M965.199.3035 | Three Men in a Boat

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Drawing, cartoon
Three Men in a Boat
John Collins
February 12, 1941, 20th century
Ink, crayon, graphite and opaque white on card
38 x 28.5 cm
Gift of Mr. John Collins - The Gazette
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cartoon (19139) , Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379) , war (1452)
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Keys to History

The First World War led to a powerful isolationist sentiment in the United States. This sentiment kept the U.S. out of the Second World War until Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. The Neutrality Act of 1939 required nations at war to pay cash for weapons and to carry them in their own ships. The act was designed to try to prevent the United States from being drawn into the war. By the end of 1940, however, Britain was running out of money. In response to Britain's desperate position in the summer of 1940, the U.S. agreed to supply Britain with destroyers in exchange for long-term leases to British bases in North America. Roosevelt was up for re-election in 1940 and faced fierce opposition from groups who feared that the sale of arms and ammunition to Britain would drag the U.S. into the war. This cartoon tries to discredit the isolationist position and shame the United States into action.

  • What

    American isolationists opposed the involvement of the United States in the war.

  • Where

    From the fall of France in June 1940, until Germany's invasion of the U.S.S.R. in June 1941, the British feared that Germany would attack them next.

  • When

    The "destroyers for bases" deal was passed on August 14, 1940.

  • Who

    Canada did its best to strengthen the ties between Canada, Britain and the United States and to encourage the U.S. to increase its support for Britain.