Wendell Willkie Defeats The Isolationists: The Most Dramatic Moment in GOP Convention History

 

GOP nominee Wendell Willkie is shown on August 17, 1940 in Elwood, Indiana. He remains the only native Hoosier to be nominated by a major party for the presidency. Willkie captured the nomination despite receiving just 3% support from Republicans seven weeks prior to the start of their convention.

“If we want to talk about freedom, we must mean freedom for others as well as ourselves, and we must mean freedom for everyone inside our frontiers as well as outside. . . When we talk of freedom and opportunity for all nations, the mocking paradoxes in our own society become so clear they can no longer be ignored.” – Wendell Willkie, the first major political figure to address the NAACP.

Wendell Willkie was the 1940 Republican nominee for President. He was the only major-party nominee who never held elected office, a Cabinet position, or high military rank. Willkie, an attorney and utility company executive, had been a delegate to the 1924 Democratic convention, and changed his registration only a year earlier. According to the Gallup Poll, he was receiving just 3% support from Republicans seven weeks before the start of their 1940 nominating convention.

Public opinion completely changed during that time period because of the rapid German invasion of France, and the nation clearly realized WW II was no longer a “phony war.”  Many Republicans thought they would be foolish to nominate staunch isolationists such as Senators Robert Taft (OH) and Arthur Vandenberg (MI), who later changed his viewpoint.  France surrendered to Germany one day after the opening of the GOP convention.

Willkie’s nomination on the 6th ballot is still regarded as one of the most dramatic moments in convention history. Columnist Joe Alsop said Willkie’s bandwagon was a demonstration of grass roots power, while Alice Roosevelt Longworth retorted that the candidate had actually come from “the grassroots of ten thousand country clubs.”

His campaign to secure the nomination had the support of many establishment figures within the party, and they made sure the Republican Platform called for the integration of the armed forces. This never happened while President Franklin Roosevelt was in office. In the general election Willkie was defeated by Roosevelt who won an unprecedented third term. The GOP nominee received 45% of the vote and carried 10 states.

Willkie helped to break the isolationist grip on the Republican Party. He was always a civil rights champion, even though it was not politically popular. Roosevelt not only carried all 16 states of the “Solid South,” but won them by huge majorities.

Willkie temporarily put partisanship on the back burner after his defeat. He campaigned for passage of the Lend-Lease bill to help Britain, even though it significantly increased FDR’s power. Willkie said Lend-Lease was needed to help the war effort:

I am greatly concerned about the Republican party. . . Whether we like it or not America cannot remove itself from the world.  Much as we would like to withdraw within ourselves and much as we would like to disregard the rest of the world—we cannot. We cannot be indifferent to what happens in Europe. We cannot forget the fighting men of Britain. They are defending our liberty as well as theirs.

If they are permitted to fail I say to you quite deliberately that I do not believe liberty can survive here. I take issue with all who say we can survive with freedom in a totalitarian world.  I want to say to you even though some of you may disagree with me, and I say it to you with all the emphasis of my being, that if Britain falls before the onslaught of Hitlerism, it will be impossible over a period of time to preserve the free way of life in America.

There has been a bill introduced in Congress to give the President quite extraordinary power to deal with the present crisis. . . . If Republicans are presented as the isolationist party, they will never again gain control of the American government. I beg of you—I plead with you—please do not act in blind opposition.  Do not act because of the hate of an individual.

Of all persons in the United States I have least cause to hold a brief for him. Republicans of 1941, you who gave to me the rarest privilege that could come to any man, the privilege of leading the greatest cause of this century —I call upon you now to rise to the opportunity of preserving the blessed principles of freedom . . . If during this critical period we play a wise and proper part, America in the near future will call us into power. Let us not fail.

Willkie died in 1944 at age 52 after suffering 20 heart attacks. His running mate, Senate Republican Leader Charles McNary (OR), had died six months earlier at 69. This was the only occasion where both members of a major party Presidential ticket died during the term for which they sought election.  During his 2004 keynote address to the Republican National Convention, Sen. Zell Miller (D-GA) said:

“Shortly before Willkie died, he told a friend, that if he could write his own epitaph and had to choose between ‘here lies a president’ or ‘here lies one who contributed to saving freedom,’ he would prefer the latter.”

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Answering The Isolationists: Why Has Congress Never Officially Declared War Since 1941?

 

This was the last time America officially declared war.

