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Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor?


On Dec. 8, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt took the rostrum before a joint session of Congress to ask for a declaration of war on Japan.

A day earlier, at dawn, carrier-based Japanese aircraft had launched a sneak attack devastating the U.S. battle fleet at Pearl Harbor.

Said ex-President Herbert Hoover, Republican statesman of the day, "We have only one job to do now, and that is to defeat Japan."

But to friends, "the Chief" sent another message: "You and I know that this continuous putting pins in rattlesnakes finally got this country bit."

Today, 70 years after Pearl Harbor, a remarkable secret history, written from 1943 to 1963, has come to light. It is Hoover's explanation of what happened before, during and after the world war that may prove yet the death knell of the West.

Edited by historian George Nash, "Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath" is a searing indictment of FDR and the men around him as politicians who lied prodigiously about their desire to keep America out of war, even as they took one deliberate step after another to take us into war.

Yet the book is no polemic. The 50-page run-up to the war in the Pacific uses memoirs and documents from all sides to prove Hoover's indictment. And perhaps the best way to show the power of this book is the way Hoover does it — chronologically, painstakingly, week by week.

Consider Japan's situation in the summer of 1941. Bogged down in a four year war in China she could neither win nor end, having moved into French Indochina, Japan saw herself as near the end of her tether.

Inside the government was a powerful faction led by Prime Minister Prince Fumimaro Konoye that desperately did not want a war with the United States.

The "pro-Anglo-Saxon" camp included the navy, whose officers had fought alongside the U.S. and Royal navies in World War I, while the war party was centered on the army, Gen. Hideki Tojo and Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka, a bitter anti-American.

On July 18, 1941, Konoye ousted Matsuoka, replacing him with the "pro-Anglo-Saxon" Adm. Teijiro Toyoda.

The U.S. response: On July 25, we froze all Japanese assets in the United States, ending all exports and imports, and denying Japan the oil upon which the nation and empire depended.

Stunned, Konoye still pursued his peace policy by winning secret support from the navy and army to meet FDR on the U.S.

side of the Pacific to hear and respond to U.S. demands.

U.S. Ambassador Joseph Grew implored Washington not to ignore Konoye's offer, that the prince had convinced him an agreement could be reached on Japanese withdrawal from Indochina and South and Central China. Out of fear of Mao's armies and Stalin's Russia, Tokyo wanted to hold a buffer in North China.

On Aug. 28, Japan's ambassador in Washington presented FDR a personal letter from Konoye imploring him to meet.

Tokyo begged us to keep Konoye's offer secret, as the revelation of a Japanese prime minister's offering to cross the Pacific to talk to an American president could imperil his government.

On Sept. 3, the Konoye letter was leaked to the Herald-Tribune.

On Sept. 6, Konoye met again at a three-hour dinner with Grew to tell him Japan now agreed with the four principles the Americans were demanding as the basis for peace. No response.

On Sept. 29, Grew sent what Hoover describes as a "prayer" to the president not to let this chance for peace pass by.

On Sept. 30, Grew wrote Washington, "Konoye's warship is ready waiting to take him to Honolulu, Alaska or anyplace designated by the president."

No response. On Oct. 16, Konoye's cabinet fell.

In November, the U.S. intercepted two new offers from Tokyo: a Plan A for an end to the China war and occupation of Indochina and, if that were rejected, a Plan B, a modus vivendi where neither side would make any new move. When presented, these, too, were rejected out of hand.

At a Nov. 25 meeting of FDR's war council, Secretary of War Henry Stimson's notes speak of the prevailing consensus: "The question was how we should maneuver them (the Japanese) into ... firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves."

"We can wipe the Japanese off the map in three months," wrote Navy Secretary Frank Knox.

As Grew had predicted, Japan, a "hara-kiri nation," proved more likely to fling herself into national suicide for honor than to allow herself to be humiliated

Out of the war that arose from the refusal to meet Prince Konoye came scores of thousands of U.S. dead, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the fall of China to Mao Zedong, U.S. wars in Korea and Vietnam, and the rise of a new arrogant China that shows little respect for the great superpower of yesterday.

If you would know the history that made our world, spend a week with Mr. Hoover's book.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?"To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



11 Comments | Post Comment
Fine, Buchanan. Think about the alternative. The U.S. Congress was saturated in the kind of molasses you peddle about staying out of the problems of the world, and let Hitler waste Europe all he wants, as long as we are safe across the ocean. But the ocean is just a pond, and FDR knew that.

That's big league politics, Buchanan, something you have never been able to qualify for in a world where pushing one button has the potential to send us back to Creation. We needed to be fighting the Germans, and that was the only option FDR had to get us in the war, thanks to a complacent, we-don't-give-a-shit U.S. Congress. (It's always been a vile organization--this is not new phenomenon.)

You haven't bothered to say it, but the calculus was, we justifiably declare war on Japan because they went after Pearl Harbor, and that forces Germany to declare war on us. The U.S. Congress then has no choice but to say okay, which they should have had the humanity and courage to do without needing the political cover FDR provided them.

