mussolini and path to Munich; settlement and aftermath—Czechoslovakia, Germany, French public opinion; US role)


            2. Onset of War (occupation of Bohemia and Moravia; Franco triumph in Spain; British guarantees; collapse of “Peace Front”; Daladier, cabinet government, and French military; curious role of Poland; Stalin and Nazi-Soviet Pact; start of war and collapse of Poland; Soviet invasion of Finland)


III. The American Road to War

            1. FDR’s global vision (commitment to England; American public opinion; balancing neutrality on two fronts; FDR response: cash and carry, destroyers for bases; meeting the German threat: counterespionage and poor coordination; counterespionage and MI5; Stephenson, Donovan, and the search for an American intelligence organization; creation of COI)


            2. 1940 (the fall of France and the crisis of the Western democracies; passage of Lend-Lease and Selective Security Act; destroyers-for-bases deal; America First and battle over isolation; 1940 campaign and tensions between domestic and international obligations; FDR constraints: public attitudes, uncertainty of European situation, Constitution)


            3. War in Asia (uncertainty and domestic divisions: Japan—military/civilian, Army/Navy; US—Japan hands/China hands; Vietnam and growing US-Japanese tensions; German invasion USSR and globalization US policy; tightening of embargo and deterring an attack; North Atlantic—Argentia, undeclared naval war; US guarantees; Pearl Harbor and outbreak of war)