- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: June 2013
- Print publication year: 2013
- Online ISBN: 9780511980589
Since their first publication, the four volumes of The Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations have served as the definitive source for the topic, from the colonial period to the Cold War. This third volume of the updated edition describes how the United States became a global power - economically, culturally and militarily - during the period from 1913 to 1945, from the inception of Woodrow Wilson's presidency to the end of the Second World War. The author also discusses global transformations, from the period of the First World War through the 1920s when efforts were made to restore the world economy and to establish a new international order, followed by the disastrous years of depression and war during the 1930s, to the end of the Second World War. Throughout the book, themes of Americanisation of the world and the transformation of the United States provide the background for understanding the emergence of a trans-national world in the second half of the twentieth century.
Kristin Hoganson - author of Consumers’ Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity
Paul A. Kramer - author of The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines
Richard H. Immerman - Temple University, Philadelphia
Emily S. Rosenberg - editor of A World Connecting, 1870–1945
This book has sought to place the history of American foreign relations in the context of global developments. Of course, there are many ways of understanding world history during 1913–45, but one key theme would be globalization, or – to be more appropriate for most of these years – deglobalization and reglobalization. The term “globalization” refers to technological advances and economic transactions that establish connections among countries and regions of the world. There are political, social, and cultural aspects of these phenomena, all of which have implications for a country’s foreign affairs. As yet few comprehensive histories of globalization exist, but readers may gain insight from such books as Global Capitalism (New York, 1996), , Globalization (New York, 1998), , Globalization (London, 1996), , ed., Global Society (Boston, 2004), and , , and , Free Trade, Free World (Chapel Hill, 1999). ,
On the implications of a fast globalizing world for international politics in the late nineteenth through the early twentieth century, see Competing Visions of World Order (New York, 2007). The basic text for European international relations during 1919–33 is and , eds., The Lights That Failed (Oxford, 2005). There are several excellent studies of global cultural developments in this period, notable among which is , The Culture of Time and Space, 1880–1918 (Cambridge, Mass., 1983). , Atlantic Crossings (Cambridge, Mass., 1998), , Consumers’ Imperium (New York, 2007), , Irresistible Empire (Cambridge, Mass., 2005), , Sound Diplomacy (Chicago, 2009), and , Global Dawn (Cambridge, Mass., 2009), show cultural linkages between America and Europe (as well as the rest of the world) even while the nation remained uninvolved in world geopolitics. See also , Woman’s World, Woman’s Empire (Chapel Hill, 1991), and , Worlds of Women (New York, 1997), both of which demonstrate the transnational character of women’s movements in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. Somewhat different in subject but equally important is a study of racial attitudes that Americans shared with Australians, Canadians, and others, presented in , Drawing the Global Colour Line (Melbourne, 2008). and , Modernity and National Identity in the United States and East Asia (Kent, Ohio, 2010), describes how the United States and the nations of East Asia contributed to each other’s identity formation at the turn of the century. ,
Books continue to be published on the origins of World War I. One of the best summaries of various factors and interpretations is offered by The Origins of the First World War (London, 1984). Among more recent works that add significantly to our understanding of the July (1914) crisis is , In Defence of Naval Supremacy (London, 1989), , Cataclysm (London, 2005), , The Pity of War (New York, 1998), and , Russia’s Aims in the First World War (Cambridge, Mass., 2011). A useful military history is , The War to End All Wars (New York, 1968). For an intriguing observation on the war of global telecommunications, see , Strategic Communications and American Security in World War I (Cambridge, Mass., 2008). A useful complement to both studies by international relations scholars is , Military Strategy and the Origins of the First World War (Princeton, 1991). , , and , eds.,
Battles fought in Europe, the Middle East, the Atlantic, and elsewhere are beyond the scope of this book, but mention may be made of some significant works outside the genre of military history. For instance, The Great War and Modern Memory (London 1975), offers a fascinating study of the impact of the war on European artists and intellectuals. , Strangers on the Western Front (Cambridge, Mass., 2011), details the story of the Chinese laborers who worked in France during the war, while , , War and National Reinvention (Cambridge, Mass., 1999), establishes a connection between war and politics in Japan.
On U.S. neutrality during 1914–17, the standard work is The World War and American Isolation (Cambridge, Mass., 1959). There is a voluminous amount of writings on President Woodrow Wilson’s diplomacy both during the period of neutrality and after the decision for war. The most detailed and reliable study is the multivolume biography by , Wilson: The Struggle for Neutrality (Princeton, 1960), and , of which two volumes are particularly relevant: Wilson: Campaigns for Progressivism and Peace (Princeton, 1965). For a more compact survey, see Woodrow Wilson and World War I (New York, 1985). An extremely interesting contrast between Wilson and former president Theodore Roosevelt is drawn in , The Warrior and the Priest (New York, 1983). See also the same author’s , The Vanity of Power (Westport, Conn., 1969) for a discussion of antiinterventionism during the war.
