Research Proposal: US Foreign Policy in the 20th Century

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U.S. Foreign Policy in the 20th Century

is known as being the land of the free and a federation that had always struggled to make and maintain peace everywhere in the world. There have been several wars in which the country chose to intervene in order to make justice. Despite the rather peaceful policy of the U.S. when concerning warfare, the country had been compelled in getting involved in both World War I and World War II.

After winning the 1912 elections, Woodrow Wilson became the twenty-eighth President of the U.S. And with this success he became determined to make some changes in the country.

As World War 1 had started with parts of Europe's lands being fought over by the Germans, the British, and the Russians, President Wilson had begun an anti-war campaign by harshly condemning all three belligerents. However, his efforts had proved to be in vain, with neither of the countries willing to abandon their military operations.

After successfully keeping the U.S. out of the war and displaying excellent abilities of democratizing the country, Woodrow Wilson had been reelected in 1916. In spite of the nonviolent character of participation that the U.S. had adopted since the beginning of the war, things were about to change. Germany announced in 1917 that the conflict had undergone a series of modifications with warfare now being conducted by the naval forces. Soon after, Germany had begun a procedure of fighting on water and underneath it, with submarines. Four U.S. ships have been sunk after meeting the German submarines and, as a result, President Wilson requested the Congress to approve a war declaration. On the 6 of April, 1917 the U.S. had officially entered World War 1 against German forces with President Wilson in charge of the armed forces. By deciding to conduct warfare of commercial ships everywhere, the Germans had ultimately declared war to the world, and thus, President Wilson knew he had no other chance, but to intervene.

Shortly after, the U.S. had gathered more than two million men determined to put an end to the war and to dispatch the first troops in France. Wilson continued to hold speeches which had an impressive effect on people by striking right into the hearts of Americans.

On November the 11th, 1918 the war finally came to an end. The Germans proposed a peace treaty. Wilson chose to be present at the peace Conference in Paris considering he had to defend his principles in person. Apparently, President's Wilson decisions have had a great impact both in Europe and in the U.S., with people cheering and praising him during his speeches. Another factor which lead people in appreciating Wilson's campaigns is that he helped in establishing peace in Europe and in ending World War I. Because of his actions, Thomas Woodrow Wilson received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919.

World War I had left the people all over the world traumatized after seeing the atrocities that had been done for an unjust cause. The number of victims had been approximated at over 30 million, not to count those that lost their belongings in the war. (Robert James Maddox)

Even with the armistice having been agreed, the situation had still been filled with tension, as several of the parties involved in World War I being frustrated because of its aftermath. The Germans especially felt that that they've been tricked into paying compensations to their former enemies.

With Adolf Hitler's appointment as chancellor, the first step into the beginning World War II had been made. Cleverly, Hitler waited until Germany regained its combatant resources before acting. At first, he had been pleased with just harassing the Jewish in his country.

On a different front, the Japanese had also been determined to fight a nation they hated: the Chinese. Secretly making an alliance with Germany, Japan began its first moves by mobilizing the troops and captured Peking. Later, after further pressure on the Chinese, Japan managed to capture the city of Shanghai. The U.S. president at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, decided that this was the time to act, but no actual action had been done to stop the incident in the first months.

None of Hitler's dealings seemed to alarm the rest of the world until 1939, in spite of the fact that it had almost been obvious that all German actions pointed to a preparation of something of great proportions, outside the German territory. Quietly, and without any major response from the great powers of the world, Germany annexed both Austria and a part of Czechoslovakia. Matters had been growing and seemed to be slipping out of hand as most of Hitler's actions had been indicating the outbreak of a new World War. The French and the British however, did not oppose Hitler, and, moreover, considered all of the actions as being justified.

Distress had begun to be felt among Americans with most of them being certain that something needed to be done in order for the Western powers to be reinforced in case of a potential aggression. Roosevelt decided to act in the name of the people and predicted that a new World War was about to happen.

Hitler had started World War 2 with the "Blitzkrieg" (Lightning war) against Poland. To Hitler's surprise, soon after that, France and Britain intervened against the Germans. During the month of September, 1939, Poland had been defeated and the Germans took control over the country. Insignificant clashes followed and both the French and the British refrained from making any major moves.

Similar to Wilson, Roosevelt attempted to intervene in Europe without bringing the U.S. nation to war. It seemed though that that the Germans were not about to stop and the Allied forces hesitated to go to war using all their forces against Germany.

The Germans moved on and conquered France until the summer of 1940, emphasizing the gravity of the situation. Shortly after the capturing of Poland and France, Hitler captured Norway, Denmark, Belgium and Holland.

In the North of Europe, the Soviets had started a campaign to defeat Finland, butagainst all odds, the Finns stayed strong for a long time. The Western Powers, and the Americans favored the Finns and felt that they had to do something to help the small weakened country. The Americans decided to stand still and to further try to negotiate peace with the intention to keep away from entering the war.

Japan intervened as an ally of the Germans and captures several important landmarks in its vicinity. Then, the Americans were directly threatened by the Japanese as Pearl Harbor came under attacked and more than 2300 people killed. The U.S. entered World War II on the 8th of December, 1941 and the Germans began to lose territory and people as a result. Italy surrendered on June 4, 1944 after intense fighting with the Allies. Hitler lost France as the Allies stroke with great forces and the German troops were also losing ground in Russia.

During the whole year of 1945, the Germans lost their final positions. The Soviet armies reached Berlin on the 23rd of April and met with the U.S. troops on the Elbe. On April the 30th, Hitler and his mistress committed suicide. On May 7, Germany surrendered and Victory Day was declared in Europe, on May 8. The Americans later dropped two atomic bombs over Japan thus forcing the country's capitulation.

Clearly, the participation of the Americans in World War 2 have determined the fait of the war, as both the British and the Russians had been helped by the manpower and financial support from the U.S.

After having been involved in the two World Wars, the U.S. had begun a campaign to maintain peace in the world.

One of the first implications of American manpower… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"US Foreign Policy in the 20th Century."  Essaytown.com.  December 5, 2008.  Accessed July 19, 2019.
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