No matter how well we are supported by neutrality legislation, we must remember that no laws can be provided to cover every contingency, for it is impossible to imagine how every future event may shape itself. In spite of every possible forethought, international relations involve of necessity a vast uncharted area. In that area safe sailing will depend on the knowledge and the experience and the wisdom of those who direct our foreign policy. Peace will depend on their day-to-day decisions.
At this late date, with the wisdom which is so easy after the event and so difficult before the event, we find it possible to trace the tragic series of small decisions which led Europe into the Great War in 1914 and eventually engulfed us and many other nations.
We can keep out of war if those who watch and decide have a sufficiently detailed understanding of international affairs to make certain that the small decisions of each day do not lead toward war, and if, at the same time, they possess the courage to say No to those who selfishly or unwisely would let us go to war.
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, speech at Chautauqua, New York, August 14, 1936.
Governments . . . do not always take rational decisions. Sometimes they take mad decisions, or one set of people get control who compel all others to obey and aid them in folly.
WINSTON S. CHURCHILL, The Grand Alliance, p. 603.
Frederic R. Sanborn was born on February 14, 1899. He received the A.B. degree with high honors from Columbia University in 1919. Two years later he was awarded the degree of A.M., with a major in international law and diplomacy, by Columbia University, and the degree of LL.B. by the Columbia University Law School in the same year. While at Columbia, he studied international law and diplomacy under the leading American authority in the field, John Bassett Moore. He then went to England for further study at Oxford University, where he specialized in legal history and international law under the guidance of the eminent legal historian, Sir William Holdsworth. He received his Ph.D. degree in law from Oxford in 1924. Even before he finished his legal studies at Oxford he was awarded a Carnegie Fellowship in International Law in 1923 for further study and research at the Sorbonne. But he declined this grant in order to return to New York and establish his law practice. He is now a member of Putney, Twombly, Hall & Skidmore, one of the oldest law firms in New York City.
In addition to his increasingly important law practice, Dr. Sanborn taught law in the postgraduate department of the Brooklyn Law School of St. Lawrence University from 1927 to 1938, and international law in the postgraduate department of St. Johns University School of Law from 1928 to 1930.
Dr. Sanborns interest in international law and diplomacy led him to prepare his book on the Origins of the Early English Maritime and Commercial Law, sponsored by the American Historical Association and published by The Century Company in 1930, and his important analytical volume, Design for War ; A Study of Secret Power Politics, 1937-1941, published by the Devin-Adair Company in 1951. The latter is one of the most important books yet to appear on the diplomacy which led the United States into war in December, 1941. It is characterized by both careful scholarship and commendable restraint in statements and generalizations. It will remain one of the impressive monuments of American historiography following the second World War.
I. INTRODUCTORY CONSIDERATIONS AND HYPOTHESES :
THE ABANDONMENT OF AMERICAN NEUTRALITY
It is difficult to rise from a contemplative study of the history of American power politics during the last fifteen years without experiencing a profound feeling of melancholy. When one has meditated upon the myriads of deaths, the human suffering, the destruction, the wastehuman, economic, and of opportunitywhich have ensued from the decisions erroneously made by those who were in power during those tragic years, and when one contemplates the bleak vistas which now lie before all of us as the remorseless consequence of those erroneous decisions, one is tempted to echo the epitome of the Roman emperorsnihil non commiserunt stupri, saevitiae, impietatis.
Mr. Roosevelts share in making those decisions was considerable, and, so far as the people of the United States were concerned, it was preponderant. Many of Mr. Roosevelts acts and negotiations were secret, sometimes so secret that even the Secretary of State was not informed about them,(1) and in consequence Mr. Roosevelt acted for the most part without consultation or counselling from others. His policies were therefore very largely personal, and his adulators were at least true in their aim when they praised him for the authorship of the policies which were nominally called American.
And so, similarly, now that the time has come to take an audit of the great balance sheet of history, the debits must stand largely against the same man to whom the credits were once awarded.
Largely, but not entirely, for a reason which requires some brief elaboration. Like almost every one else, Mr. Roosevelt was the child of his own times, and of the Zeitgeist. In consequence of this we must refer to certain misdirected developments in the sphere of international law in the late twenties and in the thirties. A natural revulsion against war had followed the first World War, and this feeling was partly expressed in the Kellogg-Briand Treaty of Paris by which war was renounced by many nations as an instrument of national policy. The collateral concept of collective security found sincere advocates, and there developed along with it the concept of an aggressor nation. In this discussion space does not permit the elaborating upon or the criticizing of these concepts, but one must add that as their natural consequence it was urged by a considerable number of domestic writers and teachers that the traditional cornerstone of American foreign policy, the doctrine of neutrality, had now become obsolete ; it was ignoble and should be abandoned in favor of collective warfare against an aggressor. Such views did not lack able criticism, but, notwithstanding, they prevailed in quantity, if not in quality, in certain academic and other spheres. They were the academic ancestors of what later was called interventionism, and it seems not unlikely that they contributed to weakening Mr. Roosevelts waning belief in neutrality.
Notwithstanding these palliatory observations it still remains true that the credit or the blame for American power politics must remain largely with Mr. Roosevelt. As the years have passed by, and as the unfortunate results of his policies have become too visibly apparent either to be denied or concealed, the defenders of the wisdom of his policies have been compelled to shift over from unqualified praise to mildly critical apology. And in going over to the defensive there has been an interesting shift in the position of their battle lines.
Their first line of defense has always rested and still rests upon a foundation blended of faith, emotion, and hypothesis.
The justification of Mr. Roosevelts admittedly unneutral policy toward Germany which was originally offered for public consumption was to claim the necessity of self-defense against an almost immediately anticipated attack. But when the immediately anticipated attack did not eventuate, a more satisfactory and more indefinite hypothesis became requisite. Some sincere but uninformed people have faith in the revised justification to this very day.
The revised hypothesis was amplified into a claim of the necessity of an anticipatory self-defense, and it had variant versions as propounded at different times. In one form the story ran that Hitlerite Germany was planning to attack the United States in a military way at some unspecified future date. In another variant the military attack was to be made by a conspiratorial combination of Fascist nations(2) after they had first conquered the rest of the world. In yet another variant the attack was not to be military at all, but rather a kind of economic strangulation of America by embargo or boycott.
The variants of this second justification were more useful, propagandawise, than was the first hypothesis. The new hypotheses were more indefinite ; they ranged more widely in futurity, and they aroused more emotional response in those who believed in them on faith.
Looking as they did to a far more distant future these revised hypotheses were quite incapable of contemporaneous disproof. Consequently it was impossible for skeptics to contest them at the time of utterance, and therefore Mr. Roosevelts intended course of action could not be prevented or hindered by any rational argument based upon known facts. Moreover there was always the happy chance, from Mr. Roosevelts point of view, that even though such hypothetical justifications were not true when made, they might come true at some later date in consequence of his repeated unneutral and hostile activities.
With the passage of the years the texture of these widely propagandized fears is seen to be a shabby fustian. Tons and tonsquite literallyof the German archives, and of their top-secret plans, memoranda, and correspondence fell into the hands of the victors at the end of the war. These documents were winnowed and studied with care for months and months by dozens of investigators in a meticulous search for every shred of evidence which could be presented at the Nuremberg trials. After a lengthy and minute ransacking it transpired that nowhere in these papers was there to be found any evidence of any German plans to attack the United States. Quite to the contrary, the embarrassing fact developed from the secret papers that for many months prior to Pearl Harbor Chancellor Hitler was doing all that he could to avoid conflict with the United States !
This incontrovertible fact has shaken the faith of some, although not all, of the true believers. The more rational amongst those whose faith in the old hypotheses has diminished have now evolved a new hypothesis, that America could not have stood by as a passive neutral, and let Britain, France, and much of Western Europe fall into the power of Nazi tyrants. This new hypothesis is emotionally seductive, like the abandoned hypotheses, and from the viewpoint of its propounders it has the merit of excessive oversimplification.
Merely in order to list a few of these oversimplifications, one might ask (1) To what extent did Mr. Roosevelt overurge Britain or France to adopt various courses of conduct which would tend to war ? (2) To what extent did Mr. Roosevelts own maladroit diplomacy contribute to avoidable participation in the war by certain countries ? (3) Did Mr. Roosevelt have in mind only limited political objectives, which could have been more swiftly attained, such as the downfall of the Nazi government, or vaster objectives requiring a prolonged war, such as the total destruction of Germany ? (4) Did not Mr. Roosevelt overestimate the danger to Western Europe to be anticipated from Fascist tyranny, while underestimating the potential menace of Communist tyranny ? (5) In this connection, how accurateor inaccuratewas Mr. Roosevelts estimate of the probability of a conflict in the near future between tyrant and tyrant, Hitler versus Stalin, in which the evil power of both might have been sapped ? Many similar questions will occur to the informed reader as he considers the shortcomings of the last hypothesis. But perhaps the most potent objection to this hypothesis is one which could be validly posed to the conduct of much of our power politics of recent years : Mr. Roosevelts policy was based upon a supposed friendship, and not upon the national interest of America. In power politics there are no friendships ; there are only interests. Much American disillusionment has arisen and will continue to arise from ignorance or disregard of such an elementary principle. George Washington said, in his Farewell Address to the people of the United States :
Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations ; Cultivate peace and harmony with all. . .
