In Latin America, mosquitoes carried the fellow fever disease that caused severe headaches, vomiting, jaundice (yellow skin), and death.
Rockefeller Foundation dedicated millions of dollars for projects dedicated to control yellow fever in Latin America. They were able to stop yellow fever throughout the 1930s.
This is US foreign policy for interwar. It means that the US was active on a global scale but retained its independence of action, its traditional unilateralism.
American Peace Movement
In the US, peace societies worked for international stability, many of them keeping alive the Wilsonian preference for a world body.
Many groups were formed or became popular during this time, such as the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the National Council for Prevention of War.
Washington Naval Conference
The conference convened from November 1921 – February 1922.
There were delegates from Britain, Japan, France, Italy, China, Portugal, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
They joined a US team led by Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes to discuss limits on naval military weapons.
The following three treaties were agreed upon at the Washington Naval Conference
The Five-Power Treaty states that the US and Britain would scrap 500,000 tons of ships, 300,000 for Japan, and 175,000 for France and Italy.
Nine-Power Treaty Four-Power Treaty
The Nine-Power Treaty reaffirmed the Open Door in China, recognizing Chinese sovereignty.
The Four-Power Treaty states that the US, Britain, Japan, and France would respect one another’s Pacific possessions
Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928
Named for the chief promoters US Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg and French premier Aristide Briand
In this pact, 62 nations agreed to “condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it as an instrument of national policy.”
American Economic and Cultural Expansion
Because of WWI, the US became a creditor nation and the financial capital of the world. By the late 1920s the US produced nearly half of the world’s industrial goods and was first among exporters.
Our good economy fueled the export of American culture. Hollywood movies were becoming popular, so was Coca-Cola and Ford.
Webb-Pomerene Act and the Edge Act
In 1918, the Webb-Pomerene Act excluded from antitrust prosecution those combinations wet up for export trade.
In 1919, the Edge Act permitted American banks to open foreign-branch banks
The War Debts and Reparations Issue
Some countries looked at the US loathingly because of the way it handled WWI debts and reparations.
The Allies were owed $26.5 billion, $9.6 billion to the US.
The debts question became linked to Germany’s $33 billion reparations bill.
Germany began defaulting on payments because of inflation and economic disorder.
Dawes Plan of 1924
This American crafted Act reduced Germany’s annual payments, extending the repayment period, and providing more loans.
Young Plan of 1929
The US negotiated the Young Plan of 1929 that reduced Germany’s reparations, salvaged little as the world economy sputtered and collapsed.
Johnson Act of 1934
Congress was annoyed with Europe, for them not paying back all their debts, that they passed the Johnson Act of 1934.
This Act forbade US government loans to foreign governments in default on debts owed to the US.
A reinvigorated economic nationalism was revealed through tariff wars.
American tariffs were rising so countries retaliated by imposing higher rates on foreign imports.
London Conference of 1933
At the conference, President Roosevelt barred US cooperation in international currency stabilization.
What the US should have done to stop the economic calamity, was to work for a comprehensive, multinational settlement of the war debts issue.
Secretary of State Cordell Hull
He believed that a way out of the crisis depended on reviving world trade. Increased trade, would help the US pull itself out of the depression and would help with chances at global peace.
Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act
Supported by Secretary of State Hull, this Act empowered the president to reduce US tariffs by as much as 50% through special agreements with foreign countries.
The most-favored-nation principle
This principle is the central feature of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act.
It states that the US was entitled to the lowest tariff rate set by any nation with which it had an agreement.
In 1934, Hull also helped create the Export-Import Bank, a government agency that provided loans to foreigners for the purchase of American goods.
The bank stimulated trade and became a diplomatic weapon.
Diplomatic Recognition of the Soviet Union
Throughout the 1920’s the Republicans had refused to open diplomatic relations with the Soviet government, which had failed to pay $600 million for confiscated American property and had repudiated preexisting Russian debts.
In 1933, Roosevelt granted US diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union in return for Soviet agreement to discuss the debts in question, to forgo subversive actives in the US, and to grant Americans in the Soviet Union religions freedom and legal rights.
Good Neighbor Policy
It meant that the US would be less blatant in its domination – less willing to defend exploitative business practices, less eager to launch military expeditions, and less reluctant to consult with Latin Americans.
