Introduction Ww2 Essay

In that critical month of May 1940, he finally realized that it was probably a question of when, not if, the United States would be drawn into war.

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In this time of crisis, America could no longer pretend to be "a lone island in a world of force." Indeed, the nation could no longer cling to the fiction of neutrality.

"Our sympathies lie with those nations that are giving their life blood in combat against these forces." Then he outlined his policy.

Flying into a rage, he threatened legislation to prohibit such arms sales.

Roosevelt backed down -- temporarily -- and called off the torpedo boat deal.

He sent only a message of support labeled "secret" to Reynaud; and in a letter to Winston Churchill, he explained that "in no sense" was he prepared to commit the American government to "military participation in support of the Allied governments." Only Congress, he added, had the authority to make such a commitment.

"We all listened to you last night," Churchill wired the president the day after the Charlottesville address, pleading, as he had done earlier in May, for more arms and equipment from America and paring down his request for destroyers from "forty or fifty" to "thirty or forty." "Nothing is so important," he wrote.No more illusions of "neutrality." And he had delivered a straightforward statement of the course of action he would pursue.On the other hand, he was not free to make policy unilaterally; he still had to contend with isolationists in Congress.This time it was in the Memorial Gymnasium of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, to an audience that included his son Franklin, Jr., who was graduating from the Virginia Law School.That same day, the president received word that Italy would declare war on France and was sending four hundred thousand troops to invade the French Mediterranean coast.Earlier that evening, the president had distractedly prepared drinks for a small group of friends in his study. But in his talk, as he tried to prepare Americans for what might lie ahead, he set a reflective, religious tone."On this Sabbath evening," he said in his reassuring voice, "in our homes in the midst of our American families, let us calmly consider what we have done and what we must do." But before talking about his decision to vastly increase the nation's military preparedness, he hurled an opening salvo at the isolationists.On June 10, the day of his Charlottesville talk, with Germans about to cross the Marne southeast of Paris, it was clear that the French capital would soon fall.France's desperate prime minister, Paul Reynaud, asked Roosevelt to declare publicly that the United States would support the Allies "by all means short of an expeditionary force." But Roosevelt declined.In his talk, FDR deplored the "gods of force and hate" and denounced the treacherous Mussolini."On this tenth day of June, 1940," he declared, "the hand that held the dagger has plunged it into the back of its neighbor." But more than a denunciation of Mussolini's treachery and double-dealing, the speech finally gave a statement of American policy.

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