The "Phony" War
BY THE END OF 1939, ROOSEVIELT'S DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN courses in the Second World War were charted. Dismissal of the big-business War Resources Board and repeal of the arms embargo were the most revealing guides to his future programs in domestic and foreign affairs.
During the months of "phony" war on the Western Front, a perplexing challenge to the peaceful nations came from the Soviet attack upon Finland. To the majority of publicists, the Winter War signified the military weakness of the Soviet Union, and the permanent loss of that nation to the coalition of nations opposing the Axis. Conviction on the first "fact" made easier a conviction that the peaceful nations would lose little or nothing by treating the Soviet Union as an inevitable enemy. President Roosevelt's view on Soviet military strength does not appear, but his refusal to treat the Soviet Government as Hitler's ally argues that he did not underestimate Soviet military power.
Those who saw only the ideological struggle between capitalist democracy and socialist dictatorship, or only the similarity of forms of government in the Axis nations and the Soviet Union, placed the Soviet Union high on their list of enemies of the United States. Roosevelt and Hull were convinced that, however mistaken the Soviet leaders might be in trading off the moral prestige of their nation for the sake of narrow military advantages, fundamental conflicts of interest would prevent any profound or lasting co