Hoover ultimately entitled his manuscript Freedom Betrayed. More informally, and with a touch of humor, he and his staff came to refer to it as the Magnum Opus. The label was apt. For nearly two decades, beginning in 1944, the former president labored over his massive manuscript, producing draft after draft, “edition” after “edition.” He finished the final version (save for some minor editing and additional fact-checking) in September 1963 and prepared in the ensuing months for the book’s publication. Death came first, on Oct. 20, 1964. A little over two months earlier, he had turned 90 years old.
After Hoover’s passing, his heirs decided not to publish his Magnum Opus. Since then, for nearly half a century, it has remained in storage, unavailable for examination.
This volume, Freedom Betrayed — in its final, author-approved edition of 1963–64 — is the book that is now in your hands. It is published here — and its contents thereby made available to scholars — for the first time.
From the introduction by Herbert Hoover (circa 1963)
The Pilgrims landed on this continent bringing with them the vital spark of American life — freedom. Since then, there have been four times when freedom has been dangerously near the tragedy of defeat:
The War of the Revolution
The War between the States
The Second World War
The Cold War
Statesmanship brought expanded liberty from the Revolution and the Civil War. The nation grew to strength and to prosperity unknown in all human history.
In the Second World War, we, with our allies, crushed militarily the forces of Nazism and Fascism. But we have no peace. During the war one of our allies, Stalin, expanded the Communist dictatorship and empire of Russia to endanger freedom in the whole world. We are now deeply involved in the “Cold War,” which imperils our very existence.
To protect our own freedom — in this, in reality a third world war — we must carry the major burden of defending the free nations of the world. This burden itself imperils our future.
The purpose of this memoir is to analyze step-by-step when, where, how, and by whom we were plunged into the Second and Third World Wars, with the resulting betrayals of freedom. I will likewise record those who warned against and opposed these ominous decisions which led to this turning-point in civilization.
In this memoir I will omit views of my own as to what took place. I will demonstrate the truth from the words and actions of world leaders themselves, and the documentation which has come to light.
From a true record of human experience alone may come the understanding which can guide our future.
Even today important segments of the American people and American leadership are not fully aware of the menace to freedom which lies in socialism and other forms of centralized government.
At the outset of this work I wish the reader to be under no misapprehension as to my position upon America’s joining the Second World War.