In Cuba, Fulgencio Batista took over in 1934 until Fidel Castro took over in 1959.
Cuba attracted and protected US investments while it aligned itself with US foreign policy goals. In return, the US provided military add, Export-Import Bank loans, and gave Cuban sugar a favored position in the US market.
He took control over Mexico in 1934 and pledged “Mexico for the Mexicans” and promptly strengthened trade unions so they could strike against foreign corporations.
Mexican Expropriation Controversy
The Cardenas government boldly expropriated the property of all foreign-owned petroleum companies, calculating that the approaching war in Europe would restrain the US from attacking Mexico.
It is also called Nazism, or National Socialism, in Germany.
It was a collection of ideas and prejudices that celebrated supremacy of the state over the individual; of dictatorship over democracy; of authoritarianism over freedom of speech; of a regulated, state-oriented economy over a free-market economy; and of militarism and war over peace.
Rome-Berlin Axis and the Anti-Comintern Pact
Italy and Germany, its leaders Mussolini and Hitler, formed an alliance called the Rome-Berlin Axis.
Germany and Japan soon after the Rome-Berlin Axis, united against the Soviet Union in the Anti-Comintern Pact.
Mussolini on the left Hitler on the right
Policy of Appeasement
Britain and France responded with a policy of appeasement, hoping to curb Hitler’s expansionist appetite by permitting him a few territorial nibbles.
The policy of appeasement didn’t work, it was actually disastrous.
Arthur Neville Chamberlain Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1937-1940
Abraham Lincoln Battalion
In 1936, civil war broke out in Spain and about three thousand American volunteers, known as the Abraham Lincoln Battalion of the “International Brigades,” joined the fight on the side of the Loyalist republicans, which had the backing of the Soviet Union.
In 1938, Hitler decided to test the limits of European tolerance when the sent soldiers to annex Austria. France and Britain agreed at Munich to allow Hitler this territorial bite, in exchange for a pledge that the would not take more.
American Isolationist Sentiment
America tried to distance itself from Europe by embracing isolationism, whose key elements were abhorrence of war and fervent opposition to US alliance with other nations.
A congressional meeting led by Senator Gerald P. Nye held hearings from 1934 to 1936 on the role of business and financiers in the US decision to enter WWI. The committee did not prove that American munitions makers had dragged the nation into that war, but did uncover evidence that corporations practicing “rotten commercialism” had bribed foreign politicians to bolster arms sales in the 1920s and 1930s and had lobbied against arms control.
Neutrality Acts of 1935, 1936, and 1937
The Act of 1935 prohibited arms shipments to either side in a war once the president had declared the existence of belligerency.
The Act of 1936 forbade loans to belligerents. After a joint resolution in 1937 declared the US neutral in the Spanish Civil War, Roosevelt embargoed arms shipments to both sides.
The Act of 1937 introduced the cash-and-carry principle: warring nations wishing to trade with the US would have to pay cash for their nonmilitary purchases and carry the goods from US ports to their own ships, and forbade Americans from traveling on the ships of belligerent nations.
Roosevelt’s Chautauqua Speech
Roosevelt delivered a passionate speech in August 1936 at Chautauqua, New York that expressed prevailing isolationist opinion and made a pitch for the pacifist vote in the upcoming election.
The Voyage of the St. Louis
US policies were not changed even after the voyage of the St. Louis .
The vessel left Hamburg in mid-1939 carrying 930 desperate Jewish refugees who lacked proper immigration documents. They were prevented from docking in Havana and Miami and was forced to return to Europe.
In August 1939, Berlin signed a nonaggression pact with Moscow in August 1939. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin believed that the West’s appeasement of Hitler had left him no choice but to cut a deal with Berlin.
A secret protocol attached to the pact carved eastern Europe into German and soviet zones and permitted the Soviets to grab the eastern half of Poland and the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia, formerly part of the Russian Empire.
German Invasion of Poland
In the morning hours of September 1, German tank columns rolled into Poland. Fighting planes covered the advance, launching a new type of warfare, blitzkrieg, highy movile land forces and armor combined with tactical aircraft.
Repeal of the Arms Embargo (Neutrality Act of 1939)
In September 1939, Roosevelt declared neutrality and pressed for repeal of the arms embargo.
In November, however, Congress lifted the embargo on contraband and approved cash-and-carry exports of arms.
