John Chambers’ wide-ranging scholarship, which includes studies of the Progressive era, the peace movement, United States foreign relations, conscientious objectors, the Army Corps of Engineers, the draft—and, most recently, the Office of Strategic Services—has attracted a diverse set of students and admirers. This volume, focusing on the Second World War, brings together essays from many of those whom John has mentored and befriended over the years. To varying degrees, each contributor’s interests—and, therefore, the work that follows—have been shaped by our relationship with John Chambers and by our study of his eclectic, approachable, and penetrating scholarship.
Just as John’s interests have shaped the content of this work, this anthology reflects, in another far more important way, his imprint on the authors. I hope that we have brought some of John’s passion for history to this collection. I hope that John’s interest in the mighty and the meek, in the warrior and the peacemaker, is also apparent in our work. I hope that our study sheds additional light on the story of World War II, while telling the equally important stories of how America became a part of the global struggle, how the country shaped its outcome, and in turn how the war reshaped the nation. Finally, I hope that we have done what John so often did and continues to do. I hope that we have, to paraphrase William Appleman Williams, written history that allows us to see our nation as it was and how we wish it could have been.
The first two essays in this volume examine the origins of the Second World War, a topic that John has taught to a generation of Rutgers students. Although many know John primarily for his work in military history, both The Eagle and the Dove1 and Tyranny of Change2 offer detailed studies of United States foreign relations during the Progressive era. In “Roosevelt at the Rubicon: The Great Convoy Debate of 1941,” J. Garry