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U.S. Reaction to the Two World Wars

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Essay #3: Compare and contrast U.S. reaction to war in Europe in 1914 with its reaction in 1939. U.S. Reaction to the Two World Wars The First World War was a war that would forever change the history of the world, a war that officially began in 1914. The Second World War, with the formal commencing date in 1939, had the same drastic effect on the world. In both wars, the Allies probably would have lost the war had it not been for the eventual aid of the United States, as reluctantly as it may have been given. In both cases, the United States had the same general reaction to the brewing, and often raging, war in Europe, although some slight differences did exist. Public opinion in regard to the each of the World Wars was similar as far as the United States' initial reactions in the beginning of the wars. ...read more.


When the First World War broke out in 1914, President Wilson issued a declaration of neutrality, following the traditional policy of remaining neutral and uninvolved in European wars, urging the American citizens to not take sides. Yet, Wilson soon realized how difficult it was to protect the United States' trading rights without showing partiality to any of the battling countries. Great Britain's policies made it especially challenging for the United States to be detached and objective since her navy largely controlled the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, the majority of the United States' economic support was concentrated on Great Britain. Wilson's policies also inadvertently favored Great Britain and France, owing to the fact that both Great Britain and France were both democracies and the United States' had had a growing positive relationship with France in the years leading up to WW1. The United States' policies when World War Two began in 1939 echoed those of 1914. ...read more.


Roosevelt's belief that Germany was a direct threat to the United States and to future democracies around the world justified his reason to institute a "peacetime" draft. President Wilson and President Roosevelt both realized, when presented with the possibility of being vulnerable to the warring European countries, that the United States' defenses had to be built up. Subsequently, another similarity existed between the United States' reactions to the World Wars. The United States' reactions to war in Europe in 1914 and 1939 followed the same general pattern of events, although not to the minute detail. The public's opinion was largely neutral when the wars began, but eventually morphed to assist and cooperate with Great Britain and France. Even the government's policies changed. They had originally sought to remain neutral, to remain out of the war, yet they were ultimately changed to enter the war in favor of Great Britain. The United States' defense was also altered to include more men, ships, and a draft, actions unheard of when the wars began. ...read more.

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