H CS 21

From Isolation to World War (1930-1945)

The isolationist approach to foreign policy meant U.S. leadership in world affairs diminished after World War I. Overseas, certain nations saw the growth of tyrannical governments that reasserted their power through aggression and created conditions leading to the Second World War. After Pearl Harbor, the United States entered World War II, which changed the country’s focus from isolationism to international involvement.

Content Statement

21. During the 1930s, the U.S. government attempted to distance the country from earlier interventionist policies in the Western Hemisphere as well as retain an isolationist approach to events in Europe and Asia until the beginning of WWII.

Content Elaborations

Following World War I, the United States was reluctant to become entangled in overseas conflicts that would lead to another war. Although it had used the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary to justify intervention into Latin American affairs, the U.S. retreated from these policies during the1930s with the Good Neighbor Policy.

The Neutrality Acts of the 1930s were attempts to isolate the country from the problems erupting in Asia and Europe.

The United States tried to maintain its isolationist approach when war broke out in Europe. But to aid countries fighting against fascist aggression, the United States introduced the cash-and-carry policy, negotiated the destroyer-for-bases agreement and enacted the Lend-Lease Policy. It also helped write the Atlantic Charter. The expansionist policies of Japan and the bombing of Pearl Harbor ended U.S. isolationist policies.

Expectations for Learning

Analyze the reasons for American isolationist sentiment in the interwar period.