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Why did America go to war?
Part of the reason for going to war against the Germany, Japan and Italy. In March
1940: the Lend-Lease act was passed stating Roosevelt could direct aid to
whomever he wanted. This meant that the US was no longer neutral. The US
ended up contributing 42 billion dollars to the war effort by 1945. With Hitler taking
over Europe, FDR saw fit to aid the British and French troops with arms, etc.
It starts with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, China. The Japanese invade
Manchuria on September 18th, 1931. China was in the middle of a depression
so the Japanese quickly get a strong footing in Southern Manchuria. At this
time, the United States is good friends with the Russians. It starts annoying
Russia that the Japanese are taking over China. If it annoyed the Russians, it
annoyed the USA. Also, the Japanese invading China violated the
Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 which renounced war as national policy. So, the
United states tells Japan if they don't get out of China, we'll stop trading oil
with them. Japan stays in China, so, naturally, USA stopped trading oil.
Eventually, Japan is forced out of China, but not without a lasting grudge
against Americans. Of course they hate the USA after this, so when Pearl
Harbor was left for an entire day with everyone on holiday, they bombed it.
America was looking for a very good reason that everyone could agree on to
join the war. FDR had been wanting to join the war all along, and when the
Japanese bombed us 10 years later, it had everyone in such an uproar that no
one would back down from the fight.
This is one of those questions that has exercised people for a long time, and as
with many important events, has attracted some strange theories. The basic facts
given above are correct. The fundamental cause was indeed the bombing of Pearl
Harbor. Such an attack is tantamount to a declaration of war. It's also true about
Japan's invasion of China, and America's oil embargo. America had good relations
with China (which was not communist) at that time. That was probably more
significant that US-Soviet relations. The theory that the President knew about
Pearl Harbor in advance has been suggested many times. There is some interesting
evidence that there was some advance knowledge (or possibly that there ought to
have been) but pretty much all reputable historians agree that the President did
not have definite information about the attack. It's not true that Germany
declared war on the US before Pearl Harbor. They did a few days afterward. It is
just possible that, had they not done so, the US would have refused to declare
war on Germany but fought only Japan. It also should be understood that while the
US was technically neutral up to Pearl Harbor, they were already providing
substantial aid to the Allied side. The British were being provided with arms and
supplies on favorable terms, and no such supplies were being sent to the Axis.
Convoys across the Atlantic were being escorted by US warships for the Western
part of the journey.
The US was already trading with other countries through the Lend-Lease Act, a
document allowing the US to "lend" countries like Britain war materials in exchange
for money. Surely the Nazis knew this, but the real thing that got the USA into the
war was Pearl Harbor. Of course there are theories that FDR knew about the
attack on Pearl Harbor and didn't do anything to defend against it for the sole
purpose of justifying entry into the war, but many don't believe that. Japan saw
the US navy as a threat to it's imperialistic desire to have power over all of Asia
and the Pacific. The same US navy, which was conveniently, yet threateningly
positioned nearly half way between the US and Japan. Japan also didn't have very
good control over its military leaders, as General Tojo took his own action by
attacking at Pearl Harbor.
It is a popular misconception among Americans that the US voluntarily entered
WW2, at least against the Germans. In fact, the US didn't. The US entered the
general war as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor. But the US entered against
Japan and did not, repeat not, declare war on Germany. However, a few days
after Pearl Harbor, Hitler declared war on the US, thereby putting an end to the US
Other pages in this set
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After a meeting between Churchill and Roosevelt, it was agreed that the
British and Americans would have a "Germany first" policy. Whether the Americans
would have declared war on Germany had not Hitler made the decision for them is
one of the great unanswered questions of history. The US had, of course, been
completely isolationist prior to 7 December 1941 - Roosevelt's Lend-Lease program
had got through Congress by one, vote.…read more
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In WWI, the USA had been duped by British propaganda on a wide assortment of
issues including the Zimmerman telegraph to Mexico, the Lusitania sinking, and many
other issues. Americans, for the most part, were determined not to be manipulated by
the British again.
President Roosevelt was an advocate of war with Germany and was trying everything
he could as the leader of a representative democracy to get the USA involved.…read more