What War? The British propaganda campaign and the alliance that brought World War II to America

Student: Molly McClintock*
Mentor: Julie Mujic
Major: History

The United States was reluctant to enter World War II.  It was a world conflict miles away and the United States was struggling domestically after World War I and the Great Depression. As a result, in 1937 following the outbreak of World War II in Europe, the United States took an isolationist approach. The purpose of this thesis is to argue the importance of the propaganda campaign between Great Britain and the United States from 1939-1941. Propaganda falls under the umbrella of foreign affairs because of its direct influence in causing United States participation in World War II.  Pearl Harbor was not the only influence that brought the United States into World War II. The United States only joined the war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but these events were tied to United States foreign policy that the British propaganda promoted.  By 1941, Congress had already dismissed neutrality laws, and the American public embraced a new culture of war and global responsibility.  The propaganda of the time affected how people viewed the war. The British propaganda campaign from 1939-1941, specifically the use of film, radio, and print prepared the United States for entrance in World War II. Although the British propaganda did not single handedly bring the United States to War, it certainly accelerated the process in politically and industrially preparing the United States for war.

*Honors Senior