By Mark Weber
Much has already been written about Roosevelt's campaign of deception
and outright lies in getting the United States to intervene in the
Second World War prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in
December 1941. Roosevelt's aid to Britain and the Soviet Union in
violation of American neutrality and international law, his acts of
war against Germany in the Atlantic in an effort to provoke a German
declaration of war against the United States, his authorization of a
vast "dirty tricks" campaign against U.S. citizens by British
intelligence agents in violation of the Constitution, and his
provocations and ultimatums against Japan which brought on the attack
against Pearl Harbor-all this is extensively documented and reasonably
Not so well known is the story of Roosevelt's enormous responsibility
for the outbreak of the Second World War itself. This essay focuses on
Roosevelt's secret campaign to provoke war in Europe prior to the
outbreak of hostilities in September 1939. It deals particularly with
his efforts to pressure Britain, France and Poland into war against
Germany in 1938 and 1939.
Franklin Roosevelt not only criminally involved America in a war which
had already engulfed Europe. He bears a grave responsibility before
history for the outbreak of the most destructive war of all time.
This paper relies heavily on a little-known collection of secret
Polish documents which fell into German hands when Warsaw was captured
in September 1939.
These documents clearly establish Roosevelt's crucial role in bringing
on the Second World War.
Poland had refused to even negotiate over self-determination for the
German city of Danzig and the ethnic German minority in the so-called
Polish Corridor. Hitler felt compelled to resort to arms when he did
in response to a growing Polish campaign of terror and dispossession
against the one and a half million ethnic Germans under Polish rule.
In my view, if ever a military action was justified, it was the German
campaign against Poland in 1939.
Poland's headstrong refusal to negotiate was made possible because of
a fateful blank check guarantee of military backing from Britain-a
pledge that ultimately proved completely worthless to the hapless
Poles. Considering the lightning swiftness of the victorious German
campaign, it is difficult to realize today that the Polish government
did not at all fear war with Germany. Poland's leaders foolishly
believed that German might was only an illusion. They were convinced
that their troops would occupy Berlin itself within a few weeks and
add further German territories to an enlarged Polish state. It is also
important to keep in mind that the purely localized conflict between
Germany and Poland was only transformed into a Europe-wide
conflagration by the British and French declarations of war against
On 9 February 1938, the Polish Ambassador in Washington, Count Jerzy
Potocki, reported to the Foreign Minister in Warsaw on the Jewish role
in making American foreign policy:
The pressure of the Jews on President Roosevelt and on the State
Department is becoming ever more powerful ...
... The Jews are right now the leaders in creating a war psychosis
which would plunge the entire world into war and bring about general
catastrophe. This mood is becoming more and more apparent.
in their definition of democratic states, the Jews have also created
real chaos: they have mixed together the idea of democracy and
communism and have above all raised the banner of burning hatred
This hatred has become a frenzy. It is propagated everywhere and by
every means: in theaters, in the cinema, and in the press. The Germans
are portrayed as a nation living under the arrogance of Hitler which
wants to conquer the whole world and drown all of humanity in an ocean
In conversations with Jewish press representatives I have repeatedly
come up against the inexorable and convinced view that war is
inevitable. This international Jewry exploits every means of
propaganda to oppose any tendency towards any kind of consolidation
and understanding between nations. In this way, the conviction is
growing steadily but surely in public opinion here that the Germans
and their satellites, in the form of fascism, are enemies who must be
subdued by the 'democratic world.'
Ambassador Potocki's report from Washington of 9 January 1939 dealt in
large part with President Roosevelt's annual address to Congress:
President Roosevelt acts on the assumption that the dictatorial
governments, above all Germany and Japan, only understand a policy of
force. Therefore he has decided to react to any future blows by
matching them. This has been demonstrated by the most recent measures
of the United States.
The American public is subject to an ever more alarming propaganda
which is under Jewish influence and continuously conjures up the
specter of the danger of war. Because of this the Americans have
strongly altered their views on foreign policy problems, in comparison
with last year.
Of all the documents in this collection, the most revealing is
probably the secret report by Ambassador Potocki of 12 January 1939
which dealt with the domestic situation in the United States. This
report is given here in full:
The feeling now prevailing in the United States is marked by a growing
hatred of Fascism and, above all, of Chancellor Hitler and everything
connected with Nazism. Propaganda is mostly in the hands of the Jews
who control almost 100 percent radio, film, daily and periodical
press. Although this propaganda is extremely coarse and presents
Germany as black as possible-above all religious persecution and
concentration camps are exploited-this propaganda is nevertheless
extremely effective since the public here is completely ignorant and
knows nothing of the situation in Europe...
It is interesting to note that in this extremely well-planned campaign
which is conducted above all against National Socialism, Soviet Russia
is almost completely excluded. If mentioned at all, it is only in a
friendly manner and things are presented in such a way as if Soviet
Russia were working with the bloc of democratic states. Thanks to the
clever propaganda the sympathy of the American public is completely on
the side of Red Spain.
Besides this propaganda, a war psychosis is being artificially
created. The American people are told that peace in Europe is hanging
only by a thread and that war is unavoidable. At the same time the
American people are unequivocally told that in case of a world war,
America must also take an active part in order to defend the slogans
of freedom and democracy in the world.
These groups of people who occupy the highest positions in the
American government and want to pose as representatives of 'true
Americanism' and 'defenders of democracy' are, in the last analysis,
connected by unbreakable ties with international Jewry.
For this Jewish international, which above all is concerned with the
interests of its race, to portray the President of the United States
as the 'idealist' champion on human rights was a very clever move. In
this manner they have created a dangerous hotbed for hatred and
hostility in this hemisphere and divided the world into two hostile
camps. The entire issue is worked out in a masterly manner. Roosevelt
has been given the foundation for activating American foreign policy,
and simultaneously has been procuring enormous military stocks for the
coming war, for which the Jews are striving very consciously. With
regard to domestic policy, it is very convenient to divert public
attention from anti-Semitism, which is constantly growing in the
United States, by talking about the necessity of defending religion
and individual liberty against the onslaught of Fascism.
