When I was at Bayside High School in New York, we had a civics teacher named Julius Zeiger. He had a professorial manner of speaking similar to Daniel Schorr and was not well liked by the students.
One day, we had a discussion on Pearl Harbor and World War II. A classmate, Freddie Offermann, raised the question of how much Franklin D. Roosevelt and his White House had anticipated the attack and whether they had planned for it to pave the way for our entry into the war. Zeiger professed astonishment at such a suggestion, saying that it would have been unthinkable, at the time, that Japan would have attacked us. He went on to say that these things come up throughout history and that ‘people like Fred Offermann will believe them.’ It was a typical putdown by the governmental, educational establishment; no discussion, just condescension.
He, thus cavalierly dismissed one of the most important questions concerning the events leading up to our declaration of war; did FDR & his advisors know an attack was coming? The rumors had flown almost immediately that they did. My parents often discussed it as had numerous people I knew over the years and they were not lunatic fringe types.
More to the point is what the FDR White House did to provoke the attack. Again, the evidence is so overwhelming that there can be no other conclusion than that they did.
At this late date, more than 70 years after that horrible morning, few question that FDR and his inner circle knew an attack was imminent. Even his most ardent admirers have conceded it. Multiple books have been written and even ones by those supportive of him concede that he and his staff knew it was coming.
The Institute of Historical Review has a very good summary of the various events, “How Franklin Roosevelt Lied America Into War’ by William Henry Chamberlin and there are dozens of others; “At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor”by Gordon W. Prange, “Freedom Betrayed” by Herbert Hoover and “Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor” by Robert Stinnett, all of them critical of FDR’s actions but there is also “The Pearl Harbor Myth” by George Victor which is supportive of FDR, arguing that even though Roosevelt was duplicit, his efforts to get us into the war, it was for the better good of all, a typical liberal rationalization; the leaders, especially those they agree with, know better what is best for us.
The numerous details add up to the conclusion that either they knew an attack was coming or were complete ignoramuses. I reject the latter. The question in my mind is, “Why?”
While FDR was campaigning for his unprecedented third term, he repeatedly assured the American people, “Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.” How much a greater blanket assurance can be given? All the while, he was in secret correspondence with Winston Churchill, who had an American born mother, assuring him that we would be entering the war on the British side. He thus qualified as a world class liar, akin to our current Oval Office occupant.
But, my question is not whether he maneuvered us into the war, I have no doubt that he did; my question is why. What was it that he considered so important that we had to intervene when we were immersed in the greatest economic crisis in our history? It was the same worldwide
economic mess that had brought The National Socialists and Adolf Hitler into power in Germany.
Some argue that war is the best diversion for a nation’s leaders during times of other crises, especially economic, but the fact remains that war also diverts resources and at that time, our resources were already under a huge strain. By 1940, America’s previous industrial supremacy was sputtering and wheezing under The New Deal. By 1937, one of the worst years of The Great Depression, even Roosevelt’s most intimate advisors privately acknowledged that the New Deal was a failure. That likely didn’t matter to someone driven by such unprincipled self-serving cynicism as FDR there is a much greater consideration.
For the Roosevelt White House was shot through, from top to bottom, with outright communists, fellow travelers and sympathizers. Harry Hopkins, FDR’s closest advisor, was clearly a sympathizer and may even have been a Soviet agent. Alger Hiss was a member of a spy cell and passed American secrets to the Soviet Union. Lauchlin Currie was a communist sympathizer and possible spy. Rexford Tugwell was a communist admirer and last but not least was FDR’s wife, the redoubtable Eleanor who admired Josip Stalin and his Soviet experiment. There were numerous others. All of his staffers served only at the pleasure of Roosevelt himself and could have been dismissed at any minute but weren’t. In November, 1933, FDR established full diplomatic relations with the USSR under Josip Stalin. This despite the refusal of the previous four American presidents to do so.
Later, while the war raged in Europe but before our entry, everything the White House did, favored the Soviets over Germany. This, despite the fact that the overwhelming number of atrocities under German National Socialism were in the future and far outstripped at the time by those under Vladimir Lenin who was dwarfed in turn by Stalin.
The world knew full well of Stalin’s show trials and purges and, despite the PR program put on by Walter Duranty of The New York Times, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his lying reportage, it knew of the forced famines in Ukraine. Nearly as many or more Ukrainians starved to death during the famines than all the Jews during the entire Third Reich. In short, at that point, Adolf Hitler and his henchmen weren’t even in the minor leagues next to the USSR.
FDR’s worst in his favoritism to Stalin and the USSR was to come. The 1943 Tehran meeting between FDR, Stalin and Winston Churchill had to be the ultimate in betrayal.
If ever there was a betrayal of our interests by an American president, it was that meeting in Tehran. The three met to plan the postwar world but Churchill, despite being a blood thirsty German-hater, was increasingly skeptical of the emergence of another brutish dictator, easily the equal of Hitler, as a permanent world power.
FDR recognized this and actually stayed in the Soviet Embassy rather than the American Embassy on ‘security grounds’; the claim was that he would be endangered otherwise though how he would be in less danger at the Soviet Embassy than the American, no one explained. While there, he often met privately with Stalin, giving him everything he desired and more. Roosevelt conceded to Stalin his demand for communist postwar primacy across eastern Europe.
That was accomplished through the decision to open up the ‘second front’ that every communist sympathizer in the West had been urging. Churchill, with his increasing distrust, had been pushing for an invasion through Europe’s ‘soft underbelly’, the Balkans, northward into Eastern Europe which would have put us in the way of the Soviet advance. Stalin won out and FDR proceeded with the invasion through Normandy, thus condemning approximately 350 million additional innocents in Asia and Europe to more than 40 years of brutal repression.
So what do you call a man whose domestic policies were modeled on those of Benito Mussolini, and evoked admiration from Hitler and his national socialists right up until nearly our very entry into the war against him and who had only two discernible motivations; his own political survival and that of the Soviet Union under Stalin?
What do you call a man who chose for his advisors people steeped in communist and fascist policies? What do you call a man who sold out entire nations, over whose fate he had no legal or moral authority, to one of the very worst communist butchers in history? There’s an old saying, that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it probably is a duck and that duck is collectivism and the suppression of individual freedom.
How did a man born to the American purple of accumulated wealth in this country come to such a point? He was often called a traitor to his class but he wasn’t simply that. He was a traitor to this country and humanity! He was the single most unprincipled, serf-serving opportunist this country has ever seen; only exceeded, possibly, by this current successor.
And after all these years, Freddie Offermann, wherever you are, I admired you for having the guts to say what was on my mind and likely the minds of many of us others of your classmates and for standing up to Zeiger. If I had it to do again, I would stand with you. He had no right to say that you. You voiced a widely held belief.
As for FDR’s admirers, how do you live with yourselves?
“Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”