During the start of World War II the American government and people were predominantly in favor of isolationism. The hardships after World War I discouraged the country from participating in a national war. The Great Depression was a key factor in this decision. The worldwide economic crisis played a factor in the start of the Holocaust due to dire economic conditions that led to rise of the Nazi party in Germany. It also left millions of Americans unemployed and unable to afford basic necessities and banks, factories, and businesses were failing. With the New Deal reforms not having worked in jump starting the US economy, many American citizens along with the federal government supported the policy of isolationism and focusing on domestic problems before interfering in national conflicts. However, as the war went on the Allies were in more of a need of supplies and looked towards America for help. FDR delivered his “Arsenal of Democracy” speech calling for the mass production of armaments to help the Allied Powers fight Germany. Despite the prevalent support for isolationism, Congress accepted because it allowed America to stay out of the conflict directly. Although, this was only a temporary decision and the US fully entered the war in 1941. There were many factors that led to the shift from isolationism to interventionism resulting in the United States becoming a central figure in global affairs, however previous sentiments prevented the country from helping those harshly affected by Nazi German aggression in World War II.

The bombing of Pearl
Harbor by Japan was the last straw for the U.S government and directly led to
the official declaration of war on Japan followed by the rest of the Axis
Powers. The United States slowly inched its way into the war due to FDR in
support of interventionism while most of the country was still in support of
isolationism. At first, the Neutrality Acts of 1935, 1936, and 1937 stated that
when war was declared, trade of munitions with any country in the war was
prohibited. However, at the start of the war the Neutrality Act of 1939 was
passed which allowed the US to help the Allied Powers through a policy of
cash-and-carry which allowed the trade of American war materials to their
allies in the war. The next step in entering war was the initiation of a
peacetime draft. The war effort in America started before news of the Holocaust
reached the rest of the world. News of what was going on in Germany was
starting to come out in 1942. At first this information was withheld from the
American public by the US government. This was brought to light by Randolph
Paul in a report concerning the Treasury Department at the time the war was
going on. Government officials went as far as attempting to hide information to
the public concerning the mass murder of Jews in Germany and also using their
machinery to prevent the rescue of Jews (Doc L). Upon the news reaching the
public, pressure for the Allies to end the Holocaust and rescue the Jews
increased, however the US government resisted. Historical interpretations
revealed in some cases, the US deliberately went out of their way to not stop
the murders when Allied bombers were flying missions just outside of the death
camp in Auschwitz but claimed destroying the camp was unfeasible (Doc A). The
condemnation of the event was largely verbal and published in newspapers at the
time (Doc K), but not much action was taken to stop the mass murder until
towards the end of the war.

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Later research provides
evidence that the hindrance in helping the victims of German death camps was
due to the rise in anti-Semitism in the US especially in the State Department
(Doc D). The department purposely tried to hide the extent of the event and
refused to help Jews fleeing Germany. Jews that had escaped Germany were denied
entry into the country. Congress had restricted immigration in 1921 and 1924,
ending the previous policy of open immigration. These introduced quotas for
immigrants and despite many of them never being fulfilled; Jews were still
prevented from immigrating to the country because of anti-Semitism sentiment in
the State Department with Secretary Breckinridge Long (Doc A). The war effort
for the US was focused on defeating the Axis Powers which would cause the end
of the Holocaust, but the tragedy was not focus for the war effort. The end of
the war is when the country’s wartime diplomacy increased. It was only after
the war when Eisenhower visited Germany and first-hand witnessed the damage
that he ordered for the full extent of the Holocaust to be revealed to the
public to prevent it from being seen as propaganda (Doc B). To prevent this and
the Holocaust, Eisenhower ordered numerous pictures to be taken of the
aftermath including many with him in them to prove their legitimacy (Doc C).
The inaction of the Allied Powers in helping victims of the Holocaust had been
excused by the government until the Yalta Conference in 1945. FDR in an address
to Congress stated that unstable political conditions in the world could not be
ignored any longer and the US must use it large influence on the world to
maintain peace (Doc E). This becomes the base for FDR in the Yalta Conference
and creation of the United Nations.

            Despite the
country’s late entry into the war, the US was catapulted to the front of the
war effort and political influence because the war had a positive impact on the
country’s economy. The total war effort was able to lift the US from the Great
Depression due to an increase in jobs for   The country’s home front
was virtually unaffected  as well since most of the war was fought in the
east leaving the US in better condition than other major countries. The
increase in technological inventions allowed the US to output more armaments
than any other country leading it to have the most contribution in the Allied
War effort. Another huge technological invention that tremendously increased
the country’s power was the atomic bomb created in an effort to take action
against Germany who had plans to create one. At the end Germany gave up on
their plans, while the US had mastered the creation of an atomic bomb. This
made the country really powerful and FDR have a lot of influence on the plans
of the Allied Powers. At the war’s end, FDR Churchill and Stalin, known as the
Big 3 decided on the future cooperation of the world during the Yalta
Conference. One of the biggest outcomes of the Yalta Conference was the
creation of the United Nations that was later created and adopted by 50
countries. FDR used his influence over both Churchill and Stalin to lead the
decisions about the UN in his favor which President Woodrow Wilson was not able
to do with his 14 Points for the League of Nations during World War I. It was
due to the start of World War II that the limitations of the League of Nations
previously created to prevent future wars and ensure the peace was kept.
However, without the support of the US which did not ratify the League of
Nations, and other countries like Russia that were not permitted to join, the
League was dominated by England and France. The countries that were a part of the
group could not cooperate or agree on specific points making it really
ineffective and causing some countries to leave the league. When it came to the
UN, precautions were taken to make sure it was more effective than the League
of Nations and this time, the US had a large say in its creation. The aim of
the United Nations Charter which was signed on June 29, 1945 was to maintain
international peace and security as well as uphold humanitarianism for the
economic and social advancement of the people. (Doc G). The United Nation was
overall better than the League of Nations because it had more power and
influence.

World War II solidified
the United States’ position as a world power. Before the war, the US did not
have a lot of power and influence on the rest of the world. It was only through
entering the war that the country was able to improve economically and help
bring a victory for the democracies.

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