by WILLARD RANGE
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA PRESS, ATHENS
© Copyright 1959 by University of Georgia Press
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 59-15539
Publication of this book was aided by a grant from the Ford Foundation
Printed in the United States of America
By Foote & Davies, Inc., Atlanta
I. THE BREAKDOWN OF WORLD ORDER
II. IMPLICATIONS FOR THE UNITED STATES
III. ROOSEVELT'S REACTIONS
IV. THE ROOSEVELTIAN APPROACH TO A NEW ORDER
V. THE GOOD NEIGHBOR IDEAL IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
VI. THE ERADICATION OF EVIL FORCES
VII. WORLD DISARMAMENT
VIII. THE ABOLITION OF IMPERIALISM
IX. WORLD-WIDE DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM
X. A GLOBAL NEW DEAL
XI. A COLLECTIVE SECURITY SYSTEM
THIS book is essentially a case study of the international thinking of a twentieth century political practitioner--Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The study attempts to answer the three following questions: (1) What was Roosevelt's explanation for the breakdown of the world order of his time? (2) What, in his view, were the implications of that breakdown for the United States? and (3) What kind of a world order did he want to see replace the order that had broken down? Answers to the first two questions are attempted in three skeleton-like chapters, with the bulk of the book devoted to the third question.
Most students of theories of international relations prefer to study the ideas of great thinkers and they rarely devote themselves to the thinking of practical politicians, few of whom are profoundly reflective or philosophic. It is my hope, however, that our understanding of the behavior of statesmen and states will be illuminated by case studies of the sort presented here.
Although Roosevelt was not a thinker of the calibre of Frederick the Great, Edmund Burke, Woodrow Wilson, or perhaps even Winston Churchill, he had a quick, perceptive mind with ability to grasp the heart of a problem quickly and to understand the inter-relation of many factors involved. 1 Roosevelt also appears to have possessed a relatively vast body of knowledge. The idea that he was largely ignorant of economics has, I think, been proved false. 2 The allegation that his seemingly inexhaustible knowledge of history was a "grab bag" of odds and ends and that he was bored by serious analytical history contains much truth, but there is a possibility that the charge is exaggerated. 3 At any rate, the President had both a sense of history and a theory of history, as we shall see; and it can be argued that whatever the faults in his theory or theories of international relations they are not due to his ignorance of history. In the broad realm of international relations the President in time accumulated a body of knowledge of impressive proportions. 4 There is no doubt, moreover, that his knowledge of geography was fabulous and his geopolitical theory was of a quality that in his time made a great deal of sense.
Roosevelt is a good subject for a study such as this because he seems to have always been interested in international relations and is one of the very few Americans--about whom much material is available--who gave considerable thought to the problem of foreign policy during the half century in which the American people struggled to find their way out of the intellectual confusion caused by the rise of the United States to the position of a world power. He first expressed interest publicly in world affairs as a school-boy debater at Groton in 1897 at the age of fifteen. During the next year, 1898, he appears to have read Alfred Thayer Mahan's classic study of the influence of sea power on history; and it was at this point that he probably began to develop the geopolitical theory described in Chapter Two.
Throughout his eight years as Wilson's Assistant Secretary of the Navy comments on international affairs cropped out frequently in his letters, and problems of national defense and the role of sea power in world affairs absorbed him. During the 1919 campaign for the League of Nations and his own 1920 campaign for the vice-presidency his interest in international relations broadened to include all the major problems of world affairs, and he made literally hundreds of speeches about them. In 1923, inspired by the Bok peace plan contest and his wife's efforts to relieve the boredom caused by his polio illness, he drew up a plan for a world organization to replace the League, which he thought might appeal to the United States. 5 During the twenties he became a "pusher" for more attention to international relations in university curricula and was among those who helped establish the Walter Hines Page School of International Affairs. 6 Although he purposely said little on world affairs during his New York governorship, and the subject played little part in the 1932 presidential campaign, James Farley noted that even in his first year in the White House when he was overwhelmingly absorbed in domestic problems, he "was much more interested in foreign af- fairs than he indicated in public utterances and press conferences." 7 His letters of those first four or five years in the Presidency indicate far more interest in world affairs than is implied in the oft-heard assertion that his first major foreign policy address was not given until 1937. Certainly from the late thirties on world affairs were the most absorbing interest of his life.
By far the most important reason for using Roosevelt as the vehicle for such a study is my belief that he personified to a remarkable degree the ideas and aspirations of a considerable portion of the American people during much of their half century of confusion. During the thirty-five years of his public life, 1910 to 1945, his mind and temperament seem to have been amazingly in tune with the thoughts and feelings of the American people. Their tendencies toward nationalistic imperialism in the early years of the century, toward internationalism in the Wilsonian period, toward disillusionment in the twenties, toward isolationism and finally resurgent internationalism in the thirties and forties were also, to some extent, Roosevelt's tendencies. He was not always in perfect tune with the mass of people, of course. At the peak of Wilsonian idealism he maintained reservations about it, as we shall see; and during the paralyzing isolationism of the thirties he remained privately an internationalist willing only to work with or toy with the isolationists. But he was not often far out of tune with at least a large segment of the public mood.
Research has strengthened the view that even during his presidency Roosevelt was as much a reflector of public opinion as he was a maker of it. 8 His great forte as President seems to have lain in his uncanny ability to sense the public mood, to articulate it, to crystallize it from a diffuse and amorphous ambiguity, and to act boldly to implement it. It was this capacity to reflect with such accuracy the thinking and feeling of so many of his compatriots that was the secret of the unparalleled popular support given him. And if this is true, a study of his ideas should at least approximate a study of the ideas of the American people.
There are those who argue, of course, that Roosevelt had no theories about anything, much less a theory of international relations. One biographer concluded, for example, that Roosevelt was clearly "a pragmatist, an opportunist, an experimenter," with day-to-day policies based solely on expediency. Several students of Roosevelt insist that he actually had an aversion to any kind of sweeping theory, an inherent dislike of eternal absolutes, a disdain of elaborate fine-spun abstractions. And this characteristic is said to have been even more pronounced in his foreign policies than in his domestic policies. 9
No student of Roosevelt is likely to deny that the President was something of an intellectual jumping-jack and was often guilty of hopping helter-skelter in several directions at once with the same problem. But it is wrong to assume, I think, that because Roosevelt was at times inconsistent in the way he went about affairs that underneath there lay no basic aspirations, attitudes, or purposes. It was in his means and methods that Roosevelt was inconsistent and opportunistic, not in his ends, his aims, his goals. It is my conclusion, in fact, that Roosevelt's conduct was largely guided by a set of assumptions, principles, and values which he clung to with remarkable consistency throughout most of his life. I would reject categorically the argument that he did not know where he was going or wanted to go. Assuredly, he did not always know how he would get there and he was everlastingly willing to try almost any available means of reaching his goal. But his objective was rarely in doubt. When in 1938 he published the papers of his first term he was frank to admit that they revealed many inconsistencies, but he insisted that they also showed consistency of purpose. "There were inconsistencies of methods," he wrote, "inconsistencies caused by ceaseless efforts to find ways to solve problems for the future as well as for the present. There were inconsistencies springing from the need for experimentation. But through them all . . . there also will be found a consistency and continuity of broad purpose." 10 And that claim can, I think, be borne out regarding his ideas on international relations.
Most of the writers who charge Roosevelt with being an intellectual madcap, moreover, have not yet given much attention to his thinking during the war years--the period in which he did the major part of his thinking about international relations. And when that period is examined sufficiently, I believe his tendency toward consistency will be more apparent.
The materials available to the student of Roosevelt are so voluminous that no one person could ever hope to examine more than a small part of them. Thus this study is limited to those materials the writer considered more likely to be rewarding in a search for the President's ideas on international affairs. Although a variety of memoirs, diaries, journals, and secondary sources were used, especially those written by Roosevelt associates, chief reliance has been on the President's own expressions--the thirteen volumes of his public papers and addresses, the twenty-four volumes of his press conferences, and collections of letters, memoranda, magazine articles, newspaper columns, both published and unpublished, covering the whole period of his public life from 1910 to 1945. Every effort was made to extract from the sources every idea regarding international relations Roosevelt seemed to have entertained seriously during the thirty-five years of his public life. The only kind of ideas ignored were fleeting notions seemingly tossed off the "top of his head" and never heard of again.
Many people have contributed, of course, to whatever value this study might possess. I am particularly indebted to Professor S. Shepard Jones of the University of North Carolina, who gave invaluable advice on many aspects of the study. Professor C. B. Robson, also of the University of North Carolina, and Dr. C. Mildred Thompson of the University of Georgia both deserve thanks for their reading of the manuscript and the helpful suggestions they offered. Appreciation is due also to Herman Kahn, William J. Nichols, and Robert Jacoby for the help they rendered while research was under way at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Library at Hyde Park. I am grateful also to Dr. George H. Boyd, who as Director of General Research at the University of Georgia, made it possible for me to have time from my teaching to complete the study.
University of Georgia
THE BREAKDOWN OF WORLD ORDER
WHEN Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke his first public words on international affairs as a fifteenyear-old Groton school-boy debater in 1897 he was living in a world that had experienced nearly a century of ever increasing international cooperation and harmony. When he spoke his last words on international relations nearly a half century later in 1945, however, he was living in a strife-torn world.
In the half century during which the world order of the nineteenth century was breaking down Roosevelt was often in a position where he could not avoid thinking about what was happening around him. For thirty-five years of the half century he was a public figure. During eight years of it, including all of World War I, he was Assistant Secretary of the Navy. In 1920 he was a vicepresidential candidate and an important although secondary figure in one of the greatest debates in American history on what United States foreign policy should be. And for twelve hectic years he was President of the United States wrestling at the very top with the problems of a fast collapsing world.
Unfortunately, the sources consulted by this writer failed to reveal any Rooseveltian explanation for the decline of the world order that occurred before 1919. But his reasons as to why the world went to pieces after 1919 were both varied and numerous.
His first argument was that the peace settlement ending World War I had been utterly faulty. In particular, it had been too soft on Germany. Throughout the war he had been an advocate of a harsh peace that would teach the Germans a lesson and even humiliate them. Instead, however, Germany had been allowed to retain her militaristic philosophy and institutions and later had even been allowed to re-arm and get away with all sorts of violations of the peace treaties. The whole peace had been based too much, he declared, on "magnificent idealism" and this had promoted a revival of German aggression. 1
Roosevelt also seems to have credited the breakdown of the world order in part at least to what might be called the corruption of the League of Nations--a corruption caused largely by the failure of the United States to become a member; and by the insistence of France and England on using the League for narrowly selfish purposes.
Like Wilson, Roosevelt looked upon the League as a vehicle designed primarily for mobilizing the moral force of mankind behind world law and order. He looked upon the United States as a nation whose international morality was superior to that of most states and as the only great power free enough from power politics to take a disinterested view of world affairs, and with a moral reputation adequate to provide leadership in mobilizing the moral force of men elsewhere. Only the United States could be the conscience of the state system. Like Wilson, moreover, Roosevelt also had a broad conception of the national interest, holding that enlightened national interests are usually the same as the interests of the international community and that the League should be the instrument through which all the various national interests would be modified and harmonized.
During both 1919 and 1920 Roosevelt issued repeated warnings that if the United States refused to join, the League would degenerate into a new Holy Alliance, as he called it, of European states dominated by power politics. 2 After the final rejection of the League by the United States Roosevelt lost all hope of its ever succeeding, and during the early twenties he proposed scrapping it for a new organization more acceptable to American public opinion. 3
From then on he repeatedly found fault with the League, charging that it had been handicapped from its infancy by the selfish attitude of its European founders, that it had lost what little idealism Wilson had been able to infuse into it, and that it concentrated too much on European affairs. By the mid-thirties he was even asserting that it was no longer even a good debating society. 4
Roosevelt also seemed to feel that the degeneration of the League had been due partly to its failure to become a center for the concert of the Big Powers. The League had been founded on the assumption that while all the states of the world would be able to express their views, the Big Powers, who possessed a greater responsibility, would dominate the crucial decisions, keeping in mind, however, the interests of the whole global community. But the absence of so many of the Big Powers from the League had caused the organization to fall repeatedly under the undue influence of the small powers who often were unable to come to agreement or to behave in a responsible fashion. 5 Thus the League was both morally and structurally defective.
A third basic factor causing the breakdown of the old order stemmed, in Roosevelt's view, from the rise of economic nationalism and the consequent multiplication of barriers to world trade-one of the most significant developments of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Roosevelt looked upon this development as harmful to both the prosperity of nations and the cause of peace; for he was convinced that all nations were so interdependent that unless trade could flow rather freely among them their economies could not function properly; and if their economies did not operate efficiently, national frustration and foreign aggression would result. All through the twenties and thirties he argued that economic ills were among the root causes of war and that a prosperous world was a prerequisite for peace. Many of his New Deal measures, he insisted, were aimed not only at giving men bread, but at maintaining peace as well. 6
As a stalwart Democrat and a shrewd politician Roosevelt loved to blame the Republican Party for both the Depression and the excessive economic nationalism that developed all over the world in the interwar years. As early as 1924 he blamed the Republicans for producing an era of "gross materialism." 7 But it was largely in the presidential campaign of 1932 that he made his chief attack on the Republicans. According to his theory, the Depression was a home-made domestic American calamity produced by Republican economic policies and then exported to the rest of the world. 8
Among the wicked economic policies of the Republicans, in Roosevelt's view, was their protective tariff policy. Although never a complete free-trader himself, Roosevelt charged that the Republicans had carried protection too far, producing the agricultural depression by means of the Fordney-McCumber Tariff of 1922 and toppling the economic structures of other nations by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1931. The latter tariff had obliged other states to raise trade barriers and this had resulted in trade all over the world becoming stagnated. 9 The ever multiplying trade barriers in the world were a "symptom of economic insanity," insisted the President, and "if the present tariff war continues the world will go back a thousand years." 10
The mad scramble by many nations during the thirties to become self-sufficient was especially irritating to Roosevelt. Rather than helping, it was hurting the very nations trying the hardest. 11 And he seemed certain that unless the trend was stopped, war would result; for the whole movement was damming up surpluses, promoting unemployment, and provoking frustrations that could end only in violence. 12
The British upper classes were also partly to blame for all the trouble, thought Roosevelt. They feared German industrial competition and preferred scaling down German reparations payments to German exports. When, moreover, Britain instituted her imperial preference system, Roosevelt became more convinced than ever that Britain's foreign policy for centuries had been designed to serve only the British upper classes and that they were interpreting their national interests very narrowly. 13
It is quite true that during the campaign of 1932 and the first eighteen months he was in the White House Roosevelt occasionally talked and acted like an economic nationalist. But such talk and action was inconsistent with his basic views, it was often designed only for the exigencies of the moment, and after 1934 he was rarely again to be found on the side of economic nationalism. 14
A fourth basic cause of the collapse of the international system, in Roosevelt's view, lay in the existence of too many governments that had been unresponsive to the problems of modern society.
Roosevelt seems never to have feared strong government. Rather he held throughout his public life the idea that the state was a "good" institution that should be used to promote the full and rich development of all men and that government is responsible for the general welfare. This meant that when a people found it impossible to solve their problems by their private efforts, it was the responsibility of governments to step in and help. Otherwise, argued Roosevelt, revolution was likely. Thus governments were obligated to bring about reforms, to apply occasionally measures of "sane radicalism" as he liked to call it, to meet new conditions. 15
It was while he was Governor of New York during the early years of the Depression that he became clearly aware of the many new demands facing governments in the twentieth century: for social security, a good education regardless of class, better working conditions, and all the other needs wrapped up in the term "social justice." And he was convinced that strong government action was essential to satisfy them. 16 Both publicly and privately he insisted that the United States needed to become "radical" for a while if revolution was to be prevented. 17 And as the Depression deepened it became ever more clear to Roosevelt that it was the failure of governments to respond to this demand for social justice that was at the root of many of the convulsions of his time.
Throughout his presidency Roosevelt hammered away at this theme, pointing to all sorts of governments that had been overthrown or were on the verge of being overthrown because of their failure to meet the new demands. The Communist movement and the Fascist dictatorships owed their rise to weak governments unable or unwilling to respond to the new needs, he argued, and a major objective of his New Deal reforms was to prevent a similar upheaval in the United States. 18 The global movement toward democracy which had looked so promising at the beginning of the twentieth century had floundered, Roosevelt argued, because so many democratic governments had failed to act vigorously to promote social justice. 19 The French government was a good example of the failure of a government to respond to the new demands, thought Roosevelt, and he was delighted in 1936 when the Blum ministry tried to make amends. France had not done anything in the way of social legislation for twenty-five or thirty years, he told the press off the record one day; and the only question was--is it too late? 20
The failure of governments to respond adequately to the new demands automatically created conditions conducive to war, thought the President; and his everlasting complaint against the "conservative school of thought" was its failure to "recognize the need for Government itself to step in and take action to meet these problems." Thus it was the conservatives who were responsible for the rise of the dictatorships. 21 As late as the Yalta Conference he was reiterating the same theme, telling Stalin his old story of how when he became President in 1933 the United States had been close to revolution because the people lacked food, clothing, and shelter; and it had been his launching of the New Deal program that had prevented disaster. 22
A fifth cause of the breakdown of the world order, in Roosevelt's view, was the existence of a small group of evil or misguided leaders--devils and "dim wits"--who controlled or greatly influenced public affairs in some of the Big Powers.
We shall notice later that Roosevelt looked upon the great majority of the world's peoples--ninety per cent of them by his figures--as essentially good, generous, and reasonable. The remaining ten per cent, however, were evil, misguided, or both; and it was this ten per cent who were at the root of many of the world's troubles. They included Hitler's Nazis, Mussolini's Fascists, the Japanese war lords, Chamberlain's appeasers, and a variety of other nefarious characters.
The misguided people, in Roosevelt's view, were especially those who during the thirties failed to understand the threat the dictators posed to the rest of the world. Pacifists and appeasers, he insisted, understood neither the interests of their own states nor the interests of the international community. He agreed that Chamberlain had no choice but to capitulate to Hitler at Munich, for he knew that Hitler was ready for war and had a powerful air force prepared to attack even London, which was then virtually defenseless. But he was irritated that Britain and France had allowed themselves to get into such a weak position. 23 All those who believed the United States could do business with Hitler, and defeatists who believed Hitler would win were also on his list of the soft-headed. 24
It was the leaders whom he believed to be morally evil, however, that he looked upon as the greatest trouble makers of the world. They included those Americans who wanted war because they stood to make a profit by it, as well as all those Americans who later tried to block the American war effort--the bundists, subversive Communists, and those favoring racial and religious intolerance. 25
It was, however, Hitler's Nazis, Mussolini's Fascists, and the Japanese war lords who were the arch criminals of the day in Roosevelt's black book of evil leaders and who were leading the world to destruction. From 1933 on he stated repeatedly that "the great majority of the inhabitants of the world" had no desire for territorial expansion and that the peace was threatened only by a tiny minority of people. It was from Walter Lippmann in November, 1933, that he got his statistical formula for dividing the world's good and evil people into ninety per cent and ten per cent, the Germans and Japanese being the ten per cent who were evil and were blocking the desires of the majority for peace. 26 He tried hard for many years to convince himself that the only sin committed by the masses in the dictatorships had been to let evil leaders get in control. But there were many times when, despite his faith in the inherent goodness of most men, he wondered if the masses were as out of sympathy with their rulers as he wanted to think they were. 27 He also hoped for many years that Mussolini's soul might be saved; but after the Duce aligned himself with Hitler, the President lost all faith in that possibility. 28
From the mid-thirties until his death Roosevelt's speeches, letters, and even private conversations were peppered with aspersions about the scoundrels he thought bore a great part of the responsibility for the breakdown of the old order. 29 To him they represented evil incarnate and were largely responsible for the chauvinistic demagoguery, narrow nationalism, militarism, and sadism that characterized the period.
The armaments movement, which finally evolved into an armaments race, was a sixth cause of the breakdown of the world order, in Roosevelt's view.
