To What Extent Did America Conduct an Imperialist Foreign Policy from 1939-1949?

To What Extent Did America Conduct An
Imperialist Foreign Policy From 1939-1949?

The dictionary defines imperialism as “a policy of extending a country's power and influence through colonisation, use of military force, or other means”. America did not conduct an imperialist foreign policy in any sense of this definition from 1939-1949. Before 1941 America was demonstrating a very isolationist policy, focusing on their own recovery after the Wall Street Crash and following Roosevelt’s New Deal. America set out to combat their own problems ahead of intervening in other nations quarrels or expanding their already impressive empire. It was only after the Japanese warplanes attacked the US fleet at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii that the US declared war on Japan which subsequently led to Germany declaring war on the US. This ultimately meant America intervened on a massive scale in World War II, eventually helping to defeat Germany in 1945. After Germany was defeated the US dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leading to the Japanese surrender and the end of World War Two.

But this now led to the question of what was to be done in with a post-war Europe. The Big Three had met in Potsdam in 1945. Truman had hoped that this would provide him with the diplomatic leverage he needed to ensure Stalin stayed loyal to his agreements at Yalta. Potsdam was characterised by Truman’s abrasive diplomacy and the determination of Stalin and his Foreign Minister, Molotov, not to be intimidated by the USA’s monopoly of nuclear technology. The Conference resulted in some agreement but, significantly, there was no medium or long term results blueprint laid out for either the future of Germany or the parameters of international relations in the new world order. It failed to establish clarity on the scale of Soviet reparations claims. It contributed to a growing suspicion and uncertainty that had developed between the USA and the Soviet Union.

The Cold War itself was...