Even before the Second World War had ended many persons (and governments) had begun to prepare and publish their accounts of how it all began. By the middle of the 1950's American historians, political scientists, politicians, and diplomats had published literally hundreds of works -- historical and documentary accounts, memoirs, diaries -- seeking to answer how and why the United States became involved in a world war in December 1941. The first selection, Wayne S. Cole's article, "American Entry into World War II: A Historiographical Appraisal," surveys the literature written before 1957. Cole's major purpose is to point out the nature and limits of the arguments between the pre- and post-Pearl Harbor "noninterventionists" and "internationalists," and "revisionists" and "court historians." He discusses the political and intellectual climates which shaped the views men held and the positions they took before and after the war, and he shrewdly suggests that as more records become available, and as times change, future writers will ask different questions and reach new conclusions. Cole's survey serves as a convenient bibliographical and intellectual point of departure for the readings which follow and the new problems which they explore.