In his book, “Freedom Betrayed,” (pg. 875f) former President Hoover chronicles 19 failures on FDR that moved the US inexorably towards an unnecessary war (WW II). Hoover’s case is compelling.
Over the next few days I will list these failures as given by Hoover and you can judge if WW II was a “good war.”
Failure #3 — The third abysmal loss of statesmanship is when the British and French guaranteed the independence of Poland and Rumania at the end of March, 1939. It was at this point that the European democracies reversed their previous policies of keeping hands off the inevitable war between Hitler and Stalin.
It was probably the greatest blunder in the whole history of European power diplomacy. Britain and France were helpless to save Poland from invasion. By this act, however, they threw the bodies of democracy between Hitler and Stalin. By their actions they not only protected Stalin from Hitler but they enabled him to sell his influence to the highest bidder. The Allies did bid but Stalin’s price was annexation of defenseless people of the Baltic States and East Poland, a moral price which the Allies could not meet. Stalin got his price from Hitler.
Yet Hitler had no intention of abandoning his determination to expand in Southeast Europe and to destroy the Communist Vatican in Moscow. But now he must of necessity first neutralize the the Western Democracies which he proceeded to do.
The long train of the hideous WW II started from the blunder of the Polish guarantees. Roosevelt had some part in these power politics but the record is yet to complete to establish how much. ** Churchill, not yet in the government, had contributed something by goading Chamberlain to desperate action after his appeasement at Munich.
** — Hoover will later document, in his book, a conversation that took place between himself and FDR’s Ambassador to Britain, Joseph Kennedy. In that conversation we get a sense of how instrumental FDR was in pushing Prime Minister Chamberlain to grant guarantees to Poland. Hoover writes,
“Joseph P. Kennedy called me this morning….
Kennedy said that after the Germans had occupied Prague and the great cry of appeasement had sprung up in the world and after the Germans had pressed their demands for Danzig and a passage through the Corridor, that Roosevelt and Bullit (US Ambassador to France) were the major factors in the British making their guarantees to Poland and becoming involved in the war. Kennedy said he had received a cable from Roosevelt to ‘put a poker up Chamberlain’s back and to make him stand up.’ Kennedy saw Chamberlain on numerous occasions, urging him, in Roosevelt’s name to do all this with the implication that the United States would give the British support. He said that after Chamberlain had given these guarantees, Chamberlain told him (Kennedy) that he hoped the Americans and the Jews would now be satisfied but that he (Chamberlain) felt that he had signed the doom of civilization.
Kennedy claimed that he was constantly urging Roosevelt not to be engaged in this question, but his urgings were to no avail. Kennedy said that if it had not been for Roosevelt that the British would not have made this the most gigantic blunder in history.”