Oct 9, 2020 in History Essay
American involvement in World War II

Assessment Questions

1. Explain the American involvement in World War II, especially the transition from neutrality to active action.

The end of World War I in 1919 left America in the great economic depression. The USA, therefore, decided to be isolationist and never involve itself in any future war. Between 1920 and 1930, the US signed treaties and adopted strategies to prevent any future war. In mid 1930s, the Congress passed Neutrality Acts that banned the USA from selling and giving loans to the European warring countries. This was after several incidents that happened in the European countries and predicted a possibility of future war. These included Italy invasion in Ethiopia and Japan occupation of Manchuria in 1931.

The world remained peaceful until 1939, when the war between Germany and Britain and France broke out. The US president of the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, expressed interest in supporting Britain in this war, which the Congress rejected. Roosevelt argued that this was a different from World War I war; hence, it would not be disastrous. Roosevelt requested the Congress to amend a Neutrality Act to the USs sale of arms to the allies while staying away from the war. Before long, German attacked France when Roosevelt called for massive military aid to the Great Britain. The Congress agreed to the two proposals, but after a very long and heated debate about the authenticity of involvement in such a war.

Passing of Roosevelt proposal led to a great division between the internationalist, who supported him, and the isolationist, who opposed the move. The isolationists argued that the US sale of arms would lead to its involvement into the war. The internationalist believed that it was possible to sell arms while keeping away from the war. At the height of this debate, on December7, 1941, Japan aircrafts attacked Port Harbor. It was this incident that led to a full participation of the USA in the World War

a). Negative Effects of World War II on the American people

The US suspended most social and economic reforms in favor of financing the war. This led to great economic meltdown by the American people. Poverty levels led to over 20 million Americans making a bare subsistence living. Small scale corporations collapsed, leading to unemployment. The war led to the introduction of a personal income tax among the American citizens. By mid 1940s, unemployment rates rose to over 10%.

b). Positive Impacts of World War II

The war led to the creation of new opportunities for women. Women were given more privileges to unleash their potential. The economy of the country improved due to the manufacture and sale of firearms. The President stopped segregation and opened more opportunities for all races. The United States became the world super power after the war. The use of atomic bomb changed the perception of the USA by other countries.

2. Explain the origins of the Cold War. Making specific references to American as well Soviet objectives at the end of World War II. Also remember to explain the relevance of the Keenan Telegram, theTruman Doctrine, the NSC-68 and the Marshall Plan.

The Cold War involved the passive expression of rivalry between the socialist Soviet Union, the formerly USSR, and the capitalist United State of America (USA). The USA and the USSR had emerged as superpowers after World War II. The war was termed as cold since the USSR and the USA never had any military fight. Instead, both fronts frightened each other with nuclear annihilation and proxy wars. Proxy Wars meant support of the allied nation in attacking the opponent allies. An example of Proxy Wars was the war fought in Vietnam, Korea, and Angola.

By the end of World War II, the two superpowers had aimed to increase their sphere of influence. This led to a competition for nations to gain more allies. The aim of each superpower was to spread their ideologies. For more than forty years, the USSR and the USA conflicted over several global affairs, competition in technology, nuclear arms race, and military buildups. This was in preparation for a future war as every side thought that it would erupt soon.

The USA policy against the USSR was greatly influenced by the Long Kennan Telegram in February, 26, 1946. Kennan was the US ambassador in Moscow and his opinion on the USSR was adopted as the American policy. He argued that the USSRs action were a result of the Marxist ideology and Russian imperialism. He warned that the USSR had expansion plans which posed threat to the USA and its allies. Consequently, he drafted a foreign policy that stated that the US policy on the USSR should be long-term patient and at the same time vigilant and firm to contain the USSR expansion.

On March 12, 1946, the Truman Doctrine by the President Truman led to the adoption of Kennan Telegram policy. The President sought release of $400 million economic aid for Greece and Turkey as a support to prevent them from being captured by the USSR. This policy changed the USA policy to the USSR as Containment rather than friendship.

The Marshall Plan of June 5, 1947, was the USA foreign policy aimed at economic gain and weakening of the USSRs communism in the European country. The USA offered to give loans to all the European countries, including those that upheld the communism ideology. This would result into the widened market, especially in Germany and the collapse of communism in Europe. Despite the warning by Joseph Stalin, the plan succeeded between 1948 and 1952, which was a big blow to the USSR.

