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Why did America get into worldwar11 late? Options
pljames
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2015 5:08:50 PM
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Britan was already in the war with Germany. Did Russia also play a part in that war? Paul
thar
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2015 5:52:44 PM

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America wanted to remain neutral, and make some money selling food and arms to the British. It was isolationist - it believed the war in Europe, Africa and Asia was other people's problems, and America should stay neutral. Following WW1, they turned inward and decided to just look after themselves.



It was only forced into the war when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. That didn't happen until December 1941. Germany had invaded Poland and started the war back in 1939.

The USSR was the same, it wanted to stay out of the war and got forced in. Stalin had a pact with Hitler of non-aggression - a promise to leave each other alone. The Nazis and Soviets even collaborated in invading Poland, and took half each. But then Hitler broke the pact and attacked the USSR in June 1941. Big mistake!

So the USA and USSR were on the same side as the British and their allies, fighting the Germans and Japanese. They both joined 'late' because each was attacked in 1941. Germany attacked the USSR and the Japanese attacked the USA, so they ended up fighting on the same side.


US Department of Defense pro-Soviet poster.

And the Soviet version, showing them leading with the American and British behind:




The Russians are understandably a bit angry at the way the USA likes to think it won the war. The USA lost 419,000 men.

According to Russian historians, they lost 26 million people, military and civilian. Of course, that was because they slaughtered their distrusted minorities and sent their own soldiers to die as cannon fodder under inhumane political orders. But they did stop Hitler and bog him down in an unwinnable war in Russia.


When the Allies won, they divided up Europe and Korea into Russian and American/British/French zones. It was only after the war that relations got cold and those parts of Eastern Europe and North Korea that the Russians held, were made into communist states.
ithink140
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2015 6:07:43 PM
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At that time the US followed a more isolationist policy, and as Thar said were dragged into it by the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbour. Of course it is entirely possible they would have joined forces in any case, at some point... who knows. No doubt they were keeping a sharp eye out for military advances, especially the development of the atomic bomb.
thar
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2015 7:05:16 PM

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I don't know. Maybe. It certainly was having issues with Japan, but it seemed very committed to staying out of the war between European powers. The Germans and the Japanese weren't closely linked - it could have dealt with Japan in a more limited way. After all the communists were the scary threat, the boogieman. In defeating the communists in Germany, Hitler was the good guy. And being antisemitic was hardly unfashionable!

A few selected items from the timeline.

Quote:
Feb 20, 1938
Anti-Japanese Sentiment Grows
In the United States, popular support for American action against Japan far exceeds support for action against Nazi Germany

Jan 2, 1939
Hitler as Time Man of the Year

Time magazine prints its 1938 Man of the Year edition. It chooses Adolf Hitler for the title, but does not show the Nazi leader's face on the cover of the publication.

Jun 6, 1939
U.S. Returns Jews

Passenger ship St. Louis, containing 907 Jewish refugees, begins its journey back to Europe after the United States refuses to grant it permission to dock.

Sep 3, 1939
Britain and France Declare War

Responding to Hitler's invasion of Poland, Britain and France declare war on Germany. President Franklin D. Roosevelt invokes the Neutrality Act but notes, "Even a neutral cannot be asked to close his mind or his conscience."

May 1940
Allied Support Grows

A group of political figures and businessmen form the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies (CDAAA). The group supports economic intervention in the conflict abroad and seeks to repeal the Neutrality Acts of the 1930s.

Sep 1940
Neutrality Pressure on Roosevelt

Several college students, including future president Gerald Ford and future Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart, form the America First Committee (AFC). They seek to pressure President Franklin D. Roosevelt to enforce the 1939 Neutrality Act and keep the United States out of war.




[image not available]



Quote:
Jun 22, 1941
Germany Attacks Soviets

Germany invades the Soviet Union, violating the Nonaggression Pact.

Jun 24, 1941
US Aids Soviet Union

The United States extends lend-lease aid to the Soviet Union.

Dec 7, 1941
Japan Bombs Pearl Harbor

Responding to the United States' refusal to lift trade embargoes, Japan attacks the American base at Pearl Harbor, destroying U.S. aircraft and naval vessels, and killing 2,355 U.S. servicemen and 68 civilians. Following the attack, Japan declares war on the United States.

Dec 7, 1941
“America First” Dissolves

The America First Committee begins to dissolve.

Dec 8, 1941
War on Japan

The United States declares war on Japan.

Dec 11, 1941
Axis Declares War on US

Germany and Italy, Japan's Axis partners, declare war on the United States. The United States declares war on Germany and Italy.


