Customer Review

158 of 189 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blatant Truth Telling, May 13, 2001
This review is from: The New Dealers' War: Fdr And The War Within World War Ii (Hardcover)
... First, Fleming not only does NOT join the conspiracy buffs (which, by the way, include the prestigious John Toland) who say that FDR planned Pearl Harbor, Fleming actually DEBUNKS those theories somewhat.
Fleming interviews the captain of an obsolete warship who was sent out on what the captain describes as a "suicide mission" by Presidential order to try to provoke an incident with the Japanese. He was saved by the Pearl Harbor raid because he was called back to port. If FDR knew the Pearl Harbor raid was coming, there would have no point to doing this. Fleming shows that the racist attitudes toward the Japanese-- don't forget, our Liberal ICON FDR is the ONLY American president in this century to round people up solely because of their race imprison them-- meant that no one in the American chain of command believed that the Japanese were capable of such a raid. (Don't forget, Billy Mitchell was court martialed for saying it would happen.)
On the subject of FDR's health, even the FDR worshippers will tell you that the Democrat party bosses insisted on Truman because they knew FDR was dying, and were afraid of being stuck with Henry Wallace as their 1948 nominee. The pro-FDR crowd make this deception of the American electorate proof of FDR's brillance. Fleming merely says that the people had a right to know, and that perhaps FDR was starting to believe his own press clippings when he thought that the country would not survive without his election.
Fleming also exposes the fact that McCarthy was not the first to say that people who opposed them politically were sympathetic to America's enemies. FDR tried to jail some of his opponents, and was slaughered in the 1942 election when his hubris led him to say that Republicans and those who were not pro-war before Pearl Harbor were fascists.
Fleming is the first in a long time to discuss how the leaking of the Rainbow Five war plans in December of 1941 affected Hitler to declare war on the US. These plans were considered a huge factor at the time, but the incident was forgotten in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack. However, German documents reveal that the fact that Amercian newspapers reported that the US was planning a ten million man army to invade Europe led Hitler to declare war on the US while it was still reeling from Pearl Harbor rather than wait for a build up.
Here is where Fleming engages in some speculation. No one KNOWS who leaked Rainbow Five. But in interviewing General Wedemeyer who WROTE it, Fleming does the Sherlock Holmes routine of eliminating all the other suspects leaving only FDR as a logical choice. Fleming plays fair here by showing his method and letting us draw our own conclusion.
This book will undoubtedly give Doris Kearns Goodwin a heart attack. Though even in her worshipful book "No Ordinary Time" she admits much of the facts that Fleming lays out, her spin is that all of this deception was "leadership" and it showed FDR's brilliance. Fleming thinks that 50 years after the fact, it might be time to cut through the war time propaganda and take a clear eyed look at FDR. It was certainly controversial at the time-- so much so that FDR barely hung on to power within his own party and lost it in the Congress for the last term of his presidency. But as Fleming points out, when Roosevelt died, and especially after a brilliant bureaucrat added his name to the day's casualty list, talking about all this became thought of as bad form.
It is forgotten in the haze of wartime propaganda, Norman Rockwell paintings, and Hollywood movies, that this country was as politically divided during WWII as it is today, and that there were legitimate arguments against the say FDR conducted his policies-- both domestic AND foreign. A 1944 poll showed that if the war ended before the election, FDR would get only 30% of the vote!
The biggest of these, and the one that really justifies the title of the book, is the policy of Unconditional Surrender. While it was well sold to the American public (and to school textbook writers) this policy undoubtedly lengthened the war, and caused hundred of thousands of extra Allied casualties. The driving force behind the policy was the vision of the New Dealers for a worldwide order, which could live with a Soviet empire, but NOT a British Empire, or a democratic industrialized Germany. The New Dealers' plan was to divide Germany into seven little demilitarized agrarian states, in a Carthigian sort of eternal subjugation. That, of course, was just fine with Stalin.
Luckily, Truman became president before this kind of insanity could take place, or Stalin would have been the next dictator to roll his tanks down the Champs Elyses. But lots of people died for this policy before Truman nixed it-- including, Fleming shows, a bevy of German Resistance leaders who, as Churchill later admitted, were betrayed by the Allies, and who rank as some of the 20th Century's greatest heroes.
If this book is "revisionist" than it is revisionist in the finest tradition-- challenging the consensus opinion. It is NOT, however, revistionist in the postmodern, truth is what you make of it, sense that defiles the study of history, rather than enlightening it.
"The New Dealers' War" is a great book by one of our very finest historians-- who, by the way, did not try to "rehabilitate the villanous Aaron Burr," but showed the WHOLE person of Burr, not just the cartoon, and who illuminated Jefferson and Hamilton's slanderous role in pushing Burr in the unfortunate roar he chose. Instead of ad hominem, this book should-- and will-- provoke legitimate discussion. Good!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in