On 16 January 1939, Polish Ambassador Potocki reported to the Warsaw
Foreign Ministry on another lengthy conversation he had with
Roosevelt's personal envoy, William Bullitt
1. The vitalizing of foreign policy under the leadership of President
Roosevelt, who severely and unambiguously condemns totalitarian
2. United States preparations for war on sea, land and air will be
carried out at an accelerated pace and will consume the colossal sum
of 1.25 billion dollars.
3. It is the decided opinion of the President that France and Britain
must put an end to any sort of compromise with the totalitarian
countries. They must not get into any discussions aiming at any kind
of territorial changes.
4. They have the moral assurance that the United States will abandon
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.
The Polish Ambassador to Paris, Juliusz (Jules) Lukasiewicz, sent a
top secret report to the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw at the beginning
of February 1939 which outlined U.S. policy towards Europe as
explained to him by William Bullitt:
A week ago, the Ambassador of the United States, William Bullitt
returned to Paris after a three months' leave in America. Meanwhile, I
have had two conversations with him which enable me to inform you of
his views regarding the European situation and to give a survey of
The international situation is regarded by official circles as
extremely serious and in constant danger of armed conflict. Those in
authority are of the opinion that if war should break out between
Britain and France on the one hand, and Germany and Italy on the
other, and should Britain and France be defeated, the Germans would
endanger the real interests of the United States on the American
continent. For this reason, one can foresee right from the beginning
the participation of the United States in the war on the side of
France and Britain, naturally some time after the outbreak of the war.
As Ambassador Bullitt expressed it: 'Should war break out we shall
certainly not take part in it at the beginning, but we shall finish
On 7 March 1939, Ambassador Potocki sent a remarkably lucid and
perceptive report on Roosevelt's foreign policy to his government in
Warsaw. This document was first made public when leading German
newspapers published it in German translation, along with a facsimile
reproduction of the first page of the Polish original, in their
editions of 28 October 1940. The main National Socialist party
newspaper, the Voelkischer Beobachter, published the Ambassador's
report with this observation:
The document itself needs no commentary. We do not know, and it does
not concern us, whether the internal American situation as reported by
the Polish diplomat is correct in every detail. That must be decided
by the American people alone. But in the interest of historical truth
it is important for us to show that the warmongering activities of
American diplomacy, especially in Europe, are once again revealed and
proven by this document. It still remains a secret just who, and for
what motives, have driven American diplomacy to this course. In any
case, the results have been disastrous for both Europe and America.
Europe was plunged into war and America has brought upon itself the
hostility of great nations which normally have no differences with the
American people and, indeed, have not been in conflict but have lived
for generations as friends and want to remain so...
While the Polish documents alone are conclusive proof of Roosevelt's
treacherous campaign to bring about world war, it is fortunate for
posterity that a substantial body of irrefutable complementary
evidence exists which confirms the conspiracy recorded in the
dispatches to Warsaw...
On 19 September 1938 -- that is, a year before the outbreak of war in
Europe-Roosevelt called Lindsay to a very secret meeting at the White
House. At the beginning of their long conversation, according to
Lindsay's confidential dispatch to London, Roosevelt "emphasized the
necessity of absolute secrecy. Nobody must know I had seen him and he
himself would tell nobody of the interview. I gathered not even the
State Department." The two discussed some secondary matters before
Roosevelt got to the main point of the conference. "This is the very
secret part of his communication and it must not be known to anyone
that he has even breathed a suggestion." The President told the
Ambassador that if news of the conversation was ever made public, it
could mean his impeachment. And no wonder. What Roosevelt proposed was
a cynically brazen but harebrained scheme to violate the U.S.
Constitution and dupe the American people.
The President said that if Britain and France "would find themselves
forced to war" against Germany, the United States would ultimately
also join. But this would require some clever maneuvering. Britain and
France should impose a total blockade against Germany without actually
declaring war and force other states (including neutrals) to abide by
it. This would certainly provoke some kind of German military
response, but it would also free Britain and France from having to
actually declare war. For propaganda purposes, the "blockade must be
based on loftiest humanitarian grounds and on the desire to wage
hostilities with minimum of suffering and the least possible loss of
life and property, and yet bring the enemy to his knees." Roosevelt
conceded that this would involve aerial bombardment, but "bombing from
the air was not the method of hostilities which caused really great
loss of life."
The important point was to "call it defensive measures or anything
plausible but avoid actual declaration of war." That way, Roosevelt
believed he could talk the American people into supporting war against
Germany, including shipments of weapons to Britain and France, by
insisting that the United States was still technically neutral in a
non-declared conflict. "This method of conducting war by blockade
would in his [Roosevelt's] opinion meet with approval of the United
States if its humanitarian purpose were strongly emphasized," Lindsay
The American Ambassador to Italy, William Phillips, admitted in his
postwar memoirs that the Roosevelt administration was already
committed to going to war on the side of Britain and France in late
1938. "On this and many other occasions," Phillips wrote, "I would
like to have told him [Count Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister]
frankly that in the event of a European war, the United States would
undoubtedly be involved on the side of the Allies. But in view of my
official position, I could not properly make such a statement without
instructions from Washington, and these I never received."
The fateful British pledge to Poland of 31 March 1939 to go to war
against Germany in case of a Polish-German conflict would not have
been made without strong pressure from the White House
In their nationally syndicated column of 14 April 1939, the usually
very well informed Washington journalists Drew Pearson and Robert S.
