Tom Goldstein, "A Tale of Three Cities: How the United States Won World War II"

2

eleventh year of the Great Depression. Average unemployment in the 1930's had been 17%. He added that 45% of white households were below the poverty line and more than 90% of black households fell below this line. The United States had repudiated the League of Nations, closed its doors to immigration, insisted on Europe paying its World War I debt, enacted the extremely high Smoot-Hawley tariff, and had passed numerous neutrality statutes. In other words, the United States was deeply isolationistic and it seemed highly improbable that the United States in 1945 would take the lead internationally with the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and later the Marshall Plan.

When the United States entered World War II, the international community reacted in different ways, Dr. Kennedy continued. Winston Churchill saw the U.S. entering the war as a sign of Britain's inevitable victory. Hitler took it as a sign that Germany could not lose, for they had an ally in Japan and Japan had never been defeated. Hitler's Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop took a more cautious stance than the Fuehrer, sending Hitler a memo stating that Germany had one year to cut off Russia from her munitions supplies or the war would become much more difficult to win. Admiral Yamamoto of Japan echoed Ribbentrop's warning. He sent a memo to the last civilian Prime Minister of Japan in September 1940 saying that if a Japanese-American War broke out, he could "run wild" for 6-12 months with the Japanese Navy, but after this time the United States would prevail due to their massive industrial capacity to produce war material. The United States, in the eyes of Ribbentrop and Yamamoto, as well as in the eyes of Franklin Roosevelt, was indeed the "arsenal of democracy." Dr. Kennedy noted the importance of


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8