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Deceit on the Road to WarPresidents, Politics, and American Democracy$
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John M. Schuessler

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453595

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453595.001.0001

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Shifting Blame to the Axis

Shifting Blame to the Axis

FDR’S Undeclared War

Chapter:
(p.27) 2 Shifting Blame to the Axis
Source:
Deceit on the Road to War
Author(s):

John M. Schuessler

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801453595.003.0003

Americans may choose to remember World War II as “the good war.” According to the standard narrative, the United States desired only to be left alone but was forced to fight in the face of Axis aggression. But a closer look at the historical record shows that World War II was hardly forced on the United States. This chapter first makes the case that President Franklin Roosevelt had powerful strategic reasons to enter the European war by the summer of 1941 while addressing the debate among historians about whether he sought full-scale intervention prior to Pearl Harbor. It then discusses the domestic political obstacles that Roosevelt had to contend with as he contemplated war and lays out in detail the deceptions that he used to shift blame to the Axis side, including using the Pacific war as a back door into the European war. Finally, it discusses the consequences of Roosevelt's deceptions.

Keywords:   World War II, Franklin Roosevelt, Pearl Harbor, foreign relations, foreign policy, deception

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