Modernity and Power (Chicago, 1994) and offers an important examination of the ideological foundations of Wilsonian foreign policy in The Wilsonian Century (Chicago, 1999). Wilson’s struggle to go beyond traditional patterns of diplomacy is given excellent treatment in To End All Wars (Princeton, 1992), and , Power and Principle (Kent, Ohio, 1986). , Woodrow Wilson and World Politics (New York, 1968), places Wilsonianism squarely in the middle between traditional power politics and Bolshevik radicalism. The relationship between Wilsonianism and Leninism is given further elaboration in such works as , The World War, Revolutionary Germany, and Peacemaking (Chapel Hill, 1985); , Politics and Diplomacy of Peacemaking (New York, 1967); and , Russia, Bolshevism, and the Versailles Peace (Princeton, 1967). On America’s expedition to Siberia, the most authoritative historian has been , Russia Leaves the War (Princeton, 1956) and . See his The Decision to Intervene (Princeton, 1958). The Siberian intervention is put in the framework of American relations with the Czechs and wartime developments in Central Europe in Betty Miller Unterberger’s massive The United States, Revolutionary Russia, and the Making of Czechoslovakia (Chapel Hill, 1989).
The scholarly literature on Woodrow Wilson at the Paris peace conference and on the making of the treaty of Versailles continues to grow. See Paris 1919 (New York, 2003), for a comprehensive treatment of the conference. , Woodrow Wilson and the American Myth in Italy (Cambridge, Mass., 2008), explores Wilson’s impact on Italy, while , The Wilsonian Moment (New York, 2007), examines the implications of the Wilsonian principle of self-determination for Egypt, India, Korea, and China. Wilson’s close adviser Colonel House has found new attention in , Woodrow Wilson’s Right Hand (New Haven, 2006). See also , Imagining America and Vietnam (Chapel Hill, 2000), for a look at Vietnamese nationalism exemplified by Ho Chi Minh’s presence in Paris after the war. ,
There are many accounts of American relations with specific countries and regions of the world in the era of World War I. Anglo-American relations are treated extensively in such works as Safe for Democracy (New York, 1984); , Anglo-American Relations at the Paris Peace Conference (Princeton, 1961); and , British-American Relations (Princeton, 1969). The literature on U.S. involvement in Latin America and East Asia is very rich. On Mexico, see , The Secret War in Mexico (Chicago, 1981), a study of U.S.-German rivalry in that country. The American expeditions to Santo Domingo and Haiti are chronicled in , Gunboat Diplomacy in the Wilson Era (Madison, 1976); and , The U.S. Occupation of Haiti (New Brunswick, N.J., 1971). ,
Regarding the wartime friction with Japan and Wilson’s pro-Chinese orientation, see Woodrow Wilson’s China Policy (New York, 1969); , The Missionary Mind and American East Asian Policy (Cambridge, Mass., 1983); and , Woodrow Wilson and Near Eastern Policy (New York, 1959). On U.S.-Chinese relations during the war, the best recent study is , China and the Great War (Cambridge, 2005). There is less work on the Middle East, but some useful data may be obtained in , American Interests and Policies in the Middle East (Minneapolis, 1963); , United States Policy and the Partition of Turkey (Baltimore, 1965); , The Prize (New York, 1991); and , Efficiency and Expansion (Westport, Conn., 1974). ,
This last, in addition to discussing the American pursuit of Middle Eastern oil fields, presents an interpretation of Wilsonian foreign policy in terms of the movement in the United States for government-business cooperation in the interest of efficiency and maximization of overall national interests. This theme – that the development of a framework for state-society cooperation steadily came to characterize American national and international affairs – is known as a “corporatist” interpretation and has informed such other important works as Informal Entente (Columbia, Mo., 1977), and , Spreading the American Dream (New York, 1982). Both stress the initiatives taken by the nation’s political and business leaders to reform domestic institutions and decision-making mechanisms so as to realize the efficient use of resources at home and the expansion of interests and opportunities abroad. The external manifestation of this ideology is sometimes referred to as “developmentalism,” the transformation of other, less developed countries into modern societies through U.S. initiatives. Although developmentalism becomes a basis of American foreign affairs only in the wake of the Second World War, , The Great American Mission (Princeton, 2010). See also offers a good discussion of its historical background in Progressivism and the Open Door (Pittsburgh, 1971), and , Heir to Empire (Pittsburgh, 1969). ,
Women’s activism in war and peace has received increasing attention by historians. See, for instance, The Search for Negotiated Peace (New York, 2008), and , Reconstructing Patriarchy after the Great War (New York, 2008). ,
U.S. foreign relations after World War I used to be dismissed as little more than a story of isolation, a less than honorable period in the nation’s history when it abdicated its responsibility in the world arena. This view has been steadily undermined by scholarly publications since the 1960s, and today it is much more common among historians to stress continuities rather than discontinuities between wartime diplomacy and the foreign affairs of the 1920s.
