Secret History: Former President Herbert Hoover Meticulously Documented U.S. Diplomacy before and during WWII, and He Shows How FDR Caused Decades of Unnecessary Suffering and Death

By Thornton, James Fr. | The New American, March 5, 2012 | Go to article overview

Secret History: Former President Herbert Hoover Meticulously Documented U.S. Diplomacy before and during WWII, and He Shows How FDR Caused Decades of Unnecessary Suffering and Death


Thornton, James Fr., The New American


Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath, by Herbert Hoover, Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press, 2011, 957 pages, hardcover.

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Freedom Betrayed is a massive volume. Referred to by the former President as his "magnum opus," it was written during the years following the Second World War, undergoing many revisions throughout the 1950s and early '60s, as the author gained access to new information. By late 1963, the manuscript was complete, and Hoover began preparations for its publication. Had it been published as planned by the author, it would likely have caused a sensation, quite possibly changing the unhappy course of events of that period. Unfortunately, Hoover died before Freedom Betrayed could be published, and his heirs decided not to proceed with its publication. Thus it was consigned to storage for the better part of a half-century.

The book, published last year by Hoover Institution Press, is an astonishing tour de force, heavily researched, and fully documented in all details. Reading this 957-page work, one quickly realizes that the conventional understanding of the history of America's pre-war diplomacy, our entry into World War II, and the policies that shaped the post-war world have been hugely distorted, distorting as well our perception of the events that ensued after the period considered by Hoover. The scope of this book is vast, so much so that it is possible to offer only samples that will serve to give an idea of its tremendous value as a historical document,

It is a fact, noted by the author, that the American people were absolutely opposed to our involvement in the European war that began with the German invasion of Poland in September 1939. Many Americans remembered that the United States had been fraudulently maneuvered into the First World War, to a large extent by British propaganda. We may cite, for instance, the lurid stories spread by the British that the "Huns" (as the forces of Kaiser Wilhelm II were described) were roasting and eating Belgian babies, that they were crucifying Canadian POWs, and that the Kaiser aimed to conquer the world. A few years after the war, British writers revealed, and even boasted, that they had lied, and as a result Americans became quite skeptical about such things. Moreover, at the conclusion of the "war to make the world safe for democracy," as Woodrow Wilson called it, dictatorships suddenly popped up everywhere, and vanquished nations were mindlessly carved up in ways that virtually guaranteed future wars of revenge. So, in 1939, few Americans relished the thought of again getting involved in Europe's seemingly endless quarrels. To them, Europe had made a thorough mess of things; therefore, Europe should solve its own problems. Polling between September 1939 and July 1941 indicated that a huge majority of Americans opposed our involvement in the war, those numbers hovering between 96.5 percent and 79 percent. That opposition to our involvement remained extremely high despite President Franklin D. Roosevelt's ceaseless efforts at whipping up war hysteria.

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Whipping Up War

For an example of that (and there are numerous examples), let us recall Roosevelt's radio address of October 1941, an address in which he claimed to have in his possession a ''secret map" that allegedly showed how Germany was planning to carve up Central and South America after a soon-to-be-launched invasion of that part of the world. That map, and most of the President's remarks that evening, were figments of his fertile imagination designed to frighten his listeners and kindle the fires of war. When, after the war. Hoover consulted experts who had combed through captured German archives, he was told that neither the German government nor its military had any plans for an invasion of the Western Hemisphere. If they were unable to cross the English Channel, which is only 21 miles wide at the Strait of Dover, it is obvious they were in no position to cross the Atlantic Ocean and simultaneously face the combined power of the British and American navies. …

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