The Best WritersAmerica’s Relationship Status is Complicated: Lessons Learned from Isolationism in World War I and World War IISample StudentOutlineMy TopicU.S. Isolationism: World War IFrom Isolationism to Intervention: World War IU.S. Isolationism: World War IIFrom Isolationism to Intervention: World War IIMaking ConnectionsSourcesMy TopicWhat can we learn from United States isolationist foreign policy during the first and second World Wars to help inform our approach to international relationships today?Colors of The Famous 369th Infantry in Parade in New York City .My research question is, “What can we learn from United States isolationist foreign policy during the first and second World Wars to help inform our approach to international relationships today?”3Isolationism and World War IWorld War I began in 1914The U.S. remained neutral until 1917Wilson re-elected on Isolationism1916 Campaign slogan “He Has Kept Us Out of War”Examples of Campaign Buttons | www.worldwar1.comAlthough World War I began in 1914, The United States stayed neutral until 1917. Isolationism was a long-standing tradition dating back to the Revolutionary war, when America gained its independence from Great Britain. America was leery of becoming entangled with foreign nations ever since its inception. Wilson ran his 1916 reelection campaign on the fact that he kept America out of World War I. His reelection solidified the belief that the majority of voters wanted to continue to stay out of international conflicts. It was difficult for some to see how a foreign war could impact America.4Intervention in World War IThe sinking of the LusitaniaAmerican citizens perished at Germany’s handsImpacted AmericaWilson’s League of NationsIsolationist figures in U.S. opposed the LeagueLusitania Headline: Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesAccording to MacMillen, Wilson eventually came to see Germany as a menace to society and the world, and he came to advocating to make the world “safe for democracy” despite being elected as an isolationist (1). The sinking of the Lusitania would become one of the events that began to shift America toward intervention. Newspapers reported the sinking with emphasis on American lives lost (2). The U.S. would eventually intervene in World War 1 in 1917. As the war concluded, the battle in America between isolationists and interventionists heated up. Though Wilson tried to advocate for the League of Nations, powerful isolationist figures like Charles Lindbergh ultimately prevented Congress from sanctioning the League. The war sent the U.S. even further toward isolationism, with Congress passing Neutrality acts and placing limits on immigration to further solidify the country’s isolated position in foreign affairs. Norwich University offers the possibility that it was “perhaps isolationist Warren Harding’s election to the office of President that offered the greatest repudiation of the League of Nations and Wilson’s interventionism” (3).5Isolationism and World War IIAmericans were leery of intervention in a second World War.Long-term impacts of World War I on Americans.Anti-immigrant/anti-European sentiments1921 Emergency Quota Act, etcAmericans wanted to focus on problems at home.With the Neutrality Acts and general isolationist sentiments in American society, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was faced with many challenges as he attempted to maintain effective leadership during global crisis. Americans had many years between the world wars to ruminate on the pros and cons of global conflict. World War II broke out and many Americans held staunchly against intervention. America had a lot of her own troubles to deal with and many people were still harboring bitter feelings about World War I. In the Four Freedoms address, FDR warned his people that contrary to popular belief that America was safe across the vast sea, it was important to take lessons from World War I to understand how the second world war was a threat to democracy and a threat to America’s safety and future (4).6Interventionism World War IIFour Freedoms speech January 6, 1941FDR tried swaying Americans away from isolationismWarned about possible threats to homelandPearl Harbor December 7, 1941Americans mobilized, supporting interventionIn FDR’s Four Freedoms speech in 1941, he warned about the dangers of the isolationist path and appealed to Americans’ love for democracy. He asked Americans to heed his prior warnings that just because the war seemed far away, it didn’t mean it wasn’t having an impact on America or that there was no threat to the home country (4). Eleven months after he delivered his warnings, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Suddenly, the war had hit close to home and became an undeniable reality fast, and Americans mobilized to support intervention . Though isolationist sentiments didn’t fully disappear, many Americans came together to do their part to support the war effort. Some went to war and some stayed home and took on new roles to help the country and the war effort, forever changing the landscape of America.7Making ConnectionsLeadership challengesWeigh pros vs consConsider all consequences (both neutrality and intervention)Neutral but preparedby Unknown Author is licensed underPresident Wilson and President Roosevelt faced situations that made isolationist foreign policy challenging to uphold. American foreign policy during both world wars illustrates how difficult it was to balance the desires and fears of the American people with the presidential duty to keep America safe and prosperous. Today, President Trump often uses the slogan “America First.” The United States still faces foreign policy challenges around the world; however, similarly to World War I and World War II, many Americans may feel detached from those entanglements because they are not happening on American soil. Then and now, America’s leaders have been drawn into foreign entanglements despite isolationist and “America first” desires. We should take valuable lessons from past conflicts. We should weigh the pros and cons and always calculate threats to America carefully and with full consideration of ramifications of both intervention and isolationism. When encountering conflict outside of America’s borders, we should be neutral but prepared to react should America’s safety be threatened. We can take these lessons and apply them to our own lives when dealing with leadership decisions.8SourcesMargaret MacMillen. March 16, 2018. Why the U.S. Has Spent 200 Years Flip-Flopping Between Isolationism and Engagement: What does the United States want to be to the world? https://www.history.com/news/american-isolationismThe San Francisco Chronicle. May 8, 1915. Hundreds Perish When Lusitania is Torpedoed. https://s.hdnux.com/photos/45/60/06/9896344/7/940×0.jpgNorwich University Online. November 6, 2017. Isolationism and U.S. Foreign Policy After World War I. https://online.norwich.edu/academic-programs/resources/isolationism-and-us-foreign-policy-after-world-war-iFranklin D. Roosevelt. January 6, 1941. 1941 State of the Union Address “The Four Freedoms.” https://voicesofdemocracy.umd.edu/fdr-the-four-freedoms-speech-text/