"Undeclared War With Axis Powers" This Paper Uses Ian Kershaw's Fateful Choices To Explain How The Us Took Action Against The Axis Powers Without Actually Firing A Shot.

1160 words - 5 pages

Prior to the United States' entry into WWII, American president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, had taken actions that are known as an "undeclared war." An undeclared war can best be explained as taking every action possible to oppose a country at war, without actually firing any shots. As FDR said, an undeclared war is "everything short of war." Some of these actions include provoking a first shot and giving aid to other countries currently at war with the opposing country. As president, FDR has always been known to try to keep every side happy, and having an undeclared war was the best attempt to do this. Although it was known that it would be inevitable for the US to avoid war all together, an undeclared war put the US in the best position possible until it became time to enter.At this point in time there were several key factors that forced FDR to have an undeclared war as opposed to a declared war. The biggest reason, which is the same reason why this undeclared war dragged on for so long, was that FDR wanted approval from congress to go to war. Regardless of the fact that as president he could have bypassed this procedure, FDR wanted the war to be accepted by everyone. This became a problem because America was still in an isolationist mindset. After WWI, isolationists felt they lost all those men for nothing. Now the common belief was that European problems should stay in Europe. Aside from congressional approval, FDR also cared about what the general public believed. (After all, one of the things that got him reelected in 1940 was his campaign promising that the US would not enter into war.) Surveys and polls were frequently taken during this time regarding the issues abroad. Another main reason for the wait was that FDR refused to go to war unless the US was attacked first. FDR wanted America to look like the victim in the situation, who would be fighting for what is good and moral. The final reason why FDR prolonged the undeclared war came later on. Since the war was inevitable, the longer the wait to enter, the more time there was to build up and prepare the military.When FDR said that undeclared war was "everything short of war", he meant it. The campaign first began with Japan. In July, FDR said that he was waiting for Japan to make an "overt step" to take action on them. Once Japan made that step by invading Indochina on July 24, the US imposed an oil embargo on them, and all Japanese assets in the US were frozen. The next step of the undeclared war was to focus on the main event, Europe. Early in the campaign FDR released Soviet funds in the US, which were roughly $40 million. At the same time the US said they "would not invoke the Neutrality Law against the Soviet Union." This was significant because the port of Vladivostok would remain open for US ships.In the fall the need for US aid by the Soviets increased. Stalin had given the US a shopping list of war materials that were needed to keep them from falling. Among this list were...

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