A TIME FOR WAR by Robert Smith Thompson


Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Path to Pearl Harbor
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 Here, Thompson (Pledge to Destiny: Charles de Gaulle and the Rise of the Free French, 1974; Foreign Policy/Univ. of South Carolina) argues that FDR, greatly exceeding his executive powers, led a depressed, militarily weak, and traditionally isolationist America into WW II by forcing Germany and Japan to go to war with us. Thompson's extensive research convincingly builds a vast mosaic revealing a startling picture of America's largely secret cold war with Japan (and later Germany), waged many years before the Pearl Harbor attack. The author documents how FDR broke neutrality laws, made secret loans and treaties to belligerents, and set embargoes to strangle Japan even as he seems to have lied to and manipulated his people, whom he believed to be in danger. Thompson apparently has found early 1941 American plans to firebomb Japanese cities, factories, and ships; and evidence both that FDR hoped to provoke war with Germany by the bold patrols of US ships in Atlantic convoys, and that warnings of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor were ignored in high places (it seems OSS chief Donovan had a British warning of an immediate Japanese attack; archives show that Donovan was with FDR one hour before Japan struck). Thompson records the deadly menace of Japan's aggressiveness in China, and of its intention to destroy European and American power in the Far East--to conquer all Pacific islands including the Philippines. FDR, the author shows, was alert to the Axis threat, and so led his country out of a dangerous isolationism--albeit by desperate means. Provocative revisionist history that could stimulate a widespread reevaluation of the traditional view of why America entered WW II. (Twenty-five b&w photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: July 26th, 1991
ISBN: 0-13-653338-8
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1991


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