Casablanca was released during a turbulent time in the world. Europe was consumed by conflict and World War II was on the horizon. The United States had not yet gotten involved in the affairs of Europe and maintained neutrality. Many do not realize that Casablanca's plot is more than a simple love story. The story is an allegory of the United States’ y towards Europe and their involvement in World War II (Raskin).
Rick (Humphrey Bogart ) acts as the symbolic foreign ambassador to Vichy ruled France and his Café as a sort of American embassy. The only American in Casablanca that the audience meets, Rick represents the policies of the United States towards Europe before 1942. America maintained neutrality until 1941 and Rick shared this sentiment about the inhabitants of Casablanca that include the French, Nazis, refugees from all over Europe, and native Moroccans. His catchphrase “I stick my neck out for no one” is evidence of this stance (Casablanca (1942)). Rick’s refusal to help people reflects the desire to stay out of the affairs of Europe.
Despite the United States’ desire to stay neutral they eventually had to intervene in Europe. United States armed forces were able to save Europe from becoming overrun by Nazi Germany. This parallels with Rick assisting Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid ) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman ). Victor and Ilsa represent the countries of Europe that are being threatened by the Nazis. Rick represents the United States and therefore has to save Victor and Ilsa. Therefore, Rick’s sacrifice to save Victor and Ilsa symbolizes the United States’ final decision to save the world from the Axis Powers.