America organizes for war, December 1941 – January 1942

James N. writes:

A poster at Free Republic has been putting up daily 70th anniversary scans of the New York Times front page since September 1, 1939. Reading the December 1941 – January 1942 pages is quite an education in what real war requires, and what a white America was capable of 70 years ago.

For all of FDR’s economic illiteracy, when it came to exercising the War Power of the United States, he was outstanding.

Read his January 6, 1942 State of the Union message for an insight into the way a war leader who is not an idiot makes war.

LA replies:

I’ve read part of it so far. It has many memorable passages, including this:

When Hitler organized his Berlin-Rome-Tokyo alliance, all these plans of conquest became a single plan. Under this, in addition to her own schemes of conquest, Japan’s role was obviously to cut off our supply of weapons of war to Britain, and Russia and China—weapons which increasingly were speeding the day of Hitler’s doom. The act of Japan at Pearl Harbor was intended to stun us—to terrify us to such an extent that we would divert our industrial and military strength to the Pacific area, or even to our own continental defense.

The plan has failed in its purpose. We have not been stunned. We have not been terrified or confused. This very reassembling of the Seventy-seventh Congress today is proof of that; for the mood of quiet, grim resolution which here prevails bodes ill for those who conspired and collaborated to murder world peace.

- end of initial entry -

Buck O. writes:

Here is a five-part video of FDR delivering the address. It’s fascinating to read some of the text along with him. It’s about 45 minutes long.

FDR State of the Union Address 1942

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

January 8

Mencius Moldbug writes:

I know there’s no use in trying to get American conservatives to stop escaping from the sinister lies of the present into the comforting lies of the past. But I can’t stop myself from briefly reminding you:

(1) FDR read those words. He didn’t write them. They were probably written by Sam Rosenman or Robert Sherwood. FDR was a professional socialite—not even FDR’s defenders ascribe any serious ability or depth to the man. Like all the Presidents (I feel almost tempted to say “Presidents”) after him, the only times when “his” words are actually his is when he’s ad-libbing, eg, at a press conference. At these times, the modern “President” is best regarded as imitating his speechwriters. [LA replies: This is the sort of intellectually fourth rate criticism of a political figure that expresses nothing but animus. I’m reminded of a liberal acquaintance who is (still!) absolutely bent out of shape about George W. Bush. Why? Because Bush was “really” a puppet of Dick Cheney. You’re coming from the same psychological place as that liberal. I don’t know how much input FDR had in the speech, and neither do you. But even if what you say is true, of what importance is it? What’s important about the words of a leader is not that he wrote them all himself, but that he is saying them and standing by them. FDR chose to say those words.]

(2) Everything in the wonderful paragraph you quote is a lie. There is no serious evidence of any German, Japanese, or German-Japanese plot to “conquer the world.” The evidence that convinced Americans at the time was largely forged, like the infamous map of Nazified South America (a product of British intelligence). You can see what’s left here.

More to the point, German-Japanese coordination was at all times pretty much nil. For example, if the Germans and Japanese had been executing a combined war plan, the USSR would easily have succumbed to this plan in 1941. In fact, the Japanese were at peace with the USSR until 1945. [LA replies: I wouldn’t waste my time with this crap. Every time I hear something of this nature, and look into it, I find there’s nothing there. I guess the Axis didn’t exist. I guess that the alliance of Nazi Germany and Japan didn’t exist. I guess that if we had led Hitler be the master of Eurasia and not opposed him, as Hitler-loving Patrick Buchanan has retrospectively urged, all would have been well. Your position comes down to this: because the war resulted in a huge increase in the power of liberalism, therefore everything about the war had to be a lie. This is nothing but intellectual reactiveness. You have no sense of tragedy.]

(3) Here is a not-atypical spot check on the general veracity of FDR’s war rhetoric:

Orwell much? Douglas MacArthur, a real American hero, told his staff when FDR died: “There goes a man who never told the truth when a lie would do.” I wonder if it’s your position that these were “noble lies”—that God wanted FDR to lie, we might say? [Face it, Mencius: you’re a one-dimensional Roosevelt hater. If anyone anywhere says anything complimentary about Roosevelt, even that he was an effective war leader, you cannot bear to let it stand.]

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 07, 2012 10:24 AM | Send

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