NSC-68, the 58 page secret policy document issued by the USNSC on April 14, 1950, was a boost for the Cold War fight. The policy mapped out plans for the next 20 years in the Cold War, in which the USA was to prioritize containment policy against the USSRs communism expansion. The NSC-68 is said to be responsible for the collapse of the USSR in 1990 and the introduction of the new world order. The Cold War was fought between 1952 and 1991.

3. Explain the domestic consequence of the Cold War, including House Committee on Un-American Activities, Tafts-Hurtley Act (1947) as well as the other laws. Do not forget discussing McCarthyism.

The onset of the Cold War led to many effects on the USA. The Cold War led to the increased production of military industrial complex. The Russian launch of an artificial satellite led to the increased enrollment of the USA citizens pursuing science course to match the USSR. The Cold War also led to more employment due to the growth of military defense bases and introduced technology. However, the end of the Cold War led to unemployment of the surrounding communities.

The Cold War also led to a crackdown of communist sympathizers in the USA. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1938 was created by the House of Representatives to investigate the communism activities in the US during the Cold War. The committee made the US citizens testify their anti-communism stand before the Congress hearings. The committee continued with its intimidation against communism until it was renamed the Committee on Internal Security in 1969.

The passing of the Taft-Hartley Act in June 23, 1947 by Senator Robert Taft amended National Labor Regulation Acts. The act provided guidelines for operation of trade unions including boycott and strikes. The Act also required all union leaders to take oath against communism. McCarthy regime in mid 1950s was very instrumental against communism sympathizers. The regime punished writers, professors, and Hollywood actors who were seen as communists. Most of them lost their jobs and were later vindicated.

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4. Explain the rise of Suburbs in the United States as well as legal and demographic changes that made them possible. While explaining this process, make specific reference to their racial and social characteristics.

Suburbs are an informal settlement around major cities and towns. The first suburbs appeared in the USA in 1850. A serious suburbs growth began after World War II. This was due to the shortage of housing when the war soldiers returned. The US GI Bill of 1944 led to the release of funds to build houses for the American soldiers.

The first soldier settlement suburbs were built in Long island, New York, and Hempstead between 1946 and 1951 by Levitt and Sons firm. Suburbs further increased due to the introduction of automobiles in 1958, when the Interstate Highway Act led to the connection of major cities with highways. This increased the demand for single-family homes. With road network and highways in place, transport became easily accessible so people could move easily. This led to the growth of suburbs outside the major cities.

The suburbs led to the dispersed urban geography referred to as sprawl. Initially, the geographical areas where people worked, bought food, and visited friends was limited by the urban transport services. The introduction of automobiles and road networks led to the growth of suburbs. Popular suburbs included Los Angeles in California, Phoenix in Arizona, Dallas in Texas, and Orlando in Florida.

5. Explain Eisenhowers approach to win the Cold War and provide two examples on how he implemented that approach. Finally explain why the Sputnik, Suez crisis, and the Cuban Revolution forced Kennedy to change that approach.

The Eisenhower used the New Look defense policy in the Cold War. This involved cutting non-nuclear forces, Army, Navy, and Air force to minimum. The national nuclear capacity was also increased. The idea was to save cost by buying the same nuclear weapons as they could manufacture. This saved money that were used to grow economy in 1950s. Therefore, any aggression attack by the Soviet would be retaliated with a greater force. Eisenhower continued Truman Doctrine by deploying less armies and employing nuclear weapons.

An example of the Eisenhower policy implementation is the US response to Chinas invasion plans in regard to Taiwan. Eisenhower put the US 7th Fleet in between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. This reduced the cost of the war. The cost was saved when it came to the French Indochina attacks. The French wanted to maintain their economy. Eisenhower supported France but did not send troops. This also saved cost, but France was defeated.

Sputnik was an artificial satellite that orbited the Earth. The USSR launched the first Sputnik that threatened the USA safety. This led the US to change its tactic in space competition, leading to passing of National Defense Education Act (NEDA) that funded education for research.

