Quarantine speech is a talk given by Franklin D. Roosevelt on October, 5, 1937, in Chicago on the topic of America’s neutrality policy towards the issue of violence in the period between the world wars.
World War I left the national leaders dealing with the chaos in both internal politics and foreign policy in general. As a consequence of the international armed conflict, countries then had to decide how to act in the context of attitude towards other nations. It especially concerned Axis powers, including Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey. While some countries distinctly supported one of the sides of the conflict in further collaborations, some nations, such as the US, kept isolated from the conflict. Although such a policy seemed quite efficient at first, the world leaders soon realized that when it comes to such phenomena as a world war, it is impossible to stay aside without any implications. As the tension between the nations in the post-war period was noticeably rising, all the country leaders realized that they should prepare the state residents for possible armed interferences. In the 1930s, then President of the US, Franklin D. Roosevelt, decided to modify the state’s isolative attitude towards the events happening on the world stage.
October 5, 1937, has become a remarkable date for world history. On that day, 32nd US President finally told the world that the only way to keep peace across the world was anything but ignorance. During his visit to Chicago, Roosevelt gave a resonant talk on the issue of war and peace concepts in terms of the situation in the world politics, which is known as the Quarantine Speech. By the time of the speech, the United States was universally recognized as a country with absolutely neutral views on the current course of events. The governmental representatives stayed out of the ongoing negotiations concerning the further development of the world foreign policy. However, as the situation was becoming more and tenser, US governors had to take immediate measures to save their status in the global arena.
The main idea behind the speech was to euphemistically address to the countries that violated the state of global peace and to declare a quarantine to the “epidemic of world lawlessness.” Under the notion of the epidemic, Roosevelt meant the thriving of anarchy, along with constant violations of human freedoms through the regular armed interferences and radical ethnic discrimination. According to the speech, one of the major ways of fighting violence was to promote peaceful relationships while completely ignoring the minor acts of cruelty. For villains to learn the lesson, all the nations should start the policy of economic pressure and legal limitations. Thus, Roosevelt’s point can be described as official sanctions on the aggressors for the sake of the security of others. The President declared, “The peace-loving nations must make a concerted effort in opposition to those violations of treaties,…which today are creating a state of international anarchy and instability from which there is no escape through mere isolation or neutrality.” In other words, such rhetoric proved that the US no longer perceived neutrality as a winning position.
To sum everything up, the situation formed during the mid-wars decades required immediate actions from every nation that appeared to have governmental power on the global level. If to consider the US, all the predecessors of Franklin D. Roosevelt were afraid to obtain the amount of responsibility for what was happening in the world, and, thus, decided to avoid it at all. Roosevelt, on the contrary, took a step of major significance towards the further development of the course of global events without fear of being involved in the international debate.