What is not conservative about saying, ‘Don’t go to war unless we go to war properly with a full declaration of war, and no other way?’ Unconstitutional wars cost a lot of money, they undermine our constitutional principles.” – Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Address to the Conservative Political Action Conference, February 19, 2010

“Congress is about to circumvent the Constitution and avoid the tough decision of whether war should be declared by transferring this monumental decision-making power regarding war to the President. Once again, the process is being abused. . . A declaration of war limits the presidential powers, narrows the focus, and implies a precise end point to the conflict.  – Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), debate on the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists” in Afghanistan, October 3, 2002 

As usual, the truth is the exact opposite of what is being claimed by Ron Paul, Libertarians and the Constitution Party. The U.S. Constitution explicitly does grant Congress the power to declare war, and the last time this occurred was in December of 1941. America responded the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and three days later the U.S. Congress reacted again when Nazi Germany declared war on the United States.

No other nation has adopted a war resolution specifically against America since that time. The Korean War (1950 – 1953) and 1991’s Operation Desert Storm in Kuwait were military actions pursued under a United Nations mandate. If President George H.W. Bush had insisted on a declaration of war, he would have received it. He did not feel it was necessary, and the fighting lasted for only 100 hours. Republicans wanted a formal declaration but the Democratic majority did not want to give Bush any additional power.

Why Doesn’t Congress Declare War?

A declaration of war only requires a 51% majority vote in Congress. The “Declare War” clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8) does not spell out any exact powers, and Presidents have taken a broad mandate after the passage of a war resolution. The presidents war powers have been recognized numerous times, and most recently by the Supreme Court in the Hamdi v. Rumsfeld decision of 2004.

Since World War II, the Congress has preferred to use an Authorization for the Use of Military Force [AUMF]. This serves a very different role from a formal declaration of war. By passing an AUMF instead of a declaration, Congress is limiting the scope of power given to a president.

Past legislative history under a declaration of war gives the president broad inherent constitutional powers to deploy U.S. armed forces into combat abroad without specific authorization from Congress. The AUMFs passed by Congress signal support for the military actions but they do not go so far as to cede lawmaking power to the president. A declaration of war has been viewed by the Supreme Court as ceding legislative power by Congress.

What Has Happened in the Past?

Only two Senators voted against the Vietnam Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, and it passed the House unanimously. Only one lawmaker in the entire Congress opposed George W. Bush’s 2002 “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists” in Afghanistan.

Of the more than 220 situations in which the U.S. armed forces have been used (half of them involving fighting for less than 30 days), only five have involved declarations of war: the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II.

Any of our post war presidents could have easily obtained a declaration of war. There was very little Congressional opposition at the outset of the post WW II conflicts. Instead, the Congress used a process called authorization of forces rather than war declarations.

The presidents would have preferred war declarations which once again significantly expand their power. Ron Paul’s claims that a war declaration limits the president is totally false. As I indicated, the Congress prefers AUMF’s because they increase the stature of the legislative branch.

Why Does Congress Insist on an AUMF Rather Than a War Declaration?

By using an AUMF, if Congress wishes to oppose military actions pursued by the Commander-in-Chief, it can do so in several ways. It can revoke any resolutions supporting the President. The Congress did that in 1970 when it revoked the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

Congress can also cut off appropriations for Presidential war making. During the Vietnam War, it barred troops from engaging in operations in Thailand and Laos (1969) and from using ground forces in Cambodia (1970) and bombing Cambodia (1973).

America Was Not Tricked Into The Vietnam War

Another false claim made by the isolationists concern the Vietnam War. They say America was tricked into this conflict. The 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed after the attack on the U.S. destroyers Maddox and C. Turner Joy. Everyone could see the visible damage on the USS Maddox. It was later discovered that a radar mistake was responsible for the USS C. Turner Joy’s response. Nevertheless, the attack on the Mattox took place.

Remembering the Battle of Iwo Jima

There are currently 2.5 million American veterans of World War II still alive today, out of the 16 million who served. Around 900 of these veterans die every day. They fought the greatest armed struggle in human history, but their endeavors are fading from public memory. This month is the anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima (February 19 – March 26, 1945). While the battle was still being fought, Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz said “Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue.” This is the only quote inscribed on the Marine Corps War Memorial which is dedicated to all Marines who have given their lives in the defense of the United States since 1775.
Marines have been in the forefront of every American war, and Iwo Jima was the largest all-Marine battle in history. The Marines have carried out over 300 landings on foreign shores. Their record of readiness reflects pride, responsibility and challenge. The USMC motto is “Semper Fidelis.” It is Latin for always faithful. Faithful to god, country, family and the corps.