Before his conversion to Wilsonianism at the end of World War I, Roosevelt had always been an advocate of big armaments. After the war, however, he became a vigorous campaigner for disarmament and argued throughout the rest of his life that the building and maintenance of armaments was one of the major causes of the world's troubles. For he became convinced that armaments, and particularly an armaments race, would drive nations into bankruptcy or war or both. 30
It was bad enough, he wrote British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald in 1933, to see European nations squabbling over economic questions; but the "insane rush" toward rearmament was "infinitely more dangerous." For "drilling and arming, when carried on on a national scale, excite whole populations to frenzies that end in war." 31
It was particularly in the little nations that armaments caused both war and bankruptcy, thought Roosevelt. A table he had prepared in 1939 revealed exactly what he had suspected--that the annual governmental deficits incurred by many of the smaller powers amounted almost exactly to the cost of their military forces. And in places like the Balkans, these forces were not only economic burdens; they were also a cause of wars that often embroiled the major powers. Thus armaments were weakening economies, unbalancing government budgets, and creating tensions all over the world. 32
The manufacturers and merchants of arms were partly responsible for all this, thought the President, and he campaigned to get the private traffic in arms under control. 33 But he was even more irritated by the use of armament production in many nations to alleviate the economic depression and solve the problem of unemployment. Prosperity built on armaments was false prosperity and could not last, he argued. It was very likely to end in war. It was also morally wrong and he categorically rejected pleas that he resort to the same expediency in the United States. 34
The relation of arms production to national economies created a vicious circle, thought Roosevelt during the Depression. Employment could not be shifted into more constructive pursuits until nations lowered their trade barriers and pepped up the flow of international trade; but trade barriers could not be lowered while international tensions were being worsened by an armaments race. The world was afflicted with an "armament disease," the President concluded about 1937, and would die soon unless a major operation was performed. 35
Roosevelt also attributed the breakdown of the world order in part to a seventh cause--a decline in the moral and spiritual fiber of the world's peoples, particularly the peoples of Europe.
It will be shown throughout this study that Roosevelt's reliance on the human spirit and the moral principles of the Christianliberal-humanitarian tradition was real and profound, and he believed sincerely that there could be no decent civilization unless the spirit of man was robust and the behavior of both men and nations was guided by moral principles. 36
As international anarchy became ever more rampant during the thirties, however, the President became ever more convinced that something had gone wrong with the spiritual and moral forces and principles that had become so powerful in the old order of the nineteenth century. The American spirit had been weakened in the twenties, he thought, by the rush toward materialism. 37 The Depression had also taken a heavy toll of men's spiritual and moral resources everywhere. 38 It was in Europe, however, that Roosevelt saw the worst collapse of spiritual force and moral principles. There people were behaving in both a weary and crazy way, refusing to fight for liberty, believing all sorts of false propaganda, and sacrificing the democracy they had struggled so hard to attain. 39 Her capacity to produce creative leaders seemed to have dried up, her peoples hated each other, Britain and France had allowed themselves to degenerate into helplessness, and for the first time in history, Britain was being outmaneuvered at the con- ference table. 40 During the war years the President lamented more and more the decline of the old spirit of Europe that had prevailed in his youth when he had been able to ride over a large part of the continent on a bicycle, without a passport, and observe many international exchanges and friendships; and he insisted that unless the moral and spiritual weaknesses in Europe were corrected there was no hope for a good peace settlement. 41
An eighth and final cause of the breakdown of the old order, in Roosevelt's view, was the pacifism or "peace at any price" theory that attained great popularity in the thirties.
Although Roosevelt was an idealist and often dreamed of a warless world, he remained realistic enough to insist that warfare was not going to be abolished in the foreseeable future. During World War I he had referred to all the talk about everlasting peace as "soft mush." 42 When during the thirties he saw the dictators getting away with ill-gotten gains as a result of the prevailing pacifist climate of opinion, he repeatedly berated the "peace at any price" theory, especially in his private letters. 43
The appeasement of the dictators that grew out of this pacifistic climate of opinion was especially irksome to Roosevelt. He warned Chamberlain against it and became disgusted with the British Prime Minister when the latter persisted in his course. 44
After war started in Europe in 1939 the President derided American pacifists as foolish people who would let America be taken over as Denmark and Norway had been taken over. 45 The march of the aggressors from 1931 on, he declared, had arisen out of the unwillingness of the European powers to stop them by force, and international anarchy had been the result. 46
It is worth noting that throughout his explanation of the breakdown of the old world order Roosevelt did not spare the United States. Wilson's soft peace for Germany, the failure of the United States to join the League, Republican protectionist economic policies, and the isolationist-pacifist climate of opinion in the United States in the inter-war years had all contributed to the global collapse; and when Congress refused in the summer of 1939 to repeal the arms embargo in the Neutrality Act, Roosevelt was certain that Congress had thereby encouraged the dictators and was partly responsible for the outbreak of the war in Europe two months later. 47
It is also worth noting that in one point Roosevelt was patently inconsistent. On the one hand he condemned the "peace at any price" theory and condemned Britain and France for letting them- selves become so defenseless that they could not stand up to Hitler. But on the other hand he campaigned repeatedly for disarmament and he more than once accused the British of blocking the movement toward disarmament.
IMPLICATIONS FOR THE UNITED STATES
THERE was never any doubt in Franklin Roosevelt's mind that the breakdown of the international order of his time would have an enormous impact upon the United States. Despite a temporary flirtation with economic nationalism in 1933-34 his general position throughout his public life was that the United States could not isolate herself from events abroad and that the security and welfare of the United States were dependent on the security and welfare of the entire international community. Had isolationist public opinion in the United States and Secretary of State Hull's excessive caution not restrained him during his first two terms, it is quite probable that the President would have jumped into the international situation with both feet, participating vigorously in the global game of power politics; for there is no doubt that his inclinations were those of an internationalist who would not have hesitated to use the power of the United States to influence events abroad.
Yet Roosevelt's position was also that of a realist dedicated to the proposition that the first concern of every statesman must be the national interests of his own nation. Almost as soon as he entered the White House he told the Latin American nations that "frankly, the interest of our own citizens must, in each instance, come first." 1 When accused by an isolationist in 1941 of aiding Britain largely to save the British Empire rather than the United States, Roosevelt answered both publicly and privately that aid to Britain was being given for "purely selfish reasons," for "what is best for the United States," and that the British were under no illusions about it. 2
Yet to Roosevelt the use of self-interest as the guiding principle of a foreign policy was not necessarily selfish. Even though concerned with herself first, a nation could still be a good neighbor, he insisted; for he was convinced that in most of the problems faced by nations, the national interest was best served by solutions that benefited all. What hurt one hurt all; what helped one helped all, for all were economically, politically, and culturally interdependent.
Another characteristic of Roosevelt's approach to the breakdown of the world order was his global view, his practice of seeing an inter-relation among countless events and situations far distant from one another.
Here Roosevelt's long interest in sea power and geography were significant factors. In both matters he was informed sufficiently to often confound experts. 3 It was this knowledge, thought Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., that caused Roosevelt to see the global significance of what the aggressors were up to at an early date; 4 and even to speculate that in time to come the problem of peace would be largely a problem of figuring out how continents rather than mere nations might live at peace with one another. 5
This global view was particularly evident in Roosevelt's thinking regarding World War II. One wartime associate noted that as of 1940 the President seemed to be the only high personage in Washington who "saw that we might be fighting Germany and Japan all over the world" rather than just defending our own shores. 6 Throughout the war, moreover, the President pointed out repeatedly the global character of the conflict, noting that it involved every sea, every continent, every island, every air lane in the world and that victories or defeats in one place had repercussions many thousands of miles away. 7
Roosevelt also often thought of people in world-wide terms, in terms of humanity as a whole. In a lecture at Milton Academy in 1926 he spoke hopefully of a coming day when all peoples of the world would recognize one another as members of "one big family." 8 On several occasions he emphasized that the Atlantic Charter applied to all parts of the world and to all humanity. 9 "Do all you can," he wrote a friend in 1943, "to make people realize that the world is round and that more people in the world live in Asia than in Europe, Africa and the Americas all put together." 10
He seemed to realize, however, that it would not be easy to get everyone else to think in global terms. It had not been done appreciably until the twentieth century, he asserted in 1944, but men were now being compelled to think in world-wide terms and after the war it would be more essential than ever. 11
Thus to Roosevelt it was impossible for the United States to isolate herself from events abroad. In 1914, in the first days of World War I, he was astonished to find that no one in the Navy Department in Washington was excited about the crisis in Europe. 12 In his view the interests of the United States were so broad that she needed to be active everywhere. Her territories and foreign trade were vital to her welfare, he argued in 1915. 13 And by 1920 he was arguing that the nation's food supply had become an international problem. 14 Only by becoming an armed camp living in monastic seclusion, he concluded, could the United States avoid close relations with foreign states. 15 In the thirties he argued that it would be suicidal for the United States to stand idly by, as some senators suggested, while Europe destroyed herself, for war one place was likely to produce war every place, and the American future was bound to be affected. 16
Roosevelt's belief that a policy of isolation was both futile and impossible for the United States was based, especially during the late thirties, on three major considerations: 1) changes in the nature of warfare; 2) a belief that the United States could not escape the economic and cultural consequences of a general war and particularly of a war ending in an Axis victory; and 3) a conviction that the Axis would eventually attack the United States if it got the opportunity to do so.
Early in World War I Roosevelt saw the nature of warfare changing and he ridiculed the old idea held by people like William Jennings Bryan that the country could continue to rely on a citizens' militia springing to arms over night. 17 During World War I also he foresaw the airplane as an invention that would revolutionize warfare; and he repeated his prophecies during the twenties. 18 The airplane, along with other technological developments, had given war, Roosevelt argued, a range in distance and speed never known before. Defenses against attack must also be long range and designed to meet lightning and surprise attack. 19 By the late thirties he was insisting that defense of the United States re- quired defense not only of the Caribbean area also, but a cooperative defense of the whole hemisphere from pole to pole. 20 It required also the prevention of any hostile power's getting bases anywhere on the globe from which an attack on the United States might be launched. 21
Roosevelt was aware also that aggression now begins long before military action, by propaganda, economic penetration, fifth column activity, and so on, at all of which the Nazis had become masters. 22 Defense was, therefore, a complex matter and it was folly to think the United States could isolate herself from modern types of penetration.
Nor could the United States escape the economic and cultural consequences of war, thought Roosevelt, especially of a war ending in an Axis victory. World War I, he argued, had caused American agriculture to over-expand, had promoted monopoly in the United States, and had destroyed normal relations between creditors and debtors. 23 Another world war might do worse, he began arguing in 1937, for if the dictators got their way, they would destroy all that was fine in the culture of the past two thousand years. 24 Even if the United States was not dragged in, moreover, she could not escape the consequences of the collapse of economic and social structures elsewhere; for her economy was part of a world economy. World trade would be affected everywhere. And if the Axis powers won, they might easily dominate the economies of all nations. 25
From the late thirties on, the President drew ever more and more ghastly pictures of the consequences of an Axis victory. Hitler would hoist the swastika and establish puppet governments everywhere, he warned. The United States would have to become an armed camp, pouring all her money into defense and she would have none left over for internal improvements. Individual liberty, and especially freedom of religion, would be threatened everywhere. American labor would lose all its gains. Democracy would decline. Militarism and a jungle morality would replace humanitarianism and decency; and the civilization so painfully built over centuries in the West would revert to barbarism. 26
From at least 1937 on, moreover, Roosevelt was convinced that if the Axis ever got a chance to do so, it would launch a direct military assault on North America. "Let no one imagine," he declared in 1937, "that America will escape, that America may expect mercy, that this Hemisphere will not be attacked. . . ." 27 Hitler's aggressions in 1938 and 1939 merely confirmed his belief that the ambitions of the Nazi dictator were unlimited. 28 Hitler's pious pledges not to bother the United States were not to be believed, insisted Roosevelt, for the desire to expand one's power is so natural that it grows at each opportunity--just as that of Alexander and Napoleon grew with each conquest--and it would be folly to expect Hitler to stop when he got "within one jump" of world domination. The Nazi doctrine of racial superiority would also promote within Germany a desire to subjugate America, the President argued. "And most important of all, the vast resources and wealth of this American hemisphere constitute the most tempting loot in all the world," said Roosevelt, a loot the Axis could not resist trying to capture. 29
Roosevelt responded to the above threats to the United States with a geopolitical theory of global proportions. He had begun developing the theory during the 1890s when he became acquainted with the geopolitical ideas of Alfred Thayer Mahan. As Assistant Secretary of the Navy in the Wilson administration his ideas were further developed; and by April 1917 he was already publicly scoffing at what he considered the foggy thinking of some Americans who believed the United States could rely for defense on the two oceans. 30 Twenty-two years later he expressed exactly the same opinion and insisted that people who relied on the two oceans simply had no clear understanding of the position of the United States in the world. 31
Roosevelt's geopolitical theory started with the assumption that the major struggle for power in his time was a global struggle and its wars were global wars. Violence in Manchuria, Ethiopia, Spain, and the states neighboring on Germany was all part of the same struggle. The major stage of violence began, however, in 1937 with Japan's full-scale attack on China, and in Europe with Hitler's 1939 attack on Poland. The important thing to remember, however, was that the struggle was global and the whole could not be seen by looking only at its parts. 32
Roosevelt's next assumption was that in any such global struggle for power the key to the security of the United States lay in maintaining, with her friends, absolute mastery of the seas; for only by such control could the United States keep her essential international trade going, maintain access to the raw materials her hungry industry had to have, and keep war out of the Western hemisphere. Roosevelt had begun advocating this "defense at a distance" as a young naval enthusiast and he never gave it up. His idea was that the Navy, next to diplomacy, must be the nation's first line of defense, prepared not only to defend the coasts, but to meet any enemy fleet on the high seas and destroy it. 33
Control of the seas and freedom of the seas apparently meant the same thing to Roosevelt and he tended to use the phrases interchangeably. But whatever it was called, Roosevelt looked upon it as the historic policy of the United States essential to protect her commerce and her prosperity. 34 The seas were broad highways, he believed, and the United States could not live long without free access to them. 35
Fortunately, thought Roosevelt, the United States could defend the water-borne commerce of the Western hemisphere in the event of foreign war without a U. S. declaration of war against anyone simply by using the Navy as Adams and Jefferson had used it. The United States need only declare certain areas were outside the war zone, and then use the Navy to enforce the declaration. 36 The international rule of territorial waters could be made more useful, he thought, simply by broadening the definition of what were territorial waters; and one day in 1939 he told an incredulous press that United States territorial waters went out "as far as our interests need it to go out." 37
But control of the adjacent seas was never enough for Roosevelt. He wanted all the seas under Anglo-American control, and he made special efforts around the time of the fall of France in 1940 to get assurances that the British and French fleets would not fall into the hands of the Axis, even going so far as to try to buy the French fleet. 38
In Roosevelt's geopolitics, however, control of the seas involved much more than mere naval supremacy. It required also control of the air over the seas, control of the islands of the seas that might be used as air and naval bases, control of the strategic gateways to the seas such as the Suez and Panama canals, the English Channel, and the Strait of Gibraltar, and control of the coastal rimlands of Europe, Africa, and Asia facing the seas.
The islands of the seas were among Roosevelt's major concern, and from 1934 on he kept the State Department busy working on schemes to keep Atlantic and Pacific islands out of hostile hands. 39 Although his earliest interest was in the islands and bases close to the Panama Canal and the coasts of America, he became more interested in islands further away as the range of bombing planes increased. For even the Canary Islands and Azores could be used as jumping off places by an enemy bent on attacking America, he argued. When, moreover, he acquired Atlantic island leases in the famous "destroyer deal" with the British in 1940 he boasted that it was "probably the most important thing that has come for American defense since the Louisiana Purchase." 40
Keeping hostile powers from getting control of the Eurasian and African continents was equally important in Roosevelt's geopolitics. Although he denied reports that he had said that the American frontier was on the Rhine, he made no secret of the fact that he believed something very much like that; and he pointed out repeatedly that each nation in Europe that fell to a hostile power caused American security to be weakened. For if hostile powers got control of the coasts of the other continents, he insisted, then the rest of those continents and even the high seas would fall into the conquerors' greedy hands. All the resources, markets, and manpower of those three great land masses would be theirs. They would then have two or three times the ship-building and military capacity of all the Americas. They would form a customs union among themselves with the Americas left outside and would then trade with outsiders like the United States only on their own terms. The Western hemisphere would then be a besieged island living at the point of a gun. 41
The Latin American republics and Canada were also important in Roosevelt's geopolitics. He took the Monroe Doctrine for granted and there was no doubt in his mind that the United States, for her own safety, must prevent foreign political systems from being established in the hemisphere. From 1936 on he looked at the problem of American defense as a continental problem rather than as a purely national problem and he promptly proceeded to build a system of hemispheric solidarity. 42
It was not until about 1939, however, that Roosevelt began to perceive how a victorious Axis or even only a victorious Germany might gain control of Latin America by peaceful procedures and then be in an ideal position to invade an isolated and softened United States. By controlling only parts of Europe, Roosevelt asserted, Hitler could force Latin American states, which depended on Europe to buy eighty per cent of their exports, to accept fascist principles and Nazi economic domination; and it could all be done without violating the Monroe Doctrine. 43
Thus the problem of defending the hemisphere was a military, economic, and ideological problem. Nazi plots, propaganda, and advance guards were already preparing bridgeheads in the New World, said the President in September 1941. But Hitler's grand design could not succeed unless he got control of the seas and he could not do that unless he first got control of the ship-building facilities of Britain, Europe, and Asia; and that must be prevented. 44
A logical conclusion of all this to Roosevelt was that Britain, France, China, and later Russia were buffers between the twentieth century Caesars and the Western Hemisphere. Of prime importance were the British and French fleets and the French army. Despite his frequent feeling of hostility toward Britain, he had a clear understanding of the Anglo-American community of interest and he never doubted that Britain's continued independence was vital to the security of the United States. If England went down, he reasoned, the United States would soon find herself surrounded by hostile states; for the combined German and Italian navies in 1939 were equal to that of the United States; Japan's navy was then about eighty per cent as powerful, and the Axis, with this vast power and Britain out of the way, would be greatly tempted to attack if the United States objected to the peaceful penetration of Latin America. The fall of France reaffirmed this view, making Roosevelt more convinced than ever that if Britain fell Germany would attack the Western hemisphere through Latin America and Japan would go on the rampage in the Pacific. Then truly the United States would be forced to fight for her survival. 45
ROOSEVELT's ideas as to how the United States should meet the perils resulting from the breakdown of the world order of his time developed slowly. Although he became aware of the dangers facing the nation earlier than most Americans, he long underestimated the power the aggressors were going to be able to mobilize and he overestimated the ability of the British, French, and their allies to restrain them. As late as the time of the Munich crisis in 1938 he felt that Hitler could be brought to his knees by a defensive war and that the most the United States would need to do was furnish supplies. It was not really until the fall of France in mid-1940 that Roosevelt realized to the full the weakness of the Allies and the strength of the aggressors, and it may be that total realization was not achieved even by then. 1
The result of this slow grasping of the world power situation was a slow response. Roosevelt's response evolved, in fact, in three stages. For several years he seems to have believed that the United States could meet the situation adequately by a policy of neutrality, although it was a quite different kind of neutrality from that wanted by the isolationists. In the second stage of his thinking, when he decided no kind of neutrality was adequate, he adopted a policy of quasi-belligerency that put the United States into the war in all but name. It was not until almost the day of the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor that the President seems to have decided that the full military power of the United States would have to be used to extricate the nation from her peril, and a policy of belligerency was adopted. Thus Roosevelt's thinking was decidedly evolutionary, one policy being abandoned for a new one only with reluctance when the earlier policy proved to be inadequate.
Roosevelt could never support a kind of neutrality that forbade the United States to take sides in major international developments; for it is doubtful that Roosevelt had an impartial bone in his body regarding such matters. In World War I he had been on the side of the Allies from the beginning and had little patience with Wilson's policy of neutrality. 2 Disgusted as he might have been with England and France in the thirties, he had no doubt that the United States could not afford to let the Nazis sweep over them; and except for a brief period during the twenties, his hostility toward the Japanese had been life long. 3
Yet his desire to throw the influence of the United States on one side or another in international quarrels did not mean that Roosevelt believed the country should go so far as to enter foreign wars. Even though he had been a supporter of the "martial spirit" in his youth, by the time he became President he was an ardent advocate of peace everywhere and of keeping the United States out of wars that might occur.