Allen reported that on 16 March 1939 Roosevelt had "sent a virtual
ultimatum to Chamberlain" demanding that henceforth the British
government strongly oppose Germany. According to Pearson and Allen,
who completely supported Roosevelt's move, "the President warned that
Britain could expect no more support, moral or material through the
sale of airplanes, if the Munich policy continued." Chamberlain
gave in and the next day, 17 March, ended Britain's policy of
cooperation with Germany in a speech at Birmingham bitterly denouncing
Hitler. Two weeks later the British government formally pledged itself
to war in case of German-Polish hostilities.
In a confidential telegram to Washington dated 9 April 1939, Bullitt
reported from Paris on another conversation with Ambassador
Lukasiewicz. He had told the Polish envoy that although U.S. law
prohibited direct financial aid to Poland, it might be possible to
circumvent its provisions. The Roosevelt administration might be able
to supply war planes to Poland indirectly through Britain. "The Polish
Ambassador asked me if it might not be possible for Poland to obtain
financial help and aeroplanes from the United States. I replied that I
believed the Johnson Act would forbid any loans from the United States
to Poland but added that it might be possible for England to purchase
planes for cash in the United States and turn them over to
On 25 April 1939, four months before the outbreak of war, Bullitt
called American newspaper columnist Karl von Wiegand, chief European
correspondent of the International News Service, to the U.S. embassy
in Paris and told him: "War in Europe has been decided upon. Poland
has the assurance of the support of Britain and France, and will yield
to no demands from Germany. America will be in the war soon after
Britain and France enter it."
In a lengthy secret conversation at Hyde Park on 28 May 1939,
Roosevelt assured the former President of Czechoslovakia, Dr. Edvard
Benes, that America would actively intervene on the side of Britain
and France in the anticipated European war.
In June 1939, Roosevelt secretly proposed to the British that the
United States should establish "a patrol over the waters of the
Western Atlantic with a view to denying them to the German Navy in the
event of war." The British Foreign Office record of this offer noted
that "although the proposal was vague and woolly and open to certain
objections, we assented informally as the patrol was to be operated in
Many years after the war, Georges Bonnet, the French Foreign Minister
in 1939, confirmed Bullitt's role as Roosevelt's deputy in pushing his
country into war. In a letter to Hamilton Fish dated 26 March 1971,
Bonnet wrote: "One thing is certain is that Bullitt in 1939 did
everything he could to make France enter the war." An important
confirmation of the crucial role of Roosevelt and the Jews in pushing
Britain into war comes from the diary of James V. Forrestal, the first
U.S. Secretary of Defense. In his entry for 27 December 1945, he
Played golf today with [former Ambassador] Joe Kennedy. I asked him
about his conversations with Roosevelt and [British Prime Minister]
Neville Chamberlain from 1938 on. He said Chamberlain's position in
1938 was that England had nothing with which to fight and that she
could not risk going to war with Hitler. Kennedy's view: That Hitler
would have fought Russia without any later conflict with England if it
had not been for [William] Bullitt's urging on Roosevelt in the summer
of 1939 that the Germans must be faced down about Poland; neither the
French nor the British would have made Poland a cause of war if it had
not been for the constant needling from Washington. Bullitt, he said,
kept telling Roosevelt that the Germans wouldn't fight; Kennedy that
they would, and that they would overrun Europe. Chamberlain, he says,
stated that America and the world Jews had forced England into the
war. In his telephone conversations with Roosevelt in the summer of
1939, the President kept telling him to put some iron up Chamberlain's
"In the West," the Ambassador told Szembek, "there are all kinds of
elements openly pushing for war: the Jews, the super-capitalists, the
arms dealers. Today they are all ready for a great business, because
they have found a place which can be set on fire: Danzig; and a nation
that is ready to fight: Poland. They want to do business on our backs.
They are indifferent to the destruction of our country. Indeed, since
everything will have to be rebuilt later on, they can profit from that
On 24 August 1939, just a week before the outbreak of hostilities,
Chamberlain's closest advisor, Sir Horace Wilson, went to Ambassador
Kennedy with an urgent appeal from the British Prime Minister for
President Roosevelt. Regretting that Britain had unequivocally
obligated itself in March to Poland in case of war, Chamberlain now
turned in despair to Roosevelt as a last hope for peace. He wanted the
American President to "put pressure on the Poles" to change course at
this late hour and open negotiations with Germany. By telephone
Kennedy told the State Department that the British "felt that they
could not, given their obligations, do anything of this sort but that
we could." Presented with this extraordinary opportunity to possibly
save the peace of Europe, Roosevelt rejected Chamberlain's desperate
plea out of hand. At that, Kennedy reported, the Prime Minister lost
all hope. "The futility of it all," Chamberlain had told Kennedy, "is
the thing that is frightful. After all, we cannot save the Poles. We
can merely carry on a war of revenge that will mean the destruction of
But Roosevelt rejected out of hand this chance to save the peace of
Europe. To a close political crony, he called Kennedy's plea "the
silliest message to me that I have ever received." He complained to
Henry Morgenthau that his London Ambassador was nothing but a pain in
the neck: "Joe has been an appeaser and will always be an appeaser ...
If Germany and Italy made a good peace offer tomorrow, Joe would start
working on the King and his friend the Queen and from there on down to
get everybody to accept it."
Infuriated at Kennedy's stubborn efforts to restore peace in Europe or
at least limit the conflict that had broken out, Roosevelt instructed
his Ambassador with a "personal" and "strictly confidential" telegram
on 11 September 1939 that any American peace effort was totally out of
the question. The Roosevelt government, it declared, "sees no
opportunity nor occasion for any peace move to be initiated by the
President of the United States. The people [sic] of the United States
would not support any move for peace initiated by this Government that
would consolidate or make possible a survival of a regime of force and
In the months before armed conflict broke out in Europe, perhaps the
most vigorous and prophetic American voice of warning against
President Roosevelt's campaign to incite war was that of Hamilton
Fish, a leading Republican congressman from New York. In a series of
hard-hitting radio speeches, Fish rallied considerable public opinion
against Roosevelt's deceptive war policy. Here are only a few excerpts
from some of those addresses.
On 6 January 1939, Fish told a nationwide radio audience:
The inflammatory and provocative message of the President to Congress
and the world [given two days before] has unnecessarily alarmed the
American people and created, together with a barrage of propaganda
emanating from high New Deal officials, a war hysteria, dangerous to
the peace of America and the world. The only logical conclusion to
such speeches is another war fought overseas by American soldiers.
All the totalitarian nations referred to by President Roosevelt ...
haven't the faintest thought of making war on us or invading Latin
I do not propose to mince words on such an issue, affecting the life,
liberty and happiness of our people. The time has come to call a halt
to the warmongers of the New Deal, backed by war profiteers,
Communists, and hysterical internationalists, who want us to
quarantine the world with American blood and money.
He [Roosevelt] evidently desires to whip up a frenzy of hate and war
psychosis as a red herring to take the minds of our people off their
own unsolved domestic problems. He visualizes hobgoblins and creates
in the public mind a fear of foreign invasions that exists only in his
On 5 March, Fish spoke to the country over the Columbia radio network:
The people of France and Great Britain want peace but our warmongers
are constantly inciting them to disregard the Munich Pact and resort
to the arbitrament of arms. If only we would stop meddling in foreign
lands the old nations of Europe would compose their own quarrels by
arbitration and the processes of peace, but apparently we won't let
Fish addressed the listeners of the National Broadcasting Company
network on 5 April with these words:
The youth of America are again being prepared for another blood bath
in Europe in order to make the world safe for democracy.
If Hitler and the Nazi government regain Memel or Danzig, taken away
from Germany by the Versailles Treaty, and where the population is 90
percent German, why is it necessary to issue threats and denunciations
and incite our people to war? I would not sacrifice the life of one
American soldier for a half dozen Memels or Danzigs. We repudiated the
Versailles Treaty because it was based on greed and hatred, and as
long as its inequalities and injustices exist there are bound to be
wars of liberation.
The sooner certain provisions of the Versailles Treaty are scrapped
the better for the peace of the world.
I believe that if the areas that are distinctly German in population
are restored to Germany, except Alsace-Lorraine and the Tyrol, there
will be no war in western Europe. There may be a war between the Nazis
and the Communists, but if there is that is not our war or that of
Great Britain or France or any of the democracies.
New Deal spokesmen have stirred up war hysteria into a veritable
frenzy. The New Deal propaganda machine is working overtime to prepare
the minds of our people for war, who are already suffering from a bad
case of war jitters.
President Roosevelt is the number one warmonger in America, and is
largely responsible for the fear that pervades the Nation which has
given the stock market and the American people a bad case of the
I accuse the administration of instigating war propaganda and hysteria
to cover up the failure and collapse of the New Deal policies, with 12
million unemployed and business confidence destroyed.
I believe we have far more to fear from our enemies from within than
we have from without. All the Communists are united in urging us to go
to war against Germany and Japan for the benefit of Soviet Russia.
Great Britain still expects every American to do her duty, by
preserving the British Empire and her colonies. The war profiteers,
munitions makers and international bankers are all set up for our
participation in a new world war.
On 21 April, Fish again spoke to the country over nationwide radio:
It is the duty of all those Americans who desire to keep out of
foreign entanglements and the rotten mess and war madness of Europe
and Asia to openly expose the war hysteria and propaganda that is
impelling us to armed conflict.
What we need in America is a stop war crusade, before we are forced
into a foreign war by internationalists and interventionists at
Washington, who seem to be more interested in solving world problems
rather than our own.
In his radio address of 26 May, Fish stated:
He [Roosevelt] should remember that the Congress has the sole power to
declare war and formulate the foreign policies of the United States.
The President has no such constitutional power. He is merely the
official organ to carry out the policies determined by the Congress.
Without knowing even who the combatants will be, we are informed
almost daily by the internationalists and interventionists in America
that we must participate in the next world war.
On 8 July 1939, Fish declared over the National Broadcasting Company
If we must go to war, let it be in defense of America, but not in
defense of the munitions makers, war profiteers, Communists, to cover
up the failures of the New Deal, or to provide an alibi for a third
It is well for all nations to know that we do not propose to go to war
over Danzig, power politics, foreign colonies, or the imperialistic
wars of Europe or anywhere in the world.
President Roosevelt could have done little to incite war in Europe
without help from powerful allies. Behind him stood the self-serving
international financial and Jewish interests bent on the destruction
of Germany. The principal organization which drummed up public support
for U.S. involvement in the European war prior to the Pearl Harbor
attack was the cleverly named "Committee to Defend America by Aiding
the Allies." President Roosevelt himself initiated its founding, and
top administration officials consulted frequently with Committee
Although headed for a time by an elderly small-town Kansas newspaper
publisher, William Allen White, the Committee was actually organized
by powerful financial interests which stood to profit tremendously
from loans to embattled Britain and from shrewd investments in giant
war industries in the United States.
At the end of 1940, West Virginia Senator Rush D. Holt issued a
detailed examination of the Committee which exposed the base interests
behind the idealistic-sounding slogans:
The Committee has powerful connections with banks, insurance
companies, financial investing firms, and industrial concerns. These
in turn exert influence on college presidents and professors, as well
as on newspapers, radio and other means of communication. One of the
powerful influences used by the group is the '400' and social set. The
story is a sordid picture of betrayal of public interest.
