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Textbook Site for:
The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
Suggested Lecture Topics
Chapter 35
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics

  • Explain the causes of American isolationism in the 1930s: domestic depression, disillusion with World War I, hostility to arms dealers and other "merchants of death."

    REFERENCE: Manfred Jonas, Isolationism in America, 1935-1941 (1966).

  • Examine the erosion of isolationism in response to the aggressions of Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and the Japanese warlords. Show the transition in American thinking from indifference to fear for democracy, as appeasement only fed the dictators' appetites.

    REFERENCE: David M. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear (1999).

  • Describe the fierce debates between internationalists and isolationists, especially from 1939 to 1941. The emphasis might be on Roosevelt's carefully calibrated strategy of increasing aid at each stage, but never so rapidly as to hand the isolationists a political victory.

    REFERENCE: Kenneth S. Davis, Franklin D. Roosevelt: Into the Storm, 1937-1941 (1993).

  • Discuss the Japanese-American negotiations and the conflicts that set the stage for Pearl Harbor.

    REFERENCE: Donald Cameron Watt, How the War Came: The Immediate Origins of the Second World War, 1938-1939 (1989).