There was no other choice, and I am sure FDR went to his grave suffering with having had to make it. I would do the same, and anyone else with sufficient spine would have done the same thing. Think about how much you owe your warm, comfy existence in a democratic society to FDR, Buchanan.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Masako
Mon Dec 5, 2011 7:38 PM
Re: Masako

Too bad the US got involved in WWI, thus enabling the Allies to push the ruinous Versailles 'treaty' down the Germans' throats, which in turn led to the collapse of their economy... and the conditions that gave rise to Hitler.

Yes, the US was obliged to get involved in WWII, because, by becoming embroiled in European affairs in 1917, it was as responsible for the situation as the French and British who'd attempted to crush post-war Germany... and failed.

And as for 'spine' - if you're so keen to go off and slaughter your fellow men, feel free to do it without dragging all your countrymen along with you by lying through you teeth to them.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Rick
Wed Dec 7, 2011 11:20 AM
Re: Masako "big league politics"
"big league politics" = major-league deception, falsehood, and manipulation of public opinion. Something of which not to be proud by those few adults who value truth over hubris, and ethics over arrogance.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Moe Badderman
Wed Dec 7, 2011 11:47 PM
Re: Masako
"America … well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extraction, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. ...She might become dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit."
— John Quincy Adams, Address [July 4, 1821]

FDR was a political hack with no conscience whatsoever. Indeed he was a pathological liar that made Clinton look like a choir boy. FDRs primary goal was one-world government and he did everything he could to make that happen including sacrificing honorable men. And you fell for his lies Masako. So think about that before you spew more rants supporting his disastrous policies and disparaging truth-tellers.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Mark Davis
Thu Dec 8, 2011 7:51 AM
Okay, Rick, Moe, and Mark. Try saying all of that in German. That is what you would be doing if Roosevelt hadn't found a way to trick our Nazi-appeasing Congress into declaring war on Germany. It would not have happened without Pearl Harbor. Get your snouts above the trees and look at the forest.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Masako
Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:36 PM
Declaring war on Germany? Why?
Because Hitler took back 3.5 million Germans from the Czechoslovakian multiethnic prison?
Because Hiler realized the wish of the Austrians to join Germany (as the Austrian parliament requested in 1919, refused by France)?
Because he wanted back Danzig, a 97% German city?
Because he came to the rescue of another 2.5 million Germans trapped in aggressive Poland?
Switch off your television, Masako, too many Hollywood movies wreck your mental health.
The US had nothing to do in WWI, where she had been drawn by the Balfour Declaration - a war for Israel like many that followed. Weizmann bragged about it several times.
But Mr. Buchanan only touched upon the consequences of WWII.
The most dramatic result is the total submission to "liberal" Jewish interests and MSM in the US and in Europe since and the flooding of the West with 3rd world aliens according to these same interests.
In fact, Roosevelt tricked the WASPs into destroying their own race.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Sylvie
Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:35 AM
Yes, Masako, the end justifies the means. As a result 40 million East European Christians were slaughtered by FDR's bosom buddy Uncle Joe after the war.
When FDR was questioned about Communists in his Administration he retorted "some of my best friends are Communists" and then went on to refer to Uncle Joe as a "fine Christian gentleman".
The US lost the moral high ground by making common cause with the biggest mass murderer of the 20th century. It hasn't recovered. Look around it has been on the way down ever since in case you haven't noticed.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Mannstein
Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:49 PM
Re: Masako

"Try saying all of that in German. That is what you would be doing if Roosevelt hadn't found a way to trick our Nazi-appeasing Congress into declaring war on Germany."

If I understand you correctly you are implying that Hitler was out to conquer the world after which every one would be forced to speak German. The problem with that nonsense is Hitler didn't even have sufficient landing craft to cross the English Channel let alone a sufficient battle ships to take on the Royal Navy.

By the way in 1940 the world had already been conquered by the British, French, Dutch, Portugese, as well as the USA . Hitler's interest was in the East not the world. That is very clear from the German archives available to us now.

I invite you to join my History Channel Detoxification Program (HCDP). You're definitley in need for detoxification.

Comment: #8
Posted by: Mannstein
Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:02 PM
the u.s. is killing itself w/ military adventurism. unfortunately it is killing others as well.
Comment: #9
Posted by: hammersmith
Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:19 AM
Re: Masako

It is obvious from your statements that you don't have any knowledge of the actual history of events during that period.

Steve Naidamast
Sr. Software Engineer/Military Historian
Comment: #10
Posted by: Steve Naidamast
Mon Dec 9, 2013 10:11 AM
Re: Masako
"...and let Hitler waste Europe all he wants"
So FDR helped Uncle Joe waste Europe all he wanted which enslaved and killed millions of East European Christians in the Gulag instead.
Good choice from your standpoint no doubt.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Mannstein
Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:53 PM
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