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How and why did America's role in the world change in the 20th century?

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Introduction

Michelle Winship Year 1 Themes in American History and Culture Tutor: Dr. C. Kitching Tuesday 13th May 2003 Essay: How and why did America's role in the world change in the 20th century? How and why did America's role in the world change in the 20th century? During the 20th century it can be seen that America's role in the world changed from an isolationist role to one of intervention. The main change can be seen in America's changing foreign policy. Events that happened in Asia and Europe caused the United States to remake its foreign policy and adapt is role in the world accordingly. It is impossible to assume that America's role in the world will stay how it is today; the role of the United States in global affairs is still under fire. America now appears to have abandoned its policy of isolation, and has seen its role in the world change immensely over the past century. The Monroe Doctrine had been set up by US President James Monroe in 1823. The U.S. promised to not intervene in the internal affairs of Europe and in return Europe should not intervene in American affairs. ...read more.

Middle

755)Roosevelt wanted to avoid war with Japan so rather than using military might to solve the problem, America used economic tactics to try to persuade the occupiers to leave. America continued to stay aloof from European affairs. A series of Neutrality Acts were passed inbetween 1935 and 1937, appeasing supporters of the isolationist policy. The Spanish Civil War prompted an amendment to the Neutrality Acts, stating that the legislation would also cover civil wars. (Boyer, Enduring Vision, p. 753) Roosevelt was concerned with European affairs, although maintaining the position of neutrality; America encouraged negotiations within Europe to deal with the increasing problem of Germany and Italy. FDR recognized the emergence of Germany as a military power and sought to increase the United States military. America's involvement in the Second World War started in 1941 and was initially in the form of economic concessions to the Allied countries, in particular Great Britain. This involvement was next extended to supporting British naval vessels patrolling the Atlantic. Early US involvement in the European war was kept to a minimum. America occupied Greenland and Iceland in order to prevent them falling to Axis forces. ...read more.

Conclusion

America increased its military presence in South Vietnam, continuing to help the south overcome the north. After US naval ships were attacked by the North Vietnamese in 1964, President Johnson gained permission from congress to use any action necessary and US troops were officially sent into Vietnam. The events of the last century display America's changing role in the world. It is evident that America adopted a policy of neutrality and isolation early in the century. Events in Europe and Asia called for America to reconsider its position in the world. After the end of the Second World War changes to America's world role can be observed; American policy changing from isolation to being concentrated on the containment of communism. America's traditional approach of non-intervention evolved with the containment policy to that of pro-intervention. The collapse of the Soviet Union has eradicated the majority of America's concern with communism. Recent events in the former Yugoslavia and in the Gulf have called for fresh debate on America's role in the world. The idea of America being the policemen of the world has been put forward on many occasions; it appears that America's new stance on the War on Terror and global peacekeeping efforts are clearly indicating that the United States has adopted an interventionist policy with regards to its role in the world. ...read more.

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