America’s abandonment of Isolationism (1936-1941)

800px-Franklin_Roosevelt_signing_declaration_of_war_against_JapanFollowing the conclusion of the First World War in 1918 and with the onset of the Great Depression, most nations began to withdraw themselves from the international sphere, choosing less to focus on foreign policy. USA was the most prime example of this, as President Hoover believed the depression travelled across the pond from Europe. They chose to enter a period where world issues would be dealt with from a distance, this was known as Isolationism. For some, USA’s retreat into Isolationism meant missing a chance to prevent the rise of Hitler’s Germany and preserve peace.

For a full two years after the onset of World War Two, America’s status of Isolationism went untainted until eventually in 1941the German allied Japan began a devastating bomb attack on America’s Pearl Harbour military air base. This forced a complete abandonment from Isolationism as America joined the allies in entering WWII, hoping to gain revenge against the Japanese.

Prior to Pearl Harbour, America’s commitment to Isolationism had been tested various times already. In 1940 France fell to the German enemy, putting Roosevelt on edge, Hitler’s success in this takeover now threatened Atlantic security causing the USA to build a two-ocean fleet to protect the western hemisphere, they had hoped to keep Britain’s resistance up without officially entering war.

PEARL HARBOR,HAWAII: The USS Shaw exploded after being struck during the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941.

By this time, the members of US congress who continued to support Isolationism began to decrease rapidly, yet they still maintained a powerful presence. This aspect combined with the fact that almost half of the American public agreed they should “mind their own business”, made entering WWII an unpopular choice with those not immediately close to the President. Yet without America’s entry to the war in 1941, success against the threat of German domination could never have been truly guaranteed.


Aaron Potter

Aaron Potter

Hello I’m Aaron and like most other people you’ll find on this website I love writing about history, so much that I chose to study it in my home city of Bristol. There is only one past but many histories, and it’s in researching these histories which gets me pumped as I discover a possible untold story. When I’m not trudging through archives or writing about the past, you can find me sharing my thoughts about all things gaming related at and critiquing movies and movie news on my weekly podcast