It seems the US was focused on Japan. I have never understood why the European axis powers declared war on the US. They did not need to back Japan - the Japanese had their own agenda and were determined to continue invading and expanding, whether the Germans sided with them or not. If Germany had not declared war, it seems reasonable, given public opinion, that the US would have been content to leave them alone and concentrate on Japan.
The Germans had blitzed into Russia but by winter 1941 it was becoming clear it was not going to go as victoriously as it had in Europe. Germany was not in a good position to take on any more enemies. But maybe Hitler's generals didn't dare tell him that, or maybe he thought he was invincible.
S. Ilker Orsel
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2015 2:00:20 AM

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Hey guys. I don't mean an y offense to anyone, but I heard a different story about the US entering the WWII. I heard that the allies, particulary UK was trying very hard to get US into the war; and the US finally caved. Not to disrespect anyone, but I even heard some disturbing stories about the prelude of Pearl Harbor suggesting that such an attack was actually expected and early warning signs were ignored. And that the anti-Japanese movements were propaganda to prepare for the war. Of course I don't say any of such stories are true; but then again I was not there, so I cannot know for sure. Not that I believe any of these, but I know some people who do.

Anyway, for me that is a terrible time in human history when atrocious acts were committed by both sides of the war (apparently more by one side), but that is just war is all about anyway. I sincerely hope that the world would never have to go through that again.
Madam
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2015 2:05:34 AM
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Wouldn't it be amazing if there were never any wars again, ever. Not going to happen. Were there is man there will never be peace among us.
thar
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2015 4:47:14 AM

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Certainly the British and their allies were extremely keen to get the US involved. Europe had fallen and Britain was standing alone.
With U-boats trying to isolate it from its empire and allies and force it into submission.



The US did have intelligence indications that the Japanese were about to attack. And the US did start to rearm itself and prepare for war. But I think the failure was in believing Japan would not be so bold as to attack. They were at war in China, and their objective was Asia and the Pacific. I don't think there was any great conspiracy - just some misjudgements and failure to understand a totally militaristic Japan.
But Americans will know far more than I do about that.
pedro
Posted: Monday, September 7, 2015 6:07:59 AM
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Whilst not many people love Stalin, and for good reasons, Russia essentially played the main part in destroying the German war machine. If Hitler had defeated Russia we would not be discussing this. Yes, everyone played a part; The battle of Britain decimated the German airforce which was never again a threat and the enigma code helped everyone anticipate German movements and, amongst other military aims, receive essential supplies. The failed invasion of Russia, however, left the German army utterly broken.
Grandpa Frankie
Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 3:16:06 AM

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USA simply wanted to wait until the other parties bleed out.
It is an acceptable reason from inland.
tunaafi
Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 9:16:54 AM

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thar wrote:
Europe had fallen and Britain was standing alone.

I bet the thousands of Commonwealth soldiers who fought alongside their British comrades resent that oft-repeated myth. Within a week of Britain's declaration of war, Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and New Zealand had all declared war on Germany, and hundreds of Irish volunteers had joined the British army.
thar
Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 9:35:49 AM

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Of corse.
I meant alone in Europe, geographically, as a major country actively opposing the axis. That was why I added that the German were trying to isolate Britain, to make it hard for anything to get in, and to isolate it from its allies, and the map to illustrate the geographical situation.

I grew up on old sailors' tales of Atlantic and Arctic convoys, torpedoes and U-boats.

I did look for a map with a more global input, but couldn't find anything simple and from the correct time period.
But I stand corrected for the lax statement.

Tovarish
Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015 12:19:25 AM
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I am back!!!!!!!!!!

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbour the Japanese bombed The Northern Territory of Australia by bombing Darwin.

Australian troops were in North Africa and Europe as part of the ANZACs or Commonwealth countries to support Britain,

and of course the Australians wanted to come home to defend Australia.

It was not Winston Churchill's finest hour for he did not want to release the Aussie troops and had strategically cut us loose.

Part of our troops did come home and defended New Guinea and our north, and had it not been for the USA's involvement, especially the Navy.

The naval battle of The Coral Sea was paramount to the defeat of Japan in Pacific.
thar
Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015 3:42:55 AM

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Hi Tov
Good to see you

I just checked my older post and the parts I wrote about the the Allies round the word isn't there - I must have cut it when correcting, but it loses the sense of what I was trying to say. I need to start proofreading my posts more. Or write at a proper computer. What with blinking autocorrect and losing bits I write, some are turning out gibberish.

Anyway. I had never considered that before, but wasn't Churchill involved at a senior level in the naval planning of Gallipoli? What was the effect of that on the relationship starting out in WW 2, even before the bombing of Darwin?

And I put the Australians up there with the Russians as having a right to be upset about how their role was portrayed to a generation of Americans, who grew up believing that Americans beat the Japanese in Burma (in the person of Errol Flynn, which of course is ironic because he was from Australia) and the Pacific, in the person of John Wayne. And in Europe with Audie Murphy!


