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Cautious Crusade: Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Public Opinion, and the War against Nazi Germany [Kindle Edition]

Steven Casey
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

America's struggle against Nazism is one of the few aspects of World War II that has escaped controversy. Historians agree that it was a widely popular war, different from the subsequent conflicts in Korea and Vietnam because of the absence of partisan sniping, ebbing morale, or calls for a negotiated peace.
In this provocative book, Steven Casey challenges conventional wisdom about America's participation in World War II. Drawing on the numerous opinion polls and surveys conducted by the U.S. government, he traces the development of elite and mass attitudes toward Germany, from the early days of the war up to its conclusion. Casey persuasively argues that the president and the public rarely saw eye to eye on the nature of the enemy, the threat it posed, or the best methods for countering it. He describes the extensive propaganda campaign that Roosevelt designed to build support for the war effort, and shows that Roosevelt had to take public opinion into account when formulating a host of policies, from the Allied bombing campaign to the Morgenthau plan to pastoralize the Third Reich.
By examining the previously unrecognized relationship between public opinion and policy making during World War II, Casey's groundbreaking book sheds new light on a crucial era in American history.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

America's view of Germany over the last 50 years has been affected by the outcome of the war and the horror of the concentration camps. Casey, a junior research fellow in politics at Trinity College, Oxford, asserts that the war with Germany was never overly popular with the American people and that during the prewar years of 1938-40, public opinion was very isolationist or almost pro-German. Numerous public figures during this time (including Father Coughlin and Charles Lindbergh) spoke in favor of Germany. President Roosevelt had to deal with public opinion and walk the "tightrope" of too much or too little involvement. Even after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the public was more inclined to support the war against Japan than the war against Germany. Roosevelt had to stay in touch with public opinion polls regarding the conduct of the war and, later, the question of the reorganization of the postwar world. Casey documents his position with numerous footnotes and an extensive bibliography. While numerous books have dealt with the propaganda issues of World War II, this enjoyable work is the first one to deal with public opinion polls and their influence on American foreign policy during the war. Recommended for both public and academic libraries. Mark Ellis, Albany State Univ., GA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"For anyone interested in the Second World War, and especially FDR's handling of that war, Cautious Crusade has much to the United States fights an international war on terrorism, Cautious Crusade is an interesting, detailed account of how presidential action during a time of war can be shaped and/or hindered by public opinion" --Presidential Studies Quarterly

Product Details

  • File Size: 1906 KB
  • Print Length: 345 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0195139607
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (October 22, 2001)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0059EQ4I4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417,214 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent scholarly work. December 21, 2003
By A Customer
For those who want an eminently readable, but highly valuable scholarly publication on Franklin Roosevelt and WWII, look no further. Casey traces how FDR attempted to lead American public opinion to pursue his favoured course of assisting the British in opposing Nazism. After his problems in overcoming isolationism were solved for him by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor FDR's struggles with public opinion were not over, however. The administration had to walk a delicate line between encouraging support for the war without creating massive hatred for Germany that could hinder the creation of a better post-war era. Casey's book is admirable in that it presents a nuanced picture of FDR. While it is well known what a champion manipulator he was, what is less known is the ways in which he was constrained by public opinion. This book is an essential resource for anybody seeking to understand the 20th century's greatest president, and it's greatest conflict.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious Rehash May 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mr. Casey tries to track how public opinion polls and surveys, along with the opinions of journalists and politicians, influenced Roosevelt's thinking and decision making. By the time I read the alarming phrase "pedal his views" on an early page, I was already doubtful that this clumsily written tome was going to add very much to our understanding of FDR's attitudes and policies toward Nazi Germany. Mr. Casey essentially retells the well-known story of American isolationism, the growing appreciation of the Nazi threat, and Roosevelt's efforts to support Britain and prepare for war without flouting neutrality laws and popular resistance to American involvement. But as for the day-to-day effect of the surveys and opinion polls, I don't think he makes his case. I'm afraid I lost patience and stopped reading after a hundred pages or so.

