The US refused to trade with countries at war and would not let American ships carry military goods.
As during World War I, Americans naturally sympathized with the British and French,
but this time around they were fixated on avoiding another European entanglement.
Finally, the fall of France in summer 1940 made president Roosevelt commit to the allied side, regardless of public opinion.
Re-elected to a third term that November, Roosevelt prepared the United States for eventual war against the Axis.
Slowly, Congress came around to Roosevelt's views and voted for a peace-time draft and massive rearmament programs.
The Lend-Lease program of 1941 let Roosevelt send military goods to any nation,
at first Great Britain, later the Soviet Union and China, being vital to the defense of the United States.
When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Britain and France gained and ally but little more.
In August 1941 Roosevelt agreed to the Atlantic Charter with prime minister Churchill of Great Britain.
They affirmed joined war goals, even though the US had not yet entered the war.
America was now neutral only in name.