Yet Roosevelt was too much of a realist to believe that the United States could insure herself completely against all war. Nor did he believe the nation reduced the risk of war by doing nothing. When in September 1939 he again asked the Congress to repeal the arms embargo in the Neutrality Act, his objective was to keep the United States out of the war by keeping Britain and France in it; and to do this he had to be able to send them arms. For he was convinced that if England and France went down, the United States would be forced to take up the sword. 4
Naturally, the isolationists of the thirties had no serious objection to Roosevelt's using peaceful procedures to prevent war provided it was not done in too close cooperation with the League of Nations and did not require political commitments; nor did they have any objection to avoiding incidents or situations that might get the United States embroiled. Thus Roosevelt and the isolationists were in considerable agreement at many points.
Roosevelt readily backed, for example, government control of the private traffic in arms and began supporting legislation to control it shortly after he entered the White House. He adhered somewhat to the "devil" theory of war and repeatedly castigated the manufacturers and merchants of arms, charging them with menacing the peace and promoting a "mad race in armaments" for the sake of private profit. 5
Roosevelt and the isolationists were also long in substantial agreement regarding the desirability of preventing American citizens and ships from embroiling the United States in war by incidents that might occur on belligerent ships in combat areas. Woodrow Wilson had erred in World War I, he thought, by insisting that all America's neutral rights be respected by the belligerents. American citizens and ships traveling about the world had often embroiled the nation in incidents in which the American public in general had no direct interest and such travel, Roosevelt thought, should be subject to control in wartime. 6
Roosevelt was also long in close accord with the isolationists in their desire to prohibit the use of American money to finance foreign wars. If foreign governments were forbidden to get loans in the United States, their urge toward war might be restrained somewhat, he thought; and American embroilment might also be avoided. He was also an advocate of taking the profit out of war. Thus he favored the clauses in the neutrality acts of the thirties aimed at those goals. 7
All this makes it obvious that although Roosevelt opposed some of the provisions of the neutrality legislation of the thirties, he also saw much good in it; and when Ambassador Dodd in Germany wrote that he wanted to resign as a public protest against the passage by Congress of the Neutrality Act of 1935, Roosevelt answered that the Act was by no means the "unmitigated evil" Dodd thought it to be. 8
In one respect Roosevelt was in favor of going further than most isolationists. He wanted power to embargo all trade to belligerents beyond normal peacetime quantities, not just arms and ammunition. And when Congress refused to go along with his request for such power, he virtually ridiculed its behavior and proceeded to impose moral embargoes in the hope that some businessmen might be restrained and that the belligerents would be made aware of the attitude of the administration. 9
But if Roosevelt and the isolationists were in agreement regarding many matters concerning neutrality, they were poles apart on the most important matter of all--that of taking sides. To those who clung to what is often called the "traditional" concept of neutrality this attitude of Roosevelt looked very unneutral. But to Roosevelt the throwing of the weight of the United States on one side was absolutely essential to his objectives and he wanted to use most of the controls given him for that purpose.
The whole difficulty arose from different conceptions of neutrality. The "traditionalists" adhered to the concept of neutrality developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries which held that war and the behavior of states was amoral and one nation could not sit in judgment on the conduct of another. A neutral must, therefore, treat all belligerents alike, impartially, and while geographical or other factors might accidentally favor a particular side in its dealings with a neutral, the neutral herself was obligated to refrain from actions that were partial. By the same token, neutrals also had rights that belligerents were obligated to respect. 10
But Roosevelt preferred what has been called a modified Grotian concept of neutrality that won some popularity among internationalists in the interwar years. It began with the Grotian thesis that distinguished between "just" and "unjust" wars and held that states that were not belligerents had the duty "to do nothing to strengthen those who are prosecuting an unjust cause, or which may impede the movements of him who is carrying on a just war. . . ." Starting from this argument, many internationalists in the interwar years held that both the Covenant of the League of Nations and the Kellogg-Briand Pact had destroyed the "traditional" concept of neutrality, and all nations were, under modern conditions, obligated to cooperate to impede aggressors and to aid the victims of aggression. This had been the HooverStimson conception of neutrality when in January 1933 they had asked Congress for power to embargo arms, the assumption of the administration being that it would be only the aggressor to whom arms could not then be exported. 11
Roosevelt supported this modified Grotian concept of neutrality from the day he took office. Thus when Roosevelt told an incredulous press the day after his famous Quarantine Speech that he saw no conflict between the Neutrality Act and his quarantine proposal, he was not being as naive or deceptive as some of his hearers probably thought. It would be folly to deny that Roosevelt occasionally talked out of both sides of his mouth regarding neutrality during the thirties; but his real position was that "true" neutrality required a nation to refrain from helping an aggressor and allowed her to help a victim, and that is what he wanted to do. 12
Although Roosevelt wanted the controls discussed above partly in order to keep the United States out of war, he also wanted many of them for use as weapons to deter or stop aggressors. But in order to use such controls as weapons he needed authority to use them at his discretion in whatever way and against whomever the national interest required at the moment. And it was over this matter of discretion that Roosevelt and the Congress quarrelled for six years, from April 1933 to November 1939. In some of the legislation of the thirties Congress did grant the President discretion in some matters. But it was discretionary power over trade of nearly all kinds and especially over the arms traffic that Roosevelt wanted most and the only kind he ever wanted. When in 1935, therefore, the Congress made the arms embargo mandatory rather than discretionary and required that it be applied to aggressors and victims alike, the President immediately pointed out his dissatisfaction with it, arguing that it might drag the United States into war rather than keep her out. He signed the bill not only to appease isolationist sentiment, but also because, as it so happened at the moment, it was believed it would work more against Italy, the aggressor, than against Ethiopia, the victim, in the then impending war. 13
When Japan attacked China in 1937 Roosevelt faced the kind of situation he had feared in 1935. In this case it was China, the victim, who would be hurt most by an embargo, so Roosevelt reasoned. So he stalled, putting off imposing the embargo, "beating about the bush," as he later put it, and gave as his excuse the fact that since neither China nor Japan had officially declared war, a proclamation from him was not mandatory. When at the same time lifting the embargo from the Spanish Civil War would have helped Franco, Roosevelt declared that that "would not have been neutrality; I would have been playing into the hands of Franco." 14 The Spanish Civil War was a perfect example of Roosevelt's contention that the embargo should be flexible and discretionary; for as the fortunes of the war changed the President also needed to be able to change. Unable to do so he became so confused he did not know what was best to do and he ended by making mistakes he regretted later. 15
In time the restraints of the neutrality acts so chafed the President that he wished there had never been any neutrality legislation at all. As war clouds became more menacing, therefore, Roosevelt began urging repeal of the legislation, or at least repeal of the arms embargo; and when in the spring and early summer of 1939 Congress refused to heed his request he went so far as to wonder if it might be within his constitutional powers simply to ignore the law. 16
The hostile reaction to the President's Quarantine Speech of October 1937 caused him to postpone temporarily any vigorous efforts to implement his own conception of neutrality. He was delighted, however, that his speech had "stirred up the animals"; and by the time of the Munich crisis a year later, he seems to have decided that he could no longer afford to wait. He had no intention of asking the American people to remain neutral in thought, as Wilson had done in 1914. Rather he intended to "strongly encourage their natural sympathy" towards the democracies. 17 When in the spring of 1939 Congress refused to repeat the Neutrality Act, moreover, Roosevelt decided he would try to deter the dictators and help their victims in spite of Congress.
When war in Europe broke out in September 1939, therefore, Roosevelt refused to ask the American people to remain neutral in thought. Instead he even encouraged hostility toward the Axis. When Russia moved into Poland, he decided not to apply the Neutrality Act for fear it might push the Soviets further into Hitler's arms. He also again asked Congress to repeal the arms embargo in a speech impregnated with subterfuge, never once admitting that his real objective was to aid England and France. By the end of 1940, after the fall of France, the "destroyer deal," and the third-term election, and when he knew the country was willing to become the "arsenal of democracy," he no longer cared whether his policy was called neutrality or unneutrality. Whatever it was, he declared, it was no more unneutral for the United States to send aid to her friends than it was for "Sweden, Russia and other nations near Germany to send steel and ore and oil and other war materials into Germany every day." The impartial type of neutrality had not protected Norway, Belgium, or the Netherlands, he declared, and the United States had no intention of emulating them. 18
Naturally, the implementation of Roosevelt's views required many evasions. Like Lincoln, he was no slave to the law--except when it suited his purposes--and like Lincoln, he put the security of the nation above the law. At the time of the Munich crisis, therefore, he told the Cabinet that in the event of war, the neutrality laws should be carried out with all doubts resolved in favor of the democracies. 19 On the eve of Hitler's attack on Poland in 1939 he told the Cabinet that if war was declared, he intended using all possible devices to delay application of the Neutrality Act. He wanted the State and Justice Departments to be slow getting proclamations to his desk while all manufacturers were urged to rush all possible arms aboard ship and out to sea or over to Canada. 20 He ordered that the German liner Bremen be detained in port on one pretext or another for forty-eight hours so she could not dash to safety. 21 And he later described many other subterfuges that might be tried to deter the aggressors and to aid Britain and France. 22 He did not think minor violations of international law would get the United States into the war, for he did not feel that such factors would be important in influencing the dictators' decisions as to whether or not to attack the United States. 23
During the last year and a half or so before Pearl Harbor Roosevelt placed the United States in the role of a quasi-belligerent. He continued to assert that the United States was a neutral. But he was convinced that the breakdown of the world order required vigorous action from the United States and that the democracies must be aided regardless of what that aid was called.
His aid to the democracies by what he called "methods short of war" was based on the assumption, however, that while the democracies would need the help of America's industrial power, they would not need American fighting men unless they were pushed to the wall. On the eve of Munich he felt assured that a defensive war by the democracies, aided by American industrial power, would be all that was necessary to bring Hitler to his knees. 24 He wanted it made clear to the dictators, however, that American aid to the democracies would be available. Wilson had erred in 1914, he thought, in not making it clear early enough where the United States stood and he did not want that to happen again. When, therefore, Congress refused to repeal the arms embargo in the spring of 1939 the President was convinced that if the dictators started a war "an important part of the responsibility will rest" on Congress. 25
Nor was he worried that his "methods short of war" might get the United States embroiled. Germany was too clever, he thought, to bring America into the war against herself over minor incidents. Thus he felt safe in getting the arms embargo repealed, giving Britain some destroyers, sending lend-lease aid, patrolling the North Atlantic, arming merchant ships, and engaging in a variety of other actions "short of war." 26
The sources used for this study do not reveal when Roosevelt decided the United States would have to enter World War II as a belligerent. There is no certainty, in fact, that he ever came to such a conclusion before Pearl Harbor. All anyone seems to have gotten from the President was a feeling that he had made such a decision.
The possibility of the United States getting embroiled in war in a fast disintegrating world was, of course, always a reality in Roosevelt's mind, although probably a remote possibility. As noted previously, Roosevelt was never an advocate of peace at any price and as early as 1932 he had remarked privately that a war with Japan then might be better than one later. At each later crisis the possibility of America's fighting also occurred to him. 27 It was largely from the early spring of 1941 on that occasional comments dropped by Roosevelt to his associates produced a feeling that he had decided that the United States must enter the fray. But all were merely speculating; no one really knew what was in the President's mind; and all we are safe in concluding is that by the fall of 1941 Roosevelt seems to have decided that the aggressors could not be stopped without the use of American military power, and he was giving some thought to the manner in which the United States might become a belligerent. 28
THE ROOSEVELTIAN APPROACH TO A NEW ORDER
THROUGHOUT the long period during which Franklin Roosevelt was watching the disintegration of the old world order and was worrying his way toward a geopolitical answer of that challenge to the United States he also spent a great deal of time thinking and dreaming of the kind of world he would like to see in the future.
Naturally, his thinking and dreaming about a New Order were conditioned largely--as so with all men--by the nature of his own mind, his own temperament, and his own life experiences. Mentally and temperamentally, for example, he was an optimist, a practical idealist, a humanitarian, and a reformer; and it was inevitable that his grand design for a new world order would reflect those characteristics. His background was that of an American who had lived all his years within the Western-Christianliberal tradition and it was equally inevitable that his grand design would contain the basic principles of that tradition, particularly those principles current in his own lifetime such as individual liberty and democracy, principles that he assumed were of universal validity and should be applied everywhere.
In addition, Roosevelt was the heir of a liberal program for a new world order that began developing before World War I, a program that Woodrow Wilson finally accepted and that was kept alive during the interwar years by a small group of internationalists scattered throughout the Western world. The basic assumptions of this liberal program were that: (1) power politics were wicked and should be replaced by a democratically controlled diplomacy; (2) that armaments should be limited or abolished and their production placed under international control; (3) that such waterways as the Panama, Suez, and Kiel canals and straits like those of Gibraltar and the Dardanelles should be internationalized; (4) that self-determination be allowed all dependent peoples to whom it was feasible; and (5) that an international organization be established with economic and military force behind it. 1
Roosevelt was also the heir of the three great goals of mankind in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries--Equality, Liberty, and Plenty. The goals of Equality and Liberty were essentially popularized, of course, in the latter half of the eighteenth century, were glorified in the American Declaration of Independence and the French Rights of Man, and became entrenched throughout much of the Western world in the nineteenth century via Bills of Rights, an ever-expanding suffrage, and the opening of educational opportunities to the masses. The equally magnificent goal of Plenty did not capture the imagination of much of the world until the latter part of the nineteenth century when it became clear that the industrial revolution could in time provide all men everywhere with an abundance of worldly goods. By the time Roosevelt appeared, however, all three of these goals--Equality, Liberty, and Plenty--were fascinating the minds of men and he accepted them without question.
At this point, however, it is Roosevelt's temperamental biases at which we might well take a good look; for the way he looked at the world, the way he felt about human affairs in general, the manner in which he approached problems, especially the problem of building a new world order, had an enormous influence on the grand design to be described later.
The first thing to be noted about Roosevelt's approach to the world around him is that it was almost invariably the goals, the aims, the great objectives he was seeking that fascinated him and on which he constantly kept his eyes. It was where he was going rather than how he would get there that interested him. Although he sometimes showed an interest in the methods necessary to reach his goals, he asserted repeatedly that methods were details of secondary importance and that on big issues it was only the objective that was important.
There were many ways to great objectives, he seemed to think, and compromise on getting to them was simply the better part of wisdom. Quarreling and quibbling about methods was either useless or perhaps evidence that the quarrelsome ones were really foes of the objective. This was especially evident in his attitude toward the League of Nations in the early years when United States participation was being debated. To him the League was simply an experiment. There was no reason to expect the Covenant to be any nearer perfect than our own Constitution which had been amended many times. Valid objections could be raised to details in the Covenant. He had read the draft three times, he said in 1919, and each time he had found something in it to which he objected. He thought the question of reservations was of little significance and was quite willing to compromise with Lodge and the Senate reservationists to achieve the grand goal. As late as 1925 he was willing to say, "I don't care how many restrictions or qualifications are put on our [participation]. In other words, I seek an end and do not care a rap about the methods of procedure." 2
In calling for bold, persistent experimentation by government early in 1932 Roosevelt again expressed this preference, saying: "Let us not confuse objectives with methods . . . . True leadership calls for the setting forth of the objectives and the rallying of public opinion in support of them." 3 Defending the New Deal in 1937 he sounded the same note: "You know," he said in Iowa, "a lot of people mix up objectives with methods; and sometimes, when they do not like the objectives they say, 'Oh yes, we do like the objectives, but we don't like the methods proposed by this particular fellow.' Well, I am not in love with any particular method; but I am in love with the particular objectives. . . ." 4
This attitude led Roosevelt time and again, in the handling of international relations, to concentrate on the development of general principles and the achievement of major objectives and to look upon many important matters connected with his objectives as mere worrisome details that could be settled later by subordinates. He regarded his May 1933 proposals to the World Disarmament Conference as general principles that should be accepted and asserted the Administration had not bothered yet to consider such "details" as sanctions or other means to enforce the principles. 5 At Teheran one objective, he said later, was to get agreement around the table on the question of recreating a completely self-governing and independent Poland, and that "details" like Poland's boundaries could be postponed. 6
This view seemed to be especially prominent in his postwar planning. When quizzed by the press about his plans he often insisted he was busy only with developing general principles, working out objectives, and the press was too interested in insignificant minor matters. "When people ask the details about an objective," he told the press one day, "I say, 'I am not interested' or 'I am not ready to talk' or 'we haven't studied the methods and the details.'" What was important was a meeting of minds on objectives. "I never worry much," he added, "if we have a six months' debate in Congress . . . as to methods or details . . . as long as we are agreed on objectives." 7 Thus to him the many conferences among foreign ministers or national representatives such as those at Bretton Woods or Hot Springs, Virginia, in 1943 were exploratory and designed so that basic principles and objectives regarding world problems could be agreed to. The exact nature of the international organization's structure was to him mere details. The 1943 Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers was "engaged in considering the big things--the objectives," he asserted, and he was irritated by those people who wanted to see all the t's crossed and all the i's dotted. 8
In his Annual Message to Congress in 1945 he begged Congress not to expect "perfectionism" in the postwar world and reminded the Congress that it was an insistence on perfectionism in 1919 that had prevented the United States from joining the League and cooperating with other nations to prevent the anarchy that had caused the world so much trouble. 9 A month later while urging adoption of the Bretton Woods Agreements he again asked the Congress not to quibble and let details get in the way of great objectives. Regarding the agreements he said, "It would be a tragedy if differences of opinion on minor details should lead us to sacrifice the basic agreement achieved on the major problems." 10 Thus the attainment of a major objective was always worth a few compromises, or errors that could be corrected later.
It was this emphasis on grand objectives that gave Roosevelt a reputation as an idealist--and an idealist he was. There seemed to be no doubt at all in his mind that throughout the ages mankind had been inspired and lifted to great achievements by lofty ideals. Thus there was nothing to lose and there was everything to gain by urging men everywhere to hitch their wagon to a star, to everlastingly focus their aspirations on utopian goals such as those embodied in the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, the Declaration of Independence, and his own Four Freedoms. And men also, he thought, had to be reminded repeatedly of their great ideals and from time to time given new or reformulated ones lest they become weary of striving toward ever more glorious planes of life.
Yet the President knew very well that the magnificent ideals and dreams that men had built up throughout the centuries were not really attainable. At best they could only be approached or approximated. He was realistic enough, in other words, to realize that the best man could ever do was to make painfully slow steps along a path strewn with countless obstacles and the heights of heaven would never really be reached. But no progress would be made at all, he thought, unless one first had ideals, kept one's eyes on those ideals, and then moved toward them in the most practicable manner the circumstances allowed. It was equally important, moreover, never to become discouraged by the fact that progress toward ideals moved at a snail's pace.
It was this remarkable combination of realism and idealism in Roosevelt's nature that has caused him to be called a "practical idealist"; and there is no doubt that it greatly influenced his grand design for a new world order.
