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The Great Depression and American isolationism affect on FDR's desire to take an active role in international affairs in the manner of TR and Wilson - Essay Example

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Non-intervention and isolationism remained the cornerstones of American foreign policy for a long time to avoid entangling alliances and practice protectionism to control trade and economy. The practice of non-participation in the world matters and unilateralism played a crucial role in US foreign affairs during First World War, even the Second and the days in between…
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The Great Depression and American isolationism affect on FDRs desire to take an active role in international affairs in the manner of TR and Wilson
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Extract of sample "The Great Depression and American isolationism affect on FDR's desire to take an active role in international affairs in the manner of TR and Wilson"

Download file to see previous pages According to Michael Leigh, FDR never made any attempt to persuade US public regarding ending of isolation. He also says that FDR had enormous preoccupation with the public opinion. ( ). This view contradicts the famous fireside chats of FDR to some extent, because he was a humanitarian and the Nazi killings must have worried him. At the same time, he moulded the public opinion towards participation in the war. Initially, that is before the Pearl Harbour, Roosevelt did value the American public opinion which was combined with the caution of Great Depression and American belief in isolationism. "Domestic political problems in the summer of 1937 had made Roosevelt particularly reluctant to risk anything in foreign affairs. The Court fight and the failure to break a series of sit down strikes have seriously ended his middle class support," Datlek (1979, p.147).
Isolationists thought that alliances could be unsettling, and destabilizing. In President Hoover's opinion they were 'provocative actions' that have 'hitherto always cracked up in war itself'. The horrors of the First World War, Versailles treaty, fear of getting drawn into another war, Great Depression, scare of losing uninhibited decision making were a few causes of isolationism. Isolation had many more reasons and excuses:
"Belief that the depression had been caused by W.W.I
Belief that Europe was unworthy of our support
Pacifism-people who hated and abhorred war
Belief that arms manufacturers, bankers had caused war
Belief that W.W.I had been a tragic mistake for the U.S "
FDR initially was more engrossed with the domestic problems and his refusal to peg the value of the US dollar wrecked the International Economic Conference of 1933, to be held in London, which was partially encouraged by Hoover. FDR, instead, maintained Good Neighbour Policy and Pan Americanism and in Buenos Aires Conference, he demonstrated that America was uninterested in domineering weaker nations and he continued economic nationalism and cooperation both. Still, there existed a certain stalemate between an internationalist president and an isolationist congress. He recognised USSR, increased foreign trade hoping to alleviate depression, and his Neutrality Act of 1937 famously hurt Spain and made US a 'silent accomplice of Hitler'. His Quarantine speech in Chicago was intentional; but Americans were too wrapped up in isolationism and events like Panay, plight of China, and even the armament need of Britain and France did not move the Congress, despite President's efforts, though he eventually succeeded in persuading Congress to send armaments to Britain, which is called America's 'first line of defence'. did not end till the onset of Second World War and the fear of it had slowed down America. FDR had to face this inertia, even though he wanted ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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