I was especially disheartened by the mystifying (and total) absence from Mr. Casey's narrative of Joseph P. Kennedy, Roosevelt's anti-British ambassador to Britain. No one tried harder than Joseph P. to persuade Roosevelt that England was moribund in 1940 and to declare Hitler the winner. No other book on this period manages to ignore Kennedy so completely. And would somebody please tell Mr. Casey that the famous 1936 election poll that predicted a Landon landslide was conducted by the Literary Digest, not the Reader's Digest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FDR fan and history buff June 11, 2012
By Rhouse
Format:Kindle Edition
Love him or hate him, there's no denying FDR was a master at what he did. After vowing to keep the U.S. out of European conflicts, FDR realized America had to be involved. Through subtle (and not so subtle) means, Roosevelt quietly manipulated the public while being constrained by popular isolationist opinion and his own campaign promises. What a position for FDR...watching Hitler's rise, the world's political and economic climate...and having to make each move deftly, like pieces on a chessboard, to do what he believed was necessary . Not just for the immediate causes of our European allies, but for America AFTER the war as well.
Through a propaganda campaign that would shame even the most extreme politicians of the 21st century, FDR, well... 'cautiously crusades' his cause.

If you enjoy politics or are a history buff, this book is an interesting study of the presidency, politics, public opinion and WWII. "Cautious Crusade" covers it all, and does so without making FDR a hero nor a villain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Franklin D. Roosevelt has always been considered one of the greatest presidents in the history of our nation. In fact many sons of the era were named after him including one of my former managers that I reported to. I wrote my final 40 page college major (Government) paper on his accomplishments and legacy.

This book was very detailed revealing a complex man who had to deal with a multitude of political, personal and physical issues during a period in time when our country was threatened by the "Great Depression", Nazi Germany, The Empire of Japan and an isolationist movement. This was while suffering the painful and debilitating effects from polio including paralysis from the waist down. I discovered so many new facts about him that I intend to re-read the book a second and third time. He was president from 1932 until his untimely death in 1945 just before the end of World War II. His death was devastating to most of the nation. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the history of our nation, the facts behind his decisions and the complex issues present at the time. He is responsible for many of the institutions and culture present in our country today including Social Security, the two term rule for presidents and the sanctity of equal and civil rights for all citizens of all races. A must read even if you don't like his actions and decisions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Roosevelt PR August 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting subject that normally does not get in a book by itself. Surprising
that public opinion meant so much to FDR. Obviously, newspapers don't have the
same amount of pull as the 1930's and 40's. Worth the effort to read, although
the writing at times get tedious.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting July 6, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an interesting piece on the history of FDR's thoughts and actions on and during WWII. If you are old enough to remember WWII and enjoy history I think you will like this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars ACADEMIC HISTORY--HO-HUM
I found this almost impossible to read with any interest. It read like a thesis and a not terribly interesting one at that. My apologies to the author.
Published 15 months ago by Janemb35
4.0 out of 5 stars Cautious Crusade: Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Public Opinion' and...
An excellent historically correct book.."Cautious Crusade: Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Public Opinion, and the War against Nazi Germany" reviews the years of the second... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Louis Green
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book for people that like history.
It provides good information how decision are made at the executive level. It is not the kind of book that I could not put down, but when I had time i enjoyed it.
Published 19 months ago by LAK1979
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-documented history.
The "Cautious Crusade" is a detailed reading of how FDR used opinion polls to help him craft his public responses to the political issues of World War II. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Connie White
4.0 out of 5 stars How the leaders shape opinion and vice versa
Excellent companion to Wings of Justice. Also a good primer to any study of the morality of war in the latter half of the 20th and the 21st centuries.
Published 20 months ago by ac
4.0 out of 5 stars Tiptoeing into WWII
This is well written history of how we slowly, insidiously slide into WWII. Clearly lots of Americans knew we were going to end up participating in WWII. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Cautious crusade
reveals much about FDR's decision during war time than previously printed.
Also hopw news papers andnnews organizations use their connections for swaying peoples... Read more
Published on June 29, 2012 by John W. Glass
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting facts!
Liked that the writer did his homework and revealed facts that were not known to the public at the time. Book ended too soon though page wise thought, it would be a longer book.
Published on June 17, 2012 by Wally
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