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Why did the US initially adopt a neutrality policy before WWII?

The US initially adopted a neutrality policy before WWII to avoid involvement in foreign conflicts and protect its national interests.

The United States, in the period leading up to World War II, was still recovering from the devastating effects of the Great Depression. The economic crisis had led to a significant shift in public opinion, with many Americans favouring isolationism over international involvement. This sentiment was further reinforced by the traumatic experiences of World War I, where the US had suffered heavy casualties. As a result, the US government adopted a policy of neutrality, aiming to keep the country out of foreign conflicts and focus on domestic recovery.

The Neutrality Acts, passed in the mid-1930s, were a series of laws designed to prevent the US from becoming entangled in overseas wars. These laws prohibited the sale of arms to belligerent nations, restricted American travel on belligerent ships, and prevented loans to nations at war. The intention was to avoid the mistakes of World War I, where economic and political ties had dragged the US into the conflict.

Moreover, the US was keen to protect its national interests. The country was not directly threatened by the aggressive expansion of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan. Instead, the US saw the European powers and Japan as potential buffers against the spread of communism from the Soviet Union. Therefore, maintaining neutrality allowed the US to balance its strategic interests without committing to war.

However, as the war progressed and the atrocities of the Axis powers became more apparent, public opinion began to shift. The attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 finally ended the US's neutrality policy, leading to its direct involvement in World War II. Despite the initial policy of neutrality, the US's economic, military, and political power played a crucial role in the eventual defeat of the Axis powers.

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