World War II: American International Relations & Foreign Policy

Essay by duff103University, Bachelor'sA+, August 2005

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World War II was a very significant historical event in terms of American international relations and foreign policy. It thrust the United States into world superpower status and revitalized the morale of a nation that had just been through a substantial economic depression. The war was an instigator for the Cold War and other conflicts, as well. First, I will provide the background content of the war. Second, I will go over the facts, actors, and stakes and their decisions and interactions. Third, I will discuss the outcomes after the war. Finally, I will conclude with my own comments.

When Germany invaded Poland, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised the U.S. that the government would take a neutral stance on the conflict. In the name of neutrality, on September 21, 1939, Roosevelt underlined the importance of retracting the prohibition of selling arms as stated in the Neutrality Act; it can be said he had ulterior, subjective motives since the repeal would permit Britain and France to buy weaponry on a cash-and-carry basis.

From September 23 to October 3, 1939, Panama City hosted the Pan American Conference, where the U.S. representatives "proclaimed neutrality, established a committee for economic coordination, and created a neutral zone 300 miles wide along the entire coast of the Western Hemisphere (except Canada), in which belligerent naval operations were prohibited (Paterson et al. 178)." There were "neutrality patrols" by the Atlantic fleet of the U.S. Navy, which instigated collaboration between the British Navy and themselves in terms of "contingency planning and aid short of war (178)." When Britain could no longer pay with cash for American arms (France was already defeated by the Nazis), the Lend-Lease Act was approved on March 11, 1941, and it gave the president the power to "sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend,