When WWII broke out in Europe, the US president Roosevelt called his military and cabinet advisors who agreed that the US could stay neutral to the war affairs. It was argued that US shouldn’t participate in the war if there are no visible reasons or threats that require military actions as the protection tool. It was an American policy then to stay neutral in affairs not happening on their soil or affecting them. The president felt that America could fare well economically and regain richness lost previously in WWI. However, America was concerned that its commercial rivals like Germany and Japan were excluding American goods from Asia and Europe.
On the beginning of December, 1941, Pearl Harbor had suffered from the air-force attack of Japanese who completely eradicated the port. The attack killed about 2,400 American soldiers. This angered the president Roosevelt to an extent that he could not wait any longer to revenge and America got involved. The American government felt that not going to war could endanger the country more than it already was. The president put forth the argument that this is the opportunity for the US to defend itself. Apart from only one senator, Congress approved declaration of war. Americans felt that their most vital interests and their defense of the American soil were being challenged. Therefore, it can be argued that instead of preventing the problem, US was waiting for it. Prior to the attack, conflict between the two countries was escalating constantly for several years. The US entered the war officially on December 8, 1941 following the Japanese attack. At last Americans went to war and would later stop the Nazi rule in Germany.
Earlier in the fall of 1940, Japan had met with Germany Nazis and the fascist controlled Italy to create an alliance called Tripartite Pact. The decision was the three nations could work to support each others’ efforts to create a new world order. True to the Tripartite Pact, “Italy and Germany declared war on the US on December 11, 1941” (Reasons for American entry into WWII, n.d.). The president Roosevelt was slow to react to the Japanese aggression, but together with the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill, he was devising a strategy to conquer Europe before defeating Japan. Therefore, the US went from being attacked by Japan to attacking the Europe Axis powers.
It is also true that the relationships between the US and Germany had been very tense since the end of WWI. Because of Adolf Hitler, Germany had viewed the US as a weak nation that was constantly meddling in the affairs of other countries. This was because America somehow empowered or encouraged Germany and Japan to rule the world when US Neutrality act was declared. Hitler had viewed the US as an ideological enemy with many races and thus a weak nation.
Meanwhile, the USSR was the only power that was constantly confronting the Germany Nazis. USSR proved to be tougher than predicated and slowed the Nazi advancement. This bought some time and allowed the US and England to improve their strategy. The Atlantic Charter of 1941, the agreement between Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, set goals for the postwar years and required them to destroy the Nazis (Reasons for American entry into WWII, n.d.).
It seems that the US was on its way to war in spite of its ‘isolationist’ policy. Even before the war, the Americans disliked Adolf Hitler and there was a growing sentiment in the US that he had to be stopped. President Roosevelt knew that he could not get Congress to declare war until the US was directly confronted. This was until the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan that he was able to convince Congress to allow the Americans to respond.