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Imagine spending 20 years writing and rewriting a monumental tome dissecting 20th century global conflicts, only to have it sit in storage for nearly five more decades! Such was the fate of the book Herbert Hoover called his Magnum Opus: a heavily documented effort to expose hidden aspects of U.S. foreign policy before, during and after World War II.
At last, Freedom Betrayed, the manuscript that America's 31st president completed in 1963, is in print (Hoover Institution Press). Edited and introduced by historian George H. Nash, the 900-page memoir offers an encyclopaedia of uncomfortable truths that seriously challenge the traditional views of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Roosevelt engineered the U.S. entry into World War II, against the law of the land and despite public and congressional anti-war sentiment. This, despite his 1940 campaign promise: "I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars."
In the author's view, the wise course would have been to let Russia's Stalin and Germany's Hitler - "destroy each other." The colossal American military aid shipped to Stalin's Soviet Union was neither morally defensible, nor wise.
American territory was never threatened by Germany and even Western Europe would have remained unscathed had it not attempted to stop Germany's eastward push.
Instead, by partnering with Stalin to defeat Hitler, Roosevelt and Churchill gave communism legitimacy and provided the essential support that prevented the Soviet Union from collapsing as Operation Barbarossa was launched.
Worse, by acceding to the Soviet dictator's territorial demands, they betrayed the very principles of universal self-determination they had proclaimed in The Atlantic Charter.
By November 1943, secret commitments by the Allies at their Tehran Conference constituted "the greatest blows to human freedom in this century."
The Soviet Union would be allowed to annex Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bessarabia, Bukovina and parts of Finland and Poland and to secure a periphery of "friendly border states."
Behind the Iron Curtain
Thus, fifteen nations and over 100 million Christians were betrayed to Communism and the independent life and freedom they had enjoyed were snuffed out.
Hoover documents Roosevelt's repeated assurances to Stalin that he would do nothing to thwart Soviet ambitions.
Provoking War in the Pacific
Freedom Betrayed indicts Roosevelt for instigating the Pacific war as well: His economic sanctions against Japan and shunning of Japanese peace overtures sparked the Pearl Harbour attack and ultimately led to the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - "an act of unparalleled brutality in all American history."
Selling Out China to Communism
Hoover cites other markers along the slippery slope of the Stalin alliance: the Yalta Conference agreement ceding the Kurile Islands and Sakhalin Island to Russia (in exchange for promised help, of dubious value, against Japan); the broken agreement with Chinese nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek to consult him on matters pertaining to Asia; the loss of China and North Korea to communism.
One of the author's provocative questions includes: What part did Communist agents in U.S. government positions play in Roosevelt's policies? The United States Administration of FDR was riddled with communist agents.
The culmination of an extraordinary literary project that Herbert Hoover launched during World War II, his "Magnum Opus" at last published nearly fifty years after its completion, offers a revisionist re-examination of the war and its Cold War aftermath and a sweeping indictment of the "lost statesmanship" of Franklin Roosevelt.
Expanding the Soviet Empire
Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath originated as a volume of Hoover's memoirs, a book initially focused on his battle against President Roosevelt's foreign policies before Pearl Harbour. As time went on and events unfolded however, Hoover widened his scope to include Roosevelt's disastrous foreign policies during the war, as well as the war's consequences: the expansion of the Soviet empire at war's end and the eruption of the Cold War.
On issue after issue, Hoover raises crucial questions that continue to be debated to this day.
Did Franklin Roosevelt deceitfully manoeuvre the United States into an undeclared and unconstitutional, naval war with Germany even before 1941?
Did he unnecessarily appease Joseph Stalin at the pivotal Tehran conference in 1943?
Did communist agents and sympathizers in the White House, Department of State and Department of the Treasury play a malign role in America's wartime decisions?
Hoover raises numerous arguments that challenge us to think again about our past. Whether, or not one ultimately accepts his arguments, the exercise of confronting them will be worthwhile to all.
