America’s Involvement In WWII

When war broke out , there was no way the world could possibly know the severity of this guerre.
Fortunately one country saw and understood that Germany and its allies would have to be stopped.
America’s Involvement in World War two not only contributed in the eventual downfall of the insane
Adolph Hitler and his Third Reich, but also came at the precise time and moment. Had the united states
entered the war any earlier the consequences might have been worse.

Over the years it has been an often heated and debated issue on whether the united states could
have entered the war sooner and thus have saved many lives. To try to understand this we must look both
at the people’s and government’s point of view.

Just after war broke out in Europe, President Roosevelt hurriedly called his cabinet and military
advisors together. There it was agreed that the United states stay neutral in these affairs. One of the
reasons given was that unless America was directly threatened they had no reason to be involved. This
reason was a valid one because it was the American policy to stay neutral in any affairs not having to with
them unless American soil was threatened directly. Thus the provisional neutrality act passed the senate
by seventy-nine votes to two in 1935. On August 31, Roosevelt signed it into law. In 1936 the law was
renewed, and in 1937 a “comprehensive and permanent” neutrality act was passed (Overy 259).

The desire to avoid “foreign entanglements” of all kinds had been an American foreign policy for
more than a century. A very real “geographical Isolation” permitted the United States to “fill up the empty
lands of North America free from the threat of foreign conflict”(Churchill 563).

Even if Roosevelt had wanted to do more in this European crisis (which he did not), there was a
factor too often ignored by critics of American policy-American military weakness. When asked to
evaluate how many troops were available if and when the United States would get involved, the army
could only gather a mere one hundred thousand, when the French, Russian and Japanese armies
numbered in millions. Its weapons dated from the first World War and were no match compared to the
new artillery that Germany and its allies had. “American soldiers were more at home with the horse than
with the tank” (Overy 273). The air force was just as bad if not worse. In September 1939 the Air Corps
had only 800 combat aircrafts again compared with Germany’s 3600 and Russia’s 10,000 . American
military Aviation (AMA) in 1938 was able to produce only 1,800, 300 less than Germany, and 1,400 less
than Japan. Major Eisenhower, who was later Supreme commander of the Allied forces in the second
World War, complained that America was left with “only a shell of military establishment” (Chapman
234 ). As was evident to Roosevelt the United states military was in no way prepared to enter this
European crisis.

Another aspect that we have to consider is the people’s views and thought’s regarding the
United States going to war. After all let us not forget that the American government is there “for the
people and by the people” and therefore the people’s view did play a major role in this declaration of
Neutrality. In one of Roosevelt’s fireside chats he said “We shun political commitments which might
entangle us In foreign wars...If we face the choice of profits or peace-this nation must answer, the nation
will answer ‘we choose peace’ ”,in which they did. A poll taken in 1939 revealed that ninety-four per
cent of the citizens did not want the united states to enter the war. The shock of World War one had still
not left ,and entering a new war, they felt, would be foolish. In the early stages of the war American
Ambassador to London was quoted saying “It’s the end of the world, the end of everything” ( Overy 261).
As Richard Overy notes in The Road To War, this growing “estrangement” from Europe was not mere
selfishness. They were the values expressed by secretary of state, Cordel Hull: “a primary interest in peace
with justice, in economic well-being with stability, and conditions of order under the law”.