WWII Begins

Why did the United States enter World War II?

America tried to stay neutral, yet in the face of impending war we
slowly become more involved. Long before we entered the war FDR said

Innocent peoples are being cruelly sacrificed to a
greed for power and supremacy…Let no one imagine that America will
escape…There is no escape through mere isolation or
neutrality…War is a contagion, whether it be declared or not. It
seems unfortunately true that the epidemic of lawlessness is
spreading. When an epidemic of physical disease starts to spread, the
community joins in a quarantine of the patients in order to protect
the health of the community against the spread of the disease. I call
today for a similar quarantine. A quarantine of the lawless, a
quarantine of those that threaten world peace.

–Franklin Delano Roosevelt, The Quarantine Speech, 10/5/37

As the depression swept through the United States it also laid
waste to the continent of Europe. America wrapped itself in the
cocoon of isolationism and took a rather dim view of the affairs of
Europe. We were concerned about preserving our way of life but little
did we know that the greatest threat to the American way of life lie
in the continent we so casually regarded. As America embraced
democracy and a modified capitalism many European turned to fascism
and aggression. It would only be a matter of time before America
would be forced to respond.

What was the reaction of some European nations to the
problems of the depression?

Many turned to

-Germany – Adolf

-Italy – Benito

-Russia – Vladimir Ilich
Lenin, Josef Stalin

-Spain – Francisco

-General Togo –

How did these dictators
threaten world

1. Italy’s invasion of

2. Germany remilitarized
Rhineland, annexed Austria , took Czechoslovakia and then
invaded Poland.

3. Japan’s attack on China
and annexation of

did the League of Nations respond?

Did nothing.

Appeasement – led to loss
of Czechoslovakia.

How did America respond to
the European

Attempted to stay


  • Neutrality Acts of

When the war began in
Europe we began to support England, France and the Soviet

  • Neutrality Act of 1937
    – “Cash and Carry” – supported England

  • Lend Lease – aid to
    England, France and Soviet Union

  • Destroyer – Naval Base
    deal with England.

  • US was the “Arsenal of

did the US enter the

When Pearl Harbor was
attacked by the Japanese.

Allies – US, England,
France, Soviet Union

Axis – Germany, Italy,