Tracked by 3 customers

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 10, 2007 12:34:56 AM PST
FDR did know.. It was revealed in FOIA documents. The suicide mission was maybe just a backup or alternate plan to pick a fight.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 3:15:40 PM PDT
The NT says:
Sorry to burst your bubble, David, but Thomas Fleming DOES believe that FDR knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor before it happened. Fleming argues that FDR not only knew Japan would attack the fleet in Pearl Harbor, but also provoked Germany or Japan to strike first, to rally the public to join the war on the side of the British.

The truth hurts, doesn't it? As we distance ourselves further and further from the moment shocking and controversial events take place, we begin to slowly set aside biases and denials, as we start to unravel the curtains to reveal reality.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 12, 2010 10:21:34 PM PST
Armand Herpe says:
It is Obvious That FDR Not Only Knew That The Japanese were Going to Attack Pearl Harbor because we had decrypted all The Japanese Secret Codes but actually Provoked The Attack through a series of Political and Economic Sanctions.The Establishment Historians have obfuscated The True Facts of History to Perpetuate Myths!!!!!it is High Time we Cast aside The Myth's and Expose The Truth so we don't live in a lie.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2011 7:11:52 PM PDT
If FDR knew the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor why didn't he order the battleships out? It doesn't make any sense. What the codes showed was that an attack was imminent....but not where. There is every bit of evidence that FDR and the entire military high command was shocked by where the attack fell. The idea that FDR knew about the attack is just so much ring wing, conspiracy claptrap.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 10:18:26 AM PST
FreddyM says:
Moving the Pacific Fleet to Hawaii required the moving of fuel oil to Hawaii. Military configured 'oilers' were 11 for the West Coast Fleet. Congress did not allow for expansion of the transport oilers to Hawaii. (Another story about the New Deal Bribery ponzi) One estimate was another 11 oilers would be needed. FDR did scrounge modify several civilian tankers that would be like buying plow horses to enter a horse race. The carriers were the most vulnerable in a harbor; Battleships were the most capable of self defense stationary. Had the battleships been on war alert Locked and Loaded - 24/7 the outcome may or may not have been different. To float on open seas a fleet, on war readiness, is a monumental logistical nightmare when the fleet is based on a politician's desires -meaning congressional different than the President. Another sign of Big Government operating on small brains.

Prior to the Hawaii-Fleet strategy, failure of the Sanction-material appeasement of Churchill and Roosevelt configured the well known American expression - `scrap steel to Japan for bombs on Pearl Harbor'. Japan had clarified their intent of Fairness to create economic equality. Japan needed resources iron and coal aplenty. We as a people did our best collecting scrap steel and selling to the scrap yard that sold to the Fed to give to Japan.
Some thought food of that time- "that imposition of substantial economic sanctions or embargoes against any strong country, unless that imposition be backed by show of superior force, involves serious risk of war." War was inevitable - "United States had been exerting economic pressure on Japan for a year; that the United States Fleet was stationed in the Pacific; and that everything possible was being done `short of a serious risk of actual military hostilities' to keep the Japanese situation stabilized. This course, he added, was the best evidence of the intentions of the United States in the future"

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2012 5:48:06 PM PDT
An answer to your question is in a chapter of Douglas Reed's book "The Controversy of Zion" entitled "The Revolution Extends":

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 1:42:53 PM PDT
Nathan: could you show me where that article shows FDR knew *Pearl Harbor* was going to be attacked?

