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This study presents an in-depth survey of the principal policies and personalities of American diplomacy of the era, together with a discussion of recent historiography in the field. For two decades between the two world wars, America pursued a foreign policy course that was, according to Rhodes, shortsighted and self-centered. Believing World War I had been an aberration, Americans naïvely signed disarmament treaties and a pact renouncing war, while eschewing such inconveniences as enforcement machinery or participation in international organizations. Smug moral superiority, a penurious desire to save money, and naíveté ultimately led to the neglect of America's armed forces even as potential rivals were arming themselves to the teeth.
In contrast to the dynamic drive of the New Deal in domestic policy, foreign policy under Franklin D. Roosevelt was often characterized by a lack of clarity and, reflecting Roosevelt's fear of isolationists and pacifists, by presidential explanations that were frequently evasive, incomplete, or deliberately misleading. One of the period's few successes was the bipartisan Good Neighbor policy, which proved far-sighted commercially and strategically. Rhodes praises Cordell Hull as the outstanding secretary of state of the time, whose judgment was often more on target than others in the State Department and the executive branch.
|1||United States Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period: A Historiographical Overview||1|
|2||Wilson and Democratic Peacemaking: A Tragic Beginning to the Interwar Era||13|
|3||Harding, Hughes, and Republican Moral Diplomacy||39|
|4||Foreign Policy Under Coolidge and Kellogg: A Relative Bed of Roses||57|
|5||Foreign Policy Under Hoover and Stimson: A Bed of Pain||73|
|6||Early New Deal Foreign Policy: The Limits of Improvisation||91|
|7||The Good Neighbor Policy: A Bipartisan Accomplishment||113|
|8||Congressional Neutrality: Roosevelt, the British, and Bankers as Performing Circus Animals||127|
|9||The Shifting of the Foreign Policy Momentum||147|
|10||Aid to Britain Short of War||165|
|11||Japan and the United States Miscalculate||183|