It still gets hijacked - the film few years ago about the capture of an Enigma machine from a German uboat, leading to deciphering of German codes, was still doing it. The film had it captured by American navy, when it fact it was captured by a British ship in May 1941, long before the US even entered the war.

Communist propaganda may have been ridiculous at times, but maybe the American has been just as insidious, in terms of people's self-image and worldview.

Please understand, I am not insulting Americans. all countries construct their own history. Apparently Japanese children growing up after the war were taught that they had won. Certainly thee Americans I have met on this forum are knowledgeable and critical do not fall into that category of being insular or self-congratulatory. But it does seem to be an unacknowledged problem in America. .Stories like the enigma capture are being told as fact. How many Americans understand the massive contribution of the Soviets, Australians, Kiwis, Saffas, Canadians, West Africans, East Africans, Arabs, Indians, Pacific Islanders, Yugoslvas, Poles and others and others....sorry, that was supposed to be short but I had to keep going.

I assume during the cold war it was not done to acknowledge the Russians as allies. What are Americans taught about the war, and what do they ingest from others and the media?

Sorry, that is way off topic from what you were saying. But it is related to the original question.

Edit - oops, I just did it myself. China total deaths in WW2 15 to 20 million, and it wasn't even on my radar while I was writing this!
Tovarish
Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2015 1:49:51 AM
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Unfortunately for many of our countries children's knowledge of our collective histories is from the cinemas and television.

Churchill, MacArthur and some Australian military have left a lot to be desired in their commands by the civilian population.

I wasnt born until well after WWII but have had a fascination for military history and sadly many historians bring their own political opinions to

their writing, so eyes wide open is important.

It has always been offensive that the Japanese have distorted the role Japan played in the war, even the last supposed

apology by their prime minister only mentioned the offences against civilian populations not the inhumanity doled out to POWs.
gerry
Posted: Friday, October 23, 2015 6:44:55 PM
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Going with England it gave the US a good source of money as Europe need war materials and the US was the bread basket of was materials food and military supplies and
political support the Pacific could wait as we had a much small and only one force to defend against and it was not a land war the war in Europe was a good old fashion face to face war
leonAzul
Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 4:19:45 AM

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thar wrote:
America wanted to remain neutral, and make some money selling food and arms to the British. It was isolationist - it believed the war in Europe, Africa and Asia was other people's problems, and America should stay neutral. Following WW1, they turned inward and decided to just look after themselves.


Just a small correction, but this isolationist attitude did not arise after the Great War (WWI) but rather preceded it. The very design of the USA was to separate itself from Europe.

This was re-enforced by the so-called "Monroe Doctrine" which asserted that European nations should not extend their hegemony to the American continents.

Think
thar
Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 4:31:05 AM

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True.

But they did get involved in WW1 in Europe, so they had to re-examine that policy.

And they ended up with colonies in the Phillipines and the Pacific by mistake.
I am not being sarcastic. I just find it a humorous twist that a country that was founded on throwing off colonialism ended up trapped as a colonial power.
Tovarish
Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 6:03:03 AM
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Not being a US citizen but an Aussie, I can only comment on Pacific Rim countries and I would not interpret it as colonisation, rather strategic

military positions.
thar
Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 8:47:49 AM

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The Philippines?
US beat Spain and had been supporting Phillipine independence from Spain, but instead became the new colonial power and won a war against Philippine independence fighters. That was colonial occupation, not military bases!

Quote:
The war is known in the Philippines in Filipino language as Digmaang Pilipino-Amerikano (Philippine-American War) or Philippine War of Independence. In the United States, it has been known by a variety of names, including the Philippine Insurrection, the Philippine-American War, the Filipino-American War, the Philippine War, the Tagalog Insurgency,[19] and the Philippine Revolution.[20] In 1999 the U.S. Library of Congress reclassified its references to use the term Philippine-American War.[21]
leonAzul
Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 4:55:15 PM

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thar wrote:
True.

But they did get involved in WW1 in Europe, so they had to re-examine that policy.

And they ended up with colonies in the Phillipines and the Pacific by mistake.
I am not being sarcastic. I just find it a humorous twist that a country that was founded on throwing off colonialism ended up trapped as a colonial power.


History is full of such interesting twists.