Desperately Seeking War
William Henry Chamberlin in America's Second Crusade (1950) wrote: "It is scarcely possible, in the light of this and many other known facts, to avoid the conclusion that the Roosevelt Administration sought the war which began at Pearl Harbour. The steps which made armed conflict inevitable would take months before the conflict broke out." (Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoovers Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath).
Failing to Give US Servicemen a Fighting Chance
General Albert C. Wedemeyer is quoted by Herbert Hoover in Freedom Betrayed as stating: "When on, December 6, our intercepts told us that the Japanese were going to attack somewhere the very next day, whether in the Central Pacific, or to the South in the Philippines and Dutch East Indies, the president of the United States, as Commander in Chief of our Military Forces… could have gone on the radio and broadcast to the wide world that he had irrefutable evidence of an immediate Japanese intention to strike. This would have alerted everybody from Singapore to Pearl Harbour. Even though inadequate in some cases to defend effectively, nevertheless, our forces would have been able to take a toll, which would have blunted the Japanese attack. In Hawaii, the capital ships might have been moved out of the congested harbour to sea, where Admiral Kimmel at least had the foresight to keep the far more vital aircraft carriers. Furthermore, our Carrier taskforce in the mid-Pacific might have attacked the Japanese taskforce when its planes were aloft. There are many possibilities which could have given our men a fighting chance."
Blind Service to Stalin and the Soviet Union
"Roosevelt ignored the whole communist infiltration into his administration. Much of it was to be exposed before his death. But of more importance, he ignored the whole international purpose of communism and its morals in International relations. Its purposes and methods had been blatantly stated to the world ever since 1917 and its statements in books were widely distributed in the United States. Roosevelt was not a communist. His leanings towards Stalin and blindness to communistic activities arose partly from his own Leftist-leaning and partly from the usefulness of the communists in support of his administration politically throughout his 13 years in office."
Co-operating with Communism
"His leanings towards Stalin and the communist began with the recognition of the Soviet Union immediately upon taking his office in 1933... During 15 years prior to the recognition, Democratic and Republican administrations alike had barred any relations with a country which had returned huge numbers of mankind to slavery and was constantly conspiring against the welfare of other peoples. By recognition, Roosevelt gave the Soviet Union certain respectability in the family of nations, but also of importance. By that act, he had opened the door to communist penetration and conspiracies in the United States."
A Madman's Desire to Get US into War
In Herbert Hoover's Freedom Betrayed, General Douglas McArthur's views are reported that: "the whole Japanese war was a madman's desire to get us into war." McArthur was convinced that the "Financial sanctions in July 1941 were not only provocative but that Japan was bound to fight even if it were suicide, unless they could be removed, as the sanctions carried every penalty of war except killing and destruction and no nation of dignity would take them for long."
An Unnecessary War
McArthur said that: "Roosevelt could have made peace with Konoye in September 1941 and could have obtained all of the American objectives in the Pacific and the freedom of China and probably Manchuria. Konoye was authorized by the Emperor to agree to complete withdrawal."
Callous Indifference to the American Army Beleaguered in the Philippines
McArthur was bitter about: "Roosevelt's starvation of supplies to him at a time when the whole fate of the South Pacific and their allies in Asia was at stake." "Roosevelt had shown his vindictiveness in many ways."
The Truth about Pearl Harbour
In September 1944, John Flynn, a member of the America First Committee, published The Truth about Pearl Harbour:
Provoking Japan to Get America into the War
Rear Admiral Frank Beatty, who at the time of the Pearl Harbour attack was an aide to the Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, testified: "Prior to 7 December, it was evident even to me… that we were pushing Japan into a corner. I believe that it was the desire of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill that we get into the war, as they felt their allies could not win without us and all our efforts to cause the Germans to declare war on us had failed. The conditions we imposed upon Japan were so severe that we knew the nation could not accept them. We were forcing her so severely that we could have known that she would react towards the United States. All her preparations in a military way - and we knew their overall import - pointed that way."