Cuba revolution involved a struggle aimed at overthrowing the capitalist leader by the communist Fidel Castro. This led to Cuba becoming communist as the USSR ally. The USSR planed to place its missiles in Cuba to counteract the US forces in Turkey. President Kennedy wanted to attack Cuba but discovered that this may result into nuclear war. He changed the tactic and instead held communication with the USSR premier Nikita Khrushchev to end the crisis in 1962. This led to withdrawal of the USA nuclear missiles from Turkey and the USSRs from Cuba.

Suez Canal crisis also led to President Kennedy changing the Eisenhower plan. The USA and Britain withdrew funding of Aswan Dam in Egypt when they discovered that Abdel Nasser was a communist. Nasser started charging the Suez Canal, which was open to all countries. This led to Britain, France, and Israel attacking Egypt. The USSR threatened to join Egypt in the war. Kennedy forced its allies Britain, France, and Israel to withdraw from the war to avoid war with the Soviet Union.

6. Explain the American involvement in Vietnam War from 1954 until Johnsons Years (March, 1968). While explaining such process, make specific reference to Ginebra Accords (1954), Ho Chi Minh, Vesak Crisis or Buddhist Crisis, Escalation and Tet Offensive. Equally important, please explain the medias role influencing the American public.

Vietnam was under the oppressive French colonial rule before and after World War II. Ho Chi Minh sought the USA intervention in fight for the Vietnam independence on February 16th, 1945. The USA first sent their troops during the second Indochina war in 1954. In 1954, France and Vietnam signed Geneva Peace Accords. The accords stated that Vietnam should hold a national election in 1956 to unite the country.

Unifying Northern and Southern Vietnam meant more powers to the Communist Party, which the USA did not like. The USA supported a creation of a counter- revolutionary alternative. Eisenhower, the US President, offered to provide nation-building aid to Vietnam through signing agreements that created SEATO. Eisenhower used SEATO to build Southern Vietnam. The military, political, and economic aid of the USA led to the creation of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) under Diem. Initially, the US supported South Vietnam with military advisors and money. During the John F. Kennedys presidency, the advisors rose to over 17,000. After the death of Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson became the President; he reported that North Vietnam attacked the US navy ships along the Vietnam coast. Johnson deployed over 80,000 troops to the South Vietnam, which marked the beginning of the US active war in Vietnam. Johnson conducted the air war and bombing. Media was very instrumental in the fight. Media mobilized the American public to oppose the American involvement in Vietnam by using mirror and elitist opinion theories. By 1967, the US had dropped more bombs in North Vietnam than it had dropped to all the enemies during World War II. By 1969, over 543,000 US troops had been deployed in Vietnam. However, the trend changed during the Nixon regime.

7. Explain Johnsons Great Society Program, making specific reference to the laws and program created during those years. While explaining the Great Society, also explain the struggle for Civil Rights, starting with Brown v Board of Education to Voting Rights Act (1965).

Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the US President on November 22, 1963 after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His policy was to achieve Great society for American people within and without USA borders. He championed the most comprehensive legislation in US. He introduced Great Society program in January 1965. The program involved struggle for improvement of civil rights of the American people. The basic rights Johnson was advocating for were improvement in Medicare, education, renewal of urban centers, fighting diseases, fight against poverty, improving right to vote and reduction of delinquency and crime.

Johnsons administration is known for anti-racial segregation in civil rights. The milestones on the way to the black peoples freedom were: 1) Brown v. Board of Education; 2) the Civil rights Act; and 3) the Voting right Act. Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case happened in 1951. The plaintiff was challenging the school district to consider reversing its racial segregation in schools. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Brown and declared that the state laws that established different schools for black and the whites were unconstitutional. This abolished racial segregation in schooling in the USA.

In 1964, Johnson through the Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in honor of John F. Kennedy. The Act outlawed any form of discrimination in employment and public accommodation. The Act also provided for means of enforcing the law. The act empowered the Attorney General to stop funding for any state that upheld segregation. This was a relief to the Africans Americans.

In 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed. The southern US states used a literacy test as a qualification for voting to limit blacks from voting. Several protests opposing this move were conducted; some even led to casualties. Johnson mobilized for Voting Right Act to allow blacks to be given rights to vote. The act allowed federal government to register voters in any area; yet, the registered voters were less than 50%. This was great freedom to the black Americans.