Much of this is due to changing perceptions of postwar history. The period after 1919 through 1939 has traditionally been put in the framework of “interwar,” but to do so is to assume that everything in the aftermath of the Great War pointed to the coming of another global conflict. Such a simplistic and deceptively teleological view does not allow for serious discussion of developments that had little or nothing to do with the geopolitical narrative. In particular, we need to view the political, economic, and cultural history of the 1920s in its own terms, not only as a prelude to the Second World War. See, in this regard, Recasting Bourgeois Europe (Princeton, 1975), which chronicles the emergence, in the second half of the decade, of a Europe that was more or less peaceful and prosperous, each country pursuing its own domestic agendas without fear of another war. For Asia, see , After Imperialism (Cambridge, Mass., 1965). By far the most significant historiographic achievement in the past twenty years, however, has been the growing volume of studies focusing on the League of Nations and other international organizations, updating the classic study by , A History of the League of Nations (Oxford, 1952). Rather than treating postwar history in the framework of separate nations, these works examine nonstate actors, ranging from intergovernmental organizations such as the League to private foundations and associations as well as individuals, all of whom together contributed to the making of an emerging international community. See, for instance, , International Health Organizations and Movements, 1918–1939 (Cambridge, 1995); , ed., Global Community (Berkeley, 2002), and , , “Getting Out of Iraq – in 1932,” American HistoricalReview 115 (October 2010).
Students of American foreign relations have made their own contributions to the recasting of post-1919 history. Probably the best place to start is Empire Without Tears (New York, 1987), a scholarly synthesis and a comprehensive survey. Further factual details on American-European relations, particularly on the thorny debt question, are provided by , The Elusive Quest (Chapel Hill, 1979), and , Awkward Dominion (Ithaca, 1984). As the titles of these books suggest, there was something tentative about American involvement in postwar European affairs, but one could argue that the United States was much more self-confident and less hesitant in its relations with other parts of the globe. ,
A great deal has been written on postwar America’s role in stabilizing Asian-Pacific affairs. The Washington Conference, the point of departure, is well analyzed by Power in the Pacific (Chicago, 1976). More critical assessments of the disarmament initiatives of the interwar period are offered by , Ideals and Self-Interest in American Foreign Relations (Chicago, 1953), and , Charles Evans Hughes and the Illusions of Innocence (Urbana, Ill., 1966). , Naval Weapons Systems and the Contemporary Law of War (New York, 1998), explains the foundational significance of the conference in international law. For the London Conference of 1930, see , Perilous Equilibrium (Lawrence, Kans., 1962). On the response to the growth of Chinese nationalism and the emergence of the Nationalists as the new leaders in China, see , American Policy and the Chinese Revolution (New York, 1947); , Missionaries, Chinese, and Diplomats (Princeton, 1958); , Frank B. Kellogg and American Foreign Relations (New Brunswick, N.J., 1961); and , Nelson T. Johnson and American Policy Toward China (East Lansing, Mich., 1968). , The Chinese Connection (New York, 1978), is a study of three Americans representing different backgrounds and interests in China. , The China Mystique (Berkeley, 2005), explores China’s popular representation in the United States by women, while , The United States and Imperialism (Oxford, 2001), discusses U.S.-Chinese relations in the framework of U.S. assistance to China’s modernization. ,
On Latin American relations, The Making of a Good Neighbor Policy (New York, 1961), is still useful as a history of the redefinition of the Monroe Doctrine in the 1920s, as is , Herbert Hoover’s Latin American Policy (Stanford, 1951). Responses to Mexico’s radical nationalism are given a masterful treatment in , The United States and Revolutionary Nationalism in Mexico (Chicago, 1972). The continued intervention in Nicaragua is discussed in , A Search for Stability (Notre Dame, Ind., 1968). On the overall commercial links between North and South America, see , Aftermath of War (New York, 1971). ,
American relations with Bolshevik Russia are a story in themselves – or, one could say, a nonstory in that there was no formal diplomatic relationship between the two governments. But there were commercial interactions, and, besides, Americans of all political persuasions were fascinated by the Soviet experiment. These developments are described in such books as American-Russian Relations (New York, 1952); , Ideology and Economics (Columbia, Mo., 1974); and , Americans and the Soviet Experiment (Cambridge, Mass., 1967). ,
There is much interesting work on public attitudes toward foreign affairs during the 1920s. The American Revisionists (Chicago, 1967), studies the controversy on the origins of World War I; , That Noble Dream (New York, 1988), offers an intriguing account of the impact of that controversy on historians; and , The Isolationist Impulse (New York, 1957), while more traditional in interpretation, contains much valuable information on American opinion in the interwar years. , The Wise Men of Foreign Affairs (New York, 1984), looks at the Council of Foreign Relations, established in 1921 as an elite organization to influence American foreign policy. The same author’s , The Making of the Diplomatic Mind (Middletown, Conn., 1975) describes what may be termed the official ideology of the period concerning international relations. The increasingly active peace movement in postwar America is treated extensively in The Peace Progressives and American Foreign Relations (Cambridge, Mass., 1995). Also important are , For Peace and Justice (Knoxville, 1971), , Origins of the Modern American Peace Movement (Millwood, N.Y., 1978), and , Peace in Their Time (New Haven, 1952). , Changing the World (Princeton, 2003), highlights how worldwide developments during the First World War became the international cradle of American reform movements. Its follow-up to 1939 is , Keeping the Covenant (Kent, Ohio, 1997). and ,
It is not surprising that, given so much attention being paid to the study of American initiatives for disarmament, peace, and international cooperation, historians have also been exploring the cultural aspect of international relations during the 1920s. Americans played key roles in this regard, building transnational bridges with all parts of the world. The cultural activities of Americans in postwar Europe, in particular in Paris, are chronicled in Becoming Americans in Paris (New York, 2011). The export of Hollywood movies stands as another excellent example, as described in detail in such books as , Hollywood in Berlin (Berkeley, 1994), and , Selling Hollywood to the World (Cambridge, 2002). On the popularity of jazz in the Soviet Union, see , Red and Hot (Princeton, 1985), and on the American cultural impact on China, see , Making the World Like Us (Westport, Conn., 2003). Somewhat different but equally noteworthy are transnational efforts to control the world’s population, efforts in which Americans figured prominently, as exemplified by the activities of Margaret Sanger during the 1920s. See , Fatal Misconception (Cambridge, Mass., 2008). ,
Economics was a crucial medium of American foreign relations in the 1920s, and its importance is reflected in such standard works as The Diplomacy of the Dollar (Baltimore, 1950); , American Business and Foreign Policy (Boston, 1971); and , Herbert Hoover and Economic Diplomacy (Pittsburgh, 1962). The collapse of economic diplomacy that came with the Depression is the subject of , American Diplomacy in the Great Depression (New Haven, 1957). For a penetrating discussion of the structural problems in the global economic system during the 1920s with its heavy dependence on the United States, consult , The World in Depression (Berkeley, 1973). ,
Concerning American attitudes toward the rise of Italian fascism, the best study remains Mussolini and Fascism: The View from America (Princeton, 1972). It shows not only how Americans responded to the rise of fascism in Italy but also how they defined their mental universes at a time of steady economic, political, and cultural interpenetration among nations. ,
Toward another antidemocratic development, Japanese militarism, much work exists on American responses to Japan’s invasion of Manchuria, the first overt challenge to world order during the Depression. See Robert Ferrell, American Diplomacy; The Limits of Power (New York, 1973); , Henry L. Stimson and Japan (Chicago, 1973); , Collective Insecurity (Lewisburg, Pa., 1979); and , When the Wicked Rise (Lewisburg, Pa., 1984). Rappaport’s book takes a harshly critical view of Stimson’s foreign policy, the others much less so. The best study of Japan’s decision for continental expansionism and its implications for the United States is , , Japan Prepares for Total War (Ithaca, 1987).
The period between 1933, when Franklin D. Roosevelt entered the White House, and 1939, when World War II began in Europe, has not been as extensively studied by historians in the recent decades, in part because they have tended to focus on the New Deal and other domestic developments and also because the nation’s foreign affairs were much more circumscribed during those years than earlier. Still, many interesting works exist and help us explore how the United States, going through an unprecedented economic crisis, coped with serious world problems ranging from Japan’s aggressive war in China to Nazi Germany’s repudiation of the Versailles peace settlement.
