Many people describe the period between World War I and World War II as a time of United States isolationism, but that is a common misconception. While it is true that during the interwar period America was very politically isolationist, the country was very imperialistic economically. Following the end of WWI, Woodrow Wilson announced his idea of the League of Nations to the fellow victors at Versailles. Wilson described the League as an instrument to protect against external aggression the territorially integrity and existing political independence of all Embers of the League Despite his efforts, the league was voted down and the United States became politically isolated until the outbreak of WWII. The US repeatedly turned a blind eye to the deteriorating situation in Europe, hoping that those nations could solve their own problems. The isolationist spirit prevented a quick entry for America into the Second World War, prolonging the war by an extra year. The brutal fighting that took place during the war changed the outlook of policy makers after the defeat of Hitler. Upon the conclusion of the fighting the United States turned in to an internationalist nation, which wanted to prevent a similar event from occurring and halt the spread of the communist threat of the East.
[...] Though the war was brought to an end after the defeat of Hitler, the United States Policy makers realized that the country could no longer remain a passive power across the sea, but needed to assert itself throughout the world for the safety and security of its citizens. Unlike the close of the First World War, the United States took charge in leading the peace conferences that followed the end of the fighting. The first of these post-war conferences was in Yalta, where Franklin Roosevelt was joined by Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill. [...]
[...] The United States went from a passive, isolationist country to one that was at the forefront throughout the world, trying to undermine the Soviets every step of the way. By taking an active role in the post-war reconstruction through initiatives such as the Marshall Plan and Berlin Airlift, the aggressive United States was able to win many European allies. This new policy did not stop at reconstruction, but was continued in preventing Soviet aggression. Following the communist takeover of Romania, the Soviets attempted to cause an uprising in Greece. [...]
[...] This Exceptionalism was the guiding principle for United States foreign policy following both World Wars. In years following each world war however, this belief was adapted to different foreign policies. After the First World War, the vindicationist spirit disappeared from American citizens. The disillusionment of the war, coupled with the betrayal by their allies led the country to adopt its isolationist stance. The roaring twenties furthered Americans belief in their “exceptional nature” and this belief remained into the Cold War. [...]
[...] The return of the Republicans to prominence in 1921 signaled the beginning of the “Good Neighbor” policy towards the Americas. The United States began conciliatory efforts with their neighbors, ending the previously hostile relationships. Though politically the United States appeared to have less control on these countries, America continued to further their economic expansion into the region, now being easier without the animosity. Benjamin Rhodes, a noted historian, summed the interwar years up best when he wrote, American was internationally engaged culturally and economically during the interwar period, the nation was politically disengaged.” In spite of their best efforts towards isolationism, the United States could not continue to ignore the fighting taking place in Europe. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee