British MEP Daniel Hannan is probably one of the greatest proponents of liberty in Europe, but he has a bad habit of sometimes putting forward a romantic notion of Western history. On the anniversary of the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor Hannan tweeted out that the attack was unprovoked by the U.S.
When you declare that a date “will live in infamy”, it sometimes really does. #OnThisDay 1941, the USA was attacked without provocation.
— Daniel Hannan (@DanHannanMEP) December 7, 2014
While this is the common view of those in the western world, especially in the U.S., it is not quite the truth.
It is a historical fact that despite overwhelming public sentiment in the United States against entering World War II, and despite campaigning on the promise of staying out of the war, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had every intention of joining the war on the side of the Allies. Like many presidents before him, FDR knew that the only way to change the public’s view on the war was to provoke the enemy into attacking first. Short of directly entering the war, prior to 1941 FDR’s administration did everything they could to assist the Allies, in the name of “neutrality,” to provoke the Axis Powers.
The Lend-Lease program was enacted by FDR to aid the Allied Powers; France, the UK, the Soviet Union, and China; against Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan. Japan, who was in direct and open warfare with China, could not fail to see the United States providing China with money and military supplies as anything other than direct provocation. That, along with freezing Japanese assets in the U.S. and enacting an oil embargo against the Japanese, not to mention the first peacetime draft in U.S. history being enacted in 1940, prove that FDR had every intention of provoking the Japanese to attack the United States so that he could then enter the United States into the war.
On December 7, 1941 the Japanese naturally, if ultimately foolishly, attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, prompting their European allies to also declare war against the U.S. This gave FDR all the excuse he needed to enter into both the Pacific and European theaters of World War II with full public support.
It’s easier to think of ourselves as victims than to accept responsibility for our actions, though in many ways Americans in general were victims at the time, as it was the FDR administration and their schemes who were truly to blame, but when the U.S. blatantly began to aid their enemy and cut off their access to vital resources Japan had little choice but to target them as a military threat. Neutrality means staying out of the conflict and not favoring either side, but the U.S. government did everything it could to harm the Japanese war effort. To claim that the U.S. government was an innocent victim is to ignore the historical fact that the FDR administration blatantly and purposefully made the U.S. a target of the Japanese with its policies directly harming them.
Now we know how the war ultimately ended with the defeat of the Axis Powers, including Japan, but for the imperial machinations of FDR the United States may never have entered that terrible conflict and lost so many American lives or killed so many innocent civilians. Never forget that FDR did everything he could to deceive the American people and send so many of them to die for his own ambitions and desire to impress Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin.
Originally published December 8, 2014