The Reluctant Neutral
When World War II erupted in 1939, most Americans felt their nation could safely remain isolated from foreign troubles. But FDR recognized the grave danger the Axis Powers posed to American security. For two years, he pursued a cautious but deliberate policy of aiding Great Britain and, later, the Soviet Union in their war with Germany and Italy.
At every step, the President had to contend with deep-seated American fears about involvement in the war. He also had to manage a growing crisis in the Pacific, where Japan was expanding its empire into China and threatening Southeast Asia.