DURING THE DECADE 1933-1942, WORLD EVENTS AND PRESident Franklin D. Roosevelt led the American people and their government to adopt collective security as the foreign policy of the United States. The late Dr. Charles A. Beard is the only historian who has written on the process by which the nation abandoned isolationism and turned to internationalism. His two books, American Foreign Policy in the Making: 1932-1940: A Study in Responsibilities,1 and President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War: 1941: A Study in Appearances and Realities2 frankly aim to destroy the faith of Americans in the honesty of President Roosevelt in planning the new foreign policy.
These books propose a revisionist interpretation of the causes of American entry into the Second World War. After the First World War, revisionist historians won over the American public to their view that the United States had entered that war not because Germany committed aggression against it, but because American bankers and munitions manufacturers plotted entry for their own profit. The thesis provided justification for the return to isolationism. Beard's purpose was to create a similar disillusionment regarding the reasons for American entry into the recent war, and a similar revulsion against the foreign policy of internationalism.3
The villain in Beard's plot is not an economic group with a vested interest in war, but the President of the United States acting for motives which are not defined. The picture of President Roosevelt engaged in a colossal and profoundly immoral plot to deceive the American people into participating in the war un