This practical idealism was not dominant in Roosevelt until his relatively mature years, for in his youth he seemed to have little sympathy with idealism. In 1914 he interpreted Josephus Daniel's sadness concerning the outbreak of World War I as due to the shock it was causing Daniel's "faith in human nature and civilization and similar idealistic nonsense. . . ." 11 Straining at the leash as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to get the United States militarily prepared, he wrote his wife that what the country needed was the truth about the weaknesses of the Army and Navy "instead of a lot of soft mush about everlasting peace which so many statesmen are handing out to a gullible public." 12 In 1916 he scoffed at the advocates of world government as soft-headed "extremists," arguing that while he too agreed in the hope there might some day be world government, differences among the earth's people were still so great that it was silly to expect such a millennium in the foreseeable future and the need for armaments and adequate military forces would long remain. 13
By 1919, of course, Roosevelt, like millions of other people, got caught up in the wave of Wilsonian idealism sweeping the land--and he rode the wave. But he remained reserved, cautious. Admitting his late conversion he said, "Last spring I thought the League of Nations merely a beautiful dream, a Utopia." But it was a time of idealism, he went on; the people wanted something done about peace; the world looked to the United States for action; and the experiment with the League was worth a try. But it always remained merely an experiment that might or might not succeed. 14
Nor did this strong streak of realism ever desert him. There were no painless panaceas for the world's ills, he warned regarding the Bok peace awards in 1923. "The world patient cannot be cured over night," he said, "by a simple surgical operation. A systematic course of treatment extending through the years will prove the only means of saving his life." 15 Speaking in 1938 he again scoffed at "people with panaceas for reforming the world overnight. . .," declaring that while such members of the "lunatic fringe" were not really lunatics, "a little push would shove them over the line." 16 During the war he justified the Darlan deal in North Africa on the grounds of realism, arguing that it was often necessary in this practical world to make deals with the devil; and he frequently illustrated his point thereafter by repeating an old Balkan proverb, approved by the Orthodox Church he insisted, that asserted: "It is permitted to you, my child, in time of danger to walk with the Devil until you have crossed the bridge." 17 Again during the war, Roosevelt boasted of his realism, saying when asked to describe Stalin after his meeting at Teheran: "I would call him something like me--he is a realist." 18
The idealism that began to dilute Roosevelt's realism in 1919 continued to grow, however, until the two were in workable balance. Although he continued to berate those he thought were seeking to reform the world into utopia overnight, the value of dreams and ideals became ever more apparent. 19 As he matured, his admiration for Wilson's ability to arouse people on profound questions increased. He believed the people of the United States responded well to great moral visions, yet he realized, as he wrote to Ray Stannard Baker in 1935, that it was difficult, because of the nature of man, to keep men's minds "attuned for long periods of time to a constant repetition of the highest note in the scale." 20 But he had no doubt that a democracy should be concerned not only with what is, as the realists insisted, but also with "things as they ought to be." And he added, "I am not talking mere idealism; I am expressing realistic necessity." 21 He had always felt, he wrote in 1938, that in spite of the "soulless decade" of the twenties, the idealism of the Theodore Roosevelt and Wilson eras had never been snuffed out; democratic ideals had simply lain dormant in that decade; and although it had taken the catastrophe of the Depression to "focus public attention once more on ideals in government. . .," the awakening had occurred. 22
With the outbreak of World War II Roosevelt's idealism came into full bloom and he drew on it repeatedly to arouse people both at home and abroad to greater efforts. When planning a postwar refugee program in 1939, Roosevelt became impatient for quicker action on a large scale and wrote to Sumner Welles: "Somebody has to breathe heart and ideals on a large scale into this whole subject if it is to be put into effect on a world-wide basis." 23 But even during the war he could not forget the need to be practical at the same time. When criticized by some members of the American Youth Congress in 1940 for not achieving more reforms he reminded them that Lincoln had been a sad man "because he could not do all he wanted to do at one time, and I think you will find examples where Lincoln had to compromise to gain a little something. He had to compromise to make a few gains. Lincoln was one of those unfortunate people called a 'politician' but he was a politician who was practical enough to get a great many things for this country. He was a sad man because he couldn't get it all at once. And nobody can. . . . If you ever sit here, you will learn that you cannot, just by shouting from the housetops, get what you want all the time." 24
The proclamation of the Four Freedoms and the Atlantic Charter represented Roosevelt's most conspicuous attempts to set before mankind a set of ideals toward which he thought all should strive. He virtually sneered at those who looked upon the Four Freedoms and the Charter as "crazy altruism" or "starry-eyed dreaming" and compared them to all those who throughout history had been scornful of the great and inspiring goals raised in their time. 25 At Ottawa in 1943 he lashed out at such critics, saying:
I get everlastingly angry at those who assert vociferously that the four freedoms and the Atlantic Charter are nonsense because they are unattainable. If those people had lived a century and a half ago they would have sneered and said that the Declaration of Independence was utter piffle. If they had lived nearly a thousand years ago they would have laughed uproariously at the ideals of the Magna Carta. And if they had lived several thousand years ago they would have derided Moses when he came from the Mountain with the Ten Commandments. 26
It was the ideals of men like Washington that had made the American Revolution successful, said Roosevelt, for ideals were essential to the accomplishment of great deeds. Neither the violation of the Ten Commandments nor the unattainability of all the goals of the Four Freedoms or the Atlantic Charter detracted from the value or necessity of such documents. There was never any doubt in his mind that there would have to be compromises with the principles of the Atlantic Charter just as there had been with Wilson's Fourteen Points. He had been as realistic as possible when drafting the Charter, he thought, particularly in his insistence on toning down the clause concerning a future international organization to something he thought his public at home would accept and he himself, then hostile to international organization in general, could also accept. Obviously, the postwar peace structure would be imperfect, so imperfect that "the world will be mighty lucky if it gets 50% of what it seeks out of the war as a permanent success. That might be a high average." 27 But these imperfections did not destroy the fact that documents like the Fourteen Points and the Atlantic Charter were "major contributions" toward mankind's struggle toward a better life. 28
Doubt has sometimes been cast on the sincerity of Roosevelt's idealism; but Harry Hopkins, the President's closest confidant for many years, once gave eloquent testimony to the fact that there was nothing false about it. Robert Sherwood has reported, at any rate, that one night after hearing the President dictate some speech material of a petulant and vindictive tone, Sherwood went, depressed, to tell Hopkins about it. Assuring Sherwood that the President was probably just getting some anger off his chest and would have forgotten the whole thing by morning, Hopkins added, in "a way that was very unusual for him":
You and I are for Roosevelt because he's a great spiritual figure, because he's an idealist, like Wilson, and he's got the guts to drive through against any opposition to realize those ideals. Oh--he sometimes tries to appear tough and cynical and flippant, but that's an act he likes to put on, especially at press conferences. He wants to make the boys think he's hard-boiled. Maybe he fools some of them now and then--but don't let him ever fool you, or you won't be any use to him. You can see the real Roosevelt when he comes out with something like the Four Freedoms. And don't get the idea that those are any catch phrases. He believes them! He believes they can be practically attained. 29
Roosevelt himself summed up his general attitude in 1943 in a letter on peace plans to General Jan Christian Smuts saying, "As you know, I dream dreams but am, at the same time, an intensely practical person. . . ." 30 Such deep-seated practical idealism in the Roosevelt temperament could not help influencing his thinking on international relations.
A temperamental characteristic that greatly influenced Roosevelt's planning for a new world order was his urge to reform things. He could no more help trying to re-make the world, when he got a chance to do so, than he could help eating and sleeping. Throughout his life he showed a zest for change and experimentation and gloried in visions of the new and better future that change would bring.
When he entered public life in 1910 the reform age known in American history as the Progressive Era was still moving along at a merry clip with reforms galore being applied to the nation's governments at all levels. Roosevelt quickly embraced many of the progressive ideals, delighted in the progressivism of both Theodore Roosevelt and Wilson, and won his own first national fame by fighting conservative bosses in his first session of the New York legislature. 31 Always eager to reform something, during the twenties he tried to inaugurate a reformation of the Democratic Party, largely to make it again the progressive party it had once been. 32 As Governor of New York his progressivism again showed through in programs mildly anticipating the New Deal and in a propensity for new departures and experimentation. 33 According to his own testimony, written in 1938, Roosevelt was also a reformer from the day he entered the White House. Revival and recovery were then needed most, he agreed; but reform was also needed to cure, not just arrest diseases in the American system. "Old abuses had to be uprooted," he wrote in the introduction to the 1933 volume of his public papers, "so that they could not readily grow again." 34 "When a man is convalescing from illness," he said in his Annual Message of 1935, "wisdom dictates not only cure of the symptoms, but also removal of the cause." 35 And he loved such change, looked forward to it, telling the Young Democrats in 1936 that in this rapidly changing world in which the forces of modern society must be brought under control "the period of social pioneering is only in its beginning" and it needed the same faith, heroism, and vision that pioneers of old had used to subdue nature. 36
Society would be in much healthier condition, thought Roosevelt, were it not for the fact that public apathy toward reform was very great and progressives were not in control of public affairs long enough or often enough. Progressives might be in con- trol of affairs more often and get more done, he told a Milton Academy audience in 1926, if they were not so frequently divided among themselves on the means by which their goals were to be reached. The result was that conservatives were in control of human affairs most of the time and social and economic experiments were few and far between. 37 He had learned this from Wilson, he wrote a friend in 1931, who had told him early in his public life that "it is only once in a generation that a people can be lifted above material things. That is why conservative government is in the saddle two-thirds of the time." 38 This meant, however, that when progressives were in the saddle they had to move fast, strike while the iron was hot, reform and reform while public feeling was sympathetic, for soon both apathy and the conservatives would return and it would be too late. 39
But there was no doubt in Roosevelt's mind that unless a reform movement appeared occasionally there would be revolution. Unless the United States had effective government of a progressive nature, he insisted in 1920, we would experience "the spread of doctrines which seek to effect change by unconstitutional means." 40 When the Depression revealed danger from both the Communist left and what he considered a Greek-style oligarchy of the right, Roosevelt wrote privately to a friend in 1930 that "there is no question in my mind that it is time for the country to become fairly radical for at least one generation. History shows that where this occurs occasionally, nations are saved from revolutions." 41 As the Depression deepened his letters increasingly argued that what America needed most was a good dose of "sane radicalism." 42 By this he meant reform, of course, the kind of radicalism that preserved institutions by bringing them up to date, not the kind of radicalism that overthrew institutions.
As President this attitude continued. In his 1932 acceptance speech he warned that the radicals of the country rather than being stopped would simply be provoked and challenged by a reactionary program. 43 By 1936 he was claiming that it was the reform programs of the New Deal that had saved the democratic and capitalistic systems of the United States from overthrow. "We were against revolution," he told a Syracuse audience. "Therefore we waged war against those conditions which make revolutions. . . ." 44 One of Roosevelt's favorite maxims, Rosenman has declared, was Macaulay's dictum, "Reform if you would preserve." 45 Thus it was little wonder that Roosevelt finally concluded that if civilization was to be saved, the relations among states must be reformed.
Roosevelt brought to his thinking on international relations a humanitarianism that had considerable impact on his new order. It was an interest in and feeling for man as a human being that grew out of both a sincere affection for man in the concrete and the moral rules of the circle in which he was reared that held that man is responsible for the welfare of his fellow man. He thought constantly in terms of people, illustrated his points repeatedly in terms of individual persons he knew or fictitious individual characters he dreamed up, and set his goals and methods in terms of their impact on real people. 46 He was responsive to the ethical climate of the Progressive Era and soaked up its sense of social justice, Frances Perkins reported, concluding that poverty was destructive, wasteful, demoralizing, unChristian, and at the same time preventable, so that there was no good reason why decent human beings should be subjected to it. 47 Moley verified the realness of Roosevelt's humanitarianism, reporting even after his break with the President that Roosevelt really felt for the underprivileged, that from the bottom of his heart he wanted other people to be as happy as he was, that he really liked the people to whom he waved as his train went by, that he honestly wanted to protect the weak from the strong. 48 In a radio address in behalf of crippled children in 1941 Roosevelt himself referred to "the right of the unfortunate" to a good life as part of American philosophy, and declared "we believe in and insist on the right of the helpless, the right of the weak, and the right of the crippled everywhere to play their part in life--and survive." 49
In 1935 he told the press that his social objective was "to try to increase the security and happiness of a larger number of people . . .; to give them more of the good things of life, to give them greater distribution not only of wealth in the narrow terms, but of wealth in the wider term's; to give them places to go in the summer time--recreation; to give them assurance that they are not going to starve in their old age; to give honest business a chance to go ahead and make a reasonable profit, and to give everyone a chance to earn a living." 50 When the 1940 Democratic Convention was bucking the acceptance of Henry Wallace as his running-mate, Roosevelt wrote out a statement declining the nomination (to be sent if Wallace was not accepted), charging the Party with putting money before human values and declaring he would have no part of it. 51
In international affairs Roosevelt reacted with revulsion against Hitler's racial persecution and against the sadistic cruelty of the German Army in Poland; against editorials in American newspapers objecting to the use of some of our food to keep people in devastated countries from starving; and against a host of war crimes. 52 Although he finally accepted the inevitability of total war and vigorous offensive action as the best way to save lives in the long run, as of 1938 and 1939 he was still hoping the West would fight a purely defensive war with a minimum of suffering and the least possible loss of life and property consistent with the need to bring Hitler to his knees; and he hoped both sides would refrain from bombing civilians and unfortified cities. 53 The European refugee problem particularly disturbed Roosevelt, and although not much ever came of his efforts to alleviate the situation, he looked upon whatever was done as common-sense humanitarian activity that decent people would do for any people who were starving and helpless. 54
Thus there should be no surprise that Roosevelt's theory of international relations was impregnated with a heavy dose of humanitarianism.
By far the most important characteristic in Roosevelt's temperament, however, was his perennial optimism. This he made visible in three ways: (1) his idea of progress; (2) his view of the nature of man; and (3) his faith in improvement by education.
Roosevelt's idea of progress was most eloquently expressed in an address he made at Milton Academy in 1926. At that time he was still trying to recover from his polio illness, was still trying to learn to walk again, and his political future seemed only a dark void. Yet he revealed himself as a man of infinite optimism, veritably glorying in the exuberance and swift changes of modern civilization, seemingly without doubt that nearly all the changes spelled progress toward a better life. He sounded as if he was bursting with enthusiasm for the new day, the new generation, and the ever newer times to come.
There he expounded his optimistic theory of history, confessing he had acquired it from his old schoolmaster, Dr. Endicott Peabody at Groton, who had taught him that progress in the world has its periodic ups and downs, but that the up-curve is always longer and there is a net advance in the end. Thus the long-run trend of history is ever upward. Tracing the history of Western civilization from antiquity to the present, Roosevelt concluded that the world since 1875 had experienced the most rapid spurt of change and progress in its history and the tempo of change and progress was still increasing. He ridiculed the idea of oppos- ing change by attempting to put a halo around the world of the past and declared that for himself he preferred to think of the future and the enormous progressive changes he saw ahead in medical science, transportation, agriculture, the physical sciences, in all fields of human endeavor.
Applying this idea to international affairs, Roosevelt told his Milton Academy audience that every trend in modern science pointed toward greater unification of mankind and made isolation more difficult. Seeing laws of progress at play in history, he pointed to the then popular notion that political institutions began with small communities which coalesced into small states; these in turn came together into nations, and these nations then formed alliances, until at last the alliances were now concerted into a permanent congress of nations--the League of Nations. Surely science was forcing cooperation among all peoples and continents. 55
This hopeful looking toward the future was a basic characteristic not only of Roosevelt's inherent nature, but also of his political life. In his 1920 acceptance speech he had emphasized the idea of progress, seeing in a "return to normalcy" then so widely advocated, a turning back in a futile effort to recapture "good old days" that were gone forever. Again he preferred to look to future and better days. 56 Even defeat failed usually to puncture his optimism. After his 1935 failure to persuade the Senate to ratify United States membership in the World Court, for example, Roosevelt confessed to Elihu Root that the "wind everywhere blows against us"; but he refused to lose hope, saying, "In time we shall win the long fight for judicial decisions of international problems." 57 Even the catastrophe of war failed to dishearten him completely, and in his 1939 message to the Pope he recalled that although the world had gone through similar dark ages in the past, such periods had invariably been succeeded by a rebirth of order, culture, and religion. 58 The outcome of the war, he declared later, would determine whether or not man's "march of progress" would proceed or be temporarily halted. 59 When reports came to him that some instructors in the army were "pooh poohing" the idea that men were fighting for a better world, the President told Rosenman that he wanted to counter this in his next speech, adding, "The best advice I can give to the boys in our service is to pay little attention to instructors who have never had a thought of a better world in which America can live in the future." 60 In his Fourth Inaugural he again quoted Dr. Peabody's theory of history, emphasizing that "the great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization [despite its ups and downs] itself is forever upwards. . . ." 61 Through press conferences he also liked to assure the people fighting the war that the world certainly will get better "if we work for it . . .," or to proclaim, as he did enroute home from Yalta, that during the war "there has not been a period of six months going by without some marked step toward a better world." 62
Unlike the advocates of the idea of progress in the eighteenth century, however, Roosevelt was talking about society or civilization, not individual man. He gave no indication whatever that he believed the individual was improving in quality and he certainly indicated no faith in the perfectibility of man. Always it was the group, the community, which by new ideas and new techniques of managing human affairs, or by broader visions, we assume, that was rising to ever and ever higher levels of existence.
