Invasion of Rhineland (1936) – Violating the Treaty of Versailles and removing Germany from the League of Nations, Hitler developed an army sent into a German region bordering France and Belgium, which at the time lacked military force due to the Treaty of Versailles. As a result, the League of Nations remained neutral and did nothing in response to the invasion, and the United States still maintained isolationism.
Munich Pact (September 30, 1938) – To expand the size of Germany, Hitler targeted Austria and Czechoslovakia. Austria allowed German forces to unify the country, while Hitler accused the Czechs of abusing Sudeten Germans, and sent in troops on the Czech border. Hitler invited French premier Edouard Daladier and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to meet in Munich. Hitler lied about Sudetenland being Germany’s “last territorial demand,” and yet Daladier and Chamberlain agreed to sign the Munich Pact, which handed Sudetenland over to Germany without any violence. Interpreting Hitler’s false accusations, U.S. correspondent William Shirer stated, “The Nazi press is full of hysterical headlines. All lies.” The U.S. remained neutral when Germany conquered Austria and Czechoslovakia.
Nonaggression Pact (August 1939) – Germany turned its focus towards the capturing of Poland. However, attacking Poland would cause conflict with the Soviet Union and declare war from France and Britain. Germany would be no match for a two-front war, until Stalin signed the nonaggression pact with Hitler. This agreement prohibited attacks between Germany and the Soviet Union. Furthermore, the Nazis and communists divided Poland under a secret pact. The invasion of Poland became inevitable as Germany’s first major offense. The U.S. and League of Nations did not respond to the agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union.
German invasion of Russia (June 1941) – Hitler broke the nonaggression Pact and invaded the Soviet Union. Roosevelt sent lend-lease supplies to the Russians; some Americans criticized the idea of aiding Stalin. Winston Churchill claimed they should “work with the devil himself.”
Anschluss (March 12, 1938) – Germany’s union with Austria without any opposition because the majority of Austrian people favored unification with Germany. The U.S. and League of Nations did nothing in response to Germany’s movement.
Neutrality Acts (Two dates 1935 and 1939) – In an effort to avoid international conflict, the first two acts prohibited the selling of arms and creation of loans to nations at war. In response to fighting in Spain, the third act extends the first and second to nations engaged in civil wars. In July 1937, Japan attacked China and because Japan did not formally declare war against China, FDR continued to send armaments/supplies to assist China. As Germany invaded Poland, Roosevelt revised the Neutrality Acts
Quarantine Speech (October 5, 1937) – Roosevelt delivered a speech in Chicago, speaking out against isolationism and demanding that peaceful nations “quarantine” aggressive nations (Japan, Italy, and Germany) to prevent further violence. However, isolationists accused the president of leading America into war. With no other choice, FDR escaped the criticism, which shifted the debate revolving around the war.
Cash & Carry (September 1939) – provision allowing nations at war to buy U.S. arms in cash and obtaining them in their own ships. FDR believed helping France and Britain would lead to the downfall of Hitler, keeping the U.S. out of war. FDR received criticism from isolationists and Congress passed the Neutrality Act of 1939. 500,000 rifles, 80,000 machine guns, and 50 old destroyers sent to the British. Winston Churchill responded to U.S. aid with “a decidedly unneutral act.”
Lend Lease (March 1941) – Act that gave FDR the authority to provide Britain and important allies with munitions and supplies. FDR uses analogy of lending a garden hose to a neighbor whose house was on fire, to prevent the fire from spreading to other houses. Majority of Americans supported the act.
Atlantic Charter (August 1941) – Churchill and FDR met on the battleship USS Augusta. They agreed to a joint declaration of war aims and pledged “collective security, disarmament, self-determination, economic cooperation, and freedom of the seas” (760). The Atlantic Charted is a basis for “A Declaration of the United Nations,” which recognized the Allies who fought against the Axis powers.
America First Movement (September 4, 1940) – Committee that opposed U.S. aid directed to the allies because it feared American involvement in Europe. AFC had a membership of 800,000. The group tried to block FDR’s Lend-Lease Act, but after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the committee disbanded and insisted that everyone support the war effort.
Tripartite Pact (September 27, 1940) – Germany, Italy, and Japan signed a mutual defense treaty and the three countries became known as the Axis powers. Goal of the act was to keep the U.S. out of the war by defending one another. If America declares war on one country, America would face fighting in both the Atlantic and the Pacific.
Oil Embargo of Japan (July 1941) – Japan took over military bases in Indochina, causing the U.S. to cut off trade with Japan. One of the goods included oil, a necessity for Japan to continue their invasions. Japan had the choice of persuading the U.S. to end the embargo or seize oil field in the Dutch East Indies.
Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941) – In order to unite East Asia under Japanese control, Japan had to cross through the U.S. and its Pacific islands. Any peace proposals with the U.S. no longer mattered and 180 Japanese warplanes attacked without any U.S. antiaircraft firing in defense. The attack left 2,403 Americans dead and 1,178 wounded, destroying 21 ships and more than 300 aircraft.
Good Neighbor Policy (March 1933) – Coined by President Hoover, the policy’s intentions were to mend the relationship with Latin America. FDR improved relations with Latin American countries when he withdrew troops, along with assigning Secretary of State Cordell Hull to improve the ties between the countries to ensure non-hostile neighbors south of the U.S.
German Invasion of Poland (September 1, 1939) – German Luftwaffe bombed military bases, airfields, railroads, and cities to cripple Poland. Meanwhile, German tanks converged into Poland. Two days after the invasion, France and Britain declared war on Germany. Hearing of the Nazi attack, further questions arose whether or not the U.S. should get involved. On September 6, FDR ordered Congress to repeal the Embargo Provisions of the Neutrality Law, which prohibited the sales of armaments to allies.
Battle of Britain (July to October 1940) – German navy could not compete with Britain’s navy As a result, the Luftwaffe dropped bombs over Britain. Germany needed to wipe out Britain’s Royal Air Force, but the RAF fought back using radar technology to plot the flight paths of German planes. Hitler called off the invasion of Britain and both sides continued to bomb one another. Eight American pilots fought along with the RAF against the Nazis.
Dunkirk (May to June 1940) – German offensive trapped nearly 400,000 British and French troops trying to flee Dunkirk on the French side of the English Channel. Eight hundred vessels ferried about 330,000 troops to safety. U.S. response to the events of Dunkirk are isolationism
Maginot Line (May 1940) – The first battle to start WWII was Germany’s invasion into Poland by using blitzkrieg. French and British troops mounted a defense on the Maginot Line, “system of fortification built along France’s eastern border.” Newspapers coined the term “phony war” since both sides stared at each other, waiting for one another to attack. German tanks passed through the Ardennes forest, avoiding British and French troops, and heading towards Paris. In response to the fall of Paris, FDR issued a fireside chat stating, “We build and defend not for our generation alone. We defend the foundations laid down by our fathers. We build a life for generations yet unborn. We defend and we build a way of life, not for America alone, but for all mankind. Ours is a high duty, a noble task.”
Selective Service Act (September 16, 1940) – Anxious over the Nazi victories in 1940, Congress passed the nation’s first peacetime military draft. 16 million men between ages 21 and 35 were registered, and 1 million were drafted for one year to serve in the Western Hemisphere.
Be sure to include the following terms somewhere in your timeline:
· Appeasement (1938) – In response to Chamberlain and Daladier’s compliance to Germany’s demands, Winston Churchill felt they gave up too easily in order to pacify Germany. Churchill stated, “Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonor. They chose dishonor.” Although FDR chose to keep the U.S. neutral, America does not prohibit
· Arsenal of Democracy (December 1940) – Elected third term for presidency, FDR declared in a fireside chat that if America allowed Britain to fall, then the Axis powers will be capable of conquering the world. FDR tried to rally support for sending military aid to allies.
· Blitzkrieg (September 1, 1939) – During the invasion of Poland, Germany utilized a military strategy involving fast tanks and powerful aircraft to acquire the element of surprise and crush any opposition. Swiftness allowed Germany to end the fighting in Poland in three weeks. The U.S. army and navy have implemented several innovations during the course of isolationism.
· Isolationism (1933) – Many Americans felt that the U.S. entered WWI due to greedy bankers and arms dealers. To support this accusation, the Bye committed documented the large profits that banks and manufacturer made during WWI. Strong feelings of antiwar clouded America. For example, the Girl Scouts of America changed the color of their uniforms to appear less militaristic. Isolationism also affected FDR, causing him to withdraw troops from the civil wars in Latin America.
· Fascism (1921) – Benito Mussolini established the Fascist Party since Italy faced economic collapse and communism. Under the philosophy of Fascism, the interests of the state are above individuals, and power belonged to a single leader and a small group of party members. In order to gain power, Mussolini crushed any opposition and made Italy a totalitarian state. Similar to Mussolini, Adolf Hitler created the Nazi Party and gave hope to Germany during the Great Depression. Nazism, based on extreme nationalism, played the role of German fascism. Hitler developed beliefs including the unity of German-speaking people, preserving the Aryan race, ruling out Jews, Slavs, and all nonwhites, and expanding the size of Germany. Some Americans questioned the success of the political policy, while others feared an approaching war.