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The United States and World War II

The Awakening Giant

Martin Folly

Paperback (Printed to Order)

The United States and World War II is a broad-ranging introduction to the second world war in America.

The politics, diplomacy and military strategy of the war form the core of the book. Coverage of the social issues is integrated into the larger narrative and the military and political aspects are linked to the social through the overarching theme of the transforming effects of the war. The author takes a chronological approach, offering a narrative history, while highlighting and developing key thematic links through the chapters. Exemplary material substantiates thematic points and enlivens the text, while historiographical issues are addressed as appropriate throughout the narrative.

Coverage is broad-ranging - the narrative begins in the late 1930s, demonstrating that an understandingof the second world war as a transforming event requires discussion of the prior state of affairs, and ends with a consideration of the legacy of the war and its continuing significance.

Overall this book provides an invaluable introduction to all aspects of the American experience of World War Two.


1. A Nation Unprepared
i. The US economy at the end of the 1930s
ii. Neutrality and isolationism
iii. American responses to the crises in Asia and Europe, 1937-1940
2. Setbacks and Struggles
i. The debate on intervention: Roosevelt, America First and the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies
ii. The arsenal of democracy: the war and economic upturn
iii. The road to war: shoot-on-sight in the Atlantic, embargoes in the Pacific
3. Awakening the Sleeping Giant
i. Forging a grand alliance
ii. "Dr New Deal" becomes "Dr Win-the-War": organising the economy for war
iii. Turning the corner
iv. Building a military machine
v. Devising a strategy for victory
vi. The strategic-diplomatic-political nexus
4. A Nation Triumphant
i. "Why we fight": mobilising the hearts and minds of the people
ii. Race and the war
iii. Hard battles
iv. The politics of war
5. The Problems of Victory
i. The triumph of the American economy
ii. Gender, sex and the war
iii. Strategic bombing and the morality of war
iv. Public opinion on the post-war world: the resurgence of Wilsonianism
v. The second front: progress in France, stalemate in Italy
vi. Across the Central Blue
6. The United States and World War II
i. Politics as usual
ii. Creating a New World Order
iii. Spheres of conflict
iv. Victory
v. The Manhattan project, the atomic bomb and the end of the war
vi. The American contribution to victory
Select Bibliography.

About the Author

Martin Folly is a Lecturer in American Studies at Brunel University and author of Churchill, Whitehall and the Soviet Union (Macmillan, 2000).


This short, practical survey of the events leading to American entry and ultimate triumph in World War II provides an excellent introduction to this chapter of history in all its aspects ... All in all this is a first-rate introduction to the study of the United States and World War II.
- Wendy Toon
Cleverly steers a route through the complex historiographical debates surrounding US involvement in World War Two. The interweaving of military and home front issues is appropriate and original, as is the collapsing of thematic treatments into the chronological structure.
- Professor John Dumbrell, Keele University

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