In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded ; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation which indulges towards another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. . . . The peace often . . . of Nations has been the victim.
. . . Sympathy for the favorite Nations, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. . . .
But Mr. Roosevelt, and also Mr. Hull,(3) consistently violated these true and simple precepts which had been expressed for many decades in the traditional American policy of neutrality. Instead, Mr. Roosevelt elected to play the game of secret politics in our foreign affairs. The wisdom of any foreign policy can generally be determined only by its results.(4) judged by this canon Mr. Roosevelts foreign policy was not successful, and if this much is acknowledged then even the latest apology of his defenders fails.
Indeed, one is tempted to ask, how could the traditional American policy of neutrality have produced results which could have been any worse ?
In 1914 Mr. Wilson had appealed to all Americans for neutrality even in their personal thoughts, uttering . . . a solemn word of warning . . . against that deepest, most subtle, most essential breach of neutrality which might spring out of partisanship, out of passionately taking sides.(5) Whatever Mr. Wilson did later, his appeal was in the highest tradition of George Washington and of the established pattern of American diplomacy. Mr. Roosevelt knew what neutrality was, in the highest sensenot to help one fellow more than the other.(6) But Mr. Roosevelt issued no Wilsonian appeal to the American people, perhaps because he felt that it was unnecessary. Many months later he acknowledged this fact : There can be no question that the people of the United States in 1939 were determined to remain neutral in fact and in deed. . . .(7) Right up to Pearl Harbor this sentiment of the American people themselves did not change, as one of Mr. Roosevelts recent apologists has acknowledged : . . . It was the first war in American history in which the general disillusionment preceded the firing of the first shot. It has been called, from the American point of view, the most unpopular war in history.. . .(8) And the apologist then offers his own brief theory as to why this feeling existed. It would seem more probable that the general disillusionment of which he speaks was due to quite different causes.
As a whole, the American people had never accepted the new scholastic theory of more or less collective warfare against an alleged aggressor. Perhaps the peoples intuitive common sense had already suggested to them that in any future collective action the other nations would expect America to assume almost the entire burden involved. Perhaps they esteemed the wise advice of George Washington more highly than the new theory. But apart from such conjectures it is clear that they believed in our established policy of neutrality. Semantic propagandists have tried to belittle that doctrine by calling it what they hoped would be a smearing nameisolationism. Name calling is not intelligent or rational and this device of propaganda did not deceive the majority of the American people who continued to be isolationist in their desire to remain neutral and to live in peace, as every poll of public opinion conclusively showed. Their general disillusionment was, in fact, due to their ultimate realization that Mr. Roosevelt in some unperceived way, and at some unknown time, had abandoned his professed policies of neutrality and peace and had secretly adopted a design for war.
The turning point is probably to be found in the quarantine the aggressors speech which Mr. Roosevelt delivered at Chicago on October 5, 1937.(9) Prior to that time Mr. Roosevelts public declarations had been very clearly isolationist.(10) After that time a change becomes apparent. But at the outset Mr. Roosevelt apparently contemplated only action which would have aided China against Japan,(11) rather than any intervention in Europe.
Yet the one ultimately led to the other. In the aftermath of the Chicago speech Mr. Roosevelt found himself in closer touch with high British personalities,(12) and these relationships continued to develop rather quickly, with the British naturally being more interested in the affairs of Europe, into a policy of active although unacknowledged co-operation with Britain which was in effect before January, 1938.(13) It was in December, 1937, that Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll, then director of the Navys War Plans Division, was sent to Britain by Mr. Roosevelt to discuss possible Anglo-American cooperation in case of war.(14) Out of these meetings some kind of an understanding or agreement developed. It was also in 1937 that the studies were commenced for the highly secret Industrial Mobilization Plan,(15) which contemplated that no less than twenty thousand factories should be earmarked for the production of war materials. Space hardly permits a detailed narration of the further steps which commenced in 1938 and looked toward the preparation in quantities of the necessary war materials. Likewise, only brief mention can be made of Mr. Roosevelts political maneuvers, ultimately successful, but only by a narrow margin,(16) to oppose Congressman Louis Ludlows proposal that there should be a national referendum vote as a prerequisite to a declaration of war.
Immediately after the German annexation of Austria, Mr. Hull(17) made a speech on March 17, 1938, in which he advocated collaboration along parallel lines in order to prevent the spread of the contagious scourge of treaty breaking and armed violence. These propaganda efforts were continued during the spring and summer by Mr. Roosevelt and by others. By April, 1938, Mr. Emil Ludwig, whose biography of Mr. Roosevelt was almost official, knew enough about his plans to be able to state that, if there was a war in Europe, America would probably supply the European democracies with everything except troops.(18)
In late June, 1938, Mr. Roosevelt publicly announced(19) that the Navy, long concentrated in the Pacific, would in due course be concentrated in the Atlantic. In August secret negotiations, which have never been sufficiently investigated, were commenced with British representatives. For public consumption it was stated on November 17, 1938, that only trade agreements were being signed, but there were many hints cast out of underlying and unrevealed political commitments.(20) It seems certain that by that time Mr. Roosevelt and his associates were already secretly deep in the power politics of Europe, and a showdown had come earlier than they had anticipated, because of the events which culminated at Munich on September 30, 1938.
In early August even minor British officials knew that at present Great Britain can count on close co-operation with [the] United States.(21) The American naval attaché at Lisbon, said to be a personal friend of Mr. Roosevelt, stated at that time that the possibilities for speedy aid to Great Britain and France were being studied in America, and that this aid would include many airplanes.(22) Evidently there had been some diplomatic leakage as to this information, because on September 9, 1938, Mr. Roosevelt found it necessary to deny that the United States was allied with European powers in a stop-Hitler movement.(23) It is interesting to speculate upon his reasons for omitting his denial from his published papers at a later date.
II. ROOSEVELT AND MUNICH
(24) As the situation became intensified in late August, Mr. Churchill, although not in office, wrote to Lord Halifax(25) and suggested that Britain, France, and Russia should address a joint note to Germany intimating that an invasion of Czechoslovakia would raise capital issues for all three powers. And Mr. Churchill also advised that Mr. Roosevelt should be induced to do his utmost in approaching Chancellor Hitler only, and in urging upon him a friendly settlement. In the outcome, the only deviation from Mr. Churchills plan was in its last item.
As September lengthened the situation became more acute, but on the whole the tendency was for Britain, France, and Russia to stand more firmly together. On September 12, 1938, Foreign Minister Bonnet repeated the latter part of Mr. Churchills suggestions, and urged that Ambassador Wilson at Berlin be instructed to make representations to Germany only.(26) Mr. Chamberlain had gone to see the German Chancellor on September 15 at Berchtesgaden and again on September 22 at Godesberg, but his tendency, and that of the British cabinet, toward appeasement after the first interview was checked by the more exorbitant demands made at the second meeting.
Here was a momentary climax of power.
. For some time he had been eager to make personal appeals to the heads of the European Governments concerned. There had been a conflict in the State Department : Welles kept pushing the President on, while I [Mr. Hull] kept advising him to go Slow.(37) Mr. Roosevelt decided to go ahead, and
After all, there was nothing to negotiate except Chancellor Hitlers demand for Czechoslovakian territory, for no country was then demanding any territory from Germany. The military preparations of Czechoslovakia, which Mr. Roosevelts message equated with those of Germany, were purely defensive, so that this was hardly quarantining the aggressor.
.(38) Mr. Chamberlains request to broadcast a messageno doubt of explanationto the American people on the following night, September 27, 1938 was denied by Mr. Roosevelt.(39)
Nor was this all. Chancellor Hitlers reply, which was received in America on the night of September 26, was inconclusive. Consequently, Mr. Roosevelt thought it expedient to find additional support for his proposal. Circular instructions were therefore sent on September 27 to American diplomats in other countries, requesting them to ask the governments to which they were accredited to send comparable appeals to Germany and Czechoslovakia(40) (emphasis supplied); nineteen other governments (seventeen being in Latin America) obliged. Also on September 27 Mr. Roosevelt besought Premier Mussolini to urge the use of negotiations, and to Chancellor Hitler Mr. Roosevelt sent a further message urging that a conference be called. So the stage was inescapably set for Munich by Mr. Roosevelts personal actions and maneuvers, and Mr. Chamberlain received a full award of general opprobrium in which, if justified, Mr. Roosevelt deserved a considerable share.
