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"Americans were reluctant to get involved in World War II (the war started in 1939; the U.S. did not join until 1941). Why do you think this is"
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Americans aided many of the European countries throughout the war to recover from the great depression. However, they finally were forced to enter into the war when Hitler declared a war against them and when Japan attacked the Pearl Harbour.
Americans had suffered much from the World War I and had been hit by the great depression which left thousands of citizens unemployed and homeless. At the time of the World War II, the Americans were still recovering from the great depression and had adopted isolation. Many Americans, called isolationists, believed that they were not ready to enter another long and costly war. Congress passed the Neutrality Act in 1935 which referred to outlawing the provision of supplies and funds to the warring countries. However in 1939, Germany’s aggression towards England caused President Roosevelt to be an interventionist and take permission from the Congress to supply aid to European countries.
Many of the Americans still opposed this intervention criticising that German military was really tough to defeat since American military was not ready for a war. U.S. intervention in the war would thus not be a good move. Hence, the U.S. did not initially enter the war.
The second reason, which is the most important one, is the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941. On the morning of 7th December, the Japanese Navy conducted a surprise attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii. After two hours of the attacks, more than 21 ships were damaged or sunk, 2400 citizens were killed, and about 188 aircrafts were destroyed. This attack outraged the Americans and the next day they abandoned their isolationism policy and declared war against Japan. This was the time when U.S. was officially a part of the WWII. The Japanese attacked the U.S. because they did not want to make any more negotiations with them. The Japanese wanted their expansion in Asia which was hindered because of the restricted embargo on Japan by the U.S.
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