From Isolation to War: 1931-1941

From Isolation to War: 1931-1941

From Isolation to War: 1931-1941

From Isolation to War: 1931-1941


In a major revision of this popular text, Dr. Justus Doenecke integrates scholarly research conducted in the 1990s to offer readers a fresh picture of the major events and historiographical controversies in American diplomacy in the decade before Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.

Individual chapters center on the aftermath of World War I, the Manchurian crisis, the expansion of Germany and Japan and the U. S. response, FDR's policy towards Europe from the Munich conference to his "shoot-on-sight" orders, and Roosevelt's stance toward Asia from the termination of the 1911 trade treaty with Japan and the breaking of diplomatic relations. A final chapter considers the background of the Pearl Harbor attack, stressing not only the role of Admiral Yamamoto but the revisionist arguments concerning event, including the "devil theory" of the president's culpability.

This third edition includes entirely new material including discussions of Roosevelt's leadership style, the recognition of the Soviet Union, policy toward Cuba and Mexico, Pan-American conferences, the 1940 mission of Sumner Welles, the Four Freedoms, and the U. S. Army victory plan of autumn 1940. Certain other passages have been expanded, such as those concerning the background of American anti-interventionism, major peace groups, the London Economic Conference of 1933, the Ethiopian conflict, the Spanish Civil War, the Nye Committee, the predicament of Jewish refugees, the Soviet-Finnish war, FDR's Japan diplomacy and his last-minute assurances to British ambassador Halifax, and the latest arguments over Pearl Harbor. Also new to this edition is a collection of striking photographs.

The third edition of this informative and engaging text-one enjoyed by instructors and students alike for decades-is appropriate for use in the U. S. history survey as well as in course on twentieth-century history, American foreign diplomacy, and international relations.


Over the past decade, many new books and articles have been written on American foreign policy during the years 1931–1941. Such circumstance is hardly surprising, for it was during this time period that the United States changed from a nation crippled by depression to become a world power about to enter the greatest conflict in world history. This new edition of From Isolation to War involves an effort to share much of this fresh research with the general reader.

As with the second edition, published in 1991, this version involves extensive change. Every sentence has been checked for accuracy and clarity, and many have been altered. At times language has been changed to be made more exact. The word “pacifist,” for example, is now used in a much stricter sense, with the term “peace group” often substituted. Similarly, the term “isolationist” has often given way to the more accurate “anti-interventionist.” Chinese spellings are now in Pinyin (e.g., Beijing) not in Wade-Giles (e.g., Peking), though when first introduced the traditional Western spelling is also offered.

Certain material has been reorganized. Coverage of the Nye Committee and the Ludlow amendment are placed in a narrative chapter rather than in the introductory one.

In other cases material has been expanded. Here one must mention such topics as the perspective and background of anti-interventionism (including disillusionment with World War I), major peace . . .

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