Roosevelt's view of the nature of man was equally optimistic; for he had what Hanson Baldwin has called a "great inner wellspring" of faith in man. 63 So great was his faith in the courage and ability of men, his wife declared, that she never heard him say there was a problem he thought human beings could not solve. He often recognized difficulties, declared Mrs. Roosevelt, and he often said he did not know the answer; but he was completely confident there was an answer and somewhere a man could be found who knew it. The problem was to find that man. 64
One reason for his faith in man was his belief that the vast majority of men--90% was the figure he usually used--were "good." They were morally good, that is, living as best they could by the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule as interpreted by Endicott Peabody (as Burns puts it), or good in that they tried to live according to the "simple rules of human conduct to which we always go back" or according to old-fashioned standards of rectitude learned at Sunday school or in respectable families, standards he never thought to question and saw no need to question. 65 "To his dying day," wrote Frances Perkins, "he held to the philosophy that 'If you treat people right they will treat you right--ninety per cent of the time.'" And by right he meant "fair" and "decent." 66
In his research one biographer noticed that Roosevelt's simple distinction between Good and Evil cropped up repeatedly, so that his speeches often sounded like sermons, deadly serious moral guides for the people to follow, and no political motivation was noticeable. Foreign leaders, even those seemingly beyond redemp- tion, were sent sermon after sermon, some for the record, to be sure, but more often expressions of faith in the ultimate goodness and reasonableness of all men. 67
It was this ninety per cent of the "good" peoples of the world that in the thirties wanted peace and disarmament but were blocked by the other ten per cent, Roosevelt asserted. 68 Ninety per cent of all journalists were "good" and only ten per cent violated the rules and ethics of his press conferences. 69 Ninety per cent of all business men were patriotic and cooperative with the Department of State's moral embargo against Spanish belligerents, while only ten per cent were greedy enough to violate it. 70 Ninety per cent of the "plain people" everywhere wanted to remove trade barriers, end the war of nerves, and devote themselves to better standards of living rather than to armaments. 71 When there was apathy in the war effort, he was certain "the real trouble is not in the people," but rather in a small gang of old isolationists. 72
Unfortunately this great body of good people in the world were often ignorant, thoughtless, and misled, but even that could be corrected, thought Roosevelt; for man was not bound by fate; he had free will, even to prevent the catastrophe of war. "Men are not prisoners of fate," he said in 1939, "but only prisoners of their minds. They have within themselves the power to become free at any moment." 73
The answer was education; for to Roosevelt man was not only "good," he was also a reasoning animal, blessed with common sense, and endowed with a deep desire to do the right thing when he learned what it was. Unfortunately men were slow to learn and the educator had to be tirelessly patient. But he seems to have sincerely believed that "the greatest duty of a statesman is to educate": for the act of governing includes not only the act of formulating policy, but also the act of achieving as much of the policy as will receive public support by the political techniques of "persuading, leading, teaching always. . . ." 74
Throughout his public life Roosevelt clung to his faith that virtually all men (his 90 per cent) would respond to education. One biographer noted that when Roosevelt found himself unable to arouse officialdom to take preparedness seriously before World War I, he forthwith set himself up as a one-man school teacher for the nation, educating the people about their need of military defenses and treating hecklers with the patience of a schoolmaster facing dull pupils. 75 During the market boom of the twenties he preferred education to government regulation to stop investors from losing money on securities. 76 During the 1928 campaign he expressed hope that education would someday obliterate the religious bigotry heaped on Al Smith. 77 To overcome the opposition of a Republican legislature while he was Governor of New York he assumed again the role of the "benign schoolmaster," as Freidel puts it, whose task it was to lecture the people on the principles of government, often by radio; and he wrote a friend that he was inclined to think the day might come when every citizen would be compelled to attend a school of information once a week throughout life in order to overcome public ignorance. 78
With his New York experience fresh in mind he declared later that he made his first Fireside Chat from the White House only eight days after his inauguration because he felt "the average men and women of the nation" should be educated in non-technical language about the banking situation and what the Government intended doing about it. 79 Even the urge to imperialism then stirring abroad could be cured by education, he seemed to think in 1933. "It seems clear to me," he said, "that it is only through constant education and the stressing of the ideals of peace that those who still seek imperialism can be brought to live with the majority." 80 Even with the world disintegrating around him in 1937 he wrote Viscount Cecil, "I still believe in the eventual effectiveness of preaching and preaching again. That is the method I have used in our Latin American relationships and it seems to have succeeded." 81
Samuel Rosenman has reported that Roosevelt usually tried to make sure before he proposed novel measures that "the people had all the facts before them, that they knew the reasons and the necessities, that they understood. . . ." For the President considered these prerequisites for popular support. In this light, therefore, Rosenman believed that in failing to do these things before his famous Quarantine Speech in 1937 the President made one of his rare mistakes. 82 But Roosevelt wrote Colonel House that the speech produced less criticism than he expected and he implied that the speech itself was simply part of the slow process of making the people realize the dangers of isolation, a process he was certain would work; for "there is no question," he wrote, "that the people respond to simple common sense words and to some actual accomplishments which set them thinking along the right line." 83 Educating the people to the dangers of Nazism was a long process, he wrote a friend in London a few months later, but it "seems to be working slowly but surely." 84
Even a complicated global war could be understood by average people, Roosevelt thought, provided it was properly explained to them. One of Roosevelt's objectives in establishing the Office of War Information, Rosenman asserted, was "to keep Americans accurately informed on the progress of the war and on governmental war policies." 85 It was in his Fireside Chat of February 23, 1942, that the President revealed himself most dramatically as a patient schoolmaster with great confidence in the ability of the people to grasp at least the general meaning and strategy of the war. With the people notified beforehand to have maps before them, Roosevelt tried to give the public a sense of geographical distances, the relationship of seas and land masses, and the problems of battle and supply so that all would know where the Allies stood and the obstacles to be surmounted. 86 The next year while giving the press a great deal of similar information about the war, Roosevelt explained, "it takes me a certain amount of time to dig up stuff like what I have been talking about this morning, and last week. It's time consuming . . . but . . . it does lead up to a more sound public opinion. It gets them interested; teaches them geography; it teaches them problems of . . . supply; moving men overseas; the need for more ships; and the need for more planes, more everything else." Nor did he think the majority were harmed by the false information sometimes fed them by uninformed writers or political opportunists. "I think they understand that it's part of democracy" to have to separate fact from fancy; and he had such faith in "the common sense of the common people" that he was certain the overwhelming majority of them "know how to discriminate in their reading and radio listening" between truth and falsehood. 87
His most "profound respect" was reserved for the American people; for the Americans, wrote Frances Perkins, "seemed to him the best of all possible people; not necessarily the smartest on earth or the most powerful . . . but the ones with more goodness per thousand of population than in other countries"; and by goodness he meant good-heartedness, kindness. 88 James Farley noted that in 1933 Roosevelt sincerely believed his countrymen could be rallied to meet the test of the Depression. 89 "He had a firm belief in the collective wisdom of the American people when their interest was awakened," his wife wrote, "and they really understood the issues at stake." 90 "Give them all the facts,"Rosenman had heard Roosevelt say, "and I would much rather trust the judgment of 130,000,000 Americans than I would that of any artificially selected few." 91
As the years went by his respect for the American people increased until his faith in them was virtually "unbounded." By war's end he had seen them rise out of the Depression, pour out weapons for half a world, train vast military forces, and push back the aggressors. When listing some of these achievements in the 1944 campaign he said, "I admit that the figures seem fantastic-but the results were not impossible to those who had faith in America." All these accomplishments, moreover, had made the Americans "a seasoned and a mature people." 92 Nor was this mere campaign "soft soap." Privately in 1943 he had written that Americans had learned much in the last quarter of a century and were not likely again to fall for the old line of the isolationists. "I am carrying on with the certainty in my own mind," he wrote John F. Carew, "that the common sense of the American people, in which Lincoln trusted so sublimely, will make it possible this time for us to work out a just and lasting peace." 93
Despite his belief in both the goodness of most men and the capacity of most men to respond to education, Roosevelt was practical enough to realize that there were also limitations on both their goodness and capacity. He was quite aware of the existence of evil on earth and never forgot that some of the world's people (ten per cent of them) were essentially evil or somehow or other misled.
Ignorance stood close to the top of Roosevelt's list of man's obstacles to understanding, and although he was quite aware of the widespread existence of ignorance he was repeatedly surprised when he discovered it. The results of a survey of opinion among farmers in New York on issues before the 1929 session of the state legislature appalled him. "What hits me most," he wrote Henry Morganthau, Jr., "is the very high percentage of ignorance. I am not concerned about prejudice, personal stupidity or wrong thinking so much as by the sheer, utter, and complete ignorance displayed by such a large number of farmers." And it was then he expressed the view already mentioned that someday it might be necessary to make school attendance compulsory one day a week throughout life. 94 Although he felt sure that since 1914 the American people had become the best informed people in the world regarding international matters, he knew they were "still very badly informed" and had a long way to go. 95 And after receiving a confidential Gallup poll report in 1942 he was again "appalled by the percentage of people who have no clear idea of what the war is about." 96
Man's slowness to learn was also on Roosevelt's list of human frailties. During the war he wrote Norman Thomas, the leader of the Socialist Party, that probably less than one per cent of the American people (including Thomas) understood the changes that had occurred in modern warfare during the past century. Ninety per cent still think of war in terms of 1812, 1861, or 1898 warfare simply because it takes several generations to catch up, he declared. "Very few people came to understand the lessons of the World War," he wrote, "even though twenty years went by." 97 When urged to speak more on the radio to arouse people from their apathy toward the war effort, Roosevelt answered that it would not work, for people could be moved along only so fast and if he talked too frequently, as he believed Churchill had done in England, he would lose his effectiveness. 98 It was the impatience of the radicals with man's slowness to learn, thought Roosevelt, that was a major cause of revolution and strife. He had seen too many radicals "trying to rush law and order off its feet, or seeking to put into effect new doctrines without consultation, without thought, without consideration of the whole mass of the people." Everyone of us, he added, "would like to see a state of perfection on earth. . . . But we know too that every great reform takes time and good judgment, and that too great haste often defeats its own ends." 99
Roosevelt also knew that high intelligence was rare and that people did not like to think unless they had to do so. Thus in one way the Depression was a blessing, he wrote a friend, since it forced people to think about fundamental principles, something they would not do in periods of prosperity. 100 One of the proudest achievements of the New Deal, he wrote H. G. Wells, was that it made people think, and although their thinking was not always straight, it was headed in the right direction. 101 His belief in the rarity of high intelligence is also illustrated by a letter to Wells. Wells's idea of publishing a world encyclopedia was fine, wrote the President in 1937, "but I must tell you frankly that you are more good to the world writing books which hundreds of thousands of people read and discuss, than in catering to the intelligentsia-there are so few of them. 102
Yes, most men were good, fair, decent, kind, generous, endowed with considerable common sense and enough reasoning power to understand general principles and the broad outlines of major objectives when the facts were placed before them; and they had a great urge to respond and do the right thing once they were made to understand what the right thing was. But one should not expect miracles of man. Ignorance, slowness to learn, reluctance to think, and the scarcity of high intelligence had to be lived with, tolerated, and accepted with patience by political leaders. At times public opinion would be wrong and things like the Ludlow Amendment, requiring a popular vote for a declaration of war, might result in disaster if adopted--as public opinion did so lead in 1898 when it forced President McKinley into war." 103 For people could occasionally be misled, as no doubt they had been in Germany by the Nazis and a controlled press--and as they might have been in the United States by the Republican press in 1936 had Americans been equally gullible! 104 In a Fireside Chat in 1938 he even told the people that he did not expect all of them to understand all public problems. 105 There would be even in America periods of hysteria, misinformation, and volcanic popular eruptions. 106 But in the long run the goodness, common sense, and reasoning power of men would carry the day. No wonder belief in the possibility of a better world never died.
It can be seen that as an architect of a new world order Roosevelt was essentially an optimistic, idealistic, humanitarian reformer whose major interest lay in formulating the great goals man was to seek and in drawing up the guiding principles he was to follow while seeking them. It is also clear that Roosevelt was at the same time a very practical down-to-earth student of human nature and a politician who had few illusions about the capacity of man to create a better world and was quite aware that no more than the foundation stones for the new edifice could be laid in his lifetime. He had no expectation of ever seeing in this imperfect world the complete fulfillment of his dreams.
Repeatedly he urged people not to expect too much too soon. For not only were many political reforms needed; economic and social reforms were needed as well. And he was quite aware that such vast movements move slowly. Perfectionism can be just as harmful as isolationism or imperialism in international affairs, he told Congress in January, 1945, and he hoped the postwar plans he presented would not be attacked, as the League proposal had been attacked because it was not perfect. We preferred international anarchy in 1919, he recalled, to cooperation with other nations who did not see and think exactly as we did; and we gave up hope of "gradually" achieving a better world because we did not have the courage to assume our responsibilities in an imperfect world. That we must not do again. 107 For "this generation has a rendezvous with destiny," he declared a month later; and the big question for this generation was: does it have the courage and vision to avail itself of the tremendous opportunity purchased at so great a cost to get civilization going again, and this time properly? 108 If civilization got going again in the right direction he would be satisfied; and at least that much he hoped to see.
Whatever was to be done presupposed, however, a period of peace--a durable peace; not for all time, but for at least a generation or so. Although an idealist, Roosevelt was too practical to see any hope of banishing all war for all time. When World War I began in 1914 he said, "I look for the time that war will cease, but it is not likely to be in my age nor that of my children." 109 And from that view he never deviated. In December 1939 he wrote his old friend William Allen White that "I do not entertain the thought of some of the statesmen of 1918 that the world can make, or we can help the world to achieve, a permanently lasting peace--that is a peace which we would visualize as enduring for a century or more. On the other hand, I do not want this country to take part in a patched up temporizing peace which would blow up in our faces in a year or two. 110 The Munich peace was the kind of "patched up temporizing peace" he did not want, for it had been only an armed truce and no reconstruction of the world could be carried on during a mere truce. 111 The Versailles peace was also inadequate since it did not provide security and did not endure a long enough period. 112
How long a period of peace Roosevelt envisaged is debatable. He told Molotov in May 1942 that he believed a peace could be established and guaranteed for at least twenty-five years, or as long as any of his, Stalin's, or Churchill's generation could expect to live; and that, declares Sherwood, is what Roosevelt meant when he spoke of the "foreseeable future." 113 More often Roosevelt spoke in terms of a peace lasting fifty years, and sometimes even longer. 114 Returning from Teheran he spoke of a peace lasting "many generations"; but he was also careful to note that "I don't say forever. None of us can look that far ahead." 115 Apparently Roosevelt had never been deluded into believing that he or his generation possessed all the wisdom of the ages and he was quite willing to leave the distant future to posterity. 116
But peace for a reasonable period was essential or nothing could be done, declared the President. At Cairo and Teheran, he told the Congress, the supreme objective of the conferences was security--economic, social, and moral as well as physical security "in a family of nations." Stalin, Chiang, and Churchill were all deeply interested in the talks he had with them regarding "programs toward a better life" for their peoples, he declared. All wanted opportunities to develop their resources, to build industry, to improve education and individual opportunities, and to raise standards of living. But all knew that none of these advances would be possible if war or threats of war characterized the years ahead. Thus all wanted a "durable system of peace." 117
No one could tell, of course, how the reforms would work out and Roosevelt himself had only modest hopes for them. Regarding the forthcoming United Nations Organization, he told the press in October 1944 that while the cooperating states were after a great objective, "we don't know if it is going to work. It doesn't guarantee peace forever, but we hope at least it will guarantee world peace while any of us today are still alive.That will be something." And at Yalta he expressed similar views. 118
Given this reasonable period of peace the world could be reconstructed and started on a road that Roosevelt believed would lead toward a more satisfying life for almost everyone. His vision was not that of a revolutionist, but it was that of a reformer. What reforms he had in mind we shall now see.
THE GOOD NEIGHBOR IDEAL IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
IN HIS grand design for a new world order Franklin Roosevelt aimed at nothing less than the creation of a new system of international relations.
For thousands of years men appear to have been divided into two great schools of thought as to how political societies in general and international relations in particular can and should be operated: the pessimistic and the optimistic schools.
The pessimistic school, dramatically represented by many Greek sophists, ancient Chinese legalists, by Hobbes and Machiavelli, and by such far different characters as Alexander Hamilton and Adolf Hitler, is called pessimistic simply because it takes a pessimistic view of the nature of man. The essence of the thinking of this school is that whatever might be man's capacity to be good, to love, to cooperate, and to reason, man is at least 51% motivated by hostility toward his fellow man. His behavior is at least 51% irrational and is dominated by selfishness, greed, hate, envy, and fear. Thus men are in constant fear of each other; they distrust each other and constantly suspect each other. Law, government, religion, and moral codes may restrain and limit man's evil nature, but they cannot completely eliminate the climate of hostility within which all political society moves. Thus politics is essentially a struggle for power wherein individuals and groups fight through political parties, elections, interest groups, violence, or what not for the control of the seats and instruments of power; for only when one possesses those seats and instruments can one feel secure and protect one's interests.
In international relations, assert the pessimists, the same climate of hostility prevails. But among nations the struggle is much worse than among individuals and domestic groups. For in the wide realm of interstate affairs there are few or no restraints. Law, government, religion, and moral codes are weak or non-existent. The conscience that restrains the behavior of man as an individual is also lacking, for there is no such thing as a collective conscience. Thus nations too are constantly in a state of war toward one another--suspicious, fearful, envious, greedy, and hostile; and a wise statesman will devote himself to accumulating as much power for his state as expediency permits, and will keep a vigilant and wary eye on all his neighbors. For no matter how friendly a neighbor might be today, he might well be a rival or enemy tomorrow. Faith and trust in other nations must ever remain limited while rivalry and hostility among them must ever be expected. To work for peace and goodwill on earth is wisdom but to expect to see more than a small amount of it is folly. Conflict, struggle, and hostility are inherent in the nature of politics in general and in international relations in particular. The first laws of statecraft are "Beware" and "Be Prepared," for you know not with whom you deal.
Here, indeed, is the school of thought that has dominated political society, both domestic and international, from the beginning of time.
Yet it is a school of thought with which Franklin Roosevelt would not and could not be aligned. For he was a natural born optimist who was firmly convinced that despite man's failings and weaknesses, most men were essentially good and reasonable and quite capable of developing and ordering a political society not dominated by a climate of hostility.
Naive as such an optimistic view of the nature and capacity of man appears, it has been held by a distinguished group of thinkers reaching back into the dim vistas of antiquity. Confucius, Mencius, Mo Ti, Lao-tzu, and other Chinese moralists of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries before Christ opposed war, imperialism, and a double standard of morality for states and individuals in the firm belief that man was capable of being dominated by goodness, friendship, and cooperation. The Greek Stoics, to say nothing of the early Christians, believed human society was a global brotherhood held together by the goodwill predominant in the nature of man. In his sixteenth centuryUtopia Sir Thomas More argued that society could be directed into rational and co- operative behavior by proper training and environment; and he refused to accept the premise that nations are natural enemies.
From Locke on through the eighteenth century age of enlightenment to Paine and Bentham a host of distinguished philosophers supported the optimistic view, arguing that by nature man was essentially a rational creature of goodwill capable of perceiving his own interests intelligently and perceiving that his own interests and the interests of all the world were complementary and harmonious, not conflicting. If man's attitude toward one another had been corrupted throughout history and needed to be changed, so be it; it could be done. So argued Thomas Paine in his Age of Reason. Throughout the nineteenth century, moreover, men like David Jayne Hill, United States ambassador to Germany under the first Roosevelt, refused to accept the doctrine of the balance of power theory which held that states are naturally hostile and power must be used to check power. Then came Woodrow Wilson, who not only adhered to the optimistic view of the nature of man but also wielded the great power of his office in a valiant but futile effort to bring into being a system of interstate relations based on his premise.
Which school of thinkers is right--the pessimistic or the optimistic? Here, indeed, we have the Gordian knot in the problem of international relations. If the pessimists are right, the chances of peace and goodwill on earth are very remote. If the optimists are correct, the chances are considerable.
The traditional American view of the nature of man has been that Americans were good, rational, cooperative, and generous but that the peoples of other lands--or at least their leaders--were wicked, selfish, narrow, and uncooperative. Only during the heat of World Wars I and II, under the leadership of Wilson and Roosevelt, have the people of the United States as a whole accepted the optimistic view of the nature of men elsewhere and agreed to work for a new system of international relations based on that premise. But faith in the idea that the rest of the world could be trusted did not last. Once the smoke of battle was gone this optimistic view of other peoples began to vanish also.
But much as Roosevelt adored the American people, he was not so biased, and there is no doubt where he stood. He was quite aware that man was inherently schizophrenic: capable of both hate and love, competition and cooperation, fear and trust, selfishness and altruism, irrationality and rationality. But he was also firmly convinced that under the proper guidance the better quali- ties of men could be brought to prevail. If the international relations of the thirties were Hobbesian--beastly, brutish, and nasty --they need not remain so. For, as he declared in his Annual Message in January 1943, World War II was really between those who had faith in mankind and those who did not; and those with faith and hope in a decent and better world were on the march. 1
Thus Roosevelt wanted to reform international relations spiritually and morally. He wanted the good neighbor policy applied universally; or to put it another way, he wanted a world in which relations among nations would be carried on in what might be called a good neighbor climate of opinion. He wanted to abolish the age-old atmosphere of power politics. He believed that the national interests of all states could be served better by a spirit of friendly cooperation than by the old spirit of hostile competition. He did not seem to believe that the struggle for power was inherent in the nature of the international community. He believed rather that most men were men of goodwill and that if the evil gangs of the totalitarian dictatorships could be eliminated and kept out of power, the spirit of goodwill could become dominant in world affairs. He was well aware that such a climate of opinion or such a spiritual or moral atmosphere had never before existed in any recorded community of states. But as one who accepted the idea of social progress, he seemed to believe that such a climate of opinion was possible. He thought that he had produced a good neighbor climate of opinion in the Western Hemisphere; and he seemed to feel that a similar situation could be achieved globally.
It must be emphasized, however, that good neighborliness did not mean to Roosevelt altruism or "do goodism." What he wanted was an atmosphere of enlightened self-interest wherein nations would recognize the interdependence of the modern world and realize that the security, welfare, and progress of each nation was dependent on the security, welfare, and progress of the whole community of nations. He was quite aware, as he once told the Americas, that in every state the interests of her own citizens must come first. 2 But to Roosevelt the interest of the citizens of each state were so similar to the interests of the global community that he did not anticipate significant conflicts between them.
Roosevelt first proclaimed his idea that nations should behave like good neighbors in his Inaugural Address in 1933, and at that time he applied the idea to the entire world. In reality, however, the whole concept was an outgrowth of his thinking regarding the kind of relations the United States should have with Latin America, a subject to which the Coolidge and Hoover administrations had already given some consideration.
Roosevelt was once something of an imperialist. During the early twenties, however, his attitude toward empire began to change; and it was then that the good neighbor idea began to evolve.