The powerful J.P. Morgan interest with its holdings in the British
Empire helped plan the organization and donated its first expense
Some of the important figures active in the Committee were revealed by
Holt: Frederic R. Coudert, a paid war propagandist for the British
government in the U.S. during the First World War; Robert S. Allen of
the Pearson and Allen syndicated column; Henry R. Luce, the
influential publisher of Time, Life, and Fortune magazines; Fiorella
LaGuardia, the fiery half-Jewish Mayor of Now York City; Herbert
Lehman, the Jewish Governor of New York with important financial
holdings in war industries; and Frank Altschul, an officer in the
Jewish investment firm of Lazard Freres with extensive holdings in
munitions and military supply companies.
If the Committee succeeded in getting the U.S. into war, Holt warned,
"American boys will spill their blood for profiteers, politicians and
'paytriots.' If war comes, on the hands of the sponsors of the White
Committee will be blood-the blood of Americans killed in a needless
In March 1941 a list of most of the Committee's financial backers was
made public. It revealed the nature of the forces eager to bring
America into the European war. Powerful international banking
interests were well represented. J.P. Morgan, John W. Morgan, Thomas
W. Lamont and others of the great Morgan banking house were listed.
Other important names from the New York financial world included Mr.
and Mrs. Paul Mellon, Felix M. and James F. Warburg, and J. Malcolm
Forbes. Chicago department store owner and publisher Marshall Field
was a contributor, as was William Averill Harriman, the railroad and
investment millionaire who later served as Roosevelt's ambassador in
Of course, Jewish names made up a substantial portion of the long
list. Hollywood film czar Samuel Goldwyn of Goldwyn Studios was there,
along with David Dubinsky, the head of the International Ladies
Garment Workers Union. The William S. Paley Foundation, which had been
set up by the head of the giant Columbia Broadcasting System,
contributed to the Committee. The name of Mrs. Herbert H. Lehman, wife
of the New York Governor, was also on the list.
Without an understanding of his intimate ties to organized Jewry,
Roosevelt's policies make little sense. As Jewish historian Lucy
Dawidowicz noted: "Roosevelt himself brought into his immediate circle
more Jews than any other President before or after him. Felix
Frankfurter, Bernard M. Baruch and Henry Morgenthau were his close
advisers. Benjamin V. Cohen, Samuel Rosenman and David K. Niles were
his friends and trusted aides." This is perhaps not so remarkable
in light of Roosevelt's reportedly one-eighth Jewish ancestry.
In his diary entry of 1 May 1941, Charles A. Lindbergh, the American
aviator hero and peace leader, nailed the coalition that was pushing
the United States into war:
The pressure for war is high and mounting. The people are opposed to
it, but the Administration seems to have 'the bit in its teeth' and
[is] hell-bent on its way to war. Most of the Jewish interests in the
country are behind war, and they control a huge part of our press and
radio and most of our motion pictures. There are also the
'intellectuals,' and the 'Anglophiles,' and the British agents who are
allowed free rein, the international financial interests, and many
Joseph Kennedy shared Lindbergh's apprehensions about Jewish power.
Before the outbreak of war he privately expressed concerns about "the
Jews who dominate our press" and world Jewry in general, which he
considered a threat to peace and prosperity. Shortly after the
beginning of hostilities, Kennedy lamented "the growing Jewish
influence in the press and in Washington demanding continuance of the
Roosevelt's efforts to get Poland, Britain and France into war against
Germany succeeded all too well. The result was untold death and misery
and destruction. When the fighting began, as Roosevelt had intended
and planned, the Polish and French leaders expected the American
president to at least make good on his assurances of backing in case
of war. But Roosevelt had not reckoned on the depth of peace sentiment
of the vast majority of Americans. So, in addition to deceiving his
own people, Roosevelt also let down those in Europe to whom he had
Seldom in American history were the people as united in their views as
they were in late 1939 about staying out of war in Europe. When
hostilities began in September 1939, the Gallup poll showed 94 percent
of the American people against involvement in war. That figure rose to
96.5 percent in December before it began to decline slowly to about 80
percent in the Fall of 1941. (Today, there is hardly an issue that
even 60 or 70 percent of the people agree upon.)
Roosevelt was, of course, quite aware of the intensity of popular
feeling on this issue. That is why he lied repeatedly to the American
people about his love of peace and his determination to keep the U.S.
out of war, while simultaneously doing everything in his power to
plunge Europe and America into war.
In a major 1940 re-election campaign speech, Roosevelt responded to
the growing fears of millions of Americans who suspected that their
President had secretly pledged United States support to Britain in its
war against Germany. These well-founded suspicions were based in part
on the publication in March of the captured Polish documents. The
speech of 23 October 1940 was broadcast from Philadelphia to the
nation on network radio. In the most emphatic language possible,
Roosevelt categorically denied that he had
pledged in some way the participation of the United States in some
foreign war. I give to you and to the people of this country this most
solemn assurance: There is no secret Treaty, no secret understanding
in any shape or form, direct or indirect, with any Government or any
other nation in any part of the world, to involve this nation in any
war or for any other purpose.
We now know, of course, that this pious declaration was just another
one of Roosevelt's many brazen, bald-faced lies to the American
Roosevelt's policies were more than just dishonest-they were criminal.
The Constitution of the United States grants authority only to the
Congress to make war and peace. And Congress had passed several major
laws to specifically insure U.S. neutrality in case of war in Europe.
Roosevelt continually violated his oath as President to uphold the
Constitution. If his secret policies had been known, the public demand
for his impeachment would very probably have been unstoppable.
The Watergate episode has made many Americans deeply conscious of the
fact that their presidents can act criminally. That affair forced
Richard Nixon to resign his presidency, and he is still widely
regarded as a criminal. No schools are named after him and his name
will never receive the respect that normally goes to every American
president. But Nixon's crimes pale into insignificance when compared
to those of Franklin Roosevelt. What were Nixon's lies compared to
those of Roosevelt? What is a burglary cover-up compared to an illegal
and secret campaign to bring about a major war?