Constitution Party Regrets The U.S. Role in World Wars I and II

Prominent members of the Constitution Party believe it was wrong for the United States to enter both World War I and World War II. They justify their opposition to WW II by noting the Iron Curtain which descended on eastern Europe after the war. What they do not recognize is that the problems which emerged after Yalta were caused by the USSR’s Joseph Stalin, not by President Franklin Roosevelt. FDR was too trusting of the USSR, but it was the Kremlin that broke all of the promises, not the United States.
There was considerable isolationist sentiment in America prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. One week before his 1940 re-election, FDR promised to stay out of “foreign military wars.” When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor it was no longer a foreign war.
The arguments against America’s entry into WW II are similar to the 9/11 conspiracy claims against George W. Bush. Constitution Party members try to blame America for the attack on the Twin Towers because of U.S. support for Israel.
In a similar manner, many isolationists claim Japan was provoked into the attacking Pearl Harbor because America was sending aid to the United Kingdom, and we had placed sanctions on Japan in response to its invasion of China and French Indo-China. The isolationists say these sanctions forced Japan into its membership in the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis. The aggressor was Japan, not America.
Germany was not obligated to fight any country which was at war with Japan. Nor was Japan obligated to declare war on countries Germany was fighting. The so-called Pact of Steel was a mutual assistance agreement.
The Tripartite Pact would have gone into effect if America attacked Japan, not the other way around. Numerous German generals were baffled by Hitler’s declaration of war on the U.S. Hitler had abandoned many pacts before, and this was perhaps the only time the Fuehrer felt an obligation to assist a treaty partner.
The Cold War began when WW II was over, but America made the right decision in liberating Europe and overthrowing the totalitarian regimes in Germany, Japan and Italy. The Constitution Party nevertheless has reservations about our victory.
In WW I, the U.S. and Japan were on the same side. The Constitution Party believes the conflict would have resulted in a stalemate if America had remained neutral. They are wrong. If America had not intervened the Germans would have won. France was bankrupt by February of 1918. They had no gold and a massive debt to America. All of their military reserves had been depleted. Russia has already been knocked out of the war, and the Germans were planning a massive offensive on the Western Front. All of the German troops on the Eastern Front (Russia) were being shifted to the Western Front.
There were definitely mistakes in the post-war Versailles Treaty, but it was not a mistake for America to enter the war.

Answering the Conspiracy Theories: The Attack on Pearl Harbor

BOOK REVIEWS: “Infamy: Pearl Harbor and its Aftermath” by John Toland (1982) and “The Truth About Pearl Harbor” by John T. Flynn (1944). New introduction by Laurence M. Vance, Ph.D., http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance189.html