Many excellent studies exist of the turbulent decade of the 1930s in global history that provide the background for our study of American foreign affairs. The global economic crisis is traced in The End of Globalization (Cambridge, 2001). On the rise of Nazism and Hitler’s foreign policy through 1939, still the best reference is , The Foreign Policy of Hitler’s Germany (Chicago, 1980). On the Soviet Union under Stalin’s dictatorship, see , Everyday Stalinism (Oxford, 1999). The best history of the Spanish Civil War has been written by , The Spanish Civil War (New York, 2001). , The Hollow Years (New York, 1996), presents insights into France during the 1930s. The Sino-Japanese War that erupted in 1937 has only begun to be studied on the basis of Japanese and Chinese archival material. See, for instance, essays in , Perilous Memories (Durham, 2001). , , and , eds.,
It is to be noted that these and similar works tend to focus on dramatic developments: the world economic crisis, war, totalitarianism. But there were other aspects in the history of the 1930s that need to be kept in mind, such as the growth of state authority in democratic as well as nondemocratic countries, a subject that is fully explored in In the Shadow of War (New Haven, 1995), focusing on the militarization of the United States during and after the 1930s. We should also remember the continuation, even the strengthening, of international efforts at humanitarian relief, disease prevention, cultural exchange, and other objectives. We shall need to pay attention to all these aspects of the world history of the 1930s in order to have a fuller understanding of how the nation fared. , Globalizing Sport (Cambridge, Mass., 2004), for instance, describes the Berlin Olympics of 1936 in their myriad aspects, not simply in the framework of Nazi propaganda. See also , Olympic Dreams (Cambridge, Mass., 2008), for a superb discussion of what the Olympics meant to the Chinese. ,
An excellent introduction to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s America in the era of the world economic crisis is offered by For the Survival of Democracy (New York, 2004). , Economic Aspects of the New Deal Diplomacy (Madison, 1964), examines the efforts of Secretary of State Cordell Hull and others to solve the acute economic crisis at home through reestablishing an orderly system of multilateral trade. See also , Economic Diplomacy (Columbia, Mo., 1976). On the impact of the Depression on American opinion, especially the rise of extremism with obvious implications for foreign relations, see , Voices of Protest (New York, 1982), and , To Save a Nation (New York, 1973). ,
The isolationist bent of American public and congressional opinion during much of the 1930s is an extremely important phenomenon. We must realize, however, that it was filled with contradictions. One person’s isolationism could mean another’s interventionism. The various shades of isolationist thought are lucidly analyzed by Isolationism in America (Ithaca, 1966). On congressional isolationists, the best study is , Roosevelt and the Isolationists (Lincoln, Neb., 1983). , Gerald P. Nye and American Foreign Relations (Minneapolis, 1962) and has devoted his career to the study of isolationism and published many other important works, including Charles A. Lindbergh and the Battle Against American Intervention in World War II (New York, 1974). The congressional enactment of neutrality laws is given authoritative treatment in The Illusion of Neutrality (Chicago, 1962). On the persistence of pacifist opinion, see , Rebels Against War (New York, 1969). ,
Despite America’s self-imposed isolation, external events mercilessly intruded upon national consciousness and forced the policymakers to respond. President Roosevelt’s thinking, in which he had to weigh domestic opinion as well as the threat to world peace, is carefully traced in Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy (New York, 1979). Readers interested in Roosevelt’s foreign policy should first turn to this book and then supplement it with other studies of specific challenges and responses in various parts of the world. For instance, on U.S. responses to various initiatives undertaken by Nazi Germany, the best account is found in , American Appeasement (Cambridge, Mass., 1967). See also , The Swastika and the Eagle (Boston, 1967). A good recent study of American responses to the Spanish Civil War is , FDR and the Spanish Civil War (Durham, 2007). See also , American Diplomacy and the Spanish Civil War (Bloomington, Ind., 1968). Concerning Fascist Italy, there is, in addition to the previously noted book by Diggins, , The United States and the Italo-Ethiopian Crisis (Stanford, 1964). ,
The uneasy state of U.S.-British relations in the 1930s is well described in Offner’s book. The fascinating question of how, despite such uncertainty, even profound mistrust at times between Washington and London, there eventually emerged a cooperative framework for dealing with German and Japanese aggression is discussed in two excellent books: Bargaining for Supremacy (Chapel Hill, 1977), and , The Creation of the Anglo-American Alliance (Chapel Hill, 1981). See also , “Appeasement” and the English Speaking World (Cardiff, 1975); , Britain, America, and Arms Control, 1921–37 (New York, 1987); , Malevolent Neutrality (Ithaca, 1985); and , American Diplomacy and the Spanish Civil War (Bloomington, Ind., 1968). ,
On Latin American policy, in addition to the book by Frye, one may consult Josephus Daniels in Mexico (Madison, 1960); , Roosevelt and Batista (Albuquerque, 1973); the same author’s , Good Neighbor Diplomacy (Baltimore, 1979); and Argentina and the United States (Boston, 1990). On German propaganda activities in the Western Hemisphere, see , Nazi Germany and the American Hemisphere (New Haven, 1967). ,
On the Asian crisis, the best study remains The United States and the Far Eastern Crisis of 1933–1938 (Cambridge, Mass., 1964). The book chronicles America’s failure to come to the aid of China until very late in the 1930s. The same theme is treated from various angles in two collections of scholarly essays: , Pearl Harbor as History (New York, 1973), and and , American, Chinese, and Japanese Perspectives on Wartime Asia (Wilmington, Del., 1990). These volumes are useful as they contain contributions by Chinese and Japanese, as well as American, scholars. and , While China Faced West (Cambridge, Mass., 1969), discusses America’s difficulties in assisting China because of the Depression. The decision to reverse the trend and to come to the support of China during 1938–9 is ably described in , The U.S. Crusade in China (New York, 1979). For a survey of Asian international relations that led to the Pacific war, see , The Origins of the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific (London, 1987). ,
Lest one should fall into the trap of putting everything in U.S.-Asian relations in the framework of “the road to Pearl Harbor,” it will be important to pay attention to instances of American cultural influence – in sport and movies, for instance – that remained pervasive until the very end. Many businesspeople, journalists, and intellectuals remained convinced that close economic and cultural ties across the Pacific would prevent the ocean from becoming a battleground. On the efforts by the Institute of Pacific Relations to preserve trans-Pacific dialogue, see Internationalizing the Pacific (London, 2002). , Unfinished Business (Cambridge, Mass., 2003), chronicles some efforts by American and Japanese entrepreneurs to cooperate in the development of Manchuria, while , Japanese Pride, American Prejudice (Stanford, 2001), focuses on similar efforts to prevent the immigration dispute from leading to a serious deterioration in U.S.-Japanese relations. One American diplomat’s heroic endeavor to preserve the peace with Japan is detailed in , American Ambassador (Boston, 1966), a biography of Joseph C. Grew. , Advocate of Understanding (Kent, Ohio, 1984), offers a portrait of a former missionary, Sidney Gulick, who struggled for the same end. ,
Although the Soviet Union would emerge as a key factor in U.S. dealings with Japan as well as with Germany, there has been little systematic study of U.S. relations with Moscow, probably because historians have not had time to digest the mass of archival documents that have been opened up in the former Soviet Union. But Stalin in Power (New York, 1990), does make use of these documents and gives a sinister portrait of the Soviet dictator’s opportunistic diplomacy. To understand the impact of the Comintern’s call in 1935 for the , establishment of a global antifascist front, an event that held real significance for a large number of American intellectuals, one may profitably turn to personal reminiscences such as The Dream of the Golden Mountains (New York, 1980). ,
The best account of the coming of World War II in Europe is How War Came (London, 1989), with a sharp focus on the months preceding the German invasion of Poland in September 1939. A more global analysis is offered by , Gerhard J. Weinberg’s monumental history, A World at Arms (Cambridge, 1994). The way in which the United States became steadily drawn into the European conflict during 1939–41 is chronicled in detail in The Undeclared War (New York, 1953). On Roosevelt’s growing readiness to support Britain by all means short of war, see, besides the works by Dallek and Reynolds cited in the previous section, and , Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom (New York, 1970); , The First Summit (Boston, 1969); and , The Most Unsordid Act (Baltimore, 1969). This last is an important study of the making of the Lend-Lease Act. Its application to the Soviet Union after June 1941 is described in , The Decision to Aid Russia (Chapel Hill, 1959), and , Aid to Russia (New York, 1973). The American public’s increasing willingness to help the democracies against Nazi Germany is documented in such works as , Warhawks (New York, 1968); , The Battle Against Isolation (Chicago, 1944); and , Should America Go to War? (Chapel Hill, 1989). On the less well known aid to France, which also began around 1939, consult , America and the French Nation (Chapel Hill, 1986). The still persisting isolationism in America is documented, among others, in , The Danger Undaunted (Stanford, 1990). ,
