November 14, 2011


The Blunders of Statesmen: Freedom betrayed (Herbert Hoover, 11/14/11, National Review)
Editor's note: This article is adapted from Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath, edited and with an introduction by George H. Nash, included below (Hoover Institution Press, 2011) Alliance with Stalin Indeed the greatest loss of statesmanship in all American history was the tacit American alliance and support of Communist Russia when Hitler made his attack in June 1941. Even the false theory that American military strength was needed to save Britain had now visibly vanished. By diversion of Nazi furies into the swamps of Russia, no one could any longer doubt the safety of Britain and all the Western world. These monstrous dictators were bound to exhaust themselves no matter who won. Even if Hitler won military victory, he would be enmeshed for years trying to hold these people in subjection. And he was bound even in victory to exhaust his military strength -- and the Russians were bound to destroy any sources of supplies he might have hoped for. His own generals opposed his action. American aid to Russia meant victory for Stalin and the spread of Communism over the world. Statesmanship again imperiously cried to keep out, be armed to the teeth and await their mutual exhaustion. When that day came there would have been an opportunity for the United States and Britain to use their strength to bring a real peace and security to the free world. No greater opportunity for lasting peace ever came to a president and he muffed it. The Economic Sanctions on Japan of July 1941 The eighth gigantic error in Roosevelt's statesmanship was the total economic sanctions on Japan one month later, at the end of July, 1941. The sanctions were war in every essence except shooting. Roosevelt had been warned time and again by his own officials that such provocation would sooner or later bring reprisals of war. Refusal to Accept Konoye's Peace Proposals The ninth time statesmanship was wholly lost was Roosevelt's contemptuous refusal of Prime Minister [Fumimaro] Konoye's proposals for peace in the Pacific of September, 1941. 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. Refusal to Accept a 3 Months' Stand-Still Agreement with Japan The tenth loss of statesmanship was the refusal to accept the proposals that his ambassador informed him came from the emperor of Japan for a three months' stand-still agreement in November 1941. Our military officials strongly urged it on Roosevelt. Japan was then alarmed that Russia might defeat her ally, Hitler. Ninety days' delay would have taken all the starch out of Japan and kept war out of the Pacific. As the Stimson diary disclosed, Roosevelt and his officials were searching for a method to stimulate an overt act from the Japanese. Then Hull issued his foolish ultimatum, and we were defeated at Pearl Harbor. The train of losses and this Japanese victory in the Japanese occupation of all South Asia were incalculable. Further, with the loss of sea control, Hitler and Togo were able to destroy our shipping in sight of our own shores. The Demand for Unconditional Surrender The eleventh gigantic error in Roosevelt's statesmanship was demand for "unconditional surrender" at Casablanca in January 1943, where without our military, or even Churchill's advice, he was seeking a headline. It played into the hands of every enemy militarist and propagandist; it prolonged the war with Germany, Japan, and Italy. And in the end major concessions in surrender were given to both Japan and Italy. It held out no hope of peace to the Germans if they got rid of the Nazis. The war to the bitter end left no semblance of a structure in Germany upon which to build again. The Sacrifice of the Baltic States and East Poland at Moscow, October 1943 The twelfth error of lost statesmanship was the sacrifice of free nations at the foreign-ministers meeting at Moscow in October 1943. Here amid words of freedom and democracy not a word of protest was made against the known Russian intentions to annex the Baltic States, East Poland, East Finland, Bessarabia, and Bukovina (which he had in his agreement with Hitler). This acquiescence marked the abandonment of the last word of the Four Freedoms and the Atlantic Charter. Teheran and Its Sacrifice of Seven More Nations The thirteenth and possibly one of the greatest of all confused wanderings in Roosevelt's and Churchill's statesmanship was at Teheran in December 1943. Here was confirmation of the acquiescence at the Moscow Conference of the annexations; here was the acceptance of Stalin's doctrine of a periphery "of friendly border states" -- the puppet Communist governments over seven nations. Fidelity to international morals and their own promises of independence of nations and free men demanded that Roosevelt and Churchill at Teheran stand firm against Stalin once and for all. There were by this time no such military perils of Stalin's making a separate peace that could justify these agreements, acquiescences and appeasements. Yalta -- the Secret Agreements on the Downfall of Nations The fourteenth fatal loss of statesmanship was by Roosevelt and Churchill at Yalta in February 1945. Not only were all Stalin's encroachments on the independence of a dozen nations ratified, but with a long series of secret agreements other malign forces were set in motion that will continue to plague the world with international dangers for generations. Knowing that Stalin had already created Communist puppet governments over seven nations, Roosevelt and Churchill sought to camouflage their lost statesmanship with gadgets entitled "free and unfettered" elections, "representation of all liberal elements." Even the strongest defender on military grounds of appeasement at Teheran could no longer defend it at Yalta. Here at least a stand might have been made for decency and free mankind which would have left America with cleaner hands and the moral respect of free men. Refusal of Japanese Peace Proposals of May-July 1945 The fifteenth time of lost statesmanship was in respect to Japan in May, June, and July 1945. Truman refused to take notice of the Japanese white flags. Truman was not obligated to Roosevelt's "unconditional surrender" folly. It had been denounced by our own military leaders in Europe. Peace could have been had with Japan with only one concession. That was the preservation of the Mikado who was the spiritual as well as secular head of the state. His position was rooted in a thousand years of Japanese religious faith and tradition. And we finally conceded this after hundreds of thousands of human lives had been sacrificed. Potsdam The sixteenth time of blind statesmanship was Truman at Potsdam. Power had now passed to inexperienced men on the democratic countries, and the Communists had their way at every consequential point. The whole Potsdam agreement was a series of ratifications and amplifications of the previous surrenders to Stalin. Not only were all the Communist annexations and puppets further cemented to Stalin, but the provisions as to government in Germany and Austria were so set as to send parts of these states into Stalin's bosom. The result of reparations policies was to load the American taxpayers with billions of the cost for relief of idle Germans and stifle the recovery of Germany and thus of Europe for years. The wickedness of slavery of war prisoners, the expelling of whole peoples from their homes was ratified and amplified from Yalta. Beyond all this, against advice from leading men, the ultimatum was issued to Japan of unconditional surrender without the saving clause allowing them to retain the Mikado recommended by a score of experienced American voices. The Japanese, in reply, asked only for this concession, which was met with the atomic bomb -- and then conceded in the end.

Posted by at November 14, 2011 6:21 AM

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