I never would have voted for President Franklin Roosevelt, and many aspects of his liberal domestic agenda were misguided. The FDIC, SEC and Social Security were all necessary, but initiatives such as the NRA and AAA only prolonged and exacerbated the Great Depression. While I am not a Roosevelt fan, I believe it is outrageous to claim he betrayed his country by hiding evidence of the impeding attack on Pearl Harbor.
For over 60 years this false accusation has been made by isolationists, and their theory is that FDR did this in order to obtain a declaration of war on Japan. That is a major theme of numerous isolationist publications.
I do not recommend either of these books. If you want to know more about Pearl Harbor without the isolationist slant, two excellent suggestions are Gordon Prange’s authoritative “At Dawn We Slept,” or John Costello’s “The Pacific War.”
Despite the obvious flaws of the above books, it is important to revisit this topic because of the attention this debate continues to receive from prominent libertarians, paleoconservatives and radical liberals. What they have in common is isolationism, conspiracy theories and claims that America was tricked into entering World War II.
Practically all of the isolationist literature lists these two books among their original sources. “The Truth About Pearl Harbor” by John T. Flynn had an initial printing of 250,000 in 1944, and this booklet was reprinted by publications such as the Chicago Daily News. Additional ammunition for the isolationists came from the late John Toland’s 1982 best seller, “Infamy: Pearl Harbor and its Aftermath.”
Toland received the Pulitzer Prize for his book “The Rising Sun,” and both authors have superior research and writing skills. Unfortunately, the evidence they provide here is flimsy, but it certainly adds gasoline to the conspiracy theory fires.
The authors relay an abundance of circumstantial evidence, but the bottom line is that there still is no evidence proving Roosevelt knew Pearl Harbor was about to be hit. There is also no document indicating we knew the position of the Japanese fleet.
Toland was married to a Japanese woman and was always sympathetic to Tokyo’s viewpoint. He emphasizes Japan’s anti-communist nature but he really loses me in trying to say the war was not imperialistic.
The Pulitzer Prize winner says “It was a tragedy that men like Stimson, Hull, Knox, and Forrestal felt obliged to join in the cover-up to make scapegoats of two innocent men, Admiral Kimmel and General Short.” He is referring to Secretary of War Henry Stimson, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox and our first Secretary of Defense, James V. Forrestal. Kimmel and Short were the Navy and Army commanders at Pearl Harbor.
John T. Flynn, the other author, joined socialist Norman Thomas in forming the pacifist Keep America Out of War Committee in the late 1930s. He also was one of the founders of the isolationist America First Committee.
The American First organization did include many patriotic Americans, but often it was used as a transmission belt for Nazi propaganda. Flynn also worked for the Senate’s Nye Committee which called the American defense industry “merchants of death.” He was opposed to both Lend-Lease and the Selective Service Act.
Toland tries to prove Roosevelt knew Pearl Harbor was going to be attacked, but Flynn does not go that far. He does claim it was Roosevelt who decided to start a war with Japan. He says the President allegedly reached this conclusion 11 months before the Pearl Harbor attack. According to Flynn, “We must now face a very obvious and a very ugly fact. It is that the President made up his mind that NOW was the time for a showdown with Japan, and he led the country into that showdown incredibly unprepared.”
Flynn also says “It was Roosevelt who personally managed the whole crisis. It was Roosevelt who bottled up the fleet in Pearl Harbor. It was Roosevelt who stripped the base of its defenses. . . He did not order the fleet out of Pearl Harbor where it could defend itself, because he wanted to create the appearance of being completely at peace and surprised when the Japs started shooting. ” Flynn goes on to claim FDR was totally satisfied with the readiness of our armed forces which is obviously not true. The President had no “foolish sense of security.”
Flynn’s arguments against Roosevelt are similar to the 9/11 conspiracy claims against George W. Bush. The present anti-war crowd tried to blame America for the attack on the Twin Towers because of U.S. support for Israel.
In a similar manner, Toland and Flynn claim Japan was provoked into the attacking Pearl Harbor because America was sending aid to the United Kingdom, and we had placed sanctions on Japan in response to its invasion of China and French Indo-China. According to the authors, these sanctions forced Japan into its membership in the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis.
The best argument put forward by the conspiracy theory advocates is to claim Roosevelt had advance knowledge of the December 7, 1941 attack because America had broken Japan’s diplomatic and military codes. We had broken the codes and it was an intelligence coup. The result is that the commander of the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor was notified on November 24th that negotiations with Japan were not going well, and to prepare for “surprise aggressive movement in any direction by the Japanese.” The Chief of Naval Operations and the Chief of Staff of the Army were both told on the same day to expect war.
On November 27th a war warning was issued to the Army commander in Hawaii. In the first week of December the United States decoded several messages which can also be categorized as war warnings. Some of these messages were ignored at low levels, others were misinterpreted and the most important message resulted in an immediate reaction.
