President Roosevelt and the coming of the war 1941

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Transaction Publishers, 1954 - Political Science - 614 pages

Conceived by Charles Beard as a sequel to his provocative study of American Foreign Policy in the Making, 1932-1940, President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War outraged a nation, permanently damaging Beard's status as America's most influential historian.

Beard's main argument is that both Democratic and Republican leaders, but Roosevelt above all, worked quietly in 1940 and 1941 to insinuate the United States into the Second World War. Basing his work on available congressional records and administrative reports, Beard concludes that FDR's image as a neutral, peace-loving leader was a smokescreen, behind which he planned for war against Germany and Japan even well before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Beard contends that the distinction between aiding allies in Europe like Great Britain and maintaining strict neutrality with respect to nations like Germany and Japan was untenable. Beard does not argue that all nations were alike, or that some did and others did not merit American support, but rather that Roosevelt chose to aid Great Britain secretly and unconstitutionally rather than making the case to the American public. President Roosevelt shifted from a policy of neutrality to one of armed intervention, but he did so without surrendering the appearance, the fiction of neutrality. This core argument makes the work no less explosive in 2003 than it was when first issued in 1948.

 

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Contents

Representations of LendLease Aid to
13
Patrolling as Appearances
69
The Atlantic ConferenceAppearances
118
In Case of Attack in the Atlantic
133
No Call for Any Declaration of War
156
Appearances of Relations with Japan
176
The AttackOfficial Explanation
209
X The Beginning of Revelations
233
X A Congressional Committee Probes the Rec
326
REALITIES AS DESCRIBED BY THE PEARL HARBOR
375
Secret War Decisions and Plans
407
Actualities of the Atlantic Conference
452
Complicated Moves in Relations with Japan
483
Maneuvering the Japanese into Firing the First
517
Interpretations Tested by Consequences
573
Index
599

The Official Thesis Challenged in Congress
250
X Army and Navy Boards Undermine the Official
298

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About the author (1954)

Charles A. Beard (1874-1948) is regarded as one of the most influential American historians in the first half of the twentieth century. He is famous for his evaluation of the founding fathers of the United States, who he believed were motivated by economics as opposed to philosophical principles. Some of his works include An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy, and The Administration and Politics of Tokyo.

Campbell Craig is lecturer in American history and director of the honors program in diplomacy and international relations at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He was educated at Carleton College, the University of Chicago, and Ohio University. His current interest is in International Cold War and nuclear history, a topic about which he has written two books.

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