In a personal attempt to draft a Democratic Party platform for the 1924 election he included a plank completely opposing intervention in the domestic affairs of other nations. He called instead for a "definite effort to end the hate and dislike of America now shared by every other civilized nation in the world." 3 In 1927 he complained of Coolidge's use of the Marines in Nicaragua, declaring it provided "a further reason for dislike of the United States by every Central and South American nation." 4 The following year, 1928, he suggested to Senator Carter Glass that the Nicaraguan affair perhaps provided a good reason to revive Wilson's 1913 proposal that other American republics be invited to join the United States when intervention became necessary. 5 Freidel concludes that in those same years conversation and correspondence with Norman Davis, Hamilton Fish Armstrong, and especially with his old friend Sumner Welles did much to steer Roosevelt toward a Latin American policy based more on cooperation than on force. 6
A 1928 article in Foreign Affairs indicates that by then Roosevelt was almost entirely won over to a good neighbor policy and collective action in the Western Hemisphere. He claimed that the United States had done a remarkable job for Santo Domingo, Haiti, and Nicaragua by her interventions there and ought to be thanked for it; but the chief result was that she was hated more than ever in Latin America. The reason was, as he now saw, that the method of intervention and aid had been wrong. The nations in Latin America, he asserted, were as proud of their sovereignty and dignity as was the United States; they too had rights and feelings; and it was clear that the United States had no right to intervene in their domestic affairs of her own accord. Intervention was justifiable only in the name of all the Americas and only in cooperation with other republics. 7
Thus, as Sumner Welles has pointed out, long before his inauguration Roosevelt felt the need for a new kind of relationship with Latin America. 8 But it is very questionable if by the time he entered the White House Roosevelt had anything specific in mind other than opposition to unilateral intervention. What he seemed to want was largely a change in attitude, a change in the state of mind of nations, a change in the climate of opinion or in the spiritual and moral atmosphere governing international relations. His proclamation of the good neighbor idea in his First Inaugural was a paragraph of platitudes urging nations to respect themselves, respect the rights of others, respect their international obligations, and generally be good neighbors. 9 A month later when in an address to the Governing Board of the Pan American Union he had his first opportunity to enlarge on this theme he still seemed to have nothing specific in mind. His speech abounded in pleas for such things as mutual understanding, sympathetic appreciation of other people's points of view, friendship and good-will, respect for the rights of others, and international cooperation. 10
But those phrases, general, trite, dull, and platitudinous as they may have been, expressed exactly what Roosevelt wanted. He wanted nations to act like good neighbors--precisely that; and he had no apologies for preaching sermons about it. Frequently in his speeches he likened nations to individuals, indicating thereby a belief that nations should observe the same principles in their behavior toward each other as do individuals. His moral code was simple. He believed in such things as fair play and decency, and he believed that all normal people knew what was fair and decent. Thus there was no need to be specific. What was needed among nations was the right spirit, the proper attitude, the right climate of opinion; then all specific problems could be solved.
As vague and general as was the idea of good neighborliness, it became clear over the years that in Roosevelt's mind it forbade certain kinds of behavior and required certain kinds of behavior. Obviously, it forbade nations to intervene unilaterally in the domestic affairs of their neighbors. To be sure, thought Roosevelt, all nations in a community had an interest in their neighbors' domestic affairs. The stability or instability of the government in a neighboring state affected all. Revolutions and internal anarchy often threatened the lives and property of one's nationals and interrupted foreign trade. Thus domestic affairs were often of interest to the whole community of states. But it was the business of all, not just one state, to intervene if intervention became necessary.
On this matter Roosevelt loved to use his handling of the Cuban revolution of 1933 as an example. There despite the Platt Amendment allowing United States intervention, Roosevelt had resisted all pleas to send troops and instead had used Welles to restore stability via the medium of persuasion and negotiation; and while he had not gone so far at that time as to consult his Latin American neighbors, he had at least taken the unprecedented step of personally informing all their representatives in Washington of his actions and of explaining the reasons for them, 11 a gesture in the direction of treating them more as equals than as pesky little brothers. This particular revolution was of Cuba's own making, he thought; it was purely an internal affair, and Cuba was fully competent to settle it herself. And here was proof, argued Roosevelt, that the United States had been converted to a policy of partnership in the common good, to good neighborliness in fact and not just in theory. 12 The abrogation of the Platt Amendment in 1934 simply strengthened this new attitude, thought Roosevelt, and increased the goodwill and confidence of all Latin America toward the United States. 13 His completion of the withdrawal of the Marines from Haiti in 1934 was further evidence to all the world, he believed, that unilateral intervention and good neighborliness did not mix.
It is quite clear that in Roosevelt's mind good neighborliness also forbade dollar diplomacy. It was dollar diplomacy that had caused much of the ill-will toward the United States abroad, and especially in Latin America, he thought, and this had caused almost as much fear of the United States as had military intervention. During 1925-30, he once wrote privately, New York banks had forced on most Latin American republics unnecessary loans at high interest rates and huge commission fees; and as late as the first four years of the Depression United States policy toward Latin America was largely based on dollar diplomacy. And it was this, along with the troubles caused by military intervention, that had caused him, he wrote, to visualize a wholly new attitude toward Latin America, an attitude that would remove all fear of aggression, territorial and financial, and that would bring all the states of the continent into a kind of hemispheric partnership in which no state would have undue advantage. It was during a discussion of this attitude, while preparing his First Inaugural, that Raymond Moley had drawn an analogy with a small community of neighbors and Roosevelt had then seized on the phrase "good neighbor." 14
His opposition to dollar diplomacy asserted itself during his first year in the White House when the State Department inquired if the United States should continue resisting pressure from the Firestone interests to send a warship to Liberia to help rescue Firestone financial interests there or continue cooperation with the League of Nations to rehabilitate Liberia. Roosevelt's answer was that cooperation in helping Liberia should continue by all means; and he wanted it clear that "we are not guaranteeing monies due the Firestones or making our continued interest depend on Firestone's financial interests." The Firestone people had gone into Liberia at their own risk, he added, and it was not the business of the United States to pull Firestone "financial chestnuts out of the fire except as a friend of the Liberian people." 15
It was in the Mexican oil expropriation of 1938 that Roosevelt's attitude toward dollar diplomacy was best revealed. He again resisted all appeals for armed intervention and insisted that no high-handed or domineering attitude be taken even by civilian officials. 16 He believed that Mexico should pay just compensation for the property she nationalized, and he was particularly interested in getting fair play for Americans with small investments who had gone to Mexico to farm and whose land had then been nationalized. But he had little sympathy for the big investors who like Hearst "bought a state legislature, bribed officials and acquired title . . . to hundreds of thousands of acres" and then claimed excessive damages; and certainly he had no intention, he told the press, of asking Mexico to pay for "prospective profits." 17
Although the evidence is thin, good neighborliness to Roosevelt also seems to have forbade a nation having a very large favorable balance of trade. Welles has testified that one of the objectives of the good neighbor policy was to help the Latin American republics find markets in the United States for more exports so that their economic distress might be relieved. 18 In his 1934 Annual Message the President noted that one of the objectives of the recent conference at Montevideo had been to restore "commerce in ways which will preclude the building up of large favorable trade balances by any one Nation at the expense of trade debits on the part of other nations." 19 What he preferred, he declared in 1940, were "mutually beneficial international economic relations" with each nation having "access to materials and opportunities" to raise her standards of living. 20 No country could be prosperous and happy, he argued later, unless all were prosperous and happy; 21 and apparently a too favorable balance of trade for some states would prevent this achievement.
There are also bits of evidence that to Roosevelt good neighborliness forbade the practice of power politics. Here it can be argued that Roosevelt did not practice what he preached. But there is no doubt that after his conversion from his early imperialism he often spoke out publicly against what he, like many other Americans, came to look upon as an evil European practice. While on his South American tour in 1936, for example, he declared that balances of power were "false gods" that had no place in the Western Hemisphere. 22 In a 1940 address to the Governing Board of the Pan American Union he talked in the same vein, quoting with approval Secretary of State James G. Blaine's 1888 statement that "a spirit of common justice, of common and equal interest between the American states will leave no room for an artificial balance of power like unto that which has led to wars abroad and drenched Europe in blood." 23 When in 1941 Senator D. Worth Clark suggested that the best way to stamp out the Fascist movement in Latin America would be for the United States simply to take control of the continent from pole to pole and establish puppet governments to our liking, Roosevelt wrote him a letter soaked in sarcasm and asserted that talk of such use of power as that was harmful beyond words and Axis propagandists were already using it to prove that the good neighbor policy was a sham. 24
According to the President's son Elliott, one of Roosevelt's purposes in emphasizing the winning of the war as swiftly as possible and without regard to power positions when the war ended was his belief that "war is too political a thing"; that nations tend to wage war in a manner that will bring political advantages; and that China and Britain were both guilty in World War II of this unsavory intent. What Roosevelt wanted to do was fight the war in whatever way would militarily end it the soonest; and then, when tempers cooled, discuss the settlement. 25
In his 1945 Annual Message Roosevelt declared that "in the future world the misuse of power, as implied in the term 'power politics,' must not be a controlling factor in international relations. That is the heart of the principles to which we have subscribed." He could not deny, he added, that power was a factor in world politics just as it was a factor in domestic politics. But in a democratic world, as in a democratic nation, power must be linked with responsibility and could be justified only when used in subordination to the common good. 26 On his return from Yalta, the President brought up the matter again, expressing a hope that the Yalta Conference had spelled the end of power politics-of the system of unilateral action, exclusive alliances, spheres of influence, balances of power, and all other expedients that have been tried for centuries and always failed. 27
But if good neighborliness forbade unilateral intervention, dollar diplomacy, a too favorable balance of trade, and power politics, it also required certain behavior.
Good neighborliness required, for example, cooperative action to keep the peace and to give stability to the international neighborhood. In Roosevelt's mind collective security was one of the basic principles of good neighborliness. For he believed that if unilateral intervention and power politics were to be ended, something had to replace them, and that something was cooperative action by all members of the community. If the maintenance of constitutional government in Latin American states was no longer to be a "sacred obligation" of the United States, he said in December 1933, it very definitely was the concern of the "whole continent in which we are all neighbors." 28 By 1936 he believed that he had produced an atmosphere of friendliness in the Americas sufficient to begin institutionalizing this idea and to take steps toward the creation of machinery for consultation and the settling of disputes by negotiation instead of by force. That was the major purpose of the special inter-American conference held at Buenos Aires in 1936 to which Roosevelt journeyed in person and in which he took great pride. The maintenance of peace within the hemisphere as well as the meeting of aggression from abroad was on his mind and he was delighted that practical steps were taken toward both objectives. 29
It was this idea of peace by cooperation that Simon Bolivar had proposed in 1826, Roosevelt declared later; and to Roosevelt, it was a unique proposal. Before Bolivar's time, he declared, peace by conquest and temporary peace by balances of power were the only two peace systems known. Thus Bolivar's idea of a "cooperative peace" among friendly equals settling disputes by pacific processes was something new. "Never before had any group of nations been asked to renounce the splendors of indefinite conquest," he declared, "and to achieve their true grandeur by peaceful cooperation." And although the idea was not successful in Bolivar's time, it was kept alive through the imperialistic nineteenth century by poets and dreamers until 1888 when the Pan American system began to evolve. And now at last ( 1940) while the rest of the world was at war, there was still peace in the Americas. 30
But such cooperation could be achieved, thought Roosevelt, only if all countries were made to feel important and were treated as equals. He claimed that prior to the outbreak of the war in China in 1937 he had tried "to put the spirit of the Good Neighbor policy into practice in that region." 31 What he did to that effect he did not make clear. But Hull has testified that when preparing for the Brussels Conference of 1937, which was to attempt to find a solution for the Sino-Japanese conflict, Roosevelt told both Chamberlain and Eden that neither the United States nor Britain should take the lead at the conference. He preferred that the leadership be left to the smaller countries so they could be made to feel important; and he declared his belief that the successes of the conferences at Montevideo and Buenos Aires were due to the fact that El Salvador, the smallest republic of the conference, was made to feel that she was on the same plane as Argentina, Brazil, and the United States. 32
It is quite clear that Roosevelt did not actually favor equality among all states in crucial questions or when the exercise of real power was essential. As already noted, he saw no reason for small powers to have armaments. But the treatment of small nations in a manner that would please their ego or feed their desire for prestige was vitally important, he thought, for good neighborliness. This belief in the necessity for bending over backwards to keep from hurting national feelings or to bolster egos was expressed again at a press conference in October 1943. When asked by a reporter if he agreed with some Senators who felt the United States should exercise sovereignty after the war over airports built in foreign countries with American money, the President's laconic answer was, "How would we like that if they said that to us?" 33
But there is no doubt that to Roosevelt the specific behavior of states was not nearly so important to good neighborliness as their attitude toward each other, the spirit in which they approached each other, the climate of opinion in which their representatives met and worked. And the key to this attitude, spirit, or climate of opinion lay in the kind of personal relationships peoples and their leaders developed toward each other. So deep was his conviction that most men were men of reason, fairness, and good-will that he was convinced once they got to know and understand each other there were no differences among them that could not be ironed out, no conflicts that reason and goodwill could not resolve.
Naturally, therefore, Roosevelt was a strong advocate of people getting together to know one another; and to achieve this he vigorously supported the development of more and better means of communications among nations. In 1933 before the first interAmerican conference of his administration met at Montevideo he made it clear that he thought it important that the coming conference take steps to bring the two continents closer together. All the states of the Americas should be made more united by air, highway, water, and rail communications, he declared. More motor roads especially "would greatly increase tourist travel and greatly benefit a better Pan-American understanding." 34 He was especially interested in the Pan-American Highway project that was designed to tie the whole hemisphere together. The road "will help cement the friendship" between the United States and the other Americas, he declared; for "with frequent intercourse will come greater knowledge and understanding." 35 The new highway, he told a Wyoming audience in the 1936 campaign, would also promote peace since it would help all the peoples of the Americas to get to know each other. "That is the kind of thing which is going to help keep peace in the world," he asserted, ". . . a better knowledge of the peoples of the world." 36 On his Latin American tour in late 1936 he expressed the same view, declaring that scientific improvements in communications, especially by air and sea, were going to make it more than ever possible for peoples to get to know each other well and become friends and thereby have international understanding. 37
But Roosevelt's major interest was in the personal relationships among the public officials of nations. He seemed to think that if national officials could develop the kind of personal relations neighbors have who drop in for a drink, borrow each other's garden tools, and have conferences about community problems on each other's front porches half the world's problems would disappear automatically and the other half would be readily soluble. When he said in 1934 that "the relations between Nations are after all dependent upon the relations between the individuals of those various Nations" 38 he meant every word of it.
It is well known that Roosevelt had great confidence in his own ability to develop this kind of personal relationship. Mrs. Roosevelt has testified to this, asserting that the President thought highly of his own ability to understand other people and to make them understand the United States. He had a feeling, his wife said, that he could convince leaders of other governments much better by personal contact than by letter or telephone. He accepted what other men in high position said and believed that if he kept his word they would keep theirs; and he did not easily forgive those who proved faithless. 39
It was to promote such personal contacts as well as to make the Latin American countries feel important that in his first year in the White House he invited the President of Panama to visit the United States, gave a dinner for a Brazilian delegation, received a special ambassador from Argentina, and had the Mexican envoy in for lunch. 40 Regarding his personal discussions with the President of Panama, Roosevelt commented that it was "a very practical way to deal with problems arising among nations." 41 When about the same time he began correspondence with the Soviet Union regarding recognition he declared his belief that "difficulties between great nations can be removed only by frank, friendly conversations." 42
Repeatedly he praised the great good that could come from people sitting around a table and talking informally. The United States-China silver agreement of 1936 was a "fine illustration," he thought, of what can be done by people sitting down around a table and working things out in a peaceful way. 43 This was the way to stem the tide toward war, he thought, and from 1936 on he gave considerable attention to the idea of getting the heads of the European powers to sit around a table, on a warship at sea or in Washington. As late as April 1939, he included "sit around table and work it out" among a list of things he jotted down that might be useful in solving the European problem; 44 and in his appeals to Hitler later in the year he beseeched the German dictator to settle his quarrels with his neighbors around a conference table rather than plunge the world into war. In 1939 also he told the new Italian ambassador to the United States that he regretted not having had an opportunity to meet with Mussolini personally. He thought they both "spoke the same language" and such a meeting would be useful. At the moment what he preferred was a small conference which he thought Mussolini might call to keep Roosevelt from appearing to butt into European affairs. 45 Once the war had started, he agreed that peace might not be easy to work out but he still believed that "when men of honor and good intentions sit down together" they can get something workable. 46 When Welles went to Europe early in 1940 one of his assignments was to promote a meeting between Roosevelt and Mussolini in some remote spot such as the Azores so that Roosevelt could personally persuade Mussolini that Italy's best interests would not be served by cooperation with Hitler, a meeting Welles believed was prevented by Hitler. 47 As is well known, in 1941 Roosevelt also looked forward to a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Konoye and gave up the idea only after hearing vigorous objections from Hull. 48
Despite the number of meetings Roosevelt attended during the war with the leaders of other nations, they were not all that he would have liked to attend by any means. Before going to his post as Ambassador to Spain in 1942 Carlton J. H. Hayes was instructed by the President to tell Franco that Roosevelt would be happy to meet and talk with him in the Canary Islands or elsewhere outside Spain if a real crisis threatened Spain. 49 And about the same time he wrote Prime Minister Salazar of Portugal that he wished they could have a talk. He was especially interested, he told Salazar, in promoting postwar cultural relations among Portugal, Brazil, and the United States, for relations among the peoples of those nations had not been close enough in the past. 50
As might be expected, the wartime conferences delighted Roosevelt. At Casablanca he told the press that he was elated over the fact that for the first time in history chiefs of staffs of different nations had been sitting around tables and living in the same hotel for a week or ten days, long enough to get on intimate terms with each other and to become personal friends. In World War I, he said, they had never been together more than a day or two. 51 When meeting the President of Mexico at Monterrey a few weeks later he seemed to gloat over the fact that it was the first time in thirty-four years the heads of those two states had got together personally and he hoped they would make it a habit, visiting "just as neighbors visit each other" and talking things over as neighbors. 52 The visit, he told the press, was simply "part of the old game of getting to know each other better." 53 While in Canada the same year he pointed proudly to the fact that the Combined Staffs had been sitting around the table in Quebec the last few days "in the manner of friends, in the manner of partners . . . in the manner of members of the same family." That was a "good custom" and the way to get things done. 54
It is worth recalling at this point that Roosevelt's whole objective in all these things was to dispel the atmosphere of hate, suspicion, and fear that had been growing in the world for more than a generation and to replace it by an atmosphere of reason, trust, and friendship based on enlightened self-interest. He believed before the war that such an atmosphere was necessary to stem the tide toward war; during the war such an atmosphere was needed to forge and hold together the United Nations alliance; and after the war such an atmosphere would be necessary for peace and progress.
