Myth about America's Unwillingness to Engage in World War II
This policy was a byproduct of the belief, prevalent through to the time of the First World War and then again until the Second World War, that America's interests were best served by ensuring that her borders were secure, that her neighbors were not a threat to national security, and her trade relations with potential combatants protected. Even when the U.S. entered World War I, it did so as an "associated power" so as to avoid any obligations that might emerge from a binding military alliance. Of course, Boyer (397) says, the involvement of the U.S. in that "Great War" was a definitive element in the ultimate defeat of the Germans.
In analyzing the origins of the Second World War, historian A.J.P. Taylor (35) makes reference to American isolationistic policies but also notes that after World War I, America very much wanted a peaceful Europe. Led by President Woodrow Wilson, America sought at the conference leading to the Treaty of Versailles to convince the French and British that overly punitive sanctions against a defeated Germany would have long-tern negative consequences. Further, under the leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the American government had earlier enacted a series of aid programs as the Second European war unfolded.
Indeed, Taylor (39 û 41) asserts that Adolph Hitler resisted the attack on Great Britain precisely because he feared that such an act would force America to enter the War. Causal factors sparking World War II identified by Taylor (102) include the conflicts between Fascism (in Italy and Germany), the militarism of the Hitler and Mussolini regimes, the failure of the League of Nations to create (much less maintain) the various conditions needed to ensure peace in Europe or Asia, and the failure of the European nations
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