When the origin of the United States' entrance into World War II is reviewed Pearl Harbor is the event that justified American intervention. Once bombs were dropped in Hawaii the U.S. had no choice but to declare war on Japan. The United States' values and interests were threatened and within days Germany declared war on the U.S. The world was involved in a total war, which would be a struggle for survival and the right to lead the world after the hostilities. Prior to Pearl Harbor Japan had ambitiously increased their empire in the Pacific, which was of concern to the United States government. At the same time the Japanese were suffering from a U.S. economic embargo, which severely hurt their economy. The embargo proved to be effective and ultimately led to the Pearl Harbor attack. Across the Atlantic Ocean, Hitler and Nazi Germany were consolidating their power. Hitler had secured passage of an enabling act permitting him to bypass the Reichstag, moved to ban trade unions, eradicate rival political parties, and oppress the church.
[...] No Choice but War: The United States Embargo against Japan and the Eruption of War in the Pacific. Jefferson, North Carolina and London: McFarland and Company, Inc., Publishers Roland H. Worth Jr., No Choice But War: The United States Embargo Against Japan and the Eruption of War in the Pacific (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc., Publishers, 1943) Steven Casey. Cautious Crusade : Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Public Opinion, and the War Against Nazi Germany. (Oxford University Press, 2001) New York Times Apr 1939. [...]
[...] The German threat to the American way of life was growing and strong opinions had begun to form by the late 1930s. It was apparent that Germany wanted world domination at all costs, which was totally irreconcilable with democratic thought. Another United States senator, William H. King of Utah saw his country at a crossroads in which it must preserve the proper order of the world and emerge as a stronger nation than Germany and other aggressor nations. Speaking in front of the National Labor Committee he argued: The free peoples of the world are engaged in a gigantic struggle to preserve for themselves and for prosperity the gains of civilization achieved through centuries of conflict and growth. [...]
[...] Their ideals for a socialist regime headed by the master Aryan race and their ambitious goals of dominating world trade, establishing “living space” for the Aryans, and creating a one thousand year empire were unique, yet scary since the Germans proved to be a powerful country capable of industrial efficiency and militaristic dominance. It was the power of the Nazi regime and their ability to cause instability on the European continent that concerned the United States government. The Germans were a threat to democracy abroad and at home, were economically invading capitalist countries, and with every action they took sinning. [...]
[...] Secretary Ickes wrote to Roosevelt on June 23rd suggesting that a European intervention might be a desirable side-effect to the cut-off of all fuel to Japan: “There might develop from the embargoing of oil to Japan such a situation as would make it not only possible but easy to get into this war in an effective way.” It seemed as though the United States was more interested in using Japan to get into the war, than worrying about them as a threat to American values and interests. [...]
[...] Most Americans perceived Japan more as Hitler's ally than a sovereign state. Although Japan was an imperialistic power and a threat to democracy, in the United States there was a sense that Germany was the central and the superior power. It was quite clear that Germany was more of a threat to democracy than Japan, and the United States main priority was ensure the safety of democracy abroad. Economically the Germans saw an unforgiving world in which the strong survived and the weak perished. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee