Passage Thirteen (The Neutrality of American in the Early World War II)
The establishment of the Third Reich influenced events in American history by starting a chain of events which culminated in war between Germany and the United States. The compete destruction of democracy, the persecution of Jews, the war on religion, the cruelty and barbarism of the Nazis, and especially the plans of Germany and her allies, Italy and Japan, for world conquest caused great indignation in this country and brought on fear of another world war. While speaking out against Hitler’s atrocities, the American people generally favored isolationist policies and neutrality. The Neutrality Acts of 1935 and 1936 prohibited trade with any belligerents or loans to them. In 1937 the President was empowered to declare an arms embargo in wars between nations at his discretion.
American opinion began to change somewhat after President Roosevelt’s “quarantine the aggressor” speech at Chicago (1937) in which he severely criticized Hitler’s policies. Germany’s seizure of Austria and the Munich Pact for the partition of Czechoslovakia (1938) also aroused the American people. The conquest of Czechoslovakia in March, 1939 was another rude awakening to the menace of the Third Reich. In August,1939 came the shock of the Nazi-soviet Pact and in September the attack on Poland and the outbreak of European war. The United States attempted to maintain neutrality in spite of sympathy for the democracies arrayed against the Third Reich. The Neutrality Act of 1939 repealed the arms embargo and permitted “cash and carry” exports of arms to belligerent nations. A strong national defense program was begun. A draft act was passed (1940) to strengthen the military services. A Lend Act (1941) authorized the President to sell, exchange, or lend materials to any country deemed necessary by him for the defense of the United States. Help was given to Britain by exchanging certain overage destroyers for the right to establish American bases in British territory in the Western Hemisphere. In August, 1940 President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill met and issued the Atlantic Charter which proclaimed the kind of a world which should be established after the war. In December, 1941, Japan launched the unprovoked attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor. Immediately thereafter, Germany declared war on the United States.
1. One item occurring before 1937 that the author does not mention in his list of actions that alienated the American public was
[A] the burning of the Reichstag.
[B] German plans for conquest.
[C] Nazi barbarism.
[D] the persecution of religious groups.
2. The Lend-Lease Act was designed to
[A] help the British.
[B] strengthen the national defense of the United States.
[C] promote the Atlantic Charter.
[D] avenge Pearl Harbor.
3. American Policy during the years 1935-1936 may be described as being
4. The Neutrality Act of 1939
[A] permitted the selling of arms to belligerent nations.
[B] antagonized Japan.
[C] permitted the British to trade only with the Allies.
[D] led to Lend-Lease Act.
5. We entered the war against Germany
[A] because Germany declared war.
[B] because Japan was an ally of Germany.
[C] after Germany had signed the Nazi-soviet Pact.
[D] after peaceful efforts had failed.
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