Those who defend Roosevelt's record argue that he lied to the American
people for their own good-that he broke the law for lofty principles.
His deceit is considered permissible because the cause was noble,
while similar deception by presidents Johnson and Nixon, to name two,
is not. This is, of course, a hypocritical double standard. And the
argument doesn't speak very well for the democratic system. It implies
that the people are too dumb to understand their own best interests.
It further suggests that the best form of government is a kind of
benevolent liberal-democratic dictatorship.
Roosevelt's hatred for Hitler was deep, vehement, passionate-almost
personal. This was due in no small part to an abiding envy and
jealousy rooted in the great contrast between the two men, not only in
their personal characters but also in their records as national
Superficially, the public fives of Roosevelt and Hitler were
astonishingly similar. Both assumed the leadership of their respective
countries at the beginning of 1933. They both faced the enormous
challenge of mass unemployment during a catastrophic worldwide
economic depression. Each became a powerful leader in a vast military
alliance during the most destructive war in history. Both men died
while still in office within a few weeks of each other in April 1945,
just before the end of the Second World War in Europe. But the
enormous contrasts in the lives of these two men are even more
Roosevelt was born into one of the wealthiest families in America. His
was a life utterly free of material worry. He took part in the First
World War from an office in Washington as UnderSecretary of the Navy.
Hitler, on the other hand, was born into a modest provinicial family.
As a young man he worked as an impoverished manual laborer. He served
in the First World War as a front line soldier in the hell of the
Western battleground. He was wounded many times and decorated for
In spite of his charming manner and soothing rhetoric, Roosevelt
proved unable to master the great challenges facing America. Even
after four years of his presidency, millions remained unemployed,
undernourished and poorly housed in a vast land richly endowed with
all the resources for incomparable prosperity. The New Deal was
plagued with bitter strikes and bloody clashes between labor and
capital. Roosevelt did nothing to solve the country's deep, festering
racial problems which erupted repeatedly in riots and armed conflict.
The story was very different in Germany. Hitler rallied his people
behind a radical program that transformed Germany within a few years
from an economically ruined land on the edge of civil war into
Europe's powerhouse. Germany underwent a social, cultural and economic
rebirth without parallel in history. The contrast between the
personalities of Roosevelt and Hitler was simultaneously a contrast
between two diametrically different social-political systems and
And yet, it would be incorrect to characterize Roosevelt as merely a
cynical politician and front man for powerful alien interests.
Certainly he did not regard himself as an evil man. He sincerely
believed that he was doing the right and noble thing in pressuring
Britain and France into war against Germany. Like Wilson before him,
and others since, Roosevelt felt himself uniquely qualified and called
upon by destiny to reshape the world according to his vision of an
egalitarian, universalist democracy. He was convinced, as so many
American leaders have been, that the world could be saved from itself
by remodeling it after the United States.
Presidents like Wilson and Roosevelt view the world not as a complex
of different nations, races and cultures which must mutually respect
each others' separate collective identities in order to live together
in peace, but rather according to a selfrighteous missionary
perspective that divides the globe into morally good and evil
countries. In that scheme of things, America is the providentially
permanent leader of the forces of righteousness. Luckily, this view
just happens to correspond to the economic and political interests of
those who wield power in the United States.
President Roosevelt's War
In April 1941, Senator Gerald Nye of North Dakota prophetically
predicted that one day the Second World War would be remembered as
Roosevelt's war. "If we are ever involved in this war, it will be
called by future historians by only one title, 'the President's War,'
because every step of his since his Chicago quarantine speech [of 5
October 1937] has been toward war.
The great American historian, Harry Elmer Barnes, believed that war
could probably have been prevented in 1939 if it had not been for
Roosevelt's meddling. "Indeed, there is fairly conclusive evidence
that, but for Mr. Roosevelt's pressure on Britain, France and Poland,
and his commitments to them before September 1939, especially to
Britain, and the irresponsible antics of his agent provocateur,
William C. Bullitt, there would probably have been no world war in
1939, or, perhaps, for many years thereafter." In Revisionism: A
Key to Peace, Barnes wrote:
President Roosevelt had a major responsibility, both direct and
indirect, for the outbreak of war in Europe. He began to exert
pressure on France to stand up to Hitler as early as the German
reoccupation of the Rhineland in March 1936, months before he was
making his strongly isolationist speeches in the campaign of 1936.
This pressure on France, and also England, continued right down to the
coming of the war in September 1939. It gained volume and momentum
after the quarantine speech of October 1937. As the crisis approached
between Munich and the outbreak of war, Roosevelt pressed the Poles to
stand firm against any demands by Germany, and urged the English and
French to back up the Poles unflinchingly.
There is grave doubt that England would have gone to war in September
1939 had it not been for Roosevelt's encouragement and his assurances
that, in the event of war, the United States would enter on the side
of Britain just as soon as he could swing American public opinion
around to support intervention.
Roosevelt had abandoned all semblance of neutrality, even before war
broke out in 1939, and moved as speedily as was safe and feasible in
the face of anti-interventionist American public opinion to involve
this country in the European conflict.
One of the most perceptive verdicts on Franklin Roosevelt's place in
history came from the pen of the great Swedish explorer and author,
Sven Hedin. During the war he wrote:
The question of the way it came to a new world war is not only to be
explained because of the foundation laid by the peace treaties of
1919, or in the suppression of Germany and her allies after the First
World War, or in the continuation of the ancient policies of Great
Britain and France. The decisive push came from the other side of the
Roosevelt speaks of democracy and destroys it incessantly. He slanders
as undemocratic and un-American those who admonish him in the name of
peace and the preservation of the American way of life. He has made
democracy into a caricature rather than a model. He talks about
freedom of speech and silences those who don't hold his opinion.
