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COURSERA: The Modern World, Part Two: Global History since 1910, W4.01 Choosing Global War (2)

So they passed lots of laws, Neutrality Acts to keep America from loaning money, from shipping arms, to be sure that World War One was not going to happen again. As you can see, memories of history, recent history, including the First World War, are in the heads of people in a lot of capitals in the late 1930s and early 1940s. But the fall of France in June 1940 had been a terrific shock. In fact, Roosevelt gave his great speech talking about that shock right here where I'm sitting in Charlottesville, Virginia. In his Charlottesville address, in the first week of June 1940, he made it clear that America could not really be neutral in this kind of conflict. America wasn't going to intervene militarily, but it did care who won the war. And it was going to do what it could to help the Allies against the dictatorships. » We will extend to the opponents of force the material resources of this nation. [APPLAUSE]. And at the same time, we will harness and speed up the use of those resources in order that we, ourselves, and the Americas, may have equipment and training equal to the task of any emergency and every defense. [SOUND]. » Roosevelt then did this extraordinary thing. He fired his Secretary of War. He fired his Secretary of the Navy. And he reaches out and forms a national unity of government. Not too dissimilar from what the British are doing in London. He takes the man who had been Herbert Hoover�s Republican Secretary of State in the early 1930s, Henry Stimson, makes him the Secretary of War. He takes the man who had been the Republican vice presidential candidate in the last election, in 1936, Knox, and makes him the Secretary of the Navy. In other words, he puts two of the most prominent Republican statesmen in America in charge of America's army and navy as he declares a state of national emergency and begins rushing to prepare America for what may come. But part of the great argument in the United States in 1940 and �41 was what was the realistic thing to do? Nowadays, you often hear lots of arguments in which the contrast is offered, including by many scholars, between idealists and realists, wooly-headed idealists and hard-headed realists in foreign policy. I actually think this is a false distinction. People on all sides are suffused with value judgments that condition the way in which they filter reality. Take this case in 1940 and �41. You could be a realist and say, we have to be willing to stand up to the dictators, or you could be a realist and say, actually our oceans are giving us a pretty good defense against the dictators. If we'll stand aside, Hitler and Stalin will bleed each other to death, and we'll end up being the winners from these foreign quarrels, just as we've been the winners from foreign quarrels for most of American history. In fact, America's leading diplomatic historian at the time, a man named Samuel Flagg Bemis, made precisely this argument, that America had shown blessed wisdom by staying out of these foreign controversies. Bemis was an isolationist. Naturally, the American position seemed irritating to all the foreigners. In Britain, why, Winston Churchill, in his determination to stand up to Hitler, had bet that America would be in the war by the end of 1940. That didn't turn out that way. Frustrating, they were on his side, but couldn't quite give him all of the support he needed. But, from the point of view of the Japanese: they make these moves, the Americans start putting sanctions on them, very irritating. From the point of view of the Germans, the Americans are starting to try to find ingenious ways of getting military supplies to their Allied friends, trying to get around the confining Neutrality Acts passed by the isolationist Congress. The Germans find that pretty irritating, too. And Franklin Roosevelt, the President of the United States, has some pretty serious dilemmas. He's running for reelection in November 1940. He's running for a third term, something no American president had ever done before. He's doing it because he thinks his presidency is indispensable in this time of national emergency. But in running for the presidency, Roosevelt's position is: We've got to support the Allies, but we're going to stay out of the war. Fortunately for Roosevelt, his Republican opponents are split in their attitudes. They nominate a relative internationalist in their convention in the summer of 1940. Roosevelt wins reelection. And here is Roosevelt on Election Day in 1940. Meanwhile, Roosevelt's leading advisers are keenly aware that they no longer really have the ability to shape events. They're frantically trying, both to rebuild America's strength yet spare enough supplies to get it somehow especially to support the British and keep them in the fight. Some of those advisers are men like this man, Harry Hopkins, Roosevelt's right hand man in both domestic affairs and increasingly in foreign policy. Suffered from a series of illnesses, always in infirm health. Nonetheless, he's the man masterminding the ways to get supplies to the Allies short of war. Fortunately, Hopkins has a terrific relationship with the general who's the chief of staff of the American army. This man on the left, General George Marshall. One of Roosevelt's smartest appointments had been to pluck the relatively unknown Marshall and put him into the job as Army Chief of Staff, alongside this man, the Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, a stalwart Republican of the old progressive international school, who had been the Secretary of State for Herbert Hoover. These three men that I've shown you all assumed that at some point America would probably get into the war. America is already putting together staff plans for what will happen if they do get into the war. They're