"Worth the Price"
Jonathan Daniels, Roosevelt's administrative assistant at that time of Pearl Harbour, presented an eyewitness viewpoint: "The blow was heavier than he had hoped it would necessarily be… But the risks paid off; even the loss was worth the price..." ("1941: Pearl Harbour Sunday: The End of an Era").
To Save the Soviet Union from Collapse in Europe
In Day of Deceit, by Robert Stinnett, a memorandum prepared by Commander McCollun stated that a memorandum issued in the immediate pre-war period declared that only a direct attack on US interests would sway the American public, or Congress, to favour direct involvement in the European war. Anderson and Secretary Knox, offered eight specific plans to aggrieve the Japanese Empire "If by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt active war, so much the better." The McCollun memo of 7 October 1940 remained classified until 1994.
Reckless and Irresponsible
Admiral James Richardson was fired by President Roosevelt for complaining about the president's order to station the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbour. Admiral Richardson blamed the president for the "initial defeats in the Pacific" as "direct, real and personal." Richardson believed that stationing the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbour made the ships "extremely vulnerable to attack" and provided "a poor and nonstrategic defence."
A Travesty of History
"No reasonably informed person can now believe that Japan made a villainous unexpected attack on the United States. An attack was not only fully expected, but was actually desired. It is beyond doubt that President Roosevelt wanted to get his country into the war, but for political reasons, was most anxious to ensure that the first act of hostility came from the other side; for which reason he caused increasing pressure to be put on the Japanese, to a point that no self-respecting nation could endure without resort to arms. Japan was meant, by the American President, to attack the United States. As Mr Oliver Lyttelton, then British Minister of Production, said in 1944: 'Japan was provoked into attacking America's Pearl Harbour. It is a travesty of history to say that America was forced into the war'." - British Historian Captain Russell Grenfell Main Fleet to Singapore as quoted by President Herbert Hoover in Freedom Betrayed.
Attempted Cover Ups
"The Roberts Commission Report was so hasty, inconclusive and incomplete. Some witnesses were examined under oath, others were not. Much testimony was not even recorded… several records were missing and most inadequate explanations were supplied… Army and Navy information indicated growing imminence of war was delivered to the highest authorities… including the President. The fatal error of Washington was to undertake a world campaign and world responsibilities without first making provision for the security of the United States, which was their prime constitutional obligation. High Washington authorities did not communicate to Admiral Kimmel and General Short adequate information of diplomatic negotiations and of intercepted diplomatic intelligence, which, if communicated with them, would have informed them of the imminent menace of a Japanese attack in time for them to fully alert and prepare the defence of Pearl Harbour… the failure to perform the responsibilities indispensably essential to the defence of Pearl Harbour rest upon Franklin D. Roosevelt, Henry L. Stimson, Frank Knox and George C. Marshall…" (Freedom Betrayed)
Dragging a Reluctant America into War
George Morgenstern in his book, Pearl Harbour: The Story of the Secret War, published in 1947, wrote: "With absolute knowledge of war, they refused to communicate that knowledge clearly, unequivocally and in time, to the people in the field, upon whom the blow would fall… Pearl Harbour provided the American War party with the means of escaping dependence on a hesitant Congress in taking a reluctant people into war… Pearl Harbour was the first action of the Acknowledged War and the last battle of a Secret War, upon which the administration had long since embarked.
The Secret War of Deception and Propaganda
"The Secret War was waged against nations which the leadership of this country had chosen as enemies’ months before they became formal enemies, by declaration of war. It was waged also by psychological means by propaganda and deception against the American people… the people were told that acts which were equivalent to war were intended to keep the nation out of war. Constitutional processes existed only to be circumvented. Until finally the war making power of Congress was reduced to the act of ratifying an accomplished fact."
