Neutrality Act

(redirected from Neutrality Acts)
Also found in: Wikipedia.

Neutrality Act,

law passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Aug., 1935. It was designed to keep the United States out of a possible European war by banning shipment of war matériel to belligerents at the discretion of the President and by forbidding U.S. citizens from traveling on belligerent vessels except at their own risk. The demand for this legislation arose from the conviction of many Americans that U.S. entry into World War I had been a mistake. This conviction was strengthened by the well-publicized investigations by a Senate committee headed by Gerald P. NyeNye, Gerald Prentice,
1892–1971, U.S. Senator (1925–45), b. Hortonville, Wis. After settling (1915) in North Dakota he devoted himself to country journalism. A progressive Republican, he was appointed to fill an unexpired term in the U.S.
..... Click the link for more information.
 of American war loans to the Allies. The Neutrality Act was amended (Feb., 1936) to prohibit the granting of loans to belligerents, and later (Jan. and May, 1937) neutrality was extended to cover civil wars, a step inspired by the Spanish civil war. In Nov., 1939, the act was revised in favor of supplying warring nations on the "cash-and-carry" principle; but U.S. vessels were excluded from combat zones, and U.S. citizens were forbidden from sailing on belligerent vessels. These provisions were lifted by amendment in Nov., 1941, after the lend-leaselend-lease,
arrangement for the transfer of war supplies, including food, machinery, and services, to nations whose defense was considered vital to the defense of the United States in World War II. The Lend-Lease Act, passed (1941) by the U.S.
..... Click the link for more information.
 policy had been established. The act was thus practically out of operation even before American neutrality ended with Pearl Harbor.
References in periodicals archive ?
As the rise of Hitler and Mussolini in the 1930s began to portend another such war, Congress codified the public's isolationist attitude with a series of neutrality acts to prohibit support to any future belligerents.
In his second term, which he initially expected to be his last, FDR found his hands tied in foreign policy by the Neutrality Acts and by an isolationist Congress, but he foresaw that war was likely and that it would ravage minority populations in Central and Eastern Europe.
If FDR tried to evade these restrictions, his opponents in Congress would block his efforts to ease the Neutrality Acts, his top foreign policy goal as war in Europe loomed ahead.
Instead, Congress passed the Neutrality Act of 1935 (the first of a series of Neutrality Acts passed from 1935 through 1939), instructing the president to declare at his discretion an embargo against all belligerents.
After the Germans annexed all of Czechoslovakia in 1939, Roosevelt asked Congress to repeal the Neutrality Act of 1935, and this time Congress did act, allowing arms purchases by belligerents, but requiring the purchaser to take possession of the goods in the U.
True, in 1935, 1936, and 1937, a Democratic Congress passed and FDR signed neutrality acts to keep us out of the Italo-Abyssinian and Spanish Civil wars.
With Congress's passage of the Neutrality Acts of the late 1930s, Americans expressed their unwillingness to enter another war.
The author traces Roosevelt's successful efforts of 1938-39 to revise the Neutrality Acts amidst the Munich Crisis, the Nazi-Soviet Pact, and the Sino-Japanese War.