Mr. Roosevelts reasons for this grievous blunder must remain conjectural until all of the secret diplomatic discussions and approaches are revealed. Meanwhile we have some clues, all of which point in the same direction, namely, that Mr. Roosevelt did not regard Munich as any final settlement with Hitler but believed that it might lead to war at no distant period. Hence, he continued his plans for a vast armament program, with emphasis on airplanes, which would help to provide Britain and France with the sinews of war and make the United States ready for possible involvement in the impending struggle.
Colonel Charles Lindbergh had reported before September 24, 1938, both to our State Department and to the British, that Germany was easily capable of combating the combined air force of all other European countries.(41) Ambassador Kennedy had not been too confident as to whether the French and the British were in good shape to fight.(42) Most revealing is the account given by General Arnold.(43) On September 28, 1938, Mr. Roosevelt called a meeting, which was plainly a bolt from the blue, to discuss aircraft production and air power in general. Mr. Roosevelt
came straight out for air power. Airplanesnowand lots of them ! . . . A new regiment of field artillery . . . he said sharply, would not scare Hitler one blankety-blank-blank bit ! What he wanted was airplanes ! Airplanes were the war implements that would have an influence on Hitlers activities !
The total air power of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy was estimated, and Mr. Roosevelt said that he wanted to create the capacity to manufacture 20,000 military planes a year, with the actual production of 10,000 planes (the approximate estimated combined total strength of Germany and Italy) a year as the immediate goal. The tremendous expansion of the Air Corps made General Arnold feel that it had achieved its Magna Carta. It was not wholly unexpected to him ; about a fortnight earlier Mr. Roosevelt had sent Mr. Hopkins to make a secret survey of our capacity to build military aircraft because Mr. Roosevelt was sure then that we were going to get into war and he believed that air power would win it.(44) As something of a by-product of this activity General Marshall was secretly supplied with diverted relief funds in order to procure machinery to manufacture ammunition.(45)
Another important clue is that in 1940 Mr. Kennedy delivered a speech in which he stated that if Mr. Chamberlain had had five thousand first-line planes at home when he conferred at Munich we would have truly seen peace in our time. (46)
All of this procedure makes it evident that Mr. Roosevelt did not believe that the Munich settlement meant permanent peace or even peace in our time, but apparently was convinced that it would lead to war in the not distant future.
All of these clues lead in the same direction, and unless and until they are superseded by better evidence their implication would seem clear. Mr. Roosevelt apparently believed, in the autumn of 1938, that the air power of Britain and France was dangerously insufficient, and that those nations ought not to assume the risks of war with Germany at that time. In consequence he intervened at a critical moment in a delicate and almost balanced situation. The result of his intervention was tantamount to compelling the Allies to agree to grant Chancellor Hitlers demands, instead of resisting them by war.
Mr. Roosevelts intervention was therefore equivalent in its result to appeasement, so that, in the phraseology current in those times, Mr. Roosevelt was, in effect, the most decisive appeaser.*
III. THE AFTERMATH OF MUNICH
By mid-November, 1938, both the American ambassador to Germany and the German ambassador to the United States had been recalled. The feelings of officials in Washington were rising portentously high against Germany : it was like 191617.(47) Ambassadors Bullitt, Kennedy, and Phillips were also brought back from their posts for post-mortem conferences, and it was secretly agreed that the time had come to stop Germany and to assist Britain and France.(48) Mr. Morgenthau now managed to intrude himself into the military aircraft production program and commenced making the arrangements to give away our newest aircraft to foreign countries. Early in December, 1938, a French mission came secretly to the United States in order to inspect our newest attack bomber, and Mr. Morgenthau arranged for the necessary clearances.(49)
The secrets of power politics are rarely hidden for long from the insiders. It is only the people themselves who are not permitted to know what is being secretly planned and what is secretly done. Word of the American plans no doubt percolated through to Premier Mussolini in due course, and at the commencement of 1939 his thinking changed ; he then considered that a clash with the Western democracies was inevitable, and he decided to try to transform the Anti-Comintern agreement into an alliance.(50) The American lack of political sense(51) in international affairs may well have affected that fateful decision.
In a chapter limited by space we cannot pause to trace the development of Mr. Roosevelts propaganda in his methods short of war annual message to the Congress on January 4, 1939, or in his special message on defense in early January, 1939. But the trend of his thinking at this time is clear. On January 23, 1939, a bomber crashed and an injured member of the French mission was pulled from the flaming wreck.(52) This suddenly revealed to the American public the presence of secret military missions. In the ensuing furore Mr. Roosevelt called the Senate Military Affairs Committee to the White House, swore them to secrecy, and said that our frontier in the battle of the democracies against Fascism was on the Rhine,(53) or (according to another version) in France.(54) This, too, leaked, and the furore became greater.
The percipient reader will have noted already that while Mr. Roosevelt referred to Fascism he made no mention of the peril of Communism. That obvious omission was contemporaneously noted by the Polish ambassador to the United States in a dispatch which showed brilliant insight upon that particular topic. On January 16, 1939, the Polish ambassador reported to Warsaw that he had had a long talk with Ambassador Bullitt, who was about to return to his post in Paris. Mr. Bullitt stated that Mr. Roosevelts policies included rearmament at an accelerated speed; that France and Britain must put [an] end to any sort of compromise with the totalitarian countries, and that They have the moral assurance that the United States will leave the policy of isolation and be prepared to intervene actively on the side of Britain and France in case of war. America is ready to place its whole wealth of money and raw materials at their disposal.(55)
Several weeks later the Polish ambassador to France reported as to another conversation with Mr. Bullitt, from which he concluded . . . that the policy of President Roosevelt will henceforth take the course of supporting Frances resistance, to check German-Italian pressure, and to weaken British compromise tendencies.(56)
On March 14, 1939, Chancellor Hitler had called in the Czechoslovak President and Foreign Minister and had forced them to agree to a German protectorate and to occupation by German troops. This came as a great surprise : even Mussolini did not know it had been planned. It left him feeling flat-footed and ridiculous,(57) and in consequence he determined to seize Albania. Apparently American diplomats were unaware of this strained relationship between Hitler and Mussolini, and instead of capitalizing upon such divergencies they maladroitly brought the parties together by scolding messages(58) and by attempts to constitute a democratic bloc.(59)
From Paris Mr. Bullitt wrote to Mr. Roosevelt on March 23, 1939,(60) urging that some nation in Europe should stand up to Germany quickly, and the next day he had a conversation with the Polish ambassador. The Pole expressed the opinion, among others, that British foreign policy was . . . not only concerned with the defense of these states which find themselves menaced by the new methods of German policy, but also with an ideological conflict with Hitlerism, and that the ultimate aim in the pursuit of its actions is not peace but to bring about the downfall of Germany.(61) The Pole also objected that neither Britain nor France were taking sufficiently firm military measures at that time, and that in consequence their proposals to Poland were highly dangerous to that country. Mr. Bullitt then inquired whether Poland would accept a common alliance in the event that France and England proposed it. The Polish ambassador replied guardedly and in substance that it would depend upon how much power Britain was prepared to use to back up the guarantee.
Mr. Bullitt then telephoned Mr. Kennedy at London on March 25, 1939,(62) and instructed him to call on Mr. Chamberlain and repeat the conversation. Ambassador Kennedy did so on March 26, 1939,(63) and telephoned his report to Mr. Bullitt at Paris. The Polish ambassador at Paris expressed doubt as to how far Britain would go and expressed to Mr. Bullitt the . . . hope that the United States possesses means by which it can exercise efficacious pressure on England. He added that he would seriously consider assembling these means. Someonewe may assume that it was Mr. Bullittwas telephoning to Mr. Roosevelt at this time,(64) and the upshot of all this maneuvering was that, on March 31, 1939, Mr. Chamberlain stated to the House of Commons that Great Britain and France would fight if Germany invaded Poland. Some light is cast upon this decision by the contemporary report of the Polish ambassador in London as to Mr. Kennedys conversation with Mr. Chamberlain. Mr. Kennedy, it was said, . . . emphasized that Americas sympathies for England in case of a conflict would depend to a great extent upon the determination with which England would take care of European states threatened by Germany.(65)
Meanwhile, in late March, Lord Halifax had approached Mr. Kennedy, saying that the British commitments in Europe were so substantial that a previous promise made to Australia to send a fleet to Singapore could not be kept;(66) would America oblige ? Ambassador Bullitt supported this request from France on April 11, 1939, stating that France would refuse to join Britain in taking action to resist Germany if the British Mediterranean Fleet was sent to Singapore.(67) Mr. Roosevelt took the requested prompt action ; on April 15, 1939, the American fleet was ordered into the Pacific.(68)
On May 17, 1939, Ambassador Phillips delivered a warning to Count Ciano, stressing one point, . . . that the American people . . . intend unanimously to concern themselves in European affairs, and it would be folly to think that they would remain aloof in the event of a conflict.(69) Ambassador Davies is supposed to have made a somewhat comparable assertion to Stalin,(70) but the limited scope of this chapter forbids any attempt to trace the involved paths of the tortuous negotiations conducted almost simultaneously by Soviet Russia with both Britain and Germany, which eventuated in the public and secret treaties of August 23, 1939, between Germany and Russia, and which were the immediate prelude to the outbreak of the second World War.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Mr. Roosevelt was unsuccessfully attempting to abolish the restraints which the Neutrality Act laid on him. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth had visited him in early June, 1939, but the nature of the conversations which were held at that time are still secret. That Mr. Roosevelts purposes had not changed is shown by the despairing and prophetic summary which Professor Raymond Moley wrote during the summer of 1939, in the course of which he observed that the administration was up to its neck in the game of power politics, and he also stated that the evidence has all pointed to our active and tireless participation in the game . . .(71)
At a much later date it was revealed that during the summer of 1939 Mr. Bullitt was frequently urging upon Mr. Roosevelt the opinion that the Germans would not fight about Poland if they were faced down.(72) Mr. Roosevelt asked Mr. Clarence Dillon to get in secret touch with the British, to urge that Mr. Chamberlain should have greater firmness in dealing with Germany, and Mr. Dillon spoke to this effect to Lord Lothian. Mr. Roosevelt also delivered similar messages to Mr. Kennedy over the transatlantic telephone during the summer of 1939. Mr. Kennedys view was that the British did not have enough to fight with, and that any conflict between Germany and Britain was superfluous because Germany would later attack Soviet Russia. And Mr. Kennedy later reported that Mr. Chamberlain had said that America and the world Jews had forced Britain into the war.
