The Triumph of Internationalism


The Triumph of Internationalism

Franklin D. Roosevelt and a World in Crisis, 1933-1941

David F. Schmitz

Issues in the History of American Foreign Relations Series

174 pages


September 2007


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

When Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in March 1933, he initially devoted most of his attention to finding a solution to the Great Depression. But the pull of war and the results of FDR’s foreign policy ultimately had a deeper and more transformative impact on U.S. history. The Triumph of Internationalism offers a fresh, concise analysis and narrative of FDR’s foreign policy from 1933 to America’s entry into World War II in 1941. David Schmitz covers the attempts to solve the international economic crisis of the Great Depression, the Good Neighbor Policy in Latin America, the U.S. response to war in Europe and the Pacific, and other topics of this turbulent era. Schmitz describes Roosevelt as an internationalist who set out to promote U.S. interests abroad short of direct intervention. He tried to make amends for past transgressions with the nation’s southern neighbors, eventually attempted to open and promote international trade to foster economic growth, and pursued containment policies intended to halt both the Japanese threat in the Pacific through deterrence and German aggression in Europe through economic appeasement. When his policies regarding the Axis powers failed, he began educating the American public about the dangers of Axis hegemony and rearming the nation for war. This effort required a profound shift in the American mind-set, given the prevailing isolationism, the disillusionment with America’s involvement in World War I, and the preoccupation with domestic problems. A less powerful president would likely have failed, or perhaps not even attempted, to alter the prevailing public opinion. FDR revived American internationalism and reshaped the public’s understanding of the national interest and defense. Roosevelt’s policies and the outcome of World War II made the United States a superpower without equal.


"This compact volume efficiently debunks the myth of American isolationism while demonstrating that it was Franklin D. Roosevelt, not his successors, who first persuaded the nation to take on a truly global role. With its succinct narrative of the key events and policy decisions of the inter-war period and its useful selection of documents, this book is an ideal choice for college courses on U.S. foreign relations."—Max Paul Friedman, professor of history at American University and author of Nazis and Good Neighbors: The United States Campaign Against the Germans of Latin American in World War II

“David Schmitz provides an elegant and comprehensive overview of the enormous challenges facing the Roosevelt administration during the turbulent years prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Schmitz’s writing is fluid and engaging, and his selection of documents complements the narrative beautifully. This is an excellent book for understanding the complicated domestic and international contexts Roosevelt faced. Schmitz has put together a concise and illuminating work that is accessible to all readers interested in American diplomacy.”—T. Christopher Jespersen, dean of the School of Arts and Letters, North Georgia College & State University, and author of American Images of China, 1931–1949