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The Reluctant Belligerent

By Robert A. Divine

How did America’s passive foreign policy in the 1930s contribute to the onset of the Second World War?

Would early, sustained American support have contained the expansive thrust of the Axis? Was the nation’s security jeopardized by a disastrous lack of leadership? These are just some of the thought-provoking questions explored in this detailed examination of American entry into World War II.

Drawing on the latest research findings of noted historians, Robert A. Divine focuses on day-by-day diplomacy rather than the military aspects of war. He confronts the reasons why the U.S. was hesitant to apply its rightful role of world leader. He shows how Americans retreated behind the facade of neutrality legislation in an attempt to isolate themselves from the conflict. And he considers how the U.S. may have actually added to the severity of World War II by waiting until the nation was forced into the fighting.

Robert A. Divine joined the faculty of the University of Texas in 1954 as a professor of history. He served as Chairman of the Department of History and the Committee on International Studies, and a member of the interim committee that helped with the organisation of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University. In addition, he served as president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and authored eleven books. He retired in 1996.

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