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Critical Decisions Faced by FDR in Entering World War II

In preparation for the United States’ entrance into World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made wise decisions in many critical situations and displayed great leadership qualities in rising to the defence of democracy. President Roosevelt shows by his dealings throughout 1941 that he is ready and willing to lead the United States into war. He was asked to make many crucial decisions throughout the years preceding the war, and he proved himself to be wise in all of his choices. Roosevelt knew of the trouble to the West but kept the United States out of the war while he prepared our nation to fight. President Roosevelt promised United States aid to U.S.S.R. two days after German’s first invasion of the Soviet Union in late June of 1941 (Taylor).

He began to plan and establish allies throughout the nations of Europe. He saw the war not only as an inevitable crisis but also as a way to supply jobs to the millions of Americans still being affected by the Great Depression. On July 21, Roosevelt sent a special message to Congress in which he urged an extension of one-year military training by selectees. President Roosevelt increased our military power to destroy Nazi Germany while creating jobs for those in the service as well as in arms production and war materials in factories across the nation. Roosevelt issued an executive order prohibiting transactions in United States credits and assets by Japan and China. This order immediately halted the shipment of U.S. scrap iron and gasoline to Japan. Franklin Roosevelt approached the relations between Japan and the U.S. with hesitation, and timely cut off trades with the country.

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President Roosevelt demonstrated his character well and proved himself to be a leader inspiring the American people to fight for democracy. On August 9, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt met with Prime Minister Churchill aboard the U.S.S. Augusta and the H.M.S. Prince of Wales at sea, near Argentina, Newfoundland, Canada. The men spent their time discussing military tactics and war affairs. The men, determined to work together to win the war that was afoot, decided that the war should result in no territorial changes or expansion, freer trade, cooperation for the improvement of other nations, and immediate disarming of all aggressors. A joint Roosevelt-Churchill message was delivered to Joseph Stalin by American and British ambassadors on August 15, 1941 (Hacker).

Franklin Roosevelt was thoroughly preparing the nation for what was to be a great war. Three days after the Atlantic Conference between Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, President Roosevelt signed an act authorizing the extension of training and active military service to 18 months (Hacker). The Service Extension Act passed in the House of Representatives by a single vote, 203-202, after passing in the Senate, 45-30 (Taylor). On December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Hundreds of Japanese planes dive-bombed the harbour destroying a total of 18 U.S. ships and 188 planes. The day following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt reacted by asking Congress for a declaration of war against Japan:

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“With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us, God. I ask that Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.”

It was now the time for President Roosevelt to act; certain that the United States was about to enter war, Roosevelt arranged for further conferences with Churchill, Vargas, Camacho, Chian Kai-Shek, and Stalin throughout the following years of wartime (Magill). On several occasions, President Roosevelt conferred with various world leaders to develop war strategies and to ensure international cooperation. Roosevelt did well in keeping the American people informed about the issues of the war. On December 9, 1941, he addressed the nation in a fireside chat made from the White House.

During the broadcast, he informed the American people that the United States was in the midst of a war and faced with not only defeating Japan’s forces but also those of Hitler and Mussolini. For his contribution to the economic advances of the United States throughout the thirties and during wartime, Franklin Delano Roosevelt will go down in history as an outstanding American President.

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Critical Decisions Faced by FDR in Entering World War II. (2021, Feb 19). Retrieved February 7, 2023, from