He talks about freedom of religion and makes an alliance with
He talks about freedom from want, but cannot provide ten million of
his own people with work, bread or shelter. He talks about freedom
from the fear of war while working for war, not only for his own
people but for the world, by inciting his country against the Axis
powers when it might have united with them, and he thereby drove
millions to their deaths.
This war will go down in history as the war of President
Officially orchestrated praise for Roosevelt as a great man of peace
cannot conceal forever his crucial role in pushing Europe into war in
It is now more than forty years since the events described here took
place. For many they are an irrelevant part of a best-forgotten past.
But the story of how Franklin Roosevelt engineered war in Europe is
very pertinent-particularly for Americans today. The lessons of the
past have never been more important than in this nuclear age. For
unless at least an aware minority understands how and why wars are
made, we will remain powerless to restrain the warmongers of our own
1. See, for example: Charles A. Beard, President Roosevelt and
the Coming of the War 1941 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948);
William Henry Chamberlin, America's Second Crusade (Chicago: Regnery,
1952, 1962); Benjamin Colby, 'Twas a Famous Victory (New Rochelle,
N.Y.: Arlington House, 1979); Frederic R. Sanborn, Design for War (New
York: Devin-Adair, 1951); William Stevenson, A Man Called Intrepid
(New York: Ballantine Books, 1980); Charles C. Tansill, Back Door to
War (Chicago: Regnery, 1952); John Toland, Infamy: Pearl Harbor and
Its Aftermath (New York: Doubleday, 1982).
2. Saul Friedlander, Prelude to Downfall: Hitler and the United
States 1939-1941 (New York: Knopf, 1967), pp. 73-77; U.S., Congress,
House, Special Committee on Investigation of Un-American Activities in
the United States, 1940, Appendix, Part II, pp. 1054-1059.
3. Friedlander, pp. 75-76.
4. New York Times, 30 March 1940, p. 1.
5. Ibid., p. 4, and 31 March 1940, p. 1.
6. New York Times, 30 March 1940, p. 1. Baltimore Sun, 30 March
1940, p. 1.
7. A French-language edition was published in 1944 under the
title Comment Roosevelt est Entre en Guerre.
8. Tansill, "The United States and the Road to War in Europe," in
Harry Elmer Barnes (ed.), Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace (Caldwell,
Idaho: Caxton, 1953; reprint eds., New York: Greenwood, 1969 and
Torrance, Calif.: Institute for Historical Review [supplemented],
1982), p. 184 (note 292). Tansill also quoted from several of the
documents in his Back Door to War, pp. 450-51.
9. Harry Elmer Barnes, The Court Historians Versus Revisionism
(N.p.: privately printed, 1952), p. 10. This booklet is reprinted in
Barnes, Selected Revisionist Pamphlets (New York: Arno Press & The New
York Times, 1972), and in Barnes, The Barnes Trilogy (Torrance,
Calif.: Institute for Historical Review, 1979).
10. Chamberlin, p. 60.
11. Edward Raczynski, In Allied London (London: Weidenfeld and
Nicolson, 1963), p. 51.
12. Orville H. Bullitt (ad.), For the President: Personal and
Secret (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972), p. x1v [biographical
foreword]. See also Time, 26 October 1936, p. 24.
13. Current Biography 1940, ed. Maxine Block (New York: H.W.
Wilson, 1940), p. 122 ff.
14. Gisleher Wirsing, Der masslose Kontinent: Roosevelts Kampf um
die Weltherrschaft (Jena: E. Diederichs, 1942), p. 224.
15. Bullitt obituary in New York Times, 16 February 1967, p. 44.
16. Jack Alexander, "He Rose From the Rich," Saturday Evening
Post, 11 March 1939, p. 6. (Also see continuation in issue of 18 March
1939.) Bullitt's public views on the European scene and what should be
America's attitude toward it can be found in his Report to the
American People (Boston: Houghton Mifflin [Cambridge: Riverside
Press], 1940), the text of a speech he delivered, with the President's
blessing, under the auspices of the American Philosophical Society in
Independence Hall in Philadelphia shortly after the fall of France.
For sheer, hyperventilated stridency and emotionalist hysterics, this
anti-German polemic could hardly be topped, even given the similar
propensities of many other interventionists in government and the
press in those days.
17. Michael R. Beschloss, Kennedy and Roosevelt (New York: Norton,
1980), pp. 203-04.
18. Robert Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign
Policy 1932-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 31. See
also pp. 164-65.
19. Dispatch No. 349 of 20 September 1938 by Sir. R. Lindsay,
Documents on British Foreign Policy (ed. Ernest L. Woodward), Third
series, Vol. VII (London, 1954), pp. 627-29. See also: Joseph P. Lash,
Roosevelt and Churchill 1939-1941 (New York: Norton, 1976), pp. 25-27;
Dallek, pp. 164-65; Arnold A. Offner, America and the Ori-, gins of
World War II (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971), p. 61.
20. William Phillips, Ventures in Diplomacy (North Beverly, Mass.:
privately published, 1952), pp. 220-21.
21. Carl Burckhardt, Meine Danziger Mission 1937-1939 (Munich:
Callwey, 1960), p. 225.
22. Drew Pearson and Robert S. Allen, "Washington Daily
Merry-Go-Round," Washington Times-Herald, 14 April 1939, p. 16. A
facsimile reprint of this column appears in Conrad Grieb (ed.),
American Manifest Destiny and The Holocausts (New York: Examiner
Books, 1979), pp. 132-33. See also: Wirsing, pp. 238-41.