8. Explain Nixons approach to the Cold War and its connection with ending American involvement in Vietnam. While explaining this process, provide details on Nixons initiatives toward the Soviet Union and China. Explain the Watergate Affair and its effect on American trust on the institution of the President.

Nixon was a strong anti-communist (the Cold War) before he became the President. When he was elected as the US President, the arms race was getting out of hand. He opted to ease the tension with the communist Soviet Union. This led to the improvement of relations between the USA and the Soviet. He even visited the Soviet on May 1972. He, therefore, reduced the USA efforts in the Cold War, as witnessed in his reaction in Vietnam War.

President Nixon was responsible for the American defeat in Vietnam War, though he continued bombing Northern Vietnam after he assumed office. He, however, withdrew the US troops from South Vietnam. Without the US support, South Vietnam was defeated by North and the country reunited as a communist country.

Watergate Affair

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Watergate affair was a political scandal that happened in the US in 1970. The scandal involved breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate office complex in Washington D.C. on June 17, 1972. The Nixon regime covered the scandal up, but unfortunately, it came into limelight afterwards. The scandal led to mistrust to the Nixon administration, which led to the resignation of Nixon on August 9, 1974, the first resignation in the US. The scandals led to the conviction, trial, and indictment of 43 people. Many other people who worked in Nixon offices were also fired.

9. Explain Carters approach to domestic problems as well as foreign policy. Explain Carters failures and accomplishments, including SALT II, Marielitos and Iran Hostage Crisis.

Domestic Policy

Carter was the 39th President of the USA. His domestic policy was to increase spending for job-creation. When he assumed office, the US was faced with high unemployment rate, of about 7.3% and oil crisis. He proposed a program of $30 billion to finance job creation. He also aimed to cut taxes and mobilize capital investments by businessmen.

Foreign Policy

Carters foreign policy was about the global interdependence and a North-South Cooperation. Carter wanted the US to promote maintenance of a free society as an example to the whole world rather than promoting it as the superpower. He aimed to make the US influential in the worlds politics as a society rather than a superpower.

Achievement of President Cater

Hewas instrumental in Panama Canal treaties and Camp David Accords as well as in a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. He was responsible for SALT II peace treaty between the USA and the Soviet Union. He introduced a comprehensive energy program through the Department of Energy. He improved education by reforming Department of Education. He championed several environmental protection acts, such as the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation.

Failures of President Cater

Iran Hostage Crisiswas one of the biggest failures of President Carter. The crisis involved storming of the American embassy and capture of 60 Americans who were held for 444 days. Carter tried to rescue them by organizing military missions, but in vain. The group was released some minutes after President Reagan was sworn into office after Carter.

Marielitos crisis was another great failure of the Carters foreign policy. Following the collapse of the Cuba economy, Fidel Castro and Carters administration agreed that Cubans could immigrate to the USA to seek refuge. Later, it was discovered that Castro released the criminals and mental patients as refugees. This led to the rise of crime and immorality, including homosexuality in the US. That was due to the open arms policy of the Carter administration.

10. Explain those factors that allowed Reagan to become President, including the transformation of the Republican Party. Additionally, please explain his domestic and foreign policy. While explaining those factors, make specific reference to the Strategic Defense Initiative, the Iran Contra Affair and the effects of tax reduction.

Reagan won the 40th President of the USA. He won his presidency due to his stand on the Soviet Union. Reagan convinced Americans that the Soviet Union had hoodwinked other administrations in the previous decade. He said he would reverse the Soviet-US power struggle by letting standing up to the Russians. He promised to stop the Soviet expansion influence.

Domestic Policy

Reagans domestic policy between 1981 and 1989 was to maintain conservative in economic policies. He launched the 4 pillars of the economic policies. They included: reduced government spending, reduced Marginal tax on income from capital and labor, reduction in regulation, and controlling money supply to reduce inflation. He also sought to increase defense spending, while lowering taxes.

Foreign Policy

Reagan foreign policy was meant to reduce the influence of the Soviet Union. He aimed to achieve this through eliminating communist regimes in the world and promoting anti-soviet governments and movements. He claimed that the previous regimes were losing the battle of the Soviet expansionist. A reduction of the defense spending by President Carter led to the Soviet growth in military superiority, which threatened the USA, as Reagan said. He, therefore, aimed to increase defense spending so as to prevent any perceived power imbalance.

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