This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book focuses on those internationalist Americans who worked to influence both the American government and the wider public about the need to stem the growing tide of fascist aggression. In particular, it focuses on three organized groups of American citizens: the American Committee for Non-Participation in Japanese Aggression, the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, and Fight for Freedom. Though they were initially in the minority, these Americans felt that world affairs—and the looming clouds of war in particular—could not be ignored. As the global situation worsened, they called for steps that moved the United States further from isolation and neutrality and closer and closer to conflict. By urging restrictions on trade with Japan, greater military support for Britain, and ultimately an American declaration of war before the Hawaiian attack, these organizations actively promoted a more global role for the United States between 1938 and 1941, long before war came to America. It is the aim of this book to examine the organization, activity, and ideas of these internationalist citizens' groups in order to understand the nature of internationalism on the eve of World War II.
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