At 9 pm on the evening of December 6th Roosevelt sent another message to Emperor Hirohito seeking peace. At 10 pm an ominous 14 part Japanese secret communication was decoded, but we still did not know when or where they might strike. Our military chiefs were immediately informed and they were asked to come to the White House at 10 am the next morning.
Everyone realized the situation was serious but there was no message which said, “Attack Pearl Harbor on December 7 at 6:30 am.” The senior echelon of the American government believed the Philippines were the obvious target. It was thought that with the existing torpedo technology no nation would be capable of sinking American ships due to the shallowness of Pearl Harbor. We did not know of Japan’s torpedo engineering break through.
President Roosevelt was a Navy man who well knew the importance of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and fully realized how long it would take to rebuild these ships. We are actually fortunate the fleet was not ordered out to sea because we were able to salvage many of the ships which sunk in the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor.
FDR did not need the Pearl Harbor attack to justify America’s entry into World War II. He could have just released the intelligence we already had to the public. He could have pointed to the U.S. destroyers Greer, Kearny and Reuben James which were all sunk by Nazi Germany while on patrol duty. There was also no need for the attack to be a surprise. FDR could have alerted our commanders in Hawaii and still have received a declaration of war.
The attack would have been seen as a dastardly act of aggression even if we had been on full alert and waiting for the Japanese. It would only have been to America’s advantage to have inflicted heavy losses on the Empire of Japan.
On the other hand, if the attack had been more successful, America might have been knocked out of the war before it began. The original attack plan called for the destruction of the oil depot, the submarine pens, the ship repair yard as well as the aircraft carriers. The Japanese Zero fighter planes were outfitted to knock out all of those facilities, but for the most part they were untouched. The Japanese also considered invading and holding onto Hawaii. Losing Hawaii as a base of operations would have been a huge blow.
Then the Pacific campaign would have been conducted from distant California. The isolationists also ignore the fact that Roosevelt did not know Nazi Germany would enter the war against America. Germany was not obligated to fight any country which was at war with Japan. Nor was Japan obligated to declare war on countries Germany was fighting. The so-called Pact of Steel was a mutual assistance agreement.
Flynn’s explanation of the Tripartite Pact is misleading. It would have gone into effect if America attacked Japan, not the other way around. Numerous German generals were baffled by Hitler’s declaration of war on the U.S. Hitler had abandoned many pacts before, and this was perhaps the only time the Fuehrer felt an obligation to assist a treaty partner.
Roosevelt always felt the real danger to the world was Hitler, not Japan. If FDR wanted to enter the European war, why would he encourage an attack by Japan?
The above introduction to Flynn’s booklet is by isolationist Lawrence Vance, an adjunct instructor in accounting at Pensacola Junior College. He previously wrote “The Rotten Republicans” about the GOP victory in 1994. He calls Republicans “stupid and evil” and accuses John McCain of being a “war criminal.” He says no one should join the U.S. military, and denounces those who join our armed forces. He feels no war is justified, including World War II, and wrote a book attacking Abraham Lincoln.
America was definitely unprepared for war, but there was no secret conspiracy. Once again, the United States had decoded 13 of the 14 parts of a secret message the evening before the attack. This was the final transmission from Tokyo to its Washington embassy prior to the war.
It contained an ultimatum the Japanese Ambassador was instructed to deliver to Secretary of State Hull at 1 pm Washington time, which was 6:00 am in Hawaii, warning of a breach in relations. It also contained instructions for the Japanese delegation to destroy their code machines, a clear indication they intended to break relations with the U.S. The United States immediately assumed the decoded message were a declaration of war. Warnings were sent out by both the Army and the Navy to commands in Hawaii and the Pacific in general.
The Navy’s link to Pearl Harbor was via a one kilowatt radio transmitter but the message did not go through because of static in the ionosphere that evening. The Army had a ten kilowatt transmitter. Its messages went through but the Navy did not ask the Army to warn the Pacific Fleet.
They instead sent an encrypted message via Western Union. The bicycle courier arrived at Pacific Fleet headquarters 8 hours after the attack. General laxity of the Army and the Navy in Hawaii prior to Pearl Harbor contributed more to Japanese success than any other single factor. They did not keep the radar stations monitored full time, their patrols were inadequate, and when approaching planes were spotted on radar the Army mistakenly assumed they were U.S. aircraft.
Any criticism of the lack of U.S. war supplies is entirely justified. America was the 17th ranked military power at the time of Pearl Harbor and our soldiers had to train with wooden guns. General Hap Arnold in discussing the Army Air Corps said “Dec. 7 found the Army with plans but no planes.”
The Army commander in Hawaii did have 10 hours of warning but he was worried about sabotage rather than an aerial attack. He did not understand the warning.
The U.S. military thought the Imperial Japanese Navy was still anchored in their Inland Sea, and we had no idea four aircraft carriers were within 200 miles and a group of submarines were approaching Hawaii’s Diamond Head. Even by 1943 we still did not realize what Japan had accomplished.
