Diplomacy in the 1930s

The American Pageant
Chapter 34: The Shadow of War
Totalitarian Governments
• Fascism- A political philosophy that advocates a
strong, centralized, nationalistic government
headed by a powerful dictator (ITALY and
• Nazism- the political philosophy- based on
extreme nationalism, racism, and militaristic
expansionism- that Adolf Hitler put into practice
in Germany from 1933 to 1945. (GERMANY)
• Communism- one-party government and state
ownership of property. (SOVIET UNION)
London Economic Conference:
• FDR proves that foreign policy is a secondary concern
for his administration compared to economic recovery at
• An international agreement to stabilize the currency
would mean that FDR couldn’t use many of the
inflationary policies that were part of the New Deal
• FDR essentially pulls the American delegation from the
conference, destroying any chance for a worldwide
response to the Great Depression and weakening the
possibility of international cooperation against future
FDR’s Foreign Policy
• Formal recognition of Soviet Union in 1933
• Good Neighbor Policy
– Actions seemed to show FDR’s desire to be a
regional, rather than a world, power
– Desire for a unified Western Hemisphere against
potential threats
– U.S. withdrawal from Haiti, relaxing of the Platt
Amendment in Cuba
– Test of the policy in Mexico proved FDR was willing to
even hurt American investments to foster goodwill
between Latin American countries and the U.S.
• Gerald Nye’s Senate Committee
– Investigated evidence regarding U.S. entry
into World War I.
– Said it was not German submarines, but
actually a plot by American bankers and arms
manufacturers that got us into WWI.
– Led to isolationist sentiment and the fear of a
large standing army.
Isolationism: neutrality legislation
• Neutrality acts of 1935, 1936, 1937
– When the President proclaims the existence of a
foreign war, restrictions automatically go into
– No American can sail on a belligerent ship or sell
of transport munitions to a belligerent or make
loans to a belligerent.
– SPECIFICALLY to keep us out of a conflict like
World War I.
– Third Neutrality Act bans arms sales and loans to
nations involved in civil wars.
Aggressors: Japan, Italy, Germany
• Japan led by Emperor Hirohito
– Terminates Washington Naval Treaty in 1934.
– Accelerated construction of battleships in 1935.
– Japan invades and captures the Chinese
province of Manchuria in 1931. The region was
rich in natural resources the Japanese
desperately needed.
– The League of Nations report on the matter
condemned Japan, and Japan quits the League
of Nations in response.
Adolf Hitler (Der Fuhrer)
Remilitarizes Germany (1935)
Marches into Rhineland (1936)
Anschluss (1938)
Munich Agreement (1938)- Gives Hitler
the Sudetenland.
Guernica by Pablo Picasso
Spanish Civil War
• 1936-1939
• Republican Loyalist government of Spain vs. the
Spanish rebels under the leadership of fascist
Francisco Franco, aided by Hitler and Mussolini
• Even though FDR got Congress to pass an arms
embargo against both sides of the conflict, three
thousand Americans defy American neutrality
and fight as volunteers for the Loyalists in the
Abraham Lincoln Brigade
• The poster child for appeasement is Neville
• Appeasement is giving up principles to keep
peace with an aggressor.
• Signs away the Sudetenland to Hitler in 1938 to
keep “peace in our time.”
• Step after step, Hitler was testing the European
powers, and as he knew, Chamberlain and
Daladier (the leader of France) lacked the
backbone to take action against him.
• Led by Benito Mussolini (IL Duce)
• Attacks Ethiopia in 1935.
• Where is the League of Nations in all this?
– Sitting on its hands.
– Could’ve stopped Mussolini with an oil
embargo, but didn’t want to risk conflict.
– Could’ve stopped Hitler early on, but didn’t.
– Could’ve taken real action against Japan, but
Blitzkrieg (Lightning War)
• Hitler’s new style of warfare.
• Three phases
– Artillery and bombers attack key military
– Mobilized units such as tanks go in and break
defenses and encircle enemy infantry.
– Infantry goes in for mop up duty.
• So much for peace in our time.
• Germany invades Czechoslovakia in March
• Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (1939)
• Invades Poland (September 1, 1939) official
start of World War II.
• Overruns Norway and Denmark in April 1940,
the Netherlands and Belgium in May 1940, and
by late June, France has surrendered.
• Battle of Britain begins in 1940 and Hitler is
• June 1941- Hitler invades the Soviet Union.
• Neutrality Act of 1939- European
democracies can buy American war
materials, but only on a “cash and carry”
• September 6, 1940- Congress passes first
peacetime conscription law. 1.2 million
troops and 800,000 reserves to be trained
each year.
Helping Britain
• Destroyer Deal (1940)- Britain receives 50
World War I destroyers in return for eight
naval bases.
• Lend-Lease (March 1941)- Lending or
leasing American arms to European
democracies and they will be returned
after the war. Sent about $50 billion worth
of material by 1945.
• Viewed by Hitler as an unofficial
declaration of war.
Atlantic Charter
• After Hitler invades the Soviet Union,
Lend-Lease is extended to the Soviets.
• August 1941- Churchill and FDR meet off
the coast of Newfoundland.
– Opposed imperialistic annexations.
– Self-determination
– Declared for disarmament and a peace of
security pending a new League of Nations.
Panay Incident
• Japanese pilots sink an American
gunboat, the Panay, off the coast of China
• The government in Tokyo apologized and
paid the United States for the incident, but
the relationship continued to deteriorate as
treatment of American civilians in China
Japanese-American Relations
• In July 1941, the Japanese begin to take
French military bases in Indochina.
• In response, the U.S. cuts off trade with
Japan, including an embargo on OIL.
• Without oil, Japan could not fuel its war
• At this point, from Japan’s perspective,
war is inevitable.
Pearl Harbor
• December 7, 1941- “A date which will live in
• We knew the Japanese had chosen war, but
the question was where would it happen.
• FDR thought the Philippines were a likely
• 3,000 casualties, many aircraft destroyed, all
eight battleships sunk or crippled. Three
aircraft carriers were not at the harbor.
• Declare war on Japan on December 8,
• Germany and Italy declare war on the U.S.
on December 11, 1941.
• Isolationism is dead, war has begun.