The Importance of the United States' aid to the Allies and the Events that led to the United States Declaring War

The War Begins

The USS Serpens was one of numerous Navy cargo shippes used by America in World War II

World War II began in Europe in 1939 when on September 3rd, Britain and France declared war on Germany shortly after Hitler invaded Poland with his forces on the first of the month. Shortly thereafter on the 17th, Stalin sent troops to occupy the Eastern border of Poland to defend against the Germans. However, Stalin was also pursuing goals to annex the Baltic states into the Soviet Union. This ambition proved costly as they met an unexpectedly harsh Finn army that was ready to fight throughout the winter. Mean while, Hitler had his own goals of concurring the island goals of Britain, as he started to target British airfields and factories with night time bombing runs. What would come to be known as the battle of Britain would not only test the endurance of the British, but would also show the Nazis offensive power. Prime Minister Winston Churchill fought with determination and successfully fought off the German conquest, leaving room for the Americans to enter the war.

United States Aid to the Allies

Former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945) was the only president elected for more than two terms.

A majority of the American population felt that the United States should not be involved in the war, because they were Isolationists. Meaning they
wanted no part in European affairs until they were attacked or in danger. To further support this, between 1935 and 1937, the congress passed the Neutrality Acts. These bills made it illegal to sell arms or give war loans to nations at war. President Roosevelt though, knew this plan was not full proof. He knew that if the allies fell, they would need the the help of the American army. In 1941, under the Lend-Lease Act the United States now began trading arms and vital supply to their closest allies, mainly Britain. The Lend-Lease Act was a program set forth by the United States government that allowed them to trade war time goods to allies, while remaining a neutral country. The equipment traded were the basics to survive in battle, ammunition, explosives, and vehicles. In return for trading war time goods, Hitler ordered his German U-Boats to sink any cargo ships in the Atlantic. With United States marines dying by the hands of the Germans, Roosevelt ordered fire on the U-Boats, unofficially entering the war. Early during the the war, President Roosevelt and prime minister Churchill meet and issued a statement of principles called the Atlantic Charter. The Atlantic Charter is a list of peace-time goals agreed on by the two leaders, and later of allies, to be put into affect immediately after the war ends.

Pearl Harbor

Battleships USS West Virginia and USS Tennessee in flames after the attack on Pearl Harbor

Early on the morning of December 7th 1941, 423 Japanese aircraft aboard 6 aircraft carries made their way towards a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor under the command of Admiral Nagumo. The months prior, Americans had cracked Japanese code and President Roosevelt even cut off oil shipments to the country, but a lack in radio communication to Hawaii, and failed protective measures left the harbor venerable for attack. The Japanese's first waves of attacks involved 83 planes, and targeted airfields and battleships. The next wave targeted ships and shipyards. During this time numerous Japanese mini submarines were meant to finish off any damaged ships with torpedoes, but due to the crowded area they did very little damage, and many sunk. When the air raids ended nearly three hours later 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians laid slain. Later that day, President Roosevelt addressed Congress. He declared that this will be, "a date which will live in infamy," and Congress quickly accepted his request for war against the nation of Japan and their allies. World War II had officially left the gate, full force ahead.

Conquest of South Eastern Asia

Turning its focus to conquering the rest of the world, Japanese forces looked to attack European and American colonies in the southern Pacific, a plan, they hoped, that would ultimately turn the tides in favor of a Japanese empire. If the Japanese could manage to overturn all Western control in Asia, they would not only have a much stronger hold in that region, but they would severely be damaging the West's chances for victory in the War. They knew that if they could conquer the West in Asia, Hitler and his Nazis could more easily take out the Allies in Europe.

The American's Philippines Fall

GIs take a break after successfully fighting off a wave of Japanese forces

First in the conquest, Japanese forces quickly and easily swept through Guam and Wake Island. Although a meaningless victory, it showed the Japanese were serious. Knowing that after their attack at Pearl Harbor would cause much distress, the Japanese sent their forces into the Filipino capital of Manila, a U.S. controlled territory. This is where the United States Pacific forces were headquartered and was a relative stronghold for the Allies. Fighting alongside the Americans, the Filipinos moved their forces to Bataan, a peninsula in the Philippines. Fearing a takeover, the Filipino government moved their headquarters to Corregidor, an island south of Bataan. It was January when Japanese forces marched into the capital and it was only April of 1942 when Bataan was taken by Japan. Soon thereafter, Corregidor also fell. Prospects looked grim for the Allies in the Pacific

The Japanese move Westward

Successfully overturning American control in the Philippines, Japan went to conquer the British. After a swift defeat in Hong Kong, they moved to invade Malaya, a territory southwest of the Philippines, in present day Indonesia. Attacking from the water and over land from the north in Thailand, Malaya also fell to the Japanese. With momentum on their side, the Japanese continued on with their Southeastern Asia campaign. At the tip of the Malay Peninsula was the colony of Singapore. After a violent defeat, the empire continued to grow to the Dutch East Indies which included, among others, the islands of Java and Celebes. This was an important takeover as this region was very wealthy in natural resources, something that could add great wealth to the empire. Strategically planning, the Japanese though that if they could seize Burma, they would be tactfully positioned to attack India, Britain's largest and most prized colony. It was no surprise that after Burma fell to the mighty Easterners, the Japanese Empire encompassed over one million square miles and had over 150 million 'subjects.' Among those, the Allied prisoners of war were treated worse than slaves. Shown no mercy, they were forced to go on death marches, executing thousands of the prisoners. Until the Allies would retaliate and attack, the Japanese were, indeed, becoming a world power that it seemed nobody could stop.


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