History 4698

The US and World War II

February 21, 2002

I. The Collapse of the Wilsonian Order

1. International Events (1936: Hitler and Versailles revisionism; Stalin and Popular Front strategy; Rhineland and Spanish Civil War; 1937: Japanese invasion of China proper; 1938: Anschluss; Munich; anti-Comintern Pact; 1939: invasion of rump Czechoslovakia, guarantees to Poland; Nazi-Soviet Pact; start of war)

2. The US Response (Quarantine speech, isolationism, FDR 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; from "The Room" to "The Club"; Stephenson, Donovan, and the search for an American intelligence organization; creation of COI)

II. The Road to War

1. 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 European situation, Constitution)

2. War in Asia (Jpn invasion China and quarantine speech; 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)

III. The US and World War II

1. The Key Issues (the war and military history; domestic effects—economic growth, civil rights, civil liberties, and the war; international issues: conception of victory—unconditional surrender; tenuous nature of alliances—US and potential conflicts with UK, USSR, and Nationalist China: colonialism, "friendly states"; role of communists in postwar states)

2. The Responses (Four Freedoms or Four Policemen?; domestic surge of internationalism—B2H2 resolution, Willkie’s One World; deference to military authorities; postwar structure—Teheran, Cairo, Casablanca Conferences; progress of war; atomic weapons and US diplomacy)

Time Line

1935 Nye Committee hearings; Neutrality Act; Italian invasion Ethiopia; Hoare-Laval agreement

1936 outbreak Spanish civil war; German remilitarization Rhineland

1937 Japan invades China; FDR quarantine speech

1938 Austro-German Anschluss; Munich agreement

1939 Hitler occupies rump Czechoslovakia; Poland and outbreak WWII; cash-and-carry

1940 Japan occupies Vietnam; unofficial US oil embargo; destroyers-for-bases

1941 Hitler invades USSR; firm US oil embargo Japan; Lend-Lease; Greer incident

1943 Teheran, Cairo Conferences; Welles out of State Department; invasion of Italy; B2H2 resolution; Katyn

1944 D-day invasion

1945 SF Conference; Yalta Conference; FDR death; atomic bombs

Michael Barnhart, Japan Prepares for Total War

Wayne Cole, Roosevelt and the Isolationists

Robert Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy

Akira Iriye, Power and Culture

Ernest May, Strange Victory

David Reynolds, The Creation of the Anglo-American Alliance