Indeed, as it has a bearing upon Mr. Roosevelts aggressive purposes, it should be noted that at a secret conference at Tokyo on May 23, 1939, between Baron Hiranuma and Mr. Eugene H. Dooman, the counselor of the American Embassy, the Japanese Prime Minister suggested that he might sound out Germany and Italy, if Mr. Roosevelt was prepared to approach Britain and France, in order to hold a conference to try to solve the troubles of Europe.(73) Mr. Hull viewed this approach as amazing, and brought it to Mr. Roosevelts personal attention.(74) But a reply was delayed for the better part of three months, by which time circumstances had changed, and a great opportunity which had been neglected was wastedor evaded.
American preparations for war were proceeding silently and secretly. On June 23, 1939, a secret barter agreement was made with Britain;(75) a good deal of money was spent to buy various war materials;(76) nineteen new merchant ships were launched by August 9 ; contracts were about to be let for one hundred more;(77) and on August 10 a War Resources Board was created.(78)
IV. AMERICAN POLICY
AND THE OUTBREAK OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR
The diplomatic confusion and maneuverings which preceded the outbreak of the second World War can only be touched upon briefly here. But this much should be pointed out. The Russo-German treaties of August 23, 1939, were not only unpopular in Europe ; they met with a hostile Japanese response, and Italy at the last moment refused to fight,(79) so that on August 25 Chancellor Hitler cancelled the mobilization orders.(80) It therefore seems to be a legitimate hypothesis to suppose that if American diplomacy had previously been more friendly and affirmative toward Japan and toward Italy, and if the German generals and others who were so earnestly opposed to the Chancellor had been encouraged and supported, the focusing of all this combined strength and opposition might then have led to his immediate downfall. Instead, as we all know, the final result of this political confusion and diplomatic ineptitude was war, after the failure of sincere last-minute Italian efforts to reach a peaceful settlement.(81) Two days after the invasion of Poland, Britain declared war on Germany, and France reluctantly followed the British lead a few hours later.
Very shortly thereafter Mr. Roosevelt decided to ignore the regular procedure of transmitting diplomatic communications through ambassadors and Secretaries of State. Mr. Churchill has stated that on September 11, 1939, Mr. Roosevelt had requested him to send him personal sealed communications through the diplomatic pouches,(82) and that there were about two thousand,(83) or seventeen hundred,(84) of these exchanges. The most important business between Britain and America was ultimately transacted through this personal and secret correspondence, and almost all of it has been kept secret to this day.
Meanwhile Mr. Roosevelt held press conferences, made a fireside chat to the nation, and issued various proclamations, including a neutrality proclamation. At all times his protestations of a desire to keep America at peace were strong and profuse. This was the appearance ; the reality was otherwise.
A deceitfully named neutrality patrol of American waters was initiated by or before September 22, 1939,(85) but it was not long before American naval vessels were unneutrally directing and escorting British warships to capture German prizes.(86) Wholly contrary to the established rules of international law a so-called neutral zone was extended anywhere from three hundred to one thousand miles out to sea(87) in order to benefit Britain against Germany. Later, on October 18, 1939, the submarines of all the belligerents, except Russia, were forbidden to enter American ports, except in case of force majeure.(88)
Secret preparations were made for American entry into the war.(89) By necessary implication Mr. Roosevelt had lost some of his earlier faith in the overwhelming effect of air power, because plans for the draft were being worked on in September, and by early October they were essentially in the form in which they were enacted about a year later.(90) Wartime taxation was being studied, as was some form of war risk insurance.
Meanwhile Soviet Russia joined in the attack on Poland, and Polish resistance collapsed. Foreign diplomats thought that peace was quite possible, but Mr. Roosevelt was strongly opposed to a negotiated peace.(91) The German attempt to make peace failed, and the period of the phony war began.
Mr. Roosevelt had called a special session of Congress for September 21, 1939, in order to amend the Neutrality Act,(92) and, after assuring the country that it was a shameless and dishonest fake to assert that any person in any responsible place . . . in Washington . . . has ever suggested in any shape, manner or form the remotest possibility of sending the boys of American mothers to fight on the battlefields of Europe, and that the United States is neutral and does not intend to get involved in war,(93) he managed to get the cash-and-carry amendments through on November 3, 1939.(94) British and French purchasing commissions were already here, awaiting the passage of the amendments in order to open up. In Mr. Morgenthaus opinion(95) they did not arm speedily enough, but in about a year it transpired that they had ordered arms far in excess of their capacity to pay for them.
We must hasten over the German surrender of the three little Baltic states to Russia at the end of September, 1939, and the invasion of Finland on November 29, 1939. Likewise space limitations forbid more than a passing reference to Mr. Myron C. Taylors mission to the Vatican in February, 1940, and Mr. Sumner Welless trip to Italy, France, Germany, and Great Britain in February and March, 1940. Peace negotiations were in the air, but Mr. Roosevelt, still opposing a negotiated peace, refused to let Mr. Welles participate in them.(96) By March 19, 1940, Mr. Roosevelt was allowing our advanced types of aircraft to be sold to Britain and to France,(97) while starving the American Army and Navy of them for many months to come. General Arnold often refers(98) plaintively but timidly to this problem, which was finally so acute that Secretary Knox wrote in his secret report to Mr. Roosevelt, soon after the Pearl Harbor disaster :
Of course, the best means of defense against air attack consists of fighter planes. Lack of an adequate number of this type of aircraft available to the Army for the defense of the Island is due to the diversion of this type before the outbreak of the war to the British, the Chinese, the Dutch and the Russians.(99)
Prior to the attack on Denmark and Norway Mr. Roosevelt had arranged for loans to those countries.(100) During May, 1940, along with Mr. Churchill and M. Reynaud, he tried often but secretly(101) to keep Italy from entering the war, at first by covert threats, which made Mussolini feel compelled to act quickly, and later by promises of territorial accessions in the Mediterranean area which Mr. Roosevelt offered personally to guarantee. When these secret promises failed, Mr. Roosevelt returned to his original policy of threats, which became much more specific and included a thinly veiled statement of American military intervention.
On May 10, 1940, Germany had opened her attack upon the Low Countries and France, and Mr. Churchill had become Prime Minister. On May 15, 1940, Mr. Churchill cabled Mr. Roosevelt(102) a long list of requests for tangible aerial, naval, material, and diplomatic help, asking for almost everything except an expeditionary force, and including the abandonment of American neutrality. None of these requests was explicitly refused by Mr. Roosevelt, although he temporized as to granting several of them. The very next day, May 16, Mr. Roosevelt asked the Congress for additional appropriations for National Defense,(103) the first in a 1940 series. And on May 17, 1940, Mr. Roosevelt ordered the remaining older destroyers to be recommissioned.(104) It was his first step toward the destroyer deal, but it was not swift enough to please Mr. Churchill, whose demands soon became importunate and were coupled with intimations that under some circumstances the British Fleet might be surrendered to Germany. One cannot give even a résumé of the correspondence and subsequent negotiations here;(105) it ultimately resulted in the destroyer-bases deal of September 3, 1940.