The Good Earth
Pearl Buck wrote the novel, The Good Earth in 1931, which was made into a movie six years later. It countered the prevailing images of the very different – and thus deviant – “heathen Chinee” by representing the Chinese as noble, persevering peasants.
In the late 1920s, civil war broke out in China when Jiang Jieshi ousted Mao Zedong and his communist followers from the ruling Guomindang Party. Americans applauded this display of anti-Bolshevism and Jiang’s conversion to Christianity in 1930, and they liked his new wife, Soong Meiling.
Warming to Jiang, US officials abandoned one imperial vestige by signing a treaty in 1928 restoring control of tariffs to the Chinese.
Japanese Seizure of Manchuria
In 1931, Japanese military seized Manchuria from China, weakened by civil war and unable to resist.
Manchuria served Japan as a buffer against the Soviets and as a vital source of coal, iron, timber, and food.
The seizure violated the Nine-Power Treaty and the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
The US would not recognize any impairment of China’s sovereignty or of the Open Door policy, Secretary Stimson declared in 1932.
In mid-1937, owing to Japanese provocation, the Sino-Japanese War erupted. Japanese forces seized Beijing and cities along the coast.
In an effort o help China by permitting it to buy American arms, Roosevelt refused to declare the existence of war, thus avoiding activation of the Neutrality Acts.
Roosevelt’s Quarantine Speech
In a speech denouncing the aggressors on October 5, 1937, the president called for a “quarantine” to curb the “epidemic of world lawlessness.”
People who thought Washington had been to gentle with Japan cheered.
On December 12, a Japanese aircraft sank the American gunboat Panay , and escort for Standard Oil Company tankers on the Yangtze River. Two American sailors died during the attack.
Japan’s “New Order”
Japan declared a “New Order” in Asia which in turned, “banged, barred, and bolted” the Open Door.
Secretary Hull declared a moral embargo on the shipment of airplanes to Japan.
Fall of France
On May 10, 1940, Germany attacked Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. German divisions ultimately pushed French and British forces back to the English Channel. The Germans occupied Paris a week later.
A new French government located in the town of Vichy decided to collaborate with the conquering Nazis and on June 22, surrendered France to Berlin.
Selective Training and Service Act
In May 1940, Roosevelt signed into law the hotly debated and narrowly passed Selective Training and Service Act, the first peacetime military draft in American history. The act called for the registration of all men between the ages of 21 and 35.
In January 1941, Congress debated the president’s Lend-Lease bill. It stated that the US could lend rather than sell weapons to Britain. The bill passed in March 1941.
In August 1941 Churchill and Roosevelt met for four days on a British battleship off the coast of Newfoundland. They issued the Atlantic Charter, a set of war aims reminiscent of Wilsonianism: collective security, disarmament, self-determination, economic cooperation, and freedom of the seas.
The Greer, The Kearny, and The Reuben James
A German sub launched torpedoes at the American destroyer Greer, on Sept. 4.
In early Oct. a German sub torpedoed the US destroyer Kearny.
Later that month, when the destroyer Reuben James went down wit the loss of more than one hundred American lives, Congress revised the Neutrality Acts to allow transport of munitions to Britain on armed American ships.
Greer Kearny Reuben James
In September 1940, Germany, Italy, and Japan signed the Tripartite Pact which formed the Axis powers.
After this Roosevelt slapped an embargo on shipments of aviation fuel and scrap metal to Japan. He eventually froze all Japanese assets in the US.
Roosevelt tried to gain time by stringing out ongoing Japanese-American talks. By breaking the Japanese diplomatic code and deciphering intercepted messages through Operation MAGIC, American officials learned that Tokyo’s patience with diplomacy was fast dissipating.
A Japanese Embassy
Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor
The Japanese plotted a daring raid on Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i. An armada of 60 Japanese ships, with a core of six carriers bearing 360 airplanes, crossed 3,000 miles of the Pacific Ocean and avoided detection by maintaining radio silence. Early morning Dec. 7, the the planes were released, each with a red sun representing the Japanese flag. They swept down on the unsuspecting American naval base and nearby airfields, dropping torpedoes and bombs.
The USS Arizona was hit with a Japanese bomb igniting explosive, killing more than one thousand sailors.
Altogether the invadors sand or damaged 8 battleships and smashed more than 160 aircraft on the ground.