The U.S. Realism and Idealism toward Pacific War(3)
For contemporary political leaders governing by public opinion polls, Roosevelt's role in moving his isolationist people toward participation in the war serves as an object lesson on the scope of leadership in de democracy. Sooner of later, the threat to the European balance of power would have forced the United States to intervene in order to stop Germany's drive for world domination. page 370
Americans were still incapable of believing that anything outside the Western Hemisphere could possibly affect their security. The American of the 1920's and 1930s rejected even its own doctrine of collective security lest it lead to involvement in the quarrels of distant, bellicose societies. page 372
Great Britain, too, had sought to steer clear of Europe's daily squabbles . it recognized, however, that its own safety depended on the balance of power.
After his landslide electoral victory of 1936, Roosevelt went far beyond the existing framework. ...Roosevelt began this educational process with the so-called Quarantine Speech, which he delivered in Chicago on October 5, 1937
The peace, the freedom and the security of ninety percent of the population of the world is being jeopardized by the remaining ten percent who are threatening a break down of all international order and law...It seems to be unfortunately true the epidemic of world lawlessness is spreading. When an epidemic of physical disease starts to spread , the community approves and joins in a quarantine of the patients in order to protect the health of the community against the spread of the disease.
He deeply believed in America; he was convinced that Nazism was both evil and a threat to American security, ...
At the end of October 1938, in separate conversations with the British air minister and also with a personal friend of Prime minister Neville Chamberlain, he put forward a project designed to circumvent Neutrality acts.
To enlist the American public in supporting the democracies, Roosevelt need to frame the issues in terms that went beyond the balance of power and to portray them as a struggle in defence of innocent victims against the evil aggressor. ....
Roosevelt was quick to translate America's new psychological threshold into strategic coin. ....April 1939, he inched the United States closer to de facto military cooperation with Great Britain. An agreement between the two countries freed the Royal navy to concentrate all of its forces in the Atlantic while the United States moved the bulk of its fleet to the Pacific. page 384
When in response to the German invasion of Poland, Great Britain declared war on September 3, 1939, Roosevelt ha d no choice but to invoke the Neutrality Acts. At the same time , he moved rapidly to modify the legislation to permit Great Britain and France to purchase American arms. page 385
After the fall of France, Roosevelt increasingly stressed the imminent threat to American security. To Roosevelt, the Atlantic was possessed of the same meaning which the English Channel held for British statesmen. He saw it as a vital national interest that it not be dominated by Hitler, Thus, in his State of the Union Address of January 6, 1941, Roosevelt linked American security to the survival of the Royal navy. page 384
In September 1941, the United States crossed the line into belligerency. Roosevelt's order that the position of German submarines be reported to the British Navy had made it inevitable that , sooner or later, some clash would occur. ..Comparing German submarines to a tattle snake coiled to strike, he ordered the United States Navy to sink "on sight" any German or Italian submarines discovered in the previously established American defence area extending all the way to Iceland. To all practical purposes, America was at war on the sea with Axis powers.
Simultaneously Roosevelt took up the challenge of Japan In response to Japan's occupation of Indochina in July 1941, he abrogated America's commercial treaty with Japan, forbade the sale of scrap metal to it, and encouraged the Dutch government-in-exile to stop oil exports to Japan from the Dutch East Indies(present-day Indonesia) These pressures led to negotiations with Japan, which began in October 1941. Roosevelt instructed the American negotiators to demand that Japan relinquish all of its conquests, including Mancuria, by invoking America's previous refusal to "recognize" these acts.
Roosevelt must have known that there was no possibility that Japan would accept. On December 7, 1941...Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl harbor....On December 11, Hitler, who had joined tripartite treaty with Japan and Italy, declared war on the United States....
America's entry into the war marked the culmination of a great and daring leader's extraordinary diplomatic enterprise. page 392
It was a measure of the United States' deep-seated isolationism that it had to be bombed at Pearl harbor before it would enter the war in the Pacific; and that in Europe , it was Hitler who would ultimately declare war on the United States rather than the other way around.
By initiating hostilities, the Axis powers had solved Roosevelt's lingering dilemma about how to move the American people into the war. Had Japan focused its attack on South Asia and Hitler not declared war against the United States, Roosevelt's task of steering his people toward his view would have been much more complicated. In light of Roosevelt's proclaimed moral and strategic convictions, there can be little doubt that in the end, he would have somehow managed to enlist America in the struggle he considered so decisive to both the future of freedom and to American security.
Roosevelt And Hitler: Prelude To Warlink