Plan D, or Plan Dog, concluded at the end of 1940 concludes: If and when we do get into the war, Germany has to be our first priority. Germany First. It's the most dangerous enemy. But moving back to Europe, let's study the deadly minuet that's going on between the two dictators, Stalin and Hitler, partners under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. They're still working on ways to carve up Eastern Europe even though that causes some friction between the two of them. Over on the left you see a map that shows you the original plan for how they were going to partition Europe between them. The areas in orange were going to be in the Soviet's sphere of influence. The areas in blue were going to be in the German sphere. And here you see some of the adjustments that are being made. The Soviets have had their war against Finland and picked up some territory here. They've grabbed some of Moldavia from Romania. They've also taken a little piece of Czechoslovakia over here. The Soviets have also gone ahead and formally annexed the briefly independent countries of Estonia and Latvia, but, irritating the Germans, they've gone further and annexed Lithuania as well. The Germans increasingly swallow their anger about what the Soviets are doing, because they're quietly making their own plans for what they're going to do to the Soviets. Down here in the south, there's more going on. Remember the Italian empire? Mussolini hadn't given up his ambitions. He crosses the Adriatic and starts a war to conquer Albania and invade Greece. But, the Greeks fight well. The Italians are thrown back. And this country right here, Yugoslavia, has a coup in March 1941 that puts a pro-Allied government in power. The Yugoslavs and the Greeks are now both opposed to the Axis. Hitler makes an adjustment in his plans. The Germans invade the Balkans. In March and April of 1941, they overrun all of Yugoslavia, all of Greece, and in May even leap over with parachute forces and conquer the island of Crete in the Eastern Mediterranean, inflicting another terrible defeat on the British. Through all this, what are Stalin's choices? Should Stalin reach out now to the British, and try to make common cause with them against Hitler? Not his idea at all. Instead what Stalin prefers to do is to continue his war against internal enemies, including some of the Pols that he's now brought under his dominion. And then Stalin continues to be a good friend to Nazi Germany, shipping them tons and tons of raw materials for their war machine. He doesn't regard himself as naive. He's building up his armed forces. He's making preparations for a possible war against the Germans. But he's not looking for it. He sends his envoy, Molotov, to Berlin in the fall of 1940, with all sorts of ideas about a deal in which the two countries might cooperate together for expansion at the expense of the British and their allies. The talks break down, nothing's coming of it. Stalin's spies are telling him the Germans are getting ready to attack him. He treats them as being British provocateurs. So, if you look at the grand strategy of the Axis Powers, it's hard to find one. Hitler had already made the decision not to work with the Soviets because he's getting ready to attack them. In other words, probably the two most powerful countries in the world in 1940 are getting ready to go to war with each other in 1941. But even among his other allies, the Italians and the Japanese, Hitler is doing very little to coordinate with them and come up with some sort of coalition strategy. From the point of view of the democracies, it did turn out to be a good thing that someone who was borderline insane was in charge of the leading enemy power. Stalin is surprised when the millions of soldiers the Germans have amassed on his borders then do attack in June of 1941. It's astonishing, in a way, that he was surprised. He understood that the Germans were amassing forces, but couldn't really quite believe that they would attack him, in part, perhaps, because from his point of view, it didn't make sense to him that Hitler would want to attack him at this stage, just when things were going so well for Nazi Germany and for the Soviet Union. The German attack on the Soviet Union then creates a whole new dimension of calculation on the other side of the world for Washington and Tokyo. And here assessments of what will happen in that war mean everything for what will happen in East Asia. See the way these global connections intertwine. Let's say from the Japanese perspective, you think the Germans are going to win. Well one option would be, hey let's join in. Let's attack the Soviets up from the south, and help carve up some of the Soviet domains. Or you can say hey, the Germans are about to win, everything's going our way. Now is our moment to move south into Southeast Asia. But either way, the Japanese are predicting that the Germans are going to win. The Americans actually are divided about what's going to happen. But President Roosevelt, aided by advice from Hopkins, comes to the conclusion that the Soviets might hold on. Well that's key, because if the Soviets might hold on, then that creates a much better chance to be able to defeat Germany in the long run. Therefore, if your grand strategy is Germany First, keeping the Soviets in the war becomes a prime interest for the United States. Hm, how can the Americans help keep the Soviets in the war? Well, for one thing, they can try to make sure the Japanese don't attack the Soviets. So, when the Japanese take advantage of this new situation to move further south, occupying the rest of French Indochina, the Americans take that as the occasion to slap extreme sanctions on the Japanese. Cutting off vitally needed supplies of oil. That will help deter the Japanese from attacking the Soviet Union, and you know what, it did help deter the Japanese from attacking the Soviet Union.