There is an enormous amount of scholarly literature on “the road to Pearl Harbor.” The standard “orthodox” presentation is The Road to Pearl Harbor (Princeton, 1950), and the most extreme “revisionist” interpretation – that the Roosevelt administration was engaged in a conspiracy to maneuver the Japanese into firing the first shot so that the United States might enter the war in Europe through the Asian “back door” – is in , Back Door to War (Chicago, 1952), and , President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War (New York, 1948). Most studies reject the conspiracy theory but add many nuances to the story climaxing in the Pearl Harbor attack. For an excellent recent study, see , From Mahan to Pearl Harbor (Annapolis, 2006). The role of the Axis pact in the deteriorating U.S.-Japanese relations is analyzed critically in , The Axis Alliance and Japanese-American Relations (Ithaca, 1958), and , Prelude to Downfall (New York, 1967). The crucial petroleum question as a determining factor is discussed in , The Standard Vacuum Oil Company and United States East Asian Policy (Princeton, 1975). The story is brought up to date in an excellent chapter in , Yergin’s The Prize (New York, 1991). See also Going to War with Japan (Knoxville, 1985). , To Have and Have Not (Berkeley, 1995), offers a unique insight into the struggle for control over Southeast Asia’s rich resources as a key aspect of the U.S.-Japanese crisis. The Washington “conversations” of 1941, in which the United States and Japan sought to avoid a final showdown, are ably presented in , The John Doe Associates (Stanford, 1974). See also the same author’s , Tojo and the Coming of the War (Princeton, 1961). By far the best account of the U.S.-Japanese crisis in the summer and fall of the year is Threshold of War (New York, 1988). The book stresses Roosevelt’s concern with preventing Soviet collapse as the main factor behind his get-tough policy toward Japan. , Demystifying Pearl Harbor (Tokyo, 2010) offers a reliable analysis of the last several days before Pearl Harbor from the perspective of Japan’s diplomats as well as military leaders. The book, along with , China and the Origins of the Pacific War (New York, 1993), should serve to put the Japanese aggression in China back into the picture as a major stumbling block in the last-minute negotiations in Washington. ,
Among the voluminous literature on the Pearl Harbor attack, the most detailed and reliable is At Dawn We Slept (New York, 1981). See also the same author’s , Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History (New York, 1986). The influential book by Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision (Stanford, 1962), argues that it was the volume of the cable traffic that created confusion in official Washington and made it impossible to communicate relevant messages to the commanders in Hawaii in time to avert the disaster. ,
Thousands of books have been written on American strategy and diplomacy during World War II. The best brief summary is American Diplomacy During the Second World War (New York, 1985). On overall strategy, see , Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare (Washington, D.C., 1953). There are two excellent studies of military preparedness and mobilization undertaken by the United States and other countries: and , War, Economy, and Society (Berkeley, 1977), and , The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (New York, 1987). For an up-to-date reference guide to the war, consult , A Companion to the Second World War (Malden, Mass., 2012). , ed.,
The Anglo-American alliance is best understood by reading the letters exchanged between the two wartime leaders, ably edited by Churchill and Roosevelt (Princeton, 1984). On the relationship among the Big Three, : Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin (Princeton, 1957), is still useful, but it should be supplemented by , A World Destroyed (New York, 1975), a study of the development of nuclear weapons and of their implications for postwar world affairs. , Yalta (New York, 1970), shows that there was as much U.S.-Soviet agreement as disagreement at the 1945 conference. ,
Because the latter part of the war was also the period of preparation for the defining of the postwar world, and because the postwar world was to be characterized by the breakup of the wartime alliance into two camps, many accounts of World War II are also, in effect, descriptions of the origins of the Cold War. Among the most important in tracing this transition in Europe are America, Britain, and Russia (London, 1953); , The United States and the Origins of the Cold War (New York, 1972); , The Shattered Peace (Boston, 1977); , Russia’s Road to the Cold War (New York, 1979); and , The Cold War Begins (Princeton, 1974). , The Diplomacy of Silence (Chicago, 1980), is unique in its focus on State Department officials’ changing perceptions of the Soviet Union. Also see, in this connection, , American Opinion and the Russian Alliance (Chapel Hill, 1976). ,