On May 28, 1940, King Leopold III surrendered the Belgian armies, and next day the evacuation through Dunkirk began. On June 1, Mr. Roosevelt ordered the Army and the Navy to investigate the quantity of arms which could be transferred to Britain, and on June 3 General Marshall authorized sending to Britain half a million rifles, 80,000 machine guns, 900 field guns, and much in the way of other munitions.(106) On June 5, 1940, the Attorney General rendered an opinion that 600,000 rifles and 2,500 field guns, with ammunition, might be sold to Britain as surplus. From time to time thereafter more and more weapons were sent, so much more that in early 1941 Mr. Churchill gaily cabled brief thanks to Mr. Hopkins for a packet containing a mere quarter of a million rifles and half a billion rounds of ammunition.(107)
On June 10, 1940, Italy declared war against France, and on the same day Mr. Roosevelt delivered the speech at the commencement of the University of Virginia in which he said, the hand that held the dagger has struck it into the back of its neighbor.(108) France resisted Italy with far more ease than Germany, and M. Reynaud was now asking Mr. Roosevelt urgently for help.(109) So was Mr. Churchill, who also asked Mr. Roosevelt that hope be held out to France. In France, as resistance began to fail, Mr. Churchill held out the possibility even of an American declaration of war.(110) Mr. Roosevelt, on June 13, 1940, cabled M. Reynaud, promising much more material aid and urging that French resistance should continue,(111) but he refused to permit his cable to be made public.(112)
So France sought an armistice, and almost immediately Mr. Roosevelt began to threaten the French in various ways in order to force them to get their navy out of the way of the Germans before signing an armistice.(113) For many months thereafter these threats were renewed from time to time.(114)
V. AMERICAN AID TO BRITAIN SHORT OF WAR
On June 20, 1940, Mr. Woodring was ousted as Secretary of War because he had refused to strip the nation of its defenses in order to aid the Allies ; he was replaced by Mr. Stimson, a confirmed interventionist and an advocate of peacetime conscription. On that same day the draft act was introduced in the Senate, because, if enlistments in the Army are any criterion of public opinion, the country was still overwhelmingly opposed to Mr. Roosevelts policies. The Armys recruiting was a failure;(115) only nine thousand men had enlisted after a six weeks drive.
On July 2, 1940, Mr. Roosevelt by proclamation prohibited the export of munitions of war and many other goods, except under license. This measure, he later expressly acknowledged,(116) was to promote the policy of helping Great Britain; by necessary implication it was intended to prevent any exports to Germany and to Italy. It was about at this time that a naval and military mission was sent to Britain. Nominally it was an exploratory mission,(117) but out of it the secret joint Anglo-American staff plans of January, 1941, ensued.
On July 19, 1940, Chancellor Hitler appealed to Great Britain to make peace.(118) His offer was serious, and competent observers believed that Britain would have been tempted to accept it, had it not been for Mr. Roosevelts opposition.(119) Russo-German relations were already deteriorating, and German plans to attack Russia were in the earliest stage of their formation.(120) Chancellor Hitler wanted, and expected to obtain, peace with Britain. When peace was rejected hasty plans to attack Britain were initiated in July,(121) disputed between the German navy and the German army in August, and abandoned in September(122) in order to concentrate upon the Russian adventure.(123)
In the United States Mr. Roosevelt was busily occupied in finding a way to circumvent the Congress(124) and consummate the destroyer deal, in undertaking the defense of Canada, in helping Mr. Churchill with a variety of relatively minor diplomatic intrigues, and, most particularly, in winning the third-term election by giving more profuse and more sweeping promises again and again and again to maintain peace during the next four years(125) and to keep our people out of foreign wars.(126) Along with these activities Mr. Roosevelt deceived the Congress into authorizing, in late August, that the National Guard be ordered into active service for training efficiency.(127) He also managed to secure the passage of the first peacetime conscription act by September 16, 1940,(128) but it was limited to twelve months of training and the draftees could not be sent outside of the Western Hemisphere.
Once the election was won on which our fate . . . depended,(129) Mr. Churchill had further demands to make. It took him over three weeks to compose a letter, almost ten pages long when printed,(130) which was delivered to Mr. Roosevelt on December 9, 1940. The requests were more formidable and contemplated the continuance of the war for at least two more years ; this was the genesis of lend-lease.
By December 12, 1940,(131) joint staff conversations with the British had been secretly commenced in London, Manila, and Washington. They continued through the early part of 1941, and out of them the American-British-Dutch war plans were developed. The first war plan was against Germany ; the second war plan was against Japan, and Mr. Roosevelt approved both of these plans except officially,(132) as Admiral Stark put it. Continued secrecy still prevents a positive statement as to the constitution of a formal alliance at this time, but the distinction between a formal alliance and a gentlemans agreement which had been established and approved, except officially, seems trifling.(133) What is of vastly greater concern is that neither the American people nor the Congress were allowed to know the truth. The vital implications of these joint staff conferences in regard to the involvement of the United States in the war were fully sensed by Admiral Stark. At the close of the conferences he wrote to his fleet commanders that The question as to our entry into the war now seems to be when, and not whether.(133a)
In early January, 1941, Mr. Hopkins had flown to London to confer with Mr. Churchill. Mr. Hopkins laconic report, I told of my mission,(134) is expanded in Mr. Churchills version of it to a more sweeping undertaking :
The President is determined that we shall win the war together. Make no mistake about it.
He has sent me here to tell you that at all costs and by all means he will carry you through, no matter what happens to himthere is nothing that he will not do so far as he has human power.(135)
Meanwhile Mr. Roosevelt had asked the Congress for lend-lease, and on January 10, 1941, the bill, drafted in the offices of Mr. Stimson and of Mr. Morgenthau,(136) was introduced. Space forbids an extended account of all the political maneuvering which accomplished it.(137) One can only state three matters in a summary way : first, that vague terror stories about an invasion crisis facing Britainin the event, a quite false and synthetic crisiswere employed as one of the propaganda devices to secure its enactment ; second, that in consequence of its passage on March 9, 1941, the Congress surrendered the war-making power to Mr. Roosevelt, and enabled him to make war, declared or undeclared, anywhere in the world ; and third, that lend-lease, like most of Mr. Roosevelts other measures, was wholly unneutral and contrary to the elementary rules of international law.
In mid-January, 1941, another and more fateful thread was woven into the pattern. The American State Department, at Mr. Roosevelts specific instruction, warned(138) the Russian ambassador, Mr. Constantine Oumansky,(139) of the contemplated German attack, and these warnings were later repeated.(140) By early February, 1941, the eastern movement of the German troops was well known.(141) Everything pointed toward an extension of the war by a German attack on Russia, but Anglo-American power politics succeeded in delaying it for five weeks.(142) The great cost of the sacrifice, made in order to obtain this small delay for Soviet Russias benefit, was the loss of Yugoslavia, Greece, and Crete, the crippling of the British Mediterranean Fleet,(143) and the British defeat in Libya.(144) In the diplomatic intrigues in Greece and in Yugoslavia Americans(145) played a substantial and quite successful part in opposing Germany. Later, as the time approached for the commencement of the attack on Russia, Mr. Churchill meditated upon what his policy should be and concluded that he should give all encouragement and any help we can spare. He cabled this to Mr. Roosevelt,(146) who replied in the sense of carte blanchehe would publicly endorse any announcement that the Prime Minister might make welcoming Russia as an ally.
In the autumn of 1938 the French military experts had expressed(147) to Mr. Bullitt the view that . . . the war would last at least six years and would . . . end in the complete destruction of Europe, and with communism reigning in all States. Undoubtedly, at the conclusion, the benefits would be taken by Russia. So far as can be ascertained neither Mr. Roosevelt nor Mr. Churchill had such prudent misgivings in June, 1941. Or, if they did, their strong antipathy toward Germany prevented them from acting with the cold and detached realism which is so necessary in the successful practice of power politics.
After the passage of the Lend-Lease Act Mr. Roosevelt seemed to view the United States as being in the European war except officially.(148) But in the light of the many campaign promises which he had made, and also of the explicit pledge contained in the Democratic partys platform, he felt that he could not enter the war officially unless and until he could persuade the nation that there had been an attack by Germany. Until that time came he would engage in a secret and undeclared war,(149) hoping to drive the Germans into shooting first.(150)
It was on March 6, 1941, that Mr. Roosevelt expressed a portion of his purposes to the Polish ambassador, saying, . . . we Americans will have to buy this war as such. Let us hope at the price of Lend-Lease only. But who can say what price we may ultimately have to pay ?(151)
In March, 1941, American officers went to Britain to select naval bases for use in convoying,(152) and air fields, and as soon as they had been selected the construction work began. Damaged British warships were to be repaired in American navy yards. In April two million tons of shipping were obtained and sent through the Red Sea in order to aid the British campaigns in the Mediterranean area, and a large supply base was secretly set up at Basra.(153) Also in that month the movements of American war vessels were coordinated with those of the British and arrangements were made for secret intercommunication.(154) And finally it was on April 18, 1941, that Mr. Roosevelt extended out to 26° Westover two thousand miles from New Yorkthe claimed boundary of the Western Hemisphere(155)wherein American warships would aid the British. The order providing for this action was issued on April 24, 1941.(156) In March, 1941, American army planes began patrolling the North Atlantic, out of Newfoundland,(157) against German submarines ; in April, 1941, Greenland was occupied;(158) in May, 1941, plans were made,(159) and later abandoned, to seize the Azores and Martinique. Meanwhile Mr. Roosevelt debated whether to order American submarines to attack and sink the German battleship Bismarck.(160) In June Mr. Roosevelt agreed with Mr. Churchill to relieve the British troops in Iceland,(161) and this was done on July 7, 1941. It was also in June, 1941, that Mr. Roosevelt ordered the closing of all the German and Italian consulates in the United States.