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So they passed lots of laws, Neutrality Acts to keep America from loaning money, from shipping arms, to be sure that World War One was not going to happen again. As you can see, memories of history, recent history, including the First World War, are in the heads of people in a lot of capitals in the late 1930s and early 1940s. But the fall of France in June 1940 had been a terrific shock. In fact, Roosevelt gave his great speech talking about that shock right here where I'm sitting in Charlottesville, Virginia. In his Charlottesville address, in the first week of June 1940, he made it clear that America could not really be neutral in this kind of conflict. America wasn't going to intervene militarily, but it did care who won the war. And it was going to do what it could to help the Allies against the dictatorships. » We will extend to the opponents of force the material resources of this nation. [APPLAUSE]. And at the same time, we will harness and speed up the use of those resources in order that we, ourselves, and the Americas, may have equipment and training equal to the task of any emergency and every defense. [SOUND]. » Roosevelt then did this extraordinary thing. He fired his Secretary of War. He fired his Secretary of the Navy. And he reaches out and forms a national unity of government. Not too dissimilar from what the British are doing in London. He takes the man who had been Herbert Hoover�s Republican Secretary of State in the early 1930s, Henry Stimson, makes him the Secretary of War. He takes the man who had been the Republican vice presidential candidate in the last election, in 1936, Knox, and makes him the Secretary of the Navy. In other words, he puts two of the most prominent Republican statesmen in America in charge of America's army and navy as he declares a state of national emergency and begins rushing to prepare America for what may come. But part of the great argument in the United States in 1940 and �41 was what was the realistic thing to do? Nowadays, you often hear lots of arguments in which the contrast is offered, including by many scholars, between idealists and realists, wooly-headed idealists and hard-headed realists in foreign policy. I actually think this is a false distinction. People on all sides are suffused with value judgments that condition the way in which they filter reality. Take this case in 1940 and �41. You could be a realist and say, we have to be willing to stand up to the dictators, or you could be a realist and say, actually our oceans are giving us a pretty good defense against the dictators. If we'll stand aside, Hitler and Stalin will bleed each other to death, and we'll end up being the winners from these foreign quarrels, just as we've been the winners from foreign quarrels for most of American history. In fact, America's leading diplomatic historian at the time, a man named Samuel Flagg Bemis, made precisely this argument, that America had shown blessed wisdom by staying out of these foreign controversies. Bemis was an isolationist. Naturally, the American position seemed irritating to all the foreigners. In Britain, why, Winston Churchill, in his determination to stand up to Hitler, had bet that America would be in the war by the end of 1940. That didn't turn out that way. Frustrating, they were on his side, but couldn't quite give him all of the support he needed. But, from the point of view of the Japanese: they make these moves, the Americans start putting sanctions on them, very irritating. From the point of view of the Germans, the Americans are starting to try to find ingenious ways of getting military supplies to their Allied friends, trying to get around the confining Neutrality Acts passed by the isolationist Congress. The Germans find that pretty irritating, too. And Franklin Roosevelt, the President of the United States, has some pretty serious dilemmas. He's running for reelection in November 1940. He's running for a third term, something no American president had ever done before. He's doing it because he thinks his presidency is indispensable in this time of national emergency. But in running for the presidency, Roosevelt's position is: We've got to support the Allies, but we're going to stay out of the war. Fortunately for Roosevelt, his Republican opponents are split in their attitudes. They nominate a relative internationalist in their convention in the summer of 1940. Roosevelt wins reelection. And here is Roosevelt on Election Day in 1940. Meanwhile, Roosevelt's leading advisers are keenly aware that they no longer really have the ability to shape events. They're frantically trying, both to rebuild America's strength yet spare enough supplies to get it somehow especially to support the British and keep them in the fight. Some of those advisers are men like this man, Harry Hopkins, Roosevelt's right hand man in both domestic affairs and increasingly in foreign policy. Suffered from a series of illnesses, always in infirm health. Nonetheless, he's the man masterminding the ways to get supplies to the Allies short of war. Fortunately, Hopkins has a terrific relationship with the general who's the chief of staff of the American army. This man on the left, General George Marshall. One of Roosevelt's smartest appointments had been to pluck the relatively unknown Marshall and put him into the job as Army Chief of Staff, alongside this man, the Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, a stalwart Republican of the old progressive international school, who had been the Secretary of State for Herbert Hoover. These three men that I've shown you all assumed that at some point America would probably get into the war. America is already putting together staff plans for what will happen if they do get into the war. They're Plan D, or Plan Dog, concluded at the end of 1940 concludes: If and when