When war broke out, there was no way the world could possibly know the severity it would have taken on the people of the world. Fortunately one country saw and understood that Germany and its allies would have to be stopped. Americas Involvement in World War II not only contributed in the downfall of the insane Adolph Hitler and his Third Reich, but also came at the best time and moment. If the United States entered the war any earlier the consequences would probably have been worse. Over the years it has been an often heated and debated issue on whether the United States could have entered the war sooner and therefore have saved many lives. To try to understand this we must look both at the peoples and the governments point of view.
Just after war broke out in Europe, President Roosevelt quickly called his cabinet and military advisors together. It was there that it was agreed the United States stay neutral in these affairs. This decision was a valid one because it was the American policy to stay neutral in any affairs not having to with them unless American soil was threatened directly. The provisional neutrality act passed the senate by seventy-nine votes to two in 1935. On August 31, Roosevelt signed it into law.
In 1936 the law was renewed, and in 1937 a comprehensive and permanent neutrality act was passed. The desire to avoid foreign entanglements of all kinds had been an American foreign policy for more than a century. Even if Roosevelt had wanted to do more in this European crisis (which he did not), there was a factor too often ignored by critics of American policy-American military weakness. When asked to evaluate how many troops were available and when the United States would get involved, the army could only gather a mere one hundred thousand, when the French, Russian and Japanese armies numbered in millions. Its weapons dated from the first World War and were no match compared to the new artillery that Germany and its allies had. The air force was just as bad if not worse.
In September 1939 the Air Corps had only 800 combat aircrafts again compared with Germanys 3600 and Russias 10,000. American military Aviation (AMA) in 1938 was able to produce only 1,800, 300 less than Germany, and 1,400 less than Japan. It was evident to Roosevelt the United states military was in no way prepared to enter this European crisis. One very important additional thing that we have to consider is the peoples views and thoughts regarding the United States going to war. The peoples view did play a major role in this declaration of Neutrality. A poll taken in 1939 revealed that ninety-four per cent of the citizens did not want the United States to enter the war.
The shock of World War one had still not left, and entering a new war, they felt, would be foolish. These were principles here on which most Americans (ninety-four percent as of 1939) agreed. To promote these principles the United States would have to avoid all foreign entanglements. Why risk going to war, when it is contrary to American policy which most if not all Americans were in agreement with and also including the fact that the American military was not in its best shape.
Yet another factor that led to this decision of Neutrality by President Roosevelt was the American Economy. The health of the American economy could not be jeopardized, whatever was happening elsewhere. It was Roosevelts view that the United States would fare well (economically speaking) whether Europe went to war or not. Gold was flowing in from Europes capitals, orders were mounting daily for equipment and supplies of all kinds, and America was building a battleship for Stalin. For most of the 1930s the United States traded as openly with Germany and Japan, as it did with any other country. Japan relied on fuel oil and scrap iron until 1941.
Germany was one of the United States most important markets during the 1930s. American investments in Germany increased by forty percent between 1936 and 1940. America was steadily regaining the prosperity that had slowly been lost during World War 1. The real concern of American business was the fear that commercial competitors such as Japan and Germany would exclude American goods from Europe and Asia altogether. Any negative actions made would have resulted in the United States being almost if not completely out of the economic race.
The United states would have probably not been as prosperous as it is today if they joined the war effort any earlier because at that time in history America needed a boost to return to its earlier status of being economically stable which Germany and its allies so efficiently provided. Therefore President Roosevelt was not about to go to war with all opposing powers jeopardizing not only the safety of the American people but also the American economy which was essential to a large and complex country that the United States was at the time. On December 6, 1941 the Japanese Air force led a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, completely destroying the port. Finally President Roosevelt could wait no longer.
America was now involved and not going to war would only endanger the United States more than it already was. On the following day Roosevelt argued that the attack had given us an opportunity. Congress approved the declaration of war with only one opposing voice. Americas most vital interest, defense of American soil, had been challenged. At last America had to go to war and eventually bring an end to the rule of Nazi Germany. Hitler had convinced himself that America had declined in the 1930s because of social crisis.
This misconception also led Japan to confront the United States in 1941. Had the United States entered the war any earlier or later the consequences could have been much worse (If possible). Franklin Delano Roosevelt thought about the security of the republic and defended it very well. Leading the United States every step of the way President Roosevelt did a superior job in bringing America into war when he did.
Evidently America entered World War 2 at the precise time to once and for all take down Adolph Hitler and the third Reich. The United States involvement in the war could not have come at a better time even though the effect on the people at Pearl Harbor and our country was seriously devastated.