In the middle of May Mr. Roosevelt had announced publicly that twenty-four cargo ships were about to depart for the Red Sea in spite of the German proclamation of a war zone in that area.(162) These vessels had to sail between Africa and South America, and in that general area the Robin Moor was sunk a few days later. Mr. Roosevelt had successfully provoked an incident, and in a message to the Congress he called it an act of piracy, and the act of an international outlaw,(163) but the American public declined to be aroused.
Meanwhile the German Führer was taking no chances over the creation of any incident. He had long since prohibited unrestricted submarine warfare and the sinking of passenger ships;(164) he had also strictly forbidden any injury to friendly nations vessels or to those of the United States, outside of the war zone closely adjacent to the British Isles.(165) When the so-called neutrality patrol in the neutrality zone was established, Chancellor Hitler secretly ordered all German warships to avoid any incidents in it.(166) When Mr. Roosevelt extended the boundaries of the Western Hemisphere much further to the east, the Führer still continued to prohibit the creation of any incidents.(167) Nevertheless Mr. Roosevelt was still hoping in early June that he could drive the Germans into shooting first.(168)
Late June and July, 1941, were largely concerned with the aftermath of the German attack on Russia. Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Hopkins, and others rushed in to swamp Russia with offers of American aid. Theirs seems to have been the extremely simple policy of giving unlimited and unconditional aid not only to the true enemies of Germany but also to that nations former accomplices.(169) Mr. Churchill could at least speak tartly(170) of the Communists view that they were conferring a great favour on us by fighting in their own country for their own lives, but when Mr. Hopkins went to Russia in return for the offer of such aid he asked nothing.(171) Fulfillment of the Russian demands was given a first priority by Mr. Roosevelt over everything else,(172) and materials and equipment were diverted to Russia in late 1941 over the opposition and in spite of strong protests from the Armed Forces.(173)
The diminution of American supplies to Britain in consequence of this prospective diversion was only one of the reasons which led Mr. Churchill to seek the Atlantic Conference meeting which was held about mid-August, 1941.(174) Mr. Churchill had frequently attempted to bring the United States into the war as a belligerent. The British had hoped for this in June, 1940 ; they had expected it a few days after the third-term election was won ;(175) they had looked for it again about the first of May,(176) and Mr. Churchill sought to obtain it at the conference.(177) There is some reason to believe that the American Chiefs of Staff felt that their forces were not as yet ready for war and that they dissuaded Mr. Roosevelt from taking drastic action immediately.(178)
However, the Atlantic Charter, in providing for Anglo-American co-operation in the policing of the world during a transitional period following the close of the second World War, assumed by a tacit but inescapable implication that the United States would presently become involved in the war. This implication is fortified by the preponderance of the top military and naval staff personnel who were present. What was, on their agenda has never been fully disclosed, but it included war plans generally(179) and specific discussions about expeditions to seize the Azores, the Canaries, and the Cape Verde Islands.(180) The activities of the American navy were to be extended in the North Atlantic,(181) and Mr. Roosevelt repeated to Mr. Churchill his predilection for an undeclared war, saying, I may never declare war ; I may make war. If I were to ask Congress to declare war, they might argue about it for three months.(182) There was also a long discussion of Far Eastern affairs, which falls outside the scope of this chapter.
VI. THE SHOOTING WAR BEGINS
Within a fortnight after the termination of the Atlantic Conferenceon August 25, 1941Mr. Roosevelt gave secret orders to the Atlantic Fleet to attack and destroy German and Italian hostile forces; this was the putting into effect of War Plan 51.(183) Ten days later, on September 4, 1941, there was an incident between an American destroyer, the Greer, and a German submarine. If the Greer obeyed her secret orders she necessarily attacked the submarine, but it was stated for public consumption that she was attacked. This was doubted at the time. The Navy Department, it should be noted, refused to furnish the log of the Greer to the Senate,(184) and thus establish whether the official claim was the truth.
Mr. Roosevelt capitalized on this incident in a fireside chat delivered on September 11, 1941.(185) He claimed it was an attack, piracy legally and morally, and that the Nazis were international outlaws. And he said,
. . . When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck before you crush him.
These Nazi submarines and raiders are the rattlesnakes of the Atlantic. . . .
. . . From now on, if German or Italian vessels of war enter the waters the protection of which is necessary for American defense, they will do so at their own peril.
This was the shoot-on-sight speech, and it publicly announced a small portion of the substance of War Plan 51, which was already secretly in effect. Mr. Churchill mentioned in a most secret letter to General Smuts(186) that the American people had been kept quite ignorant of the vast area to which it is to be applied. Here, indeed, was undeclared war. On September 13 Mr. Roosevelt ordered the Atlantic Fleet to escort convoys in which there were no American vessels.(187) It was also at about this time that Mr. Roosevelt agreed to furnish Mr. Churchill with our best transport shipstwelve liners and twenty cargo vessels, manned by American crewsto transport two British divisions to the Middle East.(188) At an earlier date fifty American tankers(189) had been transferred to Britain, and four to Russia, which led to a gasoline shortage and a curfew in the eastern United States.
Another incident occurred on October 17, 1941, when an American destroyer, the Kearny, dropped depth charges on a German submarine,(190) which replied to the attack by torpedoing the Kearny. Ten days later Mr. Roosevelt, who again claimed that this was an unprovoked German attack, delivered a scare-mongering election-eve(191) type of speech in which he claimed that . . . the shooting has started, and history has recorded who fired the first shot.(192) Then, in a passage the importance of which seems to have been overlooked at that time, he guardedly hinted that the Republic was bound by his secret commitments, saying significantly, Very simply and very bluntlywe are pledged to pull our own oar in the destruction of Hitlerism. (Emphasis supplied.) Mr. Roosevelt claimed to have news of a German plan to abolish all religions in Germany, and throughout the worldif Hitler wins. Also he claimed to have a map proving the German intention to conquer Latin America and redistrict it into five vassal statesbut at his next press conference(193) he made excuses and refused to reveal it.
On October 31, 1941, an older destroyer, the Reuben James, was torpedoed about seven hundred miles eastward of Newfoundland,(194) and more lives were lost. The American publics reaction to it was expressed by Admiral Stark in a confidential letter to Admiral Kimmel at Pearl Harbor : Believe it or not, the Reuben James set recruiting back about 15%.(195) This illustrates the continuance of public opposition to involvement in the war. In mid-August the length of service required under the draft act had been extended, in violation of the obligations of good faith toward the draftees. The administration had had to use all of its political and patronage powers to force this extension, and, even so, the vote in the House was 203 to 2o2.(196) From New England, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, across the Midwest and out to the Northwest, every single state (except Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Montana, which split fifty-fifty) voted two to one, or by larger majorities, against the extension of the draft act.(197) Public opinion was, of course, far more preponderantly against involvement in the war than this vote showed.
By the time that October, 1941, had ended, Mr. Roosevelts undeclared war in the Atlantic had become a reality and was in full swing. But this was not enough. The war powers could not be exercised under our Constitution until there was a formal and declared war, and of that there was no immediate prospect. As Count Ciano had noted, when at the German General Headquarters, . . . The Germans have firmly decided to do nothing which will accelerate or cause Americas entry into the war. . . .(198) Because of this German attitude Mr. Roosevelt, as of the end of October, 1941, had no further ideas how to get into a formal and declared war : . . . He had said everything short of war that could be said. He had no more tricks left. The hat from which he had pulled so many rabbits was empty. . . .(199) The only thing that he could think of to do was to continue to stall,(200) for the front door to war in Europe appeared to be firmly barred. Germany and Italy seemed resolved to decline the progressively increasing challenges of Mr. Roosevelts unneutral actions and policies.
But there were back doors as well as front doors. There was always the uneasy state of affairs in the Far East. On the one hand a peaceful solution of the Japanese problem would have released much American power for use in Europe. Moreover, it seemed incredibleat least to Mr. Churchill(201)that Japan would commit political suicide by going to war with the United States and Britain. On the other hand, if this view was correct and if certain American diplomatic officials were not mistaken in believing that Japan could be quickly defeated, perhaps a Japanese war would solve Mr. Roosevelts problems without involving too much delay in his purpose to conquer Germany. Maybe the longest way round was the shortest way home.
It was complicated. Either way there were pros and cons. But Mr. Roosevelt was a complicated man, too, not a simple one. His intentions were complex and his plans were never thoroughly thought out.(202) Therefore it may be true that there was a complex ambivalence, not thoroughly thought out, in Mr. Roosevelts attitude toward the expedience of peace or war with Japan. It is quite possible that he did not fully commit himself to the latter choice until late in November, 1941. By his own express declarations we know that he deliberately temporized. Temporizing is sometimes merely a way to postpone making a decision, but it may also be a method of awaiting a favorable opportunity to put into effect a decision already made.