Side note: I recently finished reading the excellent Eagles of Mitsubishi: The Story of the Zero Fighter by the designer of that famous plane and he commented that our surprise about the quality of Japan's aircraft seemed to be an inability of the the higher ups in Washington to believe the reports they were getting from the field by e.g. Chennault of the Flying Tigers fame.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 3, 2014 11:53:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 9, 2014 6:53:53 PM PST
Publicus says:
"In April, 1939, (four months before the outbreak of war) Ambassador William C. Bullitt (FDR's personal emissary), whom I had known for twenty years, called me to the American Embassy in Paris. The American Ambassador told me that war had been decided upon. He did not say, nor did I ask, by whom. He let me infer it. ... When I said that in the end Germany would be driven into the arms of Soviet Russia and Bolshevism, the Ambassador replied: "'What of it? There will not be enough Germans left when the war is over to be worth bolshevising." - - Karl von Wiegand, April, 23rd, 1944, Chicago Herald American

Lt. Commander Arthur McCollum, an expert on Japanese culture & thinking, prepared a list of 8 steps likely to provoke Japan into war. FDR took each & every one of those steps. McCollom stated in his memo that "If by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better," indicating that a number of persons in Washington likely shared that belief. Here's what McCollom's friend Joe Rochefort said about the attack on Pearl Harbor: "It was a pretty cheap price to pay for unifying the country."

FBI special agent Fred Tillman discovered a Japanese spy (operating out of the offices of the Japanese Consulate General) that was photographing bomb plots (five geographical zones prepared by Japanese military stategists) in Pearl Harbor, but Tillman was ordered by the State Department to put his investigations on hold. See "And I was There," by Edwin T. Layton, chief of Naval Intelligence throughout the War (you'd think he would've have known).

See "How Roosevelt Failed America in World War II," by Stewart H. Ross, "F. D. R.'s undeclared war, 1939-1941," by T. R Fehrenbach, "Backdoor to War," by Charles Tansill, & "President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941," by famed historian Charles Beard.

FDR froze Japanese assets in the United States, closed American ports to Japanese ships, embargoed the sale of petroleum products to Japan, sailed warships into Japanese territorial waters (a violation of international law and open act of war).

In addition, FDR had Cordell Hull give Japan an ultimatum (just short of a declaration of war) that finally provoked the war FDR so dearly wanted the U.S. to engage in. The Japanese took these steps (and the other steps taken pursuant to the McCollum Memo) to mean that the U.S. was planning an imminent attack on them.

The U.S. foreign policy strategies prior to, during, & shortly after WW2 were some of the most inept & tragic in modern history. (See "The Unnecessary War," by Patrick Buchanan.)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2014 10:55:46 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 9, 2014 4:48:56 PM PST
Publicus says:
Mr. Romance, please read Robert Stinnett's, "Day of Deceit," for your answers.

FDR ordered all of the 21 modern warships, including all aircraft carriers, out of Pearl Harbor & left behind some WWI relics as decoys.

Plus, he ordered all ships out the pathway of the Japanese attack force as soon as it left Japan, giving it a clear path to Pearl Harbor.

Had the Japanese thought the U.S. anticipated the attack, it likely would have called it off, and FDR needed a tragic incident of sizable proportion to get America into the War.

According to Stinnett, FDR knew the precise location of the attack & that's why he removed the important warships from harm's way. Furthermore, Stinnett says we had the ability to track & in fact did track the movement of the Japanese attack force. As soon as, the attack force left Japan, FDR ordered all ships out of its path.

In less than 6 mos., the same ships that had miraculously escaped the Peal Harbor attack on December 7th encountered the Pearl Harbor Japanese attack force at Midway & blew it to smithereens.

25 Nov. - Secretary of War Stimson noted in his diary "FDR stated that we were likely to be attacked perhaps as soon as next Monday." FDR asked: "the question was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without too much danger to ourselves. In spite of the risk involved, however, in letting the Japanese fire the first shot, we realized that in order to have the full support of the American people it was desirable to make sure that the Japanese be the ones to do this so that there should remain no doubt in anyone's mind as to who were the aggressors."

25 Nov. - Navy Department ordered all US trans-Pacific shipping to take the southern route (leaving clear sailing to Pearl Harbor for the Japanese attack force). PHH 12:317 (PHH = 1946 Congressional Report, vol. 12, page 317) ADM Turner testified "We sent the traffic down to the Torres Straight, so that the track of the Japanese task force would be clear of any traffic." PHH 4:1942

Had any ship encountered the Japanese attack force enroute to Pearl Harbor, it would have spoiled the "supposed surprise," and the Pearl Harbor fleet would have accomplished what it did at Midway a short time later.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details


4.0 out of 5 stars (75 customer reviews)
5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:
Used & New from: $0.42
Add to wishlist

Location: Flushing, MI United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,604,067