THE attitude of the American people towards this war and the inherent revolutionary conflict which it contains has undergone profound modifications during the last fifteen months. The most important changes took place after the surrender of France in June.
The first shock was stunning. The fact that the French army, considered at least as good as the German, could be defeated in less than forty days, and that France, one of the main pillars of democracy, could become enslaved to the Axis, demoralized Americans as it demoralized the French themselves. In spite of a great deal of wishful thinking, faith in the ability of England to withstand the well-advertised final blow was at a low ebb during the first part of the summer. Isolationist sentiment, founded more or less consciously on the conviction that the Allies would win the war, underwent a radical transformation: it became quite strong again, but for opposite reasons. The possibility that England might be doomed and that help would come too late incited the former isolationists to become appeasers. Colonel Lindbergh, speaking for many of them, expressed the idea that it did not really matter who dominated Europe and that it was in the interest of the United States to establish good relations with the probable victor. Like Chamberlain and Bonnet at the time of Munich, the neo-isolationists denied or disregarded the validity of the ideological world conflict created by the Nazi and Fascist dictators. They argued, as European appeasers had argued, that democracy and freedom could survive in America while totalitarianism ruled the rest of the world.
This doctrine would probably have gained ground more rapidly had it not been for the extraordinary resistance put up by England. As the summer ended, a counter-current of public opinion set in. Confidence in the British was restored. It might be too much to speak of real optimism and truer to say that the sense of acute alarm was followed by a reappraisal of a situation which, temporarily
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