By November 25, 1941, Mr. Roosevelt and his cabinet(203) were debating how to maneuver [the Japanese] into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves. On December 1, 1941, Mr. Roosevelt very secretly issued the needless order to send the Cockleshell Warships(204) to their appointed positions for destruction. But other and mightier events were in motion : before an entire week had passed Mr. Churchill(205) could go to bed and sleep the sleep of the saved and thankful. . . . So we had won after all ! . . . Britain would live . . . and the Empire would live. . . . United we could subdue everybody else in the world. . . . We might not even have to die as individuals.
So may it be ! But designs, least of all designs for war, do not always eventuate as their planners intend. The design for the war which began at Pearl Harbor was a zigzag growth rooted in secrecy, unneutrality, misrepresentation, and deceit. Morally speaking, such a tree could not have been expected to bear good fruit, and it did not.
As it eventuated, Japan was not an easy conquest ; she was the last enemy to surrender to us. And always a malign miasma seemed to haunt that air. It was against Japan that we dropped the atom bombs and thus revealed their existence to the worldneedlessly, as it transpired. And needlessly, as it also transpired, the secret deals and agreements were made with Russia at Yalta. Thus Russia came into Manchuria, China, and North Korea. The end of that story is a tale yet to be told. Perhaps future historians will some day trace there the origins of the third world war, but if they do so, they will not be entirely correct. The roots run more deeply than that. They run back to Mr. Roosevelts abandonment of neutrality ; they involve his diplomatic maladroitness, and they involve his lack of ability to think out his plans thoroughly. Not least, there remains Mr. Roosevelts penchant for secrecy and for the deceit of his own people as well as of others. Perhaps it may be trueperhaps it may yet be generally agreedthat even in the conduct of foreign affairs honesty is the best policy.
1. Cordell Hull, Memoirs, (2 vols.; New York : The Macmillan Company, 1948), I, 790. It was later believed that Mr. Roosevelts telephone calls, at least to Ambassador Bullitt, were intercepted by the Germans. See Hearings Before the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, 79 Cong., 2 sess. (39 parts; Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1946) Part III, p. 1213. (The Hearings will hereinafter be designated Pearl Harbor Attack.)
2. For a condensed résumé of facts proving the absence of any planned conspiracy, see Frederic R. Sanborn, Design For War (New York : Devin-Adair Company, 1951), p. 58, 60, 173, 268. Cf. H.L. Trefousse, Germany and American Neutrality (New York : Bookman Associates, 1951), p. 150. Even the judgment at the Nuremberg trials admits that no single conspiracy could be proven : 6 Federal Rules Decisions, pp. 111-12. See also The United States at War (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1946), pp. 507-8.
3. Peace and War : United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941, Department of State, Publication 1853 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1942) , p. 47.
4. Sumner Welles, The Time for Decision (New York : Harper & Brothers, 1944), p. 288.
5. Charles Cheney Hyde, International Law Chiefly as Interpreted and Applied by the United States (Boston : Little, Brown & Company, 1922), II, 765.
6. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt ; edited by Samuel I. Rosenman (13 vols.; New York : The Macmillan Company, 1941), VII, 249-58 : interview of April 20, 1938.
7. Ibid., VIII, xxxviii-xxxix.
8. Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, An Intimate History (New York : Harper & Brothers, 1948), p. 438.
9. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, VI, 406-11.
10. For a résumé, see Sanborn, op. cit., pp. 7-19.
11. John T. Flynn, Country Squire in the White House (New York : Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1940), p. 103 ; cf. William D. Leahy, I Was There (New York : Whittlesey House, 1950), p. 64.
12. Winston S. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, (Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1948), p. 247 ; Hull, op. cit., I, 549, 573.
13. Raymond Moley, After Seven Years (New York : Harper & Brothers, 1939) p. 379. See Hull, op. cit., I, 684, which acknowledges the existence of this point of view.
14. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part IX, pp. 4272-76.
15. New York Times, October 24, 1947, p. 1, cols. 2-3.
16. Hull, op. cit., 1, 563-64.
17. Ibid., 1, 576-77 ; Peace and War, pp. 54-55.
18. Emil Ludwig, Roosevelt (New York : The Viking Press, 1938), p. 272.
19. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, VII, 413.
20. New York Times, November 18, 1938, pp. 1, 12, 13.
21. The German White Paper ; full text of the Polish documents issued by the Berlin Foreign Office ; with a foreword by C. Hartley Grattan (New York : Howell, Soskin & Co., 1940), p. 15. This condition was equally well known to the Germans at that time ; see Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1946), III, 281.
22. German White Paper, p. 16.
23. Adolf Hitler, My New Order ; edited with commentary by Raoul de Roussy de Sales (New York : Reynal & Hitchcock, 1941), p. 504.
24. Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, I, 525.
25. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, p. 293.
26. Hull, op. cit., I, 589.
27. Ibid., I, 590.
28. Ibid., I, 590-91.
29. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, p. 310.
30. Waverly Root, The Secret History of the War (2 vols.; New York : Charles Scribners Sons, 1945), I, 6, 10. Exactly this hostile combination had been foreseen by the Germans about a month previously ; see also Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, III, 280.
31. Louis Fischer, Men and Politics, An Autobiography (New York : Duell, Sloan & Peace, 1941), p. 556.
32. Ibid., p. 570.
33. Ibid., p. 570 ; see also Churchill, The Gathering Storm, p. 309.
34. William L. Shirer, Berlin Diary (New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1941), pp. 142-43 ; see also Hans Bernd Gisevius, To the Bitter End (Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1947) p. 324.
35. Gisevius, op. cit., pp. 319-26 ; see also Churchill, The Gathering Storm, pp. 311-14.
36. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, p. 314.
37. Hull, op. cit., I, 591.
38. Ibid., I, 592.
39. Ibid., I, 593.
41. Ibid., I, 590.
42. Ibid., I, 592-93.
43. H.H. Arnold, Global Mission (New York : Harper & Brothers, 1949), pp. 177-79.
44. Sherwood, op. cit., p. 100.
45. Ibid., p. 101.
46. Fischer, op. cit., p. 564.
47. German White Paper, pp. 19-21.
48. Moley, op. cit., pp. 379-80.
49. Arnold, op. cit., p. 185.
50. The Ciano Diaries, 1939-1943 ; [his] complete unabridged diaries ; edited by Hugh Gibson ; introduction by Sumner Welles (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1946), p. 3.
51. Ibid., p. 5.
52. Arnold, op. cit., 185.
53. Sanborn, op. cit., p. 55.
54. German White Paper, p. 44.
55. Ibid., pp. 32-33.
56. Ibid., p. 45.
57. The Ciano Diaries, pp. 42-44.
58. Sanborn, op. cit., pp. 58-60.
59. The Ciano Diaries, p. 49.
60. Trefousse, op. cit., p. 20.
61. German White Paper, pp. 51-54.
64. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, VIII, 185-86.
65. German White Paper, p. 59.
66. Hull, op. cit., I, 630.
69. The Ciano Diaries, p. 83.
70. Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, VI, 890.
71. Moley, op. cit., p. 382.
72. Walter Millis (ed.), The Forrestal Diaries (New York : The Viking Press, 1951), pp. 121-22.
73. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part XX, p. 4139.
74. Ibid., Part XX, p. 4168. Nine years later Mr. Hull claimed that he was more than skeptical of this proposal ; see The Memoirs of Cordell Hull, I, 631. But no suggestion of skepticism appears in his 1939 memorandum to Mr. Roosevelt.
75. Peace and War, p. 61 ; International Transactions of the U.S., etc., p. 27 ; Hull, op. cit., I, 625.
76. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, VIII, 568.
77. Ibid., VIII, 438.
78. The United States at War (Washington, D.C., 1946), p. 16.
79. Sanborn, op. cit., p. 85.
80. Ulrich von Hassell, The Von Hassell Diaries, 1938-1944 (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1947), p. 63.
81. The Ciano Diaries, pp. 129-30, 132, 134, 136 ; The Von Hassell Diaries, p. 73.
82. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, p. 440.
83. Ibid., p. 441.
84. Churchill, Their Finest Hour, p. 23.
85. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, VIII, 525-27.
86. Fuehrer Conferences on Matters Dealing with the German Navy (Washington, D.C.: Navy Department, Office of Naval Intelligence, 1947), II, 48 ; Trefousse, op. cit., p. 42.
87. Hull, op. cit., I, 689-91.
88. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, VIII, 552-54.
89. The United States at War, pp. 21-22.
90. Sanborn, op. cit., p. 92.
91. Sherwood, op. cit., p. 126.
92. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, VIII, 512-22.
93. Ibid., VIII, 554-57.
94. Ibid., VIII, 524.
95. The Morgenthau Diaries, Colliers, CXX (October 18, 1947) 72.
96. The Ciano Diaries, p. 222 ; cf. Welles, op. cit., pp. 135, 139.
97. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, IX, pp. 104-8.