Rejecting Every Overture for Peace
Herbert Hoover declares in his book Freedom Betrayed: "It can never be forgotten that three times during 1941 Japan made overtures for peace negotiation. America never made one unless a futile proposal to the Emperor the day before Pearl Harbour could be called peace. A peace could have been made in the Pacific that would have saved China from ravishment and would have protected the American Pacific flank. If Roosevelt was still determined to carry on his undeclared war with Germany, until it provoked reprisals, that Pacific protection was the only sane course. It would have limited our engagement in any case to the European theatre. As a result of this policy - an undeclared war upon Japan - we suffered the greatest military defeat in our history - with immeasurable consequences.
Fanning the Flames of Hate by a Mass of Lies
"Public opinion was overwhelmingly against our being involved in the war up to the day of Pearl Harbour… America came into World War One 33 months after its outbreak. She came into World War Two 27 months after it started. The processes and the months of lag were the same: the appeal to crusade for freedom, for independence of nations, for lasting peace; the same pictures of atrocities; the fanning of hate and above all, the mass of lies and stimulation of fear of invasion - they were identical. But in World War Two the people believed much less of it and they believed much more that they were being deliberately pushed into the war. They dimly recognised that they were being ground in the mills of power politics and the personal ambitions of men."
Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt's War
"The First World War had been conducted in the Allied side in the name of 'the peoples'. This war was in the name of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. At times the whole political and military scene seemed their personal property - as it was." (Herbert Hoover, Freedom Betrayed).
Many Recognised they Were Being Forced and Deceived into War
"In the first World War, our sons marched to war with flowers in their rifles. Bands and cheering people were on every platform. There were no bands, no flowers and no cheers on the railway platforms to World War Two. There was little singing of war ballades by soldiers or civilians, except at the urging of paid conductors of propaganda. The station platforms were stages for grieving and tears. The promises, the speeches, the propaganda filled the air as in World War One, but this time the people received it grimly and with little believing." - Herbert Hoover.
President Herbert Hoover in Freedom Betrayed documents: "Roosevelt's contemptuous refusal of Prime Minister Konoe's proposals for peace in the Pacific of September, 1941 was a lost opportunity. The acceptance of these proposals was prayerfully urged by both the American and British Ambassadors in Japan. The terms Konoye proposed would have accomplished every American purpose except possibly the return of Manchuria - and even this was thrown open to discussion. The cynic will recall that Roosevelt was willing to provoke a great war on his flank over this remote question and then gave Manchuria to Communist Russia."
The Threat of Communism
Herbert Hoover documents in Freedom Betrayed that American Military officials strongly urged FDR to accept the Three Months' Stand-Still Agreement offered by the Emperor of Japan in November 1941. Japan was alarmed at the threat of the Soviet Union and a 90-days delay could have kept war out of the Pacific. Secretary of War, Stimson, in his Diary, disclosed that Roosevelt and his officials were seeking for a method to stimulate an overt act of aggression from the Japanese.
The Betrayal of China
"Then Secretary of State, Hull, issued his foolish ultimatum and we were defeated at Pearl Harbour. By Roosevelt insisting that Chinese Premiere Chiang Kai-shek include Mao Tse-Tung's communists in a Coalition government and Roosevelt's Secret Agreement at Yalta to betray Mongolia and Manchuria to Russia, future generations were betrayed. All of China was sacrificed to the communists in the years of President Truman - at the insistence of his Left-wing advisors and General Marshall. The Second World War ended with 450 Million Asiatic peoples betrayed under communist dictatorship." (Freedom Betrayed)
The Only Beneficiary was Communism
Herbert Hoover in Freedom Betrayed declared: "I had warned the American people time and again against becoming involved. I stated repeatedly its only end would be to promote Communism over the earth; that we would impoverish the United States and the whole world. The situation of the world today is my vindication."
American Industry Bolstered the Soviet Union