Why did the USA enter WW2 in Europe?

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by TriciaF, Jun 28, 2019.

  1. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    I've often puzzled about this, hope I haven't asked the question before.
    Yes, they had issues with Japan after Pearl Harbour, so why not start up with them? Why choose Europe?
    I found this article, which explains a lot:
    Reasons for American Entry Into WWII
    Any other comments?
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  3. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    That's a help, I didn't know that. Thanks CL1.
    Neither did I know about the Tripartite Pact. I wonder what led to that? Unholy bedfellows as they say.
  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The anchor of the alliance between Great Britain and the US was the Atlantic Charter which was drawn up before the US entered the war....war that Hitler escalated by his declaration of war against the US after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Hitler anticipated a positive return with his alliance with Japan but there is little evidence of this as both parties were driven by their own ideology and territorial ambitions.

    While the US had been aware of Hitler's rise to power and the imbalance of power in Europe that was threatened,the US in the aftermath of the Great War had embarked on a policy of "splendid isolationism".Furthermore they did not ratify the Versailles Treaty or were members of the League of Nations.Between the wars the foreign policy of the US was one of "splendid isolationism" and when Hitler opened up the European conflict with his attack on Poland,FDR gave assurances to the US public that "he would not send our boys to war"....the opinion against involvement as combatants in a European War was tipped when both Japan and Germany declared war on the US on 11 December 1941 after the raid on Pearl Harbor. In the end the aggressors did more to drag the US into war than US foreign policy,there being a large anti war sentiment in the US with pro Nazis playing a leading role.

    From March 1941, FDR declared that the US would help any nation with military aid through a policy of Lease Lend to oppose any aggressor. This immediately set the economical strength of the US against Germany.When the going got tough for Russia after the onslaught of Bararossa,WSC, as he attempted with France,was anxious to keep Russia in the war and with the US policy of the Atlantic Charter,he did.

    As regards the policy of the order and ultimate aim of the Allies in defeating the Axis powers,Germany and Japan was agreed at Casablanca in January 1943..Italy was still in the war as part of the Axis Powers.At this meeting FDR and WSC representing the Allies powers laid down a policy of unconditional surrender of the Third Reich and Japan with the defeat of the Third Reich as the first priority.

    Unconditional Surrender. FDR declared after the Casablanca Conference....it means not the destruction of the populace but the destruction of a philosophy which is based on conquest and subjugation of other people.
    Uncle Target, TriciaF and Lindele like this.
  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

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  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Reflects a trending poll to eventually support an involvement in war but before that FDR had to overcome the contra opinion of those who did not want to get involved including those whose interests laid with the New Order.

    It is interesting to see Lindbergh's apparent pro German stance on the US being involved in the European war...his influence on the matter was negated when FDR detailed him an assignment in the Pacific related to his air navigation expertise.Global business..... there is much to be revealed in the extent that there were extensive US business interests in what would be the infamous I G Farben industrial concern.This concern was at the heart of the German war machine in both world wars.

    As regards the awareness threat of the imbalance of power from the European New Order, as early as 1940,the US put in place development for an intercontinental bomber,the B 36.This aircraft was designed to meet the strategy for Europe policy and be capable of operating over Europe from US bases in the event of Hitler dominating Europe.In the end the project lost momentum and the aircraft was late in service.It was subject to mods which saw the utilisation of complementary jet engines post war. Nevertheless some 3740 B 36s were on the order book by 1941.(Some might reflect and declare the aircraft to represent a white elephant.)
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  7. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Thanks Harry,

    but I had to google what FDR is.:cheers:

    In my language it could mean "Fress dich rund" Engl. = Eat and drink until you have a huge belly.:)
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  8. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Sorry Stefan ....FDR .....Franklin Delano Roosevelt....... US President on his fourth term of office when his health rapidly declined and he died on 12 April 1945...quite a young man really.

    Interestingly his term of office in March 1933 started about month later after Hitler's Chancellorship commenced

    Responsible for the New Deal domestic policy of infrastructure spending which helped the US to survive the Great Depression,then went on to lead the US in the Japanese and German conflicts of World War 2.

    On FDR's death, Goebbels attempted to raise Hitler's spirits by claiming the event would prove to be a turning point in the war in Germany's favour....Goebbels referenced a similar event which occurred during Frederick the Great's reign which had a different ending, a victory for Frederick.

    Interesting reference to the German language....is the FDR expression used widely?
  9. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

    What a wonderful set of postings. A truly impressive history lesson. I honestly thought that America decided to take Germany out first due to their technology and work on the Atomic Bomb which would have been a threat to the world. Having worked for a while in Rjukan Norway, I was aware of the threat and the lengths that the Allies went to, including the Norwegians, in trying to prevent them.
    TriciaF likes this.
  10. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    I've read about that, Uncle Target ie the German takeover of the heavy water plant in Norway very early in the war.
    Thanks for all the replies, broadening my history knowledge of those days, when I was a young child.
    Another aspect is the fact that the USA must always consider themselves geographically invulnerable when it comes to land invasion - Pacific on one side, Atlantic on the other. So it was a major decision to put their massive forces at risk, when their own homeland was relatively safe.
  11. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

    Not if the Germans had got the V2 working sooner or held out for longer. They obviously intended to become an intercontinental ballistic power even if their nuclear capability had failed. There was at the time no credible defence against it other than short range bombing of their manufacturing and launch sites. Luckily it is all pure conjecture now.
  12. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

    Second and last point after which I am off . Had the Germans opted for nuclear weapons who would they use them on. They sit in the middle of Europe. They had no concept at the time of its limitations. Not on European foes as they would possibly suffer the consequences. The only logical reason for nuclear war is to destroy an enemy on another continent the delivery system was more important to them. Nowadays we are aware of fall out etc but no-one knew for sure what would happen if they initiated an Atomic explosion.
    They needed an isolated target to try it on.

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