I do not intend in these pages to attempt to pronounce judgment upon this tremendous episode in American history. We know that all the great Americans round the President and in his confidence felt, as acutely as I did, the awful danger that Japan would attack British or Dutch possessions in the Far East, and it would carefully avoid the United States, and that in consequence Congress would not sanction an American declaration of war...The President and his trusted friends had long realized the grave risks of United States neutrality in the war against Hitler and what he stood for, and had writhed under the restraints of a Congress whose House of Representatives had a few months before passed by only a single vote the necessary renewal of compulsory military service, without which their Army would have been almost disbanded in the midst of the world convulsion. Roosevelt, Hull, Stimson, Knox, General Marshall, Admiral Stark, and, as a link between them all, Harry Hopkins, had but one mind...
A Japanese attack upon the United States was a vast simplicfication of their problems and their duty. How can we wonder that they regarded the actual form of the attack, or even its scale, as incomparably less important than the fact that the whole American nation would be united for its own safety in a rightous cause as never before? To them, as to me, it seemed that for Japan to attack and make war upon the United States would be an act of suicide. Moreover, they knew, earlier than we in Britain could know, the full and immediate purpose of their enemy. We remember how Cromwell exclaimed when he watched the Scottish army descending from the heights over Dunbar, "The Lord hath delivered them into our hands."
"Nor must we allow the account in detail of diplomatic interchanges to portray Japan as an injured innocent seeking only a reasonable measure of expansion or booty from the European war, and now confronted by the United States with propositions which her people, fanatically aroused and fully prepared, could not be expected to accept. For long years Japan had been torturing China by her wicked invasions and subjugations. Now by her seizure of Indo-China she had in fact, as well as formally by the Tripartite Pact, thrown her lot with the Axis Powers. Let her do what she dared and take the consequences.
"It had seemed impossible that Japan would court destruction by war with Britain and United States, and probably Russia in the end. A declaration of war by Japan could not be reconciled with reason. I felt sure she would be ruined for a generation by such a plunge, and this proved true. But governments and people do not always take rational decisions. Sometimes they take mad decisions, or one set of people get control who compel all others to obey and aid them in folly..."
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