Threshold of War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Entry Into World War II

Waldo Heinrichs, Author
Waldo Heinrichs, Author Oxford University Press, USA $30 (304p) ISBN 978-0-19-504424-9
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
In this scholarly study, Heinrichs, professor of history at Temple University in Pennsylvania, places American foreign policy in its global context from March 1941, when Lend-Lease began, to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor nine months later. This was a period during which President Roosevelt sought and found ways to adjust U.S. policy to the growing threat of German and Japanese military expansion while, at the same time, overseeing the buildup of the ``arsenal for democracy.'' That arsenal was still very slender, and part of FDR's complex task was to decide how much of it went to the beleaguered British and Russians in Lend-Lease and how much was retained by the increasingly insistent U.S. armed forces. The author traces the dynamics of the prolonged and deliberately dilatory negotiations with Japan (The Hull-Nomura talks) while FDR directed the application of maximum economic pressure against the burgeoning Empire. The book is a solidly researched counterweight to revisionist studies suggesting that Roosevelt's foreign policy was characterized by indecisiveness. Uncertain of German and Japanese intentions, the president was nevertheless ``an active and purposeful maker of foreign policy'' during the period in question. (September)
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