Collective Security and American Foreign Policy: From the League of Nations to NATO

By Roland N. Stromberg | Go to book overview

VI. Neutrality, Collective Security, and War: 1937-40

Experiments in Neutrality

COLLECTIVE SECURITY was not quite dead. It survived in some form among the loyal disciples of Woodrow Wilson, whose life and martyrdom had now become a major American legend. (See, for example, the impassioned utterances of William E. Dodd in 1936 in the symposium published under the title Neutrality and Collective Security.) In the academic world, Charles Beard, among the historians, had distinguished opposition in the form of Dodd and Shotwell and Nevins; John Bassett Moore and Edwin M. Borchard were countered by Pittman Potter in international law. ( Professor Potter, who had served on the Walwal Commission investigating the preliminaries to the Italo-Ethiopian war, wrote an intelligent defense of sanctions in 1937. 1) Among well-known organs of "opinion," the Nation grew fond of collective security, portraying it as an easy way to stop the Fascists and the "aggressors" without any risk of war through economic sanctions. As the European situation grew more tense and dramatic in the years between 1936 and 1939, there was a gradual switch toward this view.

Certainly substantial numbers of thinking Americans had their minds and feelings deeply engaged by the fall of Ethiopia and the Spanish Civil War. It may be significant in this connection that, indicative of a reorientation of its foreign policy, the Soviet Union became converted to collective security in 1936 and that Communists were until August, 1939, zealous propagandists for the cause. The influence of Marxism and even Stalinism on the "liberal" mind in these years is notorious. The evidence, however, scarcely supports the simple theory that American liberals and New Dealers were taken in by the Reds. Collective security was a respectable

-109-

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Collective Security and American Foreign Policy: From the League of Nations to NATO
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • I - Peace by Force? 3
  • II - Wilson and the League of Nations 22
  • III - America and World Peace in the 1920's 46
  • IV - The United States and the "Rape of Manchuria" 66
  • V - The Collapse of European Security: 1933-36 87
  • VI - Neutrality, Collective Security, and War: 1937-40 109
  • VII - American Entrance into the War 137
  • VIII - The Four Policemen 156
  • IX - The Second Failure 186
  • X - Collective Security in the Nuclear Age 213
  • XI - Concluding Analysis 230
  • Postscript 249
  • Notes 253
  • Bibliography 279
  • Index 293
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