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America And World War Ii: Causes And Effects

3080 words - 12 pages

The United States of America was not originally going to take part in the Second World War. They were going to stay neutral, for they were not being directly affected by the war. There were several reasons the United States was forced into becoming involved in the war, and because the U.S. joined the war, many changes came about. World War II affected both the economy and society, positively and negatively. World War II was felt in the U.S. prior to its involvement in the war, as well as during and after.The economy was in decline since the spring of 1937. By October 1937, industrial production had fallen 14% leaving over 500,000 people out of a job. The government was not doing much about the situation striking the nation. "The Secretary of Treasury, Henry Morgenthau Jr., continued to support the old economic orthodoxy that conservatives cherished: he attacked deficits and urged Roosevelt to pursue a balanced budget." (Smitha 1) The next year, Congress wanted to expand the United States military with many new developments.In 1938, Congress, wishing to strengthen the United State's defenses, passed a bill to expand the navy. They said they wanted a "Navy second to none." Aircraft carriers were being made. Development on the B17 bomber began. The Marine Corps started refining its amphibious warfare tactics. The Army was also working on developing new tank technology. All the new developments were basically useless at the time because of the acts signed by President Roosevelt earlier.The First Neutrality Act was signed in 1935. "It forbids the shipment of any arms and munitions to belligerents once the president has declared a state of war exists." (Almanac 469) The Neutrality Act also prohibited American civilians from traveling on ships of belligerent nations. The Second Neutrality Act, passed in 1936, extended the act of 1935 and prohibiting U.S. loans or credits being granted to belligerents. The Third Neutrality Act, signed in 1937, prohibited American ships from carrying arms into enemy zones. "It also requires that belligerent nations must pay cash for certain non-military goods purchased in the U.S.A. and then carry them in their own ships - thus giving this the nickname of "the cash-and-carry law." (Almanac 473) The United States did not stay truly neutral for long as time would show.When the lend-lease bill was signed, it was backed by $7 billion, most of which was to go toward the defense of Britain. This bill "put American industrial might at the disposition of those countries that are actually fighting the Axis powers." (Chronicle 695) The lend-lease bill allowed the president to lend war materials to any country whose defense was vital to the defense of the United States. Critics to the bill said that it would go beyond making the U.S. the "arsenal of democracy" and it will inevitably force the U.S. into the war. Additional acts were signed later to build the United States's own defenses.In September of 1940, Theodore Roosevelt signed...

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