This does reveal something that not many people think about. For all that US foreign policy seems aimless and sometimes contradictory, there is an underlying motive to it that has been consistent from before the revolution, and that is the defense of free and unrestricted trade. However flowery the rhetoric and polemic, what really bothered Americans was not "taxation without representation", but rather the draconian restrictions on trading partners that these taxes represented. Billions of dollars in trade were taking place right there in the Caribbean, but the colonies were not permitted to take part in it directly: everything coming in or going out of North America had to pass through London first. This represented an immense throttle on the North American economy.
leonAzul
Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 5:33:35 PM

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thar wrote:

It seems the US was focused on Japan. I have never understood why the European axis powers declared war on the US. They did not need to back Japan - the Japanese had their own agenda and were determined to continue invading and expanding, whether the Germans sided with them or not. If Germany had not declared war, it seems reasonable, given public opinion, that the US would have been content to leave them alone and concentrate on Japan.
The Germans had blitzed into Russia but by winter 1941 it was becoming clear it was not going to go as victoriously as it had in Europe. Germany was not in a good position to take on any more enemies. But maybe Hitler's generals didn't dare tell him that, or maybe he thought he was invincible.


Again, it is not so mysterious when seen through the lens of international trade. Access to Shanghai in particular was very valuable to the US economy.


ETA

Addressing the rest of your comment, Germany's hand was forced, as it was in the Great War, by entangling alliances. One wonders how things might have turned out if Hitler had been content with Bohemia and Austria instead of pressing on into Poland, which immediately drew France, Russia, and the UK into the conflict.
Tovarish
Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 6:10:47 PM
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Don't forget the 'Yellow Peril, Reds Under the Bed and The Domino Effect', the West was obsessed with communism in the years between WWII, Korea and Vietnam wars.
Tovarish
Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 3:04:47 AM
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http://se-asia.commemoration.gov.au/background-to-indonesian-confrontation/causes-and-description.php

This is an Australian web site you may find interesting in your discussion on colonialism.
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 5:12:15 PM

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Tovarish wrote:
Don't forget the 'Yellow Peril, Reds Under the Bed and The Domino Effect', the West was obsessed with communism in the years between WWII, Korea and Vietnam wars.


All because it restricted their trading partners.

Sorry if we Americans seem like sluts, but hey, that's who we are.

And the dream of the American "Melting Pot" is just that: no more than a dream, realized in some small yet significant measure by those who participate in it with good faith. It's a very thin veneer over the underlying xenophobia that is very much alive, well-documented in D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation.

Please read this correctly. I did not say that D. W. Griffith promoted racialism and xenophobia, but rather that he accurately documented it and exposed it for what it is.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Monday, October 26, 2015 5:11:49 AM

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leonAzul wrote:

Addressing the rest of your comment, Germany's hand was forced, as it was in the Great War, by entangling alliances. One wonders how things might have turned out if Hitler had been content with Bohemia and Austria instead of pressing on into Poland, which immediately drew France, Russia, and the UK into the conflict.


Well, at that time Germany and Soviet Union were allied (Molotov Ribbentrop Pact). Soviet Union took the eastern part of Poland, and attacked Finland after that (Winter War).
Wanderer
Posted: Monday, October 26, 2015 12:54:40 PM

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Whether the US came in late or not is a matter of opinion. After the experiences of WW1 the US did not want to get involved in another European war. Can you blame us? We gave assistance, even at great peril to ourselves. The German U-boats and subs had the North Atlantic closed off. I think they used the term Wolf Pack in the way they patrolled it.

It was Pearl Harbor and the continued acts of war towards the US brought us in. Let me back track to the 1937 sinking of a US naval ship docked on the Yantze. Japan was in a war of aggression with China in Manchuria for ten years previous. I can't recall all the details but, I think two US ambassadors were being held in their embassies. Just weeks prior to Dec. 7, the US had reached out to Japan, again, for treaties and Pearl Harbor was their answer.

I wish it hadn't been so. Think of the wars that began in Europe and have once again engulfed the world.
Tovarish
Posted: Monday, October 26, 2015 7:18:25 PM
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Wanderer you can correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't there a delegation of the Japanese government glad handing in the US at the time of the bombing

of Pearl Harbour?

We regard the two campaigns as separate, the European and the Pacific, both fought by the Allies.
Wanderer
Posted: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 12:33:04 AM

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The Japanese ambasador was still in Washington on December 7. I don't believe the ambassador knew what was going to happen.
gerry
Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2015 8:29:07 PM
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Japan was a one nation war and could be contained Europe was a war that included many of our friends and we had been slapped in the face by Germany with the sub war we could send troops into Europe and gain support from our friends our friends had little interest in the Pacific and it would be a wide open war and a Navy almost alone could contain and limit the war Japan had to go a long way to extend the war men could be shipped to Europe almost a once a Navy had to be built and 5 days after Pearl Germany allied with Japan so they too were at war with the US Japan was very contained in locations Germany was on the move and Our allied friends could buy much from us in the Pacific we only brought from ourself
A cooperator
Posted: Friday, November 27, 2015 6:47:43 PM

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pljames wrote:
Britan was already in the war with Germany. Did Russia also play a part in that war? Paul


I think after the World War II finished, and since then Germany had been monitored and semi-occupied by the US ? I think there is no sound for a country until it gets an independence policy Silenced
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