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The US 1938-42

Scott wrote this in an email about six months ago.  Recently I rediscovered it and decided that more people needed to be able to read it.  

I frequently find in AH circles no appreciation of the US as it was in this period.  People tend to project backwards the US of their lives and ignore the transition that happened 1948-50 when a bipartisan majority finally accepted worldwide endless  military deployment [World War 3/Cold War].

The largest public block was isolationist.  This was 30-40% of the population and included many leading figures.  The fuzziness of the figures is that some were total pacifists, some were Fortress America, some were Isolationist, some were just FDR/New Deal haters.  Thus some of the most rabid foes of any aid to England advocated aid to Chiang.  The USCP which while tiny had a large cadre of fellow travelers/useful idiots/sheep was fanatic in opposing anything beyond complete disarmament from the day of the Molotov Pact until the day of Barbarossa when they rediscovered that Hitler was evil. 
There was a solid 10-20% that regarded the US as part of the West and would have aided France before 1939.  Unfortunately this included many US Jews who would not speak out publicly for fear of public disapproval.
That left a floating block mostly concerned with domestic issues but willing to accept that the Nazis and Hirohito didn't look like nice guys.  Over the period FDR managed to motive this group to back US rearmament, aid to Britain to the point that most by the summer of 1941 would have however tentatively and reluctantly have approved sending US draftees to the UK or Australia if either was in serious danger.  FDR did great work achieving this.  However it was slow work and involved repeatedly patting the little dears on the head while assuring them that it was only a last resort, that everybody wanted peace, that it was all really icky and horrible...so a lot of could/would the US have done this or that depends VERY much on playing the PR and US domestic politics.  Thus FDR could have sold saving EIre politically for ex if and only if Dev VERY publicly asked and pushed the buttons of the US Irish community and RC hierarchy.
Scott Palter

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