98. Arnold, op. cit., pp. 190, 193, 196-98, 203, 215, 241, 245, 251, 256, 258, 264-67.
99. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part XXIV, p. 1753. This report is not dated, but from other evidence it would seem that it should be dated about December 15, 1941.
100. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, IX, 51. 101.
101. Sanborn, op. cit., pp. 108-10.
102. Churchill, Their Finest Hour, pp. 24-25.
103. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, IX, 198-205.
104. Ibid., IX, 213.
105. See Sanborn, op. cit., pp. 117, 129, 135, 140-42, 170-71, 179-84 ; Arnold, op. cit., pp. 234-35 ; cf. pp. 230, 232.
106. Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., Lend-Lease, Weapon for Victory (New York : The Macmillan Company, 1944), pp. 24-25. The subterfuge was obvious . . . wrote Mr. Stimson. See Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York : Harper & Brothers, 1948), p. 356. See also Hull, op. cit., I, 775.
107. Churchill, The Grand Alliance (Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950), p. 127 ; cf. 732, 741.
108. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, IX, 259-64.
109. Hull, op. cit., I, 767-75.
110. Churchill, Their Finest Hour, pp. 179-81.
111. Peace and War, pp. 74-75 ; Churchill, Their Finest Hour, pp. 183-84 ; Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 145. Mr. Sherwoods version differs from Mr. Churchills ; which one is not paraphrased ?
112. Churchill, Their Finest Hour, p. 187.
113. Peace and War, p. 76.
114. Leahy, op. cit., p. 9.
115. Life, IX, No. 1 (July 1, 1940), 7.
116. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, IX, 281.
117. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 137.
118. Adolf Hitler, My New Order, pp. 809-38 ; especially pp. 836-38.
119. Shirer, op. cit., pp. 453, 457-59, 550-52, 561 ; The Ciano Diaries, p. 227 ; cf. Hull, op. cit., I, 844-45.
120. Shirer, op. cit., pp. 450, 550 ; Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, V, 741.
121. Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, III, 399-400.
122. The Ciano Diaries, p. 296.
123. Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, III, 406-7 ; see also the Fuehrer Conferences, II, 22-23.
124. Sherwood, op. cit., p. 175.
125. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, IX, 541-43.
126. Ibid., IX, 530-39.
127. Ibid., IX, 313-14.
128. Ibid., IX, p. 428.
129. Churchill, Their Finest Hour, p. 187.
130. Ibid., pp. 558-67.
131. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part XIV, p. 984 ; Part XX, pp. 4075-76 : Sherwood, op. cit., pp. 271-73.
132. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part V, p. 2391 ; Part III, pp. 994-97.
133. Compare Mr. Sherwoods simile of a common-law marriage, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 270. Note General Arnolds observation, Global Mission, p. 244we were forming a very close alliance with the British.
133a. On April 3, 1941 ; Pearl Harbor Attack, Part XVII, p. 2463.
134. Sherwood, op. cit., p. 238.
135. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 23.
136. The Morgenthau Diaries, Colliers, CXX (October 18, 1947), 74 ; Hull, op. cit., I, 873 ; Sherwood, op. cit., p. 228.
137. For a fuller account, see Sanborn, op. cit., pp. 701-33.
138. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Pius XII, Wartime Correspondence ; with an introduction and explanatory notes by Myron C. Taylor (New York : The Macmillan Company, 1947), p. 49 ; Victor Kravchenko, I Chose Freedom ; the Personal and Political Life of a Soviet Official (New York : Charles Scribners Sons, 1946), pp. 352, 363 ; Hull, op. cit., II, 967-68.
139. For Mr. Oumanskys background, see W.G. Krivitsky, In Stalins Secret Service (New York : Harper & Brothers, 1939), pp. 37-38. Mr. Hull (Memoirs, I, 743, 807, 809 ; II, 971) dryly appraised the Russian ambassador as a walking insult when at his worstsarcasm poured from the Ambassador like wheat from a thresherhe thought that firmness meant rudeness.
140. Hull, op. cit., II, 968, 973 ; Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 367. Mr. Roots account of the Russian preparations, The Secret History of the War, I, 499-519 seems to be predicated upon General Stalins intention of attacking Germany at a slightly later date, op. cit., p. 510.
141. Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, V, 740 ; Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 26.
142. Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, V, 740 ; Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 192.
143. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part IX, pp. 4299-300.
144. Cf. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, pp. 104, 110, 205.
145. Sanborn, op. cit., pp. 253-55.
146. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 369.
147. German White Paper, p. 20.
148. See the views of Admiral Stark, Pearl Harbor Attack, Part XVII, pp. 2462-63 ; and of General Arnold, Global Mission, p. 259.
149. New York Times, May 17, 1941, p. 1, col. 8, continued on p. 4, col. 2 ; Blair Bolles, Foreign Policy Reports, August 1, 1945, p. 145.
150. Sanborn, op. cit., p. 265.
151. Jan Ciechanowski, Defeat in Victory (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1947), pp. 1, 5-6. One is tempted to recall Mr. H.L. Menckens hard saying (Life, XXI, No. 6 [August 5, 1946], 46) about Mr. Roosevelts error in pulling ashore the corpse of the British Empire.
152. Trefousse, op. cit., p. 88 ; Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 138.
153. Churchill, ibid., pp. 254, 754.
154. Ibid., p. 144.
155. Sherwood, op. cit., pp. 291-92, 310 ; Churchill, The Grand Alliance, pp.140-45.
156. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part V, p. 2793 ; Churchill, The Grand Alliance, pp. 144-45, 244.
157. Elliott Roosevelt, As He Saw It (New York : Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1946), pp. 14-15.
158. Ernest J. King, Our Navy at War, p. 6 ; cf. Peace and War, pp. 99-100 ; Hull, op. cit., II, 935-39 ; note I, 754-58.
159. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part V, p. 2113 ; Part XVI, pp. 2168-70 ; Part III, pp. 1077, 1436-37 ; Part XV, p. 1631.
160. Sherwood, op. cit., p. 295.
161. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, pp. 149-50 ; Hull, op. cit., II, 947 ; cf. Sanborn, op. cit., pp. 309-12.
162. New York Times, May 17, 1941, p. 1, Col. 8 ; Churchill, The Grand Alliance, pp. 282-83.
163. New York Times, June 6, 1941, p. I, col. 8 ; text on p. 6, cols. 4-6.
164. Trefousse, op. cit., pp. 35-37.
165. Ibid., p. 39.
166. Ibid., pp. 40-41, 61, 85-87.
167. Ibid., pp. 88-89.
168. Sanborn, op. cit., p. 265.
169. New York Times, May 28, 1941, p. 2, cols. 2-8 ; Sherwood, op. cit., p. 298.
170. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 388.
171. William C. Bullitt, The Great Globe Itself (New York : Charles Scribners Sons, 1946), p. 11.
172. Stettinius, op. cit., p. 123.
173. The United States at War, p. 82.
174. Elliott Roosevelt, op. cit., pp. 22, 33.
175. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part XIV, p. 972 ; Part XVI, pp. 2448-50.
176. Sherwood, op. cit., p. 263.
177. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 593 ; Elliott Roosevelt, op. cit., pp. 27-30, 41.
178. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part XVI, pp. 2182-83.
179. Arnold, op. cit., pp. 249, 255.
180. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part XIV, pp. 1275-1278 ; Churchill, The Grand Alliance, pp. 437-38.
181. Churchill, ibid., pp. 441, 517.
182. Ibid., p. 593.
183. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part XIV, pp. 1400-1401 ; Part V, pp. 2294-96.
184. Ibid., Part XVI, p. 2210.
185. New York Times, September 12, 1941, p. 1, cols. 6-7 ; text on p. 4, cols. 2-5.
186. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 517.
187. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part V, p. 2295.
188. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, pp. 492-93. Note Admiral Starks regrets, Pearl Harbor Attack, Part XVI, p. 2221.
189. Newsweek, August 18, 1941, p. 14.
190. Trefousse, op. cit., p. 121.
191. Mr. Lindleys characterization in Newsweek, November 10, 1941, p. 21.
192. New York Times October 28, 1941, p. 1, col. 1 ; text on p. 4, cols. 2-6.
193. Ibid., October 29, 1941, p. 1, cols. 2-3.
194. Admiral King, op. cit., p. 6.
195. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part XVI, p. 2224.
196. The United States at War, p. 72.
197. Newsweek, August 25, 1941, pp. 16-17.
198. The Ciano Diaries, p. 398.
199. Sherwood, op. cit., p. 383 ; cf. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 539.
200. Sherwood, op. cit., p. 420.
201. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 603.
202. Frances Perkins, The Roosevelt I Knew (New York : The Viking Press, Inc., 1946), p. 163.
203. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part XI, p. 5433 ; Part XX, pp. 4113-14.
204. Sanborn, op. cit., pp. 515-18.
205. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, pp. 606-8.