His practice of personal diplomacy was based on the assumption that "you cannot hate a man that you know well." In August 1944 he told the delegates to the Dumbarton Oaks Conference that in international relations there was great value in nurturing personal friendships among officials. Before the war, he illustrated, he did not know Churchill, Eden, Stalin, or Molotov and yet what was done by their countries was largely a matter of personalities. Since, therefore, "you cannot hate a man that you know well," the future peace of the world would depend largely on the leaders of the Big Four being friends, on "putting their feet on the table" and conferring all the time. It was that spirit that was winning the war. It was "something new," and it was a spirit that should be spread around the world. 55 At Yalta he told a story to illustrate this. Some years ago, he said, while the guest of the Chamber of Commerce in a small Southern town, he had been seated between a Catholic and a Jew, both of whom were members of the Ku Klux Klan. When he enquired about these unusual Klan memberships he was told that it was quite agreeable to all concerned for them to be in the Klan for everybody in town knew both men and liked them. And this illustrates, declared Roosevelt, how difficult it was to have prejudices--racial, religious or otherwise--against people you really know. 56
It was the prejudices and suspicions in Stalin's mind that Roosevelt hoped to dispel by personal meetings and he was quite confident of his ability to do this. Before even his first meetings with Stalin the President wrote Churchill, "I think I can personally handle Stalin better than either your Foreign Office or my State Department. Stalin hates the guts of all your top people. He thinks he likes me better, and I hope he will continue to do so." 57 The trouble with Stalin, Roosevelt told his associates on the way to Teheran, was that his whole life experience had made him suspicious of everything and everybody. He was an Oriental rather than a Russian, declared the President. His youth had been devoted to robbery and murder and Marxist theories which held that the end justified any means. Then he had been forced into dictatorship by the struggle for power in Russia. He had never traveled, was very provincial, and distrusted everybody. All this would be hard to break down, but the President was counting on Stalin's realism. He thought Stalin was probably tired of sitting on bayonets and he must realize the war would break down the iron curtain. If, therefore, Roosevelt could convince him that cooperation offered by the United States was "on the square," that the United States really wanted to be friends rather than enemies, he was ready to bet that Stalin would come around. And Stalin was the only man in all Russia he had to convince; "he's the whole works." 58
It was the responsibility of the United States to do this conciliating among the great powers, Roosevelt told his son Elliott in 1943. No other power could do it. Britain was on the decline; China was too weak and backward; Russia was too suspicious. It was a tremendous responsibility, but the only way a start could be made toward conciliation was by personal face to face talks with the various leaders. 59
Face to face meetings were important also, thought Roosevelt, because they gave one a feel for a situation that could not be acquired any other way. After his Casablanca trip he told the press repeatedly that to understand the North African situation he had to go there, talk with people like Generals Girard, De Gaulle, Nogués, and others, get the feel of things, see the native populations, and grasp the environmental conditions of the matter. 60
But he did not think big formal conferences were of much value in promoting good neighborliness. When considering a conference in 1936-37 to resolve the European problem he wrote Ambassador Dodd that he wanted nothing big and formal. "The trouble about any world conference, as you know," he wrote Dodd, "is that it would bring fifty-five or sixty nations around a table, each nation with from five to ten delegates and each nation, in addition, with no authority to agree to anything without referring the matter home. From a practical point of view, that type of conference is an impossibility unless, as in the case of B. A. [Buenos Aires], there are one or two simple principles on which all will agree beforehand." 61
Any situation that prevented frank speaking and the development of friendships at a conference was objectionable to Roosevelt. Conferences in a big city like Washington were especially handicapped, he thought, because there was always someone present who had a "pet" newspaper reporter to whom he would talk "out of school" and then cause all the others to be careful in what they said and cease being candid. A main objective of a conference was to get people to know each other and speak frankly and it could not be done in big cities. 62
What Roosevelt wanted were small conferences of the utmost informality with no one even taking notes. When writing Dodd his objections to a formal international conference in 1937 he added that while he did not see any value in any large gathering, yet "if five or six heads of the important governments could meet together for a week with complete inaccessibility to the press or cables, or radio, a definite, useful agreement might result." 63 He was especially proud of the fact, he told the press one day in 1940, that he had been able to get his relations with Latin American officials on an informal and social basis so that "things are not purely official as they were for many years." Relations were on a more "personal basis" than formerly, he said, and that very day some of the chairmen of the Havana Conference were to have lunch with him. 64 When trying to arrange his first meeting with Stalin in 1943 he emphasized in a letter to Stalin his desire that the meeting be small and informal. At that time he told Stalin he wanted to take no staff other than Harry Hopkins, an interpreter, and a stenographer (not to take notes, however), so "that you and I could talk very informally and get what we call 'a meeting of minds.' I do not believe," he added, "that any official agreements or declarations are in the least necessary." 65
Certainly, he did not like note-taking at a conference. In a note to Hull in 1943 opposing publication until after the war of documents of the 1919 Paris meetings among the Big Four, Roosevelt wrote, "Incidentally, in those meetings of the Big Four in Paris no notes should have been kept. Four people cannot be conversationally frank with each other if somebody is taking down notes for future publication. I feel very strongly about this. . . ." 66
Roosevelt was particularly pleased with the friendly, informal, personal relations he developed with Canada. In 1936, a short time before he returned a visit Prime Minister Mackenzie King had made to the United States, Roosevelt wrote the Prime Minister that he hoped many visits between the two leaders would follow and that they would be kept as informal and unostentatious as possible. "It will be a good thing for both countries," he wrote, "if Governors General, Premiers, and Presidents can, in the days to come, 'drop in and visit' with each other without making such visits the occasion for extraordinary comment." 67 When Lord Athlone succeeded Lord Tweedsmuir as Governor General of Canada in 1940 Roosevelt wrote Athlone that since 1933 most of the formalities between the two countries had been done away with, to the benefit of both, and he hoped Athlone would "run down" to Hyde Park some week-end very soon for an informal visit. 68 At a press conference attended by Mackenzie King a month before the President died, Roosevelt told the reporters that since King had become Prime Minister "we have developed that friendship into a practical way of handling common problems . . ." and it was "an outstanding example of what you can do by common consultation and laying one's own problems before the other fellow. . . ." 69
Time and again he emphasized that the major purpose of officials' getting to know each other was to swap points of view, get a better understanding of each other's problems, and arrive at only general understandings, a meeting of minds, a consensus. Then arranging the details would be an easy matter for people, apparently, on lower levels. He had strong objections to conferences in which the participants were bound to certain specific positions and at times he seemed even to have an aversion to agendas. "The idea of a conference," he told the press one day in 1943, a year of many conferences, "is to confer, get the other fellow's point of view. It is quite possible that you might get a good idea from somebody else outside your own borders. It is quite possible that you might persuade the other fellow that some idea you had was a pretty good idea." 70 One day in 1943 when queried by reporters concerning details on the proposed world security organization he told the reporters that their tendency for detailed agreements irritated him. They seemed to want the people engaged in the postwar planning conferences to "write some kind of a constitution for this, and a constitution for that, and dot the i's and cross t's." But that, he said, was not his objective in the conversations at all. His objective in the talks, at least at that stage, was to have the planners of the different countries get to know each other and get only general understandings, to work out objectives regarding postwar problems. 71 Two weeks later he talked to the press on the same theme, again emphasizing that all the current conferences on postwar affairs were purely exploratory and designed largely to help the conferees get to know each other. "I don't like to reduce things to signed documents," he added. "A general plan will cover everything pretty well. . . . You know, you can do a lot by Gentlemen's agreements." 72
It might not be far from the truth to say that Roosevelt's whole theory here was that he wanted a climate of opinion in which all the major decisions of the world could be put in the form of gentlemen's agreements. According to his code only gentlemen whose word was their bond should be allowed in positions of power and once the Axis criminals were eliminated he hoped that situation would prevail. As suggested previously, Roosevelt's general attitude toward details was one of irritation and he seemed to look on constitutions, treaties, executive agreements, and other such documents as of very minor importance in comparison to the broad agreements on objectives to be made on higher levels by gentlemen--men of reason, integrity, and goodwill--in whose word the whole world could have faith. Treaties themselves were literally only scraps of paper. It was the spirit behind them that was important.
Roosevelt's optimistic view of the nature of man and his faith in the idea of social progress seemed never to have a dim moment. The President never doubted that a good neighbor climate of opinion should or could be made world-wide. Obviously he was premature in an inscription he wrote in 1922 for a monument in Geneva. In that inscription he said: "Mankind will ever be grateful to the heroes living and dead who taught the world the teaching 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself' applies to nations as truly as to individuals." 73 The years after 1922 proved that the world had learned no such lesson.
But the breakdown of world order and the spread of national hatreds failed to make Roosevelt pessimistic regarding the long run. If the good neighbor policy announced in his First Inaugural address was ignored by most of the world, he was convinced it had opened a "new era" in the Americas. 74 By 1936 he proclaimed that the policy had already been a great success. It was "no longer a hope, no longer an objective remaining to be accomplished. It is a fact, active, present, pertinent and effective," he declared. 75 When writing notes in 1938 to some of his public papers he insisted that Latin America's resentment against United States intervention and dollar diplomacy, her suspicions of Yankee imperialism, her antagonism, misunderstandings, and prejudices had been largely dispelled. 76 In 1940 he declared that the Western Hemisphere had no need for a new order, for "we have already found it," and it had been created by the "work of men of goodwill" and by "common devotion to a moral order." 77 In 1942 he told the press that he thought the good neighbor policy had become "ingrained" in all the Americas and he seemed convinced it could become permanent if it could be kept going another ten or twenty years. 78
Roosevelt stated repeatedly that this accomplishment of the good neighbor climate of opinion could be duplicated on a world- wide scale. He recognized that the global difficulties were much greater and the process would take more time. But he seemed to have no doubt of the possibility. In mid-1938 he recalled that his good neighbor policy had never been limited to the Americas. It had been so successful in the Western Hemisphere, he thought, however, that it could succeed also in the rest of the world if the spirit behind it were better understood abroad. Nor had the policy ever been limited to the problem of war, he added; it applied equally to problems of trade and matters affecting the interchange of culture. 79
Roosevelt insisted that the problems of the Americas were no different from those in the rest of the world and since good neighborliness had been developed in the Americas it could, therefore, be developed elsewhere. "The 300,000,000 citizens in the American republics are not different from other human beings," he said in 1938. "We have the same problems, the same differences, even the same material for controversy, which exist elsewhere." What was different and unique in the Western Hemisphere was the common objective all had of working together. 80 A year later he reiterated the same contention, declaring that the success of the good neighbor policy in the Americas was not attributable, as some people argued, to "good fortune." "There are not wanting here," he insisted, "all the usual rivalries, all the normal human desires for power and expansion, all of the commercial problems." Just as in the Old World, the Americas were afflicted, he went on, with "diversities of race, of language, of custom, of natural resources; and of intellectual forces at least as great as those which prevailed in Europe."
But the Americas were kept from going the way of Europe, from becoming a cockpit of power struggles by "a new, and powerful idea--that of the community of nations . . ." that was long nurtured, especially by his administration. Thus "if that process can be successful here, is it too much to hope that a similar intellectual and spiritual process may succeed elsewhere?" 81
In 1940 he said again much the same thing, asserting that the principles developed in the inter-American system were "in great measure at least, the principles upon which I believe enduring peace must be based throughout the world." 82 In 1943 he told Congress that "the policy of the Good Neighbor has shown such success in the hemisphere of the Americas that its extension to the whole world seems to be the logical next step." 83 And finally, only six months before his death, he declared it was his conviction that the good neighbor policy "can be, and should be, made universal throughout the world." 84
In arguing that the situation in the Americas was the same as elsewhere Roosevelt was obviously in error. The power structure in a hemisphere containing only one great power was quite different from the power structure in Europe and Asia where several major powers were in close proximity.
But whatever his error in comparing the situation in the Americas and elsewhere, Roosevelt was quite aware that the creation of a good neighbor global atmosphere would not be easy. In 1943 he wrote his old friend George W. Norris that he knew he faced a herculean task. His many visits to Europe had made him realize, he wrote, how during a thousand years Europe had become divided "into a hundred different forms of hate." But he recalled to Norris his experience in the Americas. "In 1933," he wrote, "there were many times twenty-one different kinds of hate. [The American republics] disliked each other; they sought territorial expansion and material gain at the expense of their neighbors; and all of them united in a common fear of the United States." All were skeptical of the good neighbor idea and Roosevelt's promises for some time. But gradually the new spirit took hold. "It took nearly ten years," the President told Norris, "to sell the idea of peace and security among the American Republics." And this great change in the feelings of the peoples of the Americas was achieved easily in "comparison with the task before us in Europe and in the Far East." But he seemed to believe it could be done if the right methods were used. 85
Some writers on Roosevelt have stated that shortly before his death the President began to have doubts about the possibility of developing good neighborly relations with the Soviet Union, a matter to be discussed later. It is also worth noting that shortly before his death Roosevelt began to question the possibility of settling the Arab-Jewish dispute in Palestine in a good neighborly atmosphere. Both Hull and Welles have testified that Roosevelt was such a firm believer in the ability of men to settle disputes rationally on the basis of enlightened self-interest and goodwill that he long believed that if Arab and Jewish leaders could be brought together around a table in friendly conversations their basic differences could be resolved. 86 After talking with King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia on his return from Yalta, however, the President's faith in such methods in that particular case was shaken. 87
When we recall, however, that Roosevelt was a perennial optimist, it is hard to believe that such temporary set-backs could blight his faith in the possibility of improving man's attitude toward man. He was ready, moreover, to use the international police force after the war to keep situations such as that in Palestine under control; and he was also a practical man of patience who did not expect to see a good neighbor climate of opinion engulf the world overnight. Thus it is not likely that either Stalin or Ibn Saud would have been able to move him from his purpose.
What Roosevelt hoped to achieve was nothing less than the moral reconstruction of humanity. He wanted nations to abide by a moral code based on such concepts as honor, trust, good faith, respect, and justice. Here religion was of prime importance, for it was belief in God, religion--of which there were "lots of different kinds"--that made the bulwark of such a code.
As already noted, Roosevelt was fond of likening nations to individuals. He believed that a nation also had a conscience, a moral sense of right and wrong, and if there was ever to be a well ordered world the moral sense of nations must be an active guide to conduct. He believed that in his era the moral sense of nations had broken down and evil had become rampant. Thus without moral reconstruction peace and order were impossible. He would have agreed with Francis Bacon's argument that good faith is more expedient than deceit in international relations in the long run; and with the assertion of Erasmus that there could be no dignity among either individuals or nations unless statesmen followed Christian principles. He would have agreed also with Jefferson and the natural law school of the eighteenth century which insisted that nations were just as bound by a universal moral code as were individuals; that the code was the same for both nations and individuals; and that the true self-interest of states almost always coincided with that code. Like both Mahan and Wilson, Roosevelt's moral code was drawn from the basic principles of Christianity; and while the principles of international morality might be vague, he felt like Hume that most men had a general understanding of them.
In his arguments in favor of United States membership in the League of Nations in 1919-20 Roosevelt argued repeatedly that the United States had entered the war for a moral purpose, that the League was to be essentially an instrument for the exercise of moral force, and if America provided the proper leadership, a whole new conception of international relations based on goodwill and morality might be made to prevail. 88
During the thirties Roosevelt seemed to place great reliance on the power of moral force to stem the tide toward war. When in 1933 he proposed a global non-aggression pact and was asked what reason he had to believe that nations which had violated the Briand-Kellogg Pact would not also violate a new one, he answered that his only reason was "the general hope that nations will more and more respect their treaties." 89 Henry Morgenthau also noted in his diary in 1933 that it was through the collective moral sense of the nations of the world that the President hoped to prevent war. 90 In his Quarantine Speech in 1937 Roosevelt appealed for nations in their dealings with each other to return to belief in the pledged word and to a recognition of the fact that national morality was as vital as private morality. If civilization is to survive, he declared, "the principles of the Prince of Peace must be restored. Trust between nations must be revived." 91 Before leaving for the Brussels Conference in 1937 Norman Davis was instructed by Roosevelt to do everything he could to mobilize the moral force of the peace-loving nations against Japan's aggressive program and to prolong the conference long enough for it to arouse the world's people to put moral pressure on Japan. 92 During the European crisis in the spring of 1939 Roosevelt told the Italian Ambassador to the United States that the United States opposed military aggression as a moral matter; and he implied that the moral influence of the United States would be important in the European situation. 93
Once the war had started Roosevelt asserted time and again that for a peace to be effective at the end of the war it must have a moral basis. In his 1940 Annual Message he told Congress that the international morality of the past was not good enough and, therefore, a higher morality was being sought. 94 When sending Myron Taylor to the Vatican about the same time he emphasized that one of the purposes of sending him there was to help begin to mobilize the religious forces of the world to achieve a postwar order built upon firm moral foundations. 95 Early in January he called American church representatives to the White House and urged them to begin considering the ways the moral and religious influences of the churches could be brought to bear to achieve a just peace. 96 A few weeks later in an off-the-record talk to the American Society of Newspaper Editors he claimed that he had long felt that everyone who believed in God, members of all the great religious faiths, ought to be mobilized for the moral force they could have on the peace. All he was doing then, he said, was making contacts with such faiths. Contact in the United States was easy through the Federal Council of Churches and other organizations; and he had sent a representative to the Vatican; but he was having trouble finding the proper liaison with the Greek Orthodox Church and with the Moslems because of uncertainty as to who headed those faiths. 97
After Pearl Harbor Roosevelt made fewer direct references to international morality and he tended to talk more concretely in terms of cooperation in the postwar international organization. But there remained in his wartime speeches a strong moral undercurrent with many references to spiritual and moral forces. Near the end of 1944, for example, he declared that the new world order would depend not only on the peace machinery created, but also on "friendly human relations, on acquaintance, on tolerance, on unassailable sincerity and good will and good faith." The Allies, he thought, had already achieved a great deal of this and he thought it "a new thing in human history for allies to work together" so closely; and he warned that if it were not continued there could be no enduring peace. 98
But how should one go about promoting a good neighbor climate of opinion and the acceptance of a higher international morality?
Until the outbreak of World War II Roosevelt's answer was the same one that has been given by American foreign policy spokesmen from George Washington on. The moral and intellectual transformation of international relations was to be achieved by example.
Roosevelt long hoped that the behavior of the United States would be an example in stemming the trend toward militarism and in defending democracy. "Long before I returned to Washington as President of the United States," he said in 1936, "I had made up my mind that pending what might be called an opportune moment on other continents, the United States could best serve the cause of a peaceful humanity by setting an example." 99 In 1935 when feeling helpless, apparently, to do much to slow the European armaments race he told a group of students, "What we can do to prevent the militaristic tendencies which are increasing over there every day that goes by, I do not know, except it be by the force of example." 100 Three weeks later he wrote to Ambas- sador Dodd that "I do not know that the United States can save civilization but at least by our example we can make people think and give them the opportunity of saving themselves. The trouble is that the people of Germany, Italy, and Japan are not given the privilege of thinking." 101 A few months later in extemporaneous remarks in Texas he expressed a similar thought. "I have tried to keep the feet of this country on the ground," he said, "hoping that by our example--our example of unity, our example of world unselfishness, our example of trying to build up trade between all Nations--we might have some effect on the rest of the world. . . ." 102
Democracy was to be saved for the world by the United States proving that it could be successful in meeting modern problems. In his 1936 Acceptance Speech, after noting the moral decline in the world and the loss of the will of many peoples to fight in defense of their freedom he declared that "I believe in my heart that only our success can stir their ancient hope [for democracy]. They begin to know that here in America we are waging a great and successful war. It is not alone a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy. We are fighting to save a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world." 103
Roosevelt also liked to point to United States-Canadian relations as a pattern the other states in the world should follow. A few months after he first entered the White House he called the attention of his old summer-time neighbors at Campobello to "the good example of the United States and Canada" who had no thought of war with each other. 104 In 1935, after referring to the recent trade agreement made with Canada, Roosevelt expressed "hope that this good example will reach around the world some day, for the power of good example is the strongest force in the world. It surpasses preachments; it excels good resolutions; it is far better than agreements unfulfilled." 105
When Britain's King and Queen visited the United States in 1939 Roosevelt pointed to the friendly honorable relations between the United States and the British Commonwealth and Empire as an example the rest of the world ought to follow. Referring again to United States-Canadian relations he declared that "the greatest single contribution our two countries have been enabled to make to civilization, and to the welfare of peoples throughout the world, is the example we have jointly set by our manner of conducting relations between our two nations." Then he told a story of how the United States and Britain had amicably settled a dispute over some Pacific islands that both claimed, by the simple expedient of a gentlemen's agreement for joint use of the islands and the deferring of the question of sovereignty until 1989. If that method of settling disputes could be "universally followed," he added, "men and women everywhere could once more look upon a happy and prosperous and a peaceful world." 106
But it was United States good neighborliness with Latin America, and of the Latin American republics with each other on which Roosevelt relied the most to inspire moral reconstruction around the globe. Thus the settling of the Leticia dispute between Colombia and Peru in 1934 furnished "an example to the entire world" of how with the proper will disputes could be settled by peaceful methods. 107 During a moment of undue optimism in the 1936 campaign he told one of his "whistle stop" audiences that the good neighbor idea seemed to be catching on "among the people" in other parts of the world and "if in the long run the people themselves get it, then those who rule in those countries must get it too." 108 Just before leaving on his Latin American tour at the end of 1936 he wrote Ambassador Dodd that while he did not think his trip would have much practical or immediate effect in Europe, the good neighbor idea, by force of example, might spread if it could be got down to the masses of the people in Germany and Italy. "Incidentally," he added, "I think the results of last Tuesday [ Roosevelt's re-election] may have made the German and Italian populace a little envious of democratic methods." 109. While on his South American trip he wrote an old friend that "things in the Americas are in every way most hopeful and I hope there will be at least some moral repercussions in Europe." 110
In his Annual Message delivered shortly after his return from Buenos Aires he had nothing short of glowing words for the spirit existing in the Americas and the seeming determination of all to settle their disputes peacefully around a table. "Here was an example," he claimed, "which must have a wholesome effect upon the rest of the world." 111 As late as April 1939 he expressed the hope that the example of the Americas would prove to the world that the impending war was not inevitable. He seemed to feel quite convinced that wars are made in the minds of men, that the trend toward war largely reflected a mental attitude and that the task for the nations beyond the seas was to "break the bonds of the ideas that constrain them toward perpetual warfare." And here, surely, the example of the Americas could show that it could be done. 112
Needless to say, the outbreak of the war in Europe, although long expected, was a depressing development for Roosevelt. When in the summer of 1941 he sat in his study at Hyde Park writing introductions for the forthcoming volumes of his public papers, he recalled his hope that the good neighbor policy would be an influential example to the rest of the world. And then he added plaintively, "Unfortunately, that hope has proved to be in vain." 113
But vain or not, it is doubtful if Roosevelt ever gave up his faith in the power of example to promote the moral reconstruction of nations. To be sure, once convinced that the Axis was incorrigible he led the campaign to destroy the Axis by violence; and as already noticed, he was quite ready to achieve many of his reforms by force. But Rosenman insists that all through the war the President continued to believe that the new kind of world he wanted to see emerge out of the fires of battle could be mightily influenced by example. Thus, claims Rosenman, the President continued to insist that even during the war the United States must set an example of decent and just behavior. Wartime reassurances of independence to the Philippines, steps toward selfgovernment for Puerto Rico, and the renunciation of extraterritorial rights in China, although motivated by several factors, were also efforts to show the world that the United States practiced what she preached and other nations should do likewise. 114
THE ERADICATION OF EVIL FORCES
THE previous chapter made it clear that Franklin Roosevelt aimed at nothing less than the moral and spiritual reformation of international relations. The spirit of hostility and rivalry implicit in the term "power politics" was to be replaced by the trustful and friendly spirit of the good neighbor.