we do get into the war, Germany has to be our first priority. Germany First. It's the most dangerous enemy. But moving back to Europe, let's study the deadly minuet that's going on between the two dictators, Stalin and Hitler, partners under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. They're still working on ways to carve up Eastern Europe even though that causes some friction between the two of them. Over on the left you see a map that shows you the original plan for how they were going to partition Europe between them. The areas in orange were going to be in the Soviet's sphere of influence. The areas in blue were going to be in the German sphere. And here you see some of the adjustments that are being made. The Soviets have had their war against Finland and picked up some territory here. They've grabbed some of Moldavia from Romania. They've also taken a little piece of Czechoslovakia over here. The Soviets have also gone ahead and formally annexed the briefly independent countries of Estonia and Latvia, but, irritating the Germans, they've gone further and annexed Lithuania as well. The Germans increasingly swallow their anger about what the Soviets are doing, because they're quietly making their own plans for what they're going to do to the Soviets. Down here in the south, there's more going on. Remember the Italian empire? Mussolini hadn't given up his ambitions. He crosses the Adriatic and starts a war to conquer Albania and invade Greece. But, the Greeks fight well. The Italians are thrown back. And this country right here, Yugoslavia, has a coup in March 1941 that puts a pro-Allied government in power. The Yugoslavs and the Greeks are now both opposed to the Axis. Hitler makes an adjustment in his plans. The Germans invade the Balkans. In March and April of 1941, they overrun all of Yugoslavia, all of Greece, and in May even leap over with parachute forces and conquer the island of Crete in the Eastern Mediterranean, inflicting another terrible defeat on the British. Through all this, what are Stalin's choices? Should Stalin reach out now to the British, and try to make common cause with them against Hitler? Not his idea at all. Instead what Stalin prefers to do is to continue his war against internal enemies, including some of the Pols that he's now brought under his dominion. And then Stalin continues to be a good friend to Nazi Germany, shipping them tons and tons of raw materials for their war machine. He doesn't regard himself as naive. He's building up his armed forces. He's making preparations for a possible war against the Germans. But he's not looking for it. He sends his envoy, Molotov, to Berlin in the fall of 1940, with all sorts of ideas about a deal in which the two countries might cooperate together for expansion at the expense of the British and their allies. The talks break down, nothing's coming of it. Stalin's spies are telling him the Germans are getting ready to attack him. He treats them as being British provocateurs. So, if you look at the grand strategy of the Axis Powers, it's hard to find one. Hitler had already made the decision not to work with the Soviets because he's getting ready to attack them. In other words, probably the two most powerful countries in the world in 1940 are getting ready to go to war with each other in 1941. But even among his other allies, the Italians and the Japanese, Hitler is doing very little to coordinate with them and come up with some sort of coalition strategy. From the point of view of the democracies, it did turn out to be a good thing that someone who was borderline insane was in charge of the leading enemy power. Stalin is surprised when the millions of soldiers the Germans have amassed on his borders then do attack in June of 1941. It's astonishing, in a way, that he was surprised. He understood that the Germans were amassing forces, but couldn't really quite believe that they would attack him, in part, perhaps, because from his point of view, it didn't make sense to him that Hitler would want to attack him at this stage, just when things were going so well for Nazi Germany and for the Soviet Union. The German attack on the Soviet Union then creates a whole new dimension of calculation on the other side of the world for Washington and Tokyo. And here assessments of what will happen in that war mean everything for what will happen in East Asia. See the way these global connections intertwine. Let's say from the Japanese perspective, you think the Germans are going to win. Well one option would be, hey let's join in. Let's attack the Soviets up from the south, and help carve up some of the Soviet domains. Or you can say hey, the Germans are about to win, everything's going our way. Now is our moment to move south into Southeast Asia. But either way, the Japanese are predicting that the Germans are going to win. The Americans actually are divided about what's going to happen. But President Roosevelt, aided by advice from Hopkins, comes to the conclusion that the Soviets might hold on. Well that's key, because if the Soviets might hold on, then that creates a much better chance to be able to defeat Germany in the long run. Therefore, if your grand strategy is Germany First, keeping the Soviets in the war becomes a prime interest for the United States. Hm, how can the Americans help keep the Soviets in the war? Well, for one thing, they can try to make sure the Japanese don't attack the Soviets. So, when the Japanese take advantage of this new situation to move further south, occupying the rest of French Indochina, the Americans take that as the occasion to slap extreme sanctions on the Japanese. Cutting off vitally needed supplies of oil. That will help deter the Japanese from attacking the Soviet Union, and you know what, it did help deter the Japanese from attacking the Soviet Union.

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