Was it possible for the US to stay completely neutral in WW2?

Poly

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
6,866
Georgia, USA
These oceans did insulate the US to a large extent but sometimes going to war involves more than just one's own security--specifically ensuring the well-being of people in other countries.
Perhaps, but as the U-Boats second happy time and Pearl Harbor showed, those oceans were nowhere as big as Americans thought they were.
 
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Nov 2019
351
United States
Perhaps, but as the U-Boats second happy time and Pearl Harbor showed, those oceans were nowhere as big as Americans thought they were.
I don't actually see any possibility that the United States could have stayed out of the War, Pearl Harbor or not after January 1943. My reasoning is that there was enough Real Politick still alive in America's State Department, and in the West Wing to acknowledge that the US had to great of an interest both morally and economically with Europe to not do so. I say 1943 because of the political calculus of the situation, between Dec. 1941 and Dec. 1942 were Congressional elections, and they (the West Wing) would have not been willing to throw away the Democratic control of the Legislative bodies by declaring a war in which the US had not been attacked. Jan. 1943 therefore was the logical date of a declaration of war with a new Congress guaranteed for the next 2 years.
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,518
Space Bat Lair
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Interesting... Personally, I don't believe it was possible for the U.S.A. to have stayed completely neutral in ww2. If the Japanese weren't being sanctioned there's a slight chance they could have still lashed out at the Americans and a greater chance they would have tried to grab territory from Britain and the Dutch. I believe it's likely that president Roosevelt could have gotten a declaration of war on the European Axis in 1942.
Yes it's certainly possible.
FDR is a strong supporter of the Allied cause, so a hypothetical scenario would almost certainly require that FDR isn't in the White House after 1940.

Or at worst limit their involvement to an arms embargo on all European combatants, with the reasoning that the Pacific and the US colonies there should be the center of US attention, and that the US should not get involved in entangling alliances in Europe.
If FDR decided (or was pushed) not to seek a third term (or died before the 1940 election) it's possible that an isolationist like Senator Wheeler would have gotten the nomination.
Had the US decided not to support Britain & the Allies (i.e. Lend Lease) and just continued modernizing t's Army & Navy, the war could have taken quite a different turn
 

Poly

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
6,866
Georgia, USA
Yes it's certainly possible.
FDR is a strong supporter of the Allied cause, so a hypothetical scenario would almost certainly require that FDR isn't in the White House after 1940.


If FDR decided (or was pushed) not to seek a third term (or died before the 1940 election) it's possible that an isolationist like Senator Wheeler would have gotten the nomination.
Had the US decided not to support Britain & the Allies (i.e. Lend Lease) and just continued modernizing t's Army & Navy, the war could have taken quite a different turn

A quite different turn for the worse.

What would it take to convince Wheeler or whoever that what happened in Europe affected the USA ?
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,518
Space Bat Lair
You really think that the USA, under even an isolationist president, would stay passive until subjected to military action ?
It might be like the British debating how many ground & air forces to send to France in 1940, by the time that it was understood that more help was needed, it would be too late.

The end result (somewhere 1944-1947) might be like George Orwell's 1984, with two hostile empire's; Eurasia (either Nazis or Soviets) and EastAsia (Japan) facing off against Oceania (UK + the Americas, + possibly Australia)
 

Poly

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
6,866
Georgia, USA
It might be like the British debating how many ground & air forces to send to France in 1940, by the time that it was understood that more help was needed, it would be too late.

The end result (somewhere 1944-1947) might be like George Orwell's 1984, with two hostile empire's; Eurasia (either Nazis or Soviets) and EastAsia (Japan) facing off against Oceania (UK + the Americas, + possibly Australia)
Or a fascist revolution in Cuba...followed by Nazi nuclear tipped missiles being located there.
 
Nov 2019
351
United States
Yes it's certainly possible.
FDR is a strong supporter of the Allied cause, so a hypothetical scenario would almost certainly require that FDR isn't in the White House after 1940.


If FDR decided (or was pushed) not to seek a third term (or died before the 1940 election) it's possible that an isolationist like Senator Wheeler would have gotten the nomination.
Had the US decided not to support Britain & the Allies (i.e. Lend Lease) and just continued modernizing t's Army & Navy, the war could have taken quite a different turn
Why do think Wheeler would have succeeded? Even the Republican Party nominated an Interventionist candidate in the 1940 election in Wendell Willkie, beating out Robert Taft who was the non-Interventionist. I think in the end the public opinion, at least amongst a significant majority, would in the long run have favored Intervention, and been concerned about electing someone who was tone deaf to the concerns of the war. In sections of the country non-intervention was popular, enough so that congressional elections could be problematic, but on the whole the nation would have feared someone who seemed unable to coherently speak to the issue of being left as the only bulwark against both Germany and an expansionist Japan.

Wheeler was an extremist, a member of the La Follette group, though he was a Democrat, and La Follette a Republican. I don't think that the Democrats would have even nominated him. Henry Wallace was possibly the most likely candidate of the Democratic Party. This would have resulted in two Interventionists again campaigning for the Presidency in Wallace and Willkie, with the probability favoring Willkie the Republican.
 

Zip

Jan 2018
779
San Antonio
Staying out of WWII would have been the worst possible result for the USA.
You don't know what would've happened. Neither do I. Once we enter the world of fantasy many options open. Including that of victorious powers overextending and falling into ruin. Including a neutral United States fully aware of overseas dangers ramping up defenses and developing jets, rockets and atomic bombs with the treasure not spent fighting.

Anyway, nobody can be cocksure that this or that would'a, could'a or should'a happened. Hell, we shouldn't even be cocksure with real history.
 
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