It was quite apparent to the President, however, that no such reformation could make any headway until the bulwarks of the old evil spirit were destroyed. It will be recalled from Chapter One that Roosevelt blamed the breakdown of the world order of his time partially on that ten per cent of the world's peoples who through evil, stupidity, or impatience had accepted scoundrels as leaders and had turned for salvation to wicked totalitarian ideas and institutions. It was quite logical for him to conclude, therefore, that the creation of the kind of world order he wanted would be impossible unless those evil ideas and institutions were rooted out, their exponents punished and discredited, and their followers reformed.
The ideas, institutions, and leaders Roosevelt wished to purge were embodied chiefly in Italian Fascism, German Nazism, and Japanese militarism. He disliked Russian Communism also; but he had hope--as we shall see later--that this form of totalitarianism and wickedness would undergo sufficient modification in time to make it possible to live with. But he had no such hope for the various brands of fascism. All of them had to go.
Here, indeed, was Roosevelt's major war aim. The President has been widely and vigorously criticized to the effect that he had no political objectives in the war; or rather, that he made the vast error of putting the winning of the war above all political objectives. Hull, Welles, Churchill, and the President's son Elliott, all agree that this was true. They argue that virtually all political decisions made during the war by Roosevelt were made with primary regard for their effect on military operations and that Roosevelt actually had an aversion to discussing post-war power positions or of gearing military operations to such post-war problems while men were dying on the field of battle. The war should be fought, he argued, in whatever way would most quickly produce military victory and stop the killing, not in whatever way would produce the best power position for the United States or any other nation. Such matters were to be left for the Conference Table after the war and after even a period of transition, during which the nations' tempers would cool and reason and good neighborliness might at least partially prevail. 1
Clearly there is much truth to these charges against Roosevelt. Yet this is hard to understand. For as an old navy man and a student of Mahan, Roosevelt was quite aware, in his naval days at least, that the sole purpose of warfare and military operations is to aid diplomacy and help achieve the political objectives of the nation; that always and invariably the military machine and military operations should be subordinated to political objectives.
At least two explanations for Roosevelt's wartime attitude are possible, however. The first is that Roosevelt simply forgot what he knew and succumbed to an old Anglo-Saxon weakness noticed as far back as the eighteenth century by Hume who pointed out the old British tendency to enter wars so wholeheartedly that sight of political objectives was lost. 2
A second possible explanation is that Roosevelt was quite satisfied with making the rooting out of the totalitarian regimes of the Axis his sole political objective. Obviously, that in itself was an enormous task; and its achievement, as we shall see, was to open the way to such additional post-war goals as disarmament. The likelihood of the Soviet Union's reviving her long dormant campaign of expansion and of so quickly gathering enough strength to implement it was considered remote. Thus all other possible political objectives paled into insignificance in the face of the overriding goal of eliminating Axis evils. We know now that Roosevelt was wrong in his predictions regarding both Soviet objectives and strength. But those who guessed correctly were then in a decided minority and the President remained content with his single political objective until the end.
If we recall Roosevelt's attitude regarding the nature of man and morality it is easy to understand why Roosevelt looked upon the leaders, ideas, and institutions of the Axis countries as evil incarnate. As already mentioned, Roosevelt, like many other Americans, maintained for some time a somewhat benevolent attitude toward Mussolini and his Italian Fascist movement. To be sure, Mussolini's attacks on constitutional government and his disregard of the safeguards of individual liberty were drawing caustic remarks from Roosevelt by 1930. 3 Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia also caused Roosevelt on at least one occasion to liken him to a gangster. 4 But until war actually broke out in Europe Roosevelt never put Mussolini and his Fascists in the same class with Hitler and the Nazis and he retained hope almost until the last that Mussolini was on the side of world peace. 5
There was never any such benevolence in his attitude toward the Nazis or the Japanese war lords. Frances Perkins has testified that the Nazi treatment of the Jews filled Roosevelt with horror; the degree of brutality practised by the Nazis seemed unbelievable to Roosevelt; and when he became convinced that the brutality was the conscious program of the German government, he looked upon it as "evil rampant." 6 Grace Tully, the President's secretary for many years, has also testified that Roosevelt took a strong moral position against the Axis, feeling that anyone who opposed them was "on the side of right." 7
Assuredly many of the President's public statements made about the Nazis after the 1940 election were the usual hate-filled remarks war leaders often make regarding their enemies. But there was a strong note of sincerity in Roosevelt's charges that the Axis countries and their leaders were "inhuman, unrestrained seekers of world conquest," "madmen" with unscrupulous ambitions, "international outlaws," "political and moral tigers," and "forces of evil." 8 When in a report to Congress in August 1941 he referred to "The utter lack of the validity of the spoken or written word of the Nazi Government," he seems to have been revealing his sincere view. 9 For earlier in 1941 he had privately expressed similar thoughts. He had agreed with Ambassador Grew's opinion, for example, that Japan was a "predatory" power. 10 When an old friend, Harold S. Vanderbilt, had begged the President in May 1941 not to urge the nation toward intervention in the European war, Roosevelt had answered that Vanderbilt's letter was "truly a plea for inaction against evil . . ."; and he added that "it seems so clear that the ultimate choice is between right and wrong that smug inaction on our part is in effect an aid to wrong. Even if our continental limits remained intact I, personally, should hate to live the rest of my days in a world dominated by the Hitler philosophy. In the last analysis, I think you would hate that too." 11
Throughout the war Roosevelt continued to equate the behavior of the Axis with evil. In his first Annual Message after Pearl Harbor he described Japan's activities from 1894 on as a "conspiracy" to subjugate all the peoples of the Far East and the Pacific; Italy's policy in the Mediterranean was called a "policy of criminal conquest"; but these schemes were all modest in comparison with the "gargantuan" aspirations of Hitler. "We are fighting," Roosevelt declared, "to cleanse the world of ancient evils, ancient ills." The Axis was "guided by brutal cynicism, by unholy contempt for the human race." But the Allies were motivated by the ideal of the Book of Genesis that "God created man in his image" and the ideal that "all men are equal in the sight of God." Clearly it was a contest "between good and evil." 12 The Nazis and Japanese militarists were virtually inhuman, he declared later. Nazi brutality "transcends a hundred-fold the brutality of 1917," he asserted. The Nazi seemed to have an "utter inability to understand and . . . respect the qualities or the rights of his fellow man. His only method of dealing with his neighbor is first to delude him with lies, then to attack him treacherously, then beat him down and step on him, and then either kill him or enslave him. And the same thing is true of the fanatical militarists of Japan." The instincts and impulses of these people are essentially "inhuman," he added, and they cannot comprehend how decent, sensible people live as good neighbors. 13 Toward the end of the war Roosevelt, still speaking in the same vein, referred to Hitlerism and Fascism as a "poison" that had spread throughout Europe. 14 Both publicly and privately he indicated he had been shocked by what he considered Japanese brutality and inhumanity in such activities as that of the Bataan "death march," the beheading of American aviators, and reports of atrocities in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. Such things show the Japanese "lack of civilization," he declared; and he reiterated many times the idea that in the post-war period he would never again "trust the Japs around the corner." 15
To Roosevelt these evils were also deeply rooted in both Germany and Japan, if not in Italy. There is no evidence known to this writer that he traced the militarism of Germany back as far as Frederick the Great or traced the ambitions and militarism of Japan back to the old samurai tradition. But he did seem to think that iniquitous behavior had been characteristic of both since the latter part of the nineteenth century. While a student at Harvard in 1902, he told Stimson years later, a Japanese friend had unfolded to him a hundred-year plan made in 1889 whereby Japan would conquer Asia and the Pacific. 16 This plan of conquest was revealed to the whole world, he told Congress shortly after Pearl Harbor, by Japan's 1894 attack on China, by her subsequent occupation of Korea, by her attack on Russia in 1904, by her illegal fortification of mandated Pacific islands after 1920, by her seizure of Manchuria in 1931, and finally by her invasion of China in 1937. 17 When in 1913 an American-Japanese war scare was provoked by agitation over California land laws, Roosevelt reflected the teachings of Mahan and the attitude of the Navy by taking a bellicose stand, insisting that Japan was the most powerful potential enemy of the United States and the Navy should be kept prepared for trouble with her. 18
During the twenties Roosevelt's attitude toward Japan mellowed temporarily--but only temporarily. In 1923 he published a magazine article which revealed him as thinking that Japan was no longer as evil as she had been, or had seemed. She had become frightened, he argued, when in 1898 the United States had moved into her "backyard" by conquest of the Philippines. The American debate as to how the Philippines should be defended accentuated those fears. But in 1922 Japan had accepted the limitations of the Washington treaties, all of which she had carried out faithfully in spite of the fact that they had required many national sacrifices--sacrifices to her prestige, political ambitions, and dignity. Her desire to partition China had also been dissipated by the World War, he thought, and the old American suspicions about her were no longer justified. In another article in 1928 he again indicated a friendly disposition toward Japan. 19
But this benevolent attitude toward Japan was only temporary and probably was completely dispelled by the 1931 Manchurian Incident. By the time Roosevelt entered the White House in 1933, at any rate, he had already endorsed Stimson's non-recognition doctrine and reverted to his old belief that Japan had an evil nature. At a private dinner at James Farley's home in January 1933 he again accused Japan of imperialistic ambitions that were likely in the coming decade to cause the world much trouble. 20 At his second cabinet meeting, moreover, he discussed military strategy against Japan. 21 And by the mid-thirties he was saying privately that the Japanese were the "Prussians of the East, and just as drunk with their dream of dominion." 22
The evil nature of Germany was also traceable as far back as the Kaiser's dismissal of Bismark in 1890, after which militarism had increased rapidly. 23
It was an easy step to the next conclusion that there could be neither security nor peace in the world unless such evil was rooted out. To temporize with it would be "a compromise with evil itself"; and in struggles between good and evil, there can be no compromise. 24 Thus peace could return to the world "only when the forces of evil which now hold vast areas of Europe and Asia enslaved have been utterly destroyed." 25
Roosevelt seems never to have given more than incidental consideration to the idea of a negotiated peace; and even then he opposed any negotiated settlement that might leave evil regimes like the Nazis in power. In March 1939 he told Congress that free representative governments like that of the United States could not approve the rise of forms of government that were tyrannical. 26 A few days after war broke out in Europe in September 1939 he also sent word to his Ambassador in Great Britain that he did not want any peace movement initiated that would consolidate or make possible the survival of the Nazi regime. 27 It was only during the first few months of the European war that he was willing to give any consideration at all to the possibility of stopping the carnage short of total victory.
During the "phony war" of late 1939 and early 1940 the President seemed to feel for a while that a peace negotiated with Hitler might be at least preferable to a peace dictated by him. Thus he listened with interest to emissaries with ideas for ending the war by negotiation and he sent Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles to Europe early in 1940 in order to find out whether or not there existed any basis for a negotiated peace. But once assured the British were dedicated to a "fight to the finish" and assured also that Hitler had no intention of making peace on any terms except those completely favorable to him, Roosevelt gave up all thought of a negotiated peace. 28
When sending Admiral Leahy as his Ambassador to France in late 1940, moreover, he told the Admiral to urge upon Marshall Petain the President's conviction that the world could live in liberty, peace, and prosperity only by the defeat of the German and Italian regimes and "that civilization cannot progress with a return to totalitarianism." 29
What Roosevelt seems to have feared most was that unless the evils plaguing the world were exorcised once and for all, they would continue to cause trouble and in due time there would be a repetition of all the iniquities then being perpetrated. A negotiated peace would be "only another armistice, leading to the most gigantic armament race and the most devastating trade wars in all history." 30 It would merely give Germany a chance to catch her breath and time to prepare for another war for the control of Europe, Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. 31 Thus a major surgical operation would have to be performed on the body politic of "Germany, Italy, and Japan to such good purpose that their threat against us and all other United Nations cannot be revived a generation hence." 32 For it was clear to Roosevelt, he asserted, that if Germany and Italy and Japan were not purged of the evil in them "they would again, and inevitably, embark upon an ambitious career of world conquest." 33
As an optimist concerning the nature of man, a believer in the idea of progress, a reformer, a man of simple religious principles, and a man with considerable faith in the value of education, Roosevelt seemed satisfied that the Axis could be cured. To be sure, rehabilitation might take years, and it would be up to each nation to work her own way back into the family of nations, but it could be done. "Years of proof must pass by," he declared, "before we can trust Japan and before we can classify Japan as a member of the society of nations which seeks permanent peace and whose word we can take." 34 The same was true of Germany. But "I should be false to the very foundations of my religious and political convictions," he added, "if I should ever relinquish the hope--or even the faith--that in all peoples, without exception, there live some instinct for truth, some attraction toward justice, some passion for peace--buried as they may be in the German case under a brutal regime," for "we cannot believe that God has eternally condemned any race of humanity." 35
Germany had once been a respectable nation; why not again? In 1933 when Nazi evils were first drawing attention he wrote to George Earle, his Minister in Vienna, of his hopes that "German sanity of the old type that existed in the Bismarck days when I was a boy at school there in Germany will come to the front again." 36 A few weeks before his death he told the press of his hopes for the reformation of Germany and Japan, arguing that Germany and Japan had been converted from peace-loving to militaristic nations and if such a conversion could take place in one direction he saw no reason why it could not be turned in the opposite direction. Germany had not been militaristic when he first went to school there in 1889, he asserted. But she had gradually become so. By 1896 he saw her railroad employees and school children in uniform, her children being taught to march, and many similar signs of militarism. Thereafter militarism had become worse and worse. "Now, if a nation can do that in fifty years," he asked, "why couldn't you move them in the opposite direction? Why can't you move in a non-militaristic method?" Japan also had become a great modern military nation between 1865 and 1903, and her people also could be turned around; it all depended on leadership and objectives. 37
Unfortunately, Roosevelt's ideas as to what should be done to cleanse the Axis states of evil were at once so general and so fragmentary that it is impossible to know with much precision what he planned to do. Clearly his ideas were a synthesis of both old and new ideas of criminology. Old-fashioned ideas of punishment and new-fashioned ideas of education were both there. Both physical and psychological punishment were necessary to change public attitudes, he seemed to think, while at the same time all implements and facilities for engaging in criminal activities should be taken away. Then, supposedly, long term re-education would follow.
What Roosevelt wanted first was a hard peace, a peace so hard that every German and every Japanese, if not every Italian, would learn that war is hell, would be convinced that his country had been defeated, and would carry forever after a sense of personal guilt for what had happened. They must be humiliated, shamed. Their evil leaders, ideas, and institutions must be discredited and made to stand revealed in all their brutality, treachery, and inhumanity.
Roosevelt had always been an advocate of a hard 'peace. In World War I his belief that the Germans were inhumanly brutal had increased steadily and he had favored publication of the stories of their atrocities. 38 He had also favored something akin to unconditional surrender of the German fleet. 39 He believed further that the German people should know that they were defeated. In 1919 while in the Rhineland, he had a fit of rage when he found no American flag flying over a famous German fort occupied by a United States Marine brigade. When asked "why the Hell the American flag was not floating over Ehrenbreitstein" and told it was kept down on orders that nothing should be done to disturb the peace of mind of the Germans, he complained directly to General Pershing, declaring "the German people ought to know for all time that Ehrenbreitstein flew the American Flag during the occupation." 40
Thus Roosevelt believed that Wilson's Fourteen Points and his policy of peace without victory had been mistakes. Violation of the Fourteen Points had plagued the post-war world, led to the rise of Hitler and World War II, he reasoned, and he had no intention of repeating those mistakes. 41
When during the fall of France a pacifist editor begged Roosevelt to push toward peace rather than war, the President answered that he would like to do that very much. "But in these days," he went on, "I am reminded of a story about the early pioneers who crossed the mountains into Tennessee and Kentucky. They were peaceful people. They wanted to live peaceful lives and set up communities in which lawlessness and physical danger could have no place. But they found wolves and Indians which made the safety of their lives uncertain. They organized, killed the wolves, shot some of the Indians and drove their remnants west of the Great River. After this was accomplished they lived under organized peace in their new lands." 42
Thus the Axis movements were not to Roosevelt the kind of movements that could be appeased. "No nation can appease the Nazis," he declared at the end of 1940. "No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it. There can be no reasoning with an incendiary bomb. We know now that a nation can have peace with the Nazis only at the price of total surrender." 43 Thus the aim of the United States regarding Hitler, even before Pearl Harbor, was to "destroy him, to destroy all his works. . . . " 44
Throughout the war Roosevelt talked in the same vein, repeating again and again his determination to impose a hard peace, to destroy the cancerous growths afflicting the world. When Mussolini resigned in July 1943 he again refused to make a deal, proclaiming instead that "we will have no truck with Fascism in any way, in any shape or manner. We will permit no vestige of Fascism to remain." 45 And this same surgical operation was going to be performed everywhere, he told Congress a few months later, for "we shall not be able to claim," the President argued, "that we have gained total victory in this war if any vestige of Fascism in any of its malignant forms is permitted to survive anywhere in the world." 46
When toward the end of the war pressure mounted on Roosevelt to soften his peace terms, the President categorically refused; but the pressure began to worry him. "It is amazing how many people are beginning to get soft in the future terms of the Germans and the Japs," he wrote a senator in 1944. "I fear it is going to be a real trouble to us next year or the year after." 47 A few days later he wrote Queen Wilhelmina, in the same vein, declaring that he had no sympathy with those who are "hoping by loving kindness to make them [the Germans] Christians again." He was not bloodthirsty, he asserted, but "I want the Germans to know that this time at least they have definitely lost the war." 48
An unconditional surrender was essential to Roosevelt's objectives. In the first place, an absolute, clear cut, total military victory was, he thought, imperative to teach the Axis peoples the grim lesson that war is hell and that this time they had been defeated. "Practically all Germans deny the fact they surrendered in the last war," he said, "but this time they are going to know it. And so are the Japs." 49 The President's second objective in his unconditional surrender policy was to make certain that the Allies would have a free hand to carry out any reforms they saw fit when the shooting ended. Roosevelt feared that if the Allies made any promises or commitments or granted any terms whatsoever to the Axis countries when they surrendered, the Allies might then find themselves hampered in their post-war attempts to purge the conquered countries. He was quite willing to allow the Axis peoples to be told as many times as necessary that although their leaders would be punished, they the people, would not be destroyed. They could be told also that the Allies wanted the Axis peoples to be able to live like other respectable people. They could be assured also that the Allies would treat them with decency and humanity. But no terms that might later hamper the occupation could be granted.
The best way of getting this whole policy understood, he thought, was by telling his version (historically inaccurate) of Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox. Despite all pleas from Lee, the President's story went, Grant had refused to allow any surrender terms. Lee was told that he