Two years after the war began senior Navy officers were speculating that the attack had been made by only two aircraft carriers. Our Navy thought the carriers Akagi and Kaga were too old and slow for such an attack, and we had not realized the Shokado and Zuikaku were already in operational service.
The White House was obviously highly worried about an attack in the Pacific, but once again, no one in the American government was sure of the location. Our senior military leaders were assuming the Philippines would be Japan’s logical target. The discussion about Pearl Harbor was only speculation.
Among other arguments raised by the isolationists are the sanctions imposed on Japan by the United States in response to Tokyo’s continued aggressive policies. The isolationists claim World War II was America’s fault because of these sanctions.
Japan took over one-third of China (Manchuria) as a colony in 1931, and full scale war broke out between Japan and China on July 7, 1937. In 1939, the U.S. renounced the Treaty of Commerce which was signed by both nations in 1911. When Japanese troops entered northern French Indo-China (Vietnam) a partial embargo of aviation gasoline and scrap-metal was imposed in July 1940. This had no impact and Japan took over southern Indo-China in July, 1941. The U.S. then imposed a freeze on all Japanese assets as well as a complete oil embargo on August 1, 1941.
It would have sent a terrible message to Germany and Italy if Japan was allowed to completely get away with such naked aggression. The U.S. sanctions would have been relaxed if Japan had left southern Indo-China. We also wanted them to break the Tripartite Pact of Alliance with Germany and Italy, and to leave China.
The last two items were the subject of negotiation. The Pearl Harbor came fours years after the “Rape of Nanking” where over 300,000 people died and the American warship Panay was sunk by Japan. Secretary of State Cordell Hull and others believed that if the U.S. demonstrated strong opposition and took a firm attitude to Japan’s expansion in Indo-China, the Tokyo government would back off. Japan instead wanted to spread its “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.”
They thought the key to doing this was knocking out the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which would remove the main obstacle to Japan’s conquests. The isolationists also point to FDR’s promise one week before his 1940 re-election to avoid “foreign military wars.” What they do not explain is that when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor it was no longer a foreign war.
The Pearl Harbor attack was the subject of the bipartisan Roberts Commission investigation as well as in-depth hearings before the U.S. Senate in 1945. John T. Flynn was one of the attendees. The hearings were held in the large Caucus Room and were well publicized. It was the biggest Congressional investigation in 12 years, and the Roberts Commission and the Senators completely rejected the conspiracy theories.
Toland and Flynn are the best of the isolationist conspiracy theory believers. Most people who peddle these theories have no respectable sources. The fact that a claim has been made by anybody, anywhere, is enough for them to reproduce it and demand answers to these rumors.
They will never admit they are wrong but will instead compile an endless list of minute details that in no way prove their case. They always claim the official account is wrong and they take quotes of context to try to prove their point.
In hindsight we wish many things had happened differently in the weeks leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack. We wish messages had been decoded earlier, or that our military officers had realized the serious nature of what Japan was doing. We wish the instructions given to the Navy and Army commanders at Pearl Harbor had been clearer.
John T. Flynn died in 1964 but his writings continue to be actively promoted by the John Birch Society (JBS) and the Libertarian Party. He shared the JBS goals of removing the United States from the United Nations, and denouncing the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He wrote “We must rid America of the United Nations, which provides the communist conspiracy with a headquarters here on our own shores.”
Flynn also did not want America to have a bipartisan foreign policy and he attacked the CFR because both Dean Acheson and John Foster Dulles — secretaries of state from opposing parties — were members. Flynn was always against defense spending and overseas military action, even when the communists were the enemy. He joined the left wing in opposing the Korean War. President Harry Truman responded to those critics by calling them “Kremlin assets,” and the sort of miscreants who would shoot “our soldiers in the back in a hot war.” National Review made the right decision when it rejected Flynn and the JBS.
The bottom line is that Franklin Roosevelt did not know Japan would attack Pearl Harbor. What is obvious with nearly 70 years of hindsight was not obvious in 1941. Even if he thought Japan would try an aggressive move he never imagined a full frontal assault on American forces in a sneak attack on the Pacific Fleet. If the Japanese had been willing to consolidate their gains in north China the United States might have left them alone.
In most events like this it is easy to look back and find puzzle pieces that allow conspiracy theory advocates to jump to a conclusion. It is much harder, however, to do this in real time without the blessing of hindsight.
Many now say we should have known 9/11 was going to happen, but at the time it was unimaginable. After the fact we can see evidence indicating it was going to take place. The conspiracy theories continue to grow despite the massive evidence demonstrating that George Bush did not bring down the twin towers. LBJ and the CIA did not assassinate John F. Kennedy. Adolph Hitler did not escape to Argentina, and the British Royal family did not have Lady Diana killed.
There was no conspiracy at Pearl Harbor and the Japanese were not duped into war by the manipulative Americans.