On the Pacific theater of the war, Allies of a Kind (New York, 1978), offers a fascinating account of Anglo-American cooperation as well as differences over such matters as the future of China and of the British Empire. , A Partnership for Disaster (Cambridge, 1996), examines wartime Chinese and American plans for the disposition of the Japanese empire, while , Power and Culture (Cambridge, Mass., 1981), suggests areas of convergence in official American and Japanese wartime thinking. An extremely interesting study of American interrogations of Japanese prisoners of war is offered by , Deciphering the Rising Sun (Annapolis, 2009). , Quiet Passages (Kent, Ohio, 1987), traces the wartime exchanges of Japanese and American diplomatic and other personnel. The development and use of atomic weapons are chronicled in Sherwin’s World Destroyed and in such other works as , The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II (Princeton, 1961); , Fighting to a Finish (Ithaca, 1988); and , Racing the Enemy (Cambridge, Mass., 2005). This last book, based on Soviet as well as U.S. and Japanese archives, makes a persuasive case that the dropping of the atomic bomb, combined with Soviet entry into the war against Japan, induced the latter’s top leaders to surrender. But the controversy as to whether the dropping of two atomic bombs was really necessary remains quite alive. Any discussion of the question must, however, be grounded upon an understanding of the unprecedentedly destructive power of nuclear weapons, and books like , By the Bomb’s Early Light (New York, 1985), and , The Bomb: A Life (Cambridge, Mass., 2005), help us see how Americans, and eventually others, came to view the new weapon. Japanese attempts at building atomic bombs is documented in , Silent Weapons of World War II (Lawrence, Kans., 2005). ,
On China’s role in the war, see Stilwell and the American Experience in China (New York, 1971). See also , OSS in China (New Haven, 1996), for a fascinating account of the sometimes cooperative but at other times conflicting relationship between U.S. and Chinese intelligence personnel in wartime China. The subtle ways in which the Asian war developed into an Asian Cold War is treated in such works as , Dilemma in China (Hamden, Conn., 1980); , Patrick J. Hurley and American Relations with China (Ithaca, 1973); , , Americans and Chinese Communists (Ithaca, 1971); The Cold War Begins in Asia (New York, 1988); , America’s Failure in China (Chicago, 1963); , The Cold War in Asia (New York, 1974); , The Cold War in Asia (Leiden, 2010); and the essays contained in , , and , The Origins of the Cold War in Asia (Tokyo, 1977). and , The Diplomacy of Ideas (New York, 1981), offers interesting observations on wartime American cultural diplomacy in China and elsewhere. ,
Because of the global character of the war, no part of the world escaped American attention and influence. Some flavor of the way in which the nation’s military presence became intertwined with the destiny of people everywhere may be gathered by reading such books as America Encounters India (Baltimore, 1971); , The Middle East Supply Centre (Albany, 1971); , The Politics of TORCH (Lawrence, Kans., 1974), a study of the occupation of North Africa; and , Are We Good Neighbors? (Gainesville, Fla., 1959), which recounts the activities of American airmen in Brazil and other countries. Max Paul Friedman, Nazis and Good Neighbors (Cambridge, 2003), chronicles a fascinating story of how several thousand Germans were removed from Latin America and incarcerated in the United States after Pearl Harbor. ,
What did World War II mean to the American people? The question has been examined from various angles. Wartime (New York, 1989), looks at the war from the common soldier’s perspective. , War Without Mercy (New York, 1986), examines wartime stereotypes of the Japanese enemy. , Second Chance (New York, 1971), is an excellent study of the “new internationalism.” American politics and society during the war are described in , V Was for Victory (New York, 1976); , War and Society (Philadelphia, 1972); , A Loyal Opposition in Time of War (Westport, Conn., 1976); and , The Shadow of Pearl Harbor (College Station, Tex., 1977). How the war affected African Americans’ perceptions of world affairs is carefully examined by such books as , The African American Encounter with Japan and China (Chapel Hill, 2000), and , Colored Cosmopolitanism (Cambridge, Mass., 2012). ,
On planning for the enemy’s surrender and occupation by the allies, Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation (Washington, D.C., 1949), provides essential raw material from the minutes of numerous State Department meetings. Regarding the treatment of defeated Germany, see , The Wartime Alliance and the Zonal Division of Germany (Oxford, 1975). On Japan, , Peacemaking and the Settlement with Japan (Princeton, 1963), is useful. See also , What Future For Japan?” (Amsterdam, 1995). Among the many excellent studies of the important Bretton Woods Conference are , “Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy (New York, 1980), and , A Search for Solvency (Austin, Tex., 1975). The creation of the United Nations has been receiving increasing attention from historians, suggesting that the conventional accounts that establish a connection between the ending of the war and the beginning of the Cold War are too facile and ignore many other important developments. See, among the more important studies, , FDR and the Creation of the U.N. (New Haven, 1997), and , A New Deal for the World (Cambridge, Mass., 2005), and , The Parliament of Man (New York, 2006). ,