The Economic Sanctions on Japan of July 1941
The eighth gigantic error in Roosevelt’s statesmanship was the total economic sanctions on Japan one month later, at the end of July, 1941. The sanctions were war in every essence except shooting. Roosevelt had been warned time and again by his own officials that such provocation would sooner or later bring reprisals of war.
Refusal to Accept Konoye’s Peace Proposals
The ninth time statesmanship was wholly lost was Roosevelt’s contemptuous refusal of Prime Minister [Fumimaro] Konoye’s proposals for peace in the Pacific of September, 1941. The acceptance of these proposals was prayerfully urged by both the American and British ambassadors in Japan. The terms Konoye proposed would have accomplished every American purpose except possibly the return of Manchuria — and even this was thrown open to discussion. The cynic will recall that Roosevelt was willing to provoke a great war on his flank over this remote question and then gave Manchuria to Communist Russia.
Refusal to Accept a 3 Months’ Stand-Still Agreement with Japan
The tenth loss of statesmanship was the refusal to accept the proposals that his ambassador informed him came from the emperor of Japan for a three months’ stand-still agreement in November 1941. Our military officials strongly urged it on Roosevelt. Japan was then alarmed that Russia might defeat her ally, Hitler. Ninety days’ delay would have taken all the starch out of Japan and kept war out of the Pacific. As the Stimson diary disclosed, Roosevelt and his officials were searching for a method to stimulate an overt act from the Japanese. Then Hull issued his foolish ultimatum, and we were defeated at Pearl Harbor.
The train of losses and this Japanese victory in the Japanese occupation of all South Asia were incalculable. Further, with the loss of sea control, Hitler and Togo were able to destroy our shipping in sight of our own shores.
The Demand for Unconditional Surrender
The eleventh gigantic error in Roosevelt’s statesmanship was demand for “unconditional surrender” at Casablanca in January 1943, where without our military, or even Churchill’s advice, he was seeking a headline. It played into the hands of every enemy militarist and propagandist; it prolonged the war with Germany, Japan, and Italy. And in the end major concessions in surrender were given to both Japan and Italy. It held out no hope of peace to the Germans if they got rid of the Nazis. The war to the bitter end left no semblance of a structure in Germany upon which to build again.
The Sacrifice of the Baltic States and East Poland at Moscow, October 1943
The twelfth error of lost statesmanship was the sacrifice of free nations at the foreign-ministers meeting at Moscow in October 1943. Here amid words of freedom and democracy not a word of protest was made against the known Russian intentions to annex the Baltic States, East Poland, East Finland, Bessarabia, and Bukovina (which he had in his agreement with Hitler). This acquiescence marked the abandonment of the last word of the Four Freedoms and the Atlantic Charter.