23. Jay P. Moffat, The Moffat Papers 1919-1943 (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1956), p. 232.
24. U.S., Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United
States (Diplomatic Papers), 1939, General, Vol. I (Washington: 1956),
25. "Von Wiegand Says-," Chicago Herald-American, 8 October 1944,
26. Edvard Benes, Memoirs of Dr. Eduard Benes (London: George
Allen & Unwin, 1954), pp. 79-80.
27. Lash, p. 64.
28. Hamilton Fish, FDR: The Other Side of the Coin (Now York:
Vantage, 1976; Torrance, Calif.: Institute for Historical Review,
1980), p. 62.
29. James V. Forrestal (ads. Walter Millis and E.S. Duffield), The
Forrestal Diaries (New York: Viking, 1951), pp. 121-22. I have been
privately informed by a colleague who has examined the original
manuscript of the Forrestal diaries that many very critical references
to the Jews were deleted from the published version.
30. Jan Szembek, Journal 1933-1939 (Paris: Plan, 1952), pp.
31. David E. Koskoff, Joseph P. Kennedy: A Life and Times
(Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974), p. 207; Moffat, p. 253;
A.J.P. Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War (London: Hamish
Hamilton, 1961; 2nd ed. Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett Premier [paperback],
1965), p. 262; U.S., Department of State, Foreign Relations of the
United States, 1939, General, Vol. I (Washington: 1956), p. 355.
32. Dallek, p. 164.
33. Beschloss, pp. 190-91; Lash, p. 75; Koskoff, pp. 212-13.
34. Hull to Kennedy (No. 905), U.S., Department of State, Foreign
Relations of the United States, 1939, General, Vol. I (Washington:
1956), p. 424.
35. The radio addresses of Hamilton Fish quoted here were
published in the Congressional Record Appendix (Washington) as
follows: (6 January 1939) Vol. 84, Part 11, pp. 52-53; (5 March 1939)
same, pp. 846-47; (5 April 1939) Vol. 84, Part 12, pp. 1342-43; (21
April 1939) same, pp. 1642-43; (26 May 1939) Vol. 84, Part 13, pp.
2288-89; (8 July 1939) same, pp. 3127-28.
36. Wayne S. Cole, Charles A. Lindbergh and the Battle Against
American Intervention in World War II (New York: Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, 1974), pp. 128, 136-39.
37. Congressional Record Appendix (Washington: 1941), (30 December
1940) Vol. 86, Part 18, pp. 7019-25. See also: Appendix, Vol. 86, Part
17, pp. 5808-14.
38. New York Times, 11 March 1941, p. 10.
39. Lucy Dawidowicz, "American Jews and the Holocaust," The New
York Times Magazine, 18 April 1982, p. 102.
40. "FDR 'had a Jewish great-grandmother'" Jewish Chronicle
(London), 5 February 1982, p. 3.
41. Charles A. Lindbergh, The Wartime Journals of Charles A.
Lindbergh (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970), p. 481.
42. Koskoff, pp. 282, 212. The role of the American press in
fomenting hatred against Germany between 1933 and 1939 is a subject
that deserves much more detailed treatment. Charles Tansill provides
some useful information on this in Back Door to War. The essay by
Professor Hans A. Muenster, "Die Kriegsschuld der Presse der USA" in
Kriegsschuld und Presse, published in 1944 by the German
Reichsdozentenfuehrung, is worth consulting.
43. An excellent essay relating and contrasting American public
opinion measurements to Roosevelt's foreign policy moves in 1939-41 is
Harry Elmer Barnes, Was Roosevelt Pushed Into War By Popular Demand in
1941? (N.p.: privately printed, 1951). It is reprinted in Barnes,
Selected Revisionist Pamphlets.
44. Lash, p. 240.
45. New York Times, 27 April 1941, p. 19.
46. Harry Elmer Barnes, The Struggle Against the Historical
Blackout, 2nd ed. (N.p.: privately published, ca. 1948), p. 12. See
also the 9th, final revised and enlarged edition (N.p.: privately
published, ca. 1954), p. 34; this booklet is reprinted in Barnes,
Selected Revisionist Pamphlets.
47. Harry Elmer Barnes, "Revisionism: A Key to Peace," Rampart
Journal of Individualist Thought Vol. II, No. 1 (Spring 1966), pp.
29-30. This article was republished in Barnes, Revisionism: A Key to
Peace and Other Essays (San Francisco: Cato Institute [Cato Paper No.
48. Sven Hedin, Amerika im Kampf der Kontinente (Leipzig: F.A.
Brockhaus, 1943), p. 54.
Listed here are the published editions of the Polish documents, the
most important sources touching on the questions of their authenticity
and content, and essential recent sources on what President Roosevelt
was really-as opposed to publicly-doing and thinking during the
prelude to war. Full citations for all references in the article will
be found in the notes.
Beschloss, Michael R. Kennedy and Roosevelt. New York: Norton, 1980.
Bullitt, Orville H. (ed.). For the President: Personal and Secret.
[Correspondence between Franklin D. Roosevelt and William C. Bullitt.]
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972.
Germany. Foreign Office Archive Commission. Roosevelts Weg in den
Krieg: Geheimdokumente zur Kriegspolitik des Praesidenten der
Vereinigten Staaten. Berlin: Deutscher Verlag, 1943.
Germany. Foreign Office. The German White Paper. [White Book No. 3.]
New York: Howell, Soskin and Co., 1940.
Germany. Foreign Office. Polnische Dokumente zur Vorgeschichte des
Kriegs. [White Book No. 3.] Berlin: F. Eher, 1940.
Koskoff, David E. Joseph P. Kennedy: A Life and Times. Englewood
Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974.
Lukasiewicz, Juliusz (Waclaw Jedrzejewicz, ed.). Diplomat in Paris
1936-1939. New York: Columbia University Press, 1970.
Wirsing, Giselher. Der masslose Kontinent: Roosevelts Kampf um die
Weltherrschaft. Jena: E. Diederichs, 1942.