Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945

By David M. Kennedy | Go to book overview

14
The Agony of Neutrality

If we are conquered, all will be enslaved and the United States will be left single-handed to guard the rights of man.

-- First Lord of the Admiralty Winston S. Churchill, November 12, 1939

While German dive-bombers screamed over Warsaw and German tanks crunched through the stubble of the freshly harvested grain fields in Polish Silesia, the world briefly and vainly held its breath, hoping against all reason that the war that had come at last might somehow not really have come at all. But on September 3, after Hitler had rejected British and French ultimata to withdraw from Poland, futile hope expired. Seated in front of a microphone at Number 10 Downing Street, Chamberlain announced to his countrymen on September 3 that "this country is at war with Germany." In Paris, Prime Minister Edouard Daladier followed suit a few hours later.1

In Washington, Roosevelt's first public pronouncement on September 1 was a plea to all the belligerents to refrain from "bombardment from the air of civilian populations or of unfortified cities" -- an appeal that bespoke the terror of air power then obsessing every mind, and a declaration that eventually made for ironic reading in the light of the war's nuclear climax at Hiroshima and Nagasaki nearly six years later. On the evening of September 3, Roosevelt also took to the radio to deliver another of his now familiar Fireside Chats. "Until four-thirty o'clock this morning I had hoped against hope that some miracle would prevent a devastating war in Europe and bring to an end the invasion of Poland

____________________
1
James W. Gantenbein, ed., Documentary Background of World War II ( New York: Columbia University press, 1948), 409.

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Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Editor''s Introduction xiii
  • Abbreviated Titles Used in Citations xvii
  • Prologue - November 11, 1918 1
  • 1 - The American People on the Eve of the Great Depression 10
  • 2 - Panic 43
  • 3 - The Ordeal of Herbert Hoover 70
  • 4 - Interregnum 104
  • 5 - The Hundred Days 131
  • 6 - The Ordeal of the American People 160
  • 7 - Chasing the Phantom of Recovery 190
  • 8 - The Rumble of Discontent 218
  • 9 - A Season for Reform 249
  • 10 - Strike! 288
  • 11 - The Ordeal of Franklin Roosevelt 323
  • 12 - What the New Deal Did 363
  • 13 - The Gathering Storm 381
  • 14 - The Agony of Neutrality 426
  • 15 - To the Brink 465
  • 16 - War in the Pacific 516
  • 17 - Unready Ally, Uneasy Alliance 565
  • 18 - The War of Machines 615
  • 19 - The Struggle for a Second Front 669
  • 20 - The Battle for Northwest Europe 709
  • 21 - The Cauldron of the Home Front 746
  • 22 - Endgame 798
  • Epilogue- the World the War Made 852
  • Bibliographical Essay 859
  • Index 877
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