Explain why America adopted a policy of isolationism in the 1920s.
Isolationism definition: the policy by which the USA detached itself from the affairs of other states.
After the World War I, the belief that it was a mistake to involve in the war had gained popularity in the American public. As a result of the anti-war sentiments, there were two major themes in US foreign policy in the 1920s. Both were concerned with the maintenance of peace and avoidance of American involvement in any future wars. With President Wilson’s retirement and the Republican taken to control the Senate, the country wanted to reject the peace treaties and membership of the League of Nation. Although the Senate eventually agreed on the peace treaties, the country wasn’t too keen in interfering with foreign affairs. By refusing to participate in the League of Nations, which was an international organisation which purpose was to maintain peace through cooperation between countries, it was clear that it wasn’t America’s intention to be involved in international affairs. On Although President Wilson who proposed the idea of League of Nations thought it was America’s responsibility to take a major role in achieving world peace, the public at the time felt the United States had already sacrificed too much in fighting a war which wasn’t their concern at all. They afraid Europe would drag them into another war in the future. It was also criticised that America’s priority should not focus on foreign affairs while the domestic problems which caused by the war were ignored. These problems include unemployment of the veterans, massive strike due to the end of wartime controls, comssplains within the agricultural industry.
After President Harding had introduced the concept of “Return to Normalcy”, the majority of the American agreed with the idea that they wanted to readopt the isolationist policy of the 19th century, as it was believed to provide the restoration, serenity, and peace the country needed after the catastrophic war. With the aim to prevent the occurrence of another war in the future, America did take some actions around the globe by involving itself in various disarmament conferences and treaties. In November 1921, for example, delegates from the USA, UK, France, Japan and Italy met in Washington to discuss issues concerning the balance of power in East Asia. At the conference, the UK, USA, France and Japan signed the Four Power Treaty by which they agreed to respect each other’s’ interests in the Pacific and confer in the event of any other country behaving aggressively in the region. Later in 1928, the US signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact, renouncing war as a means of settling international grievances. It is suggested the United Stated was shocked by the First World War, that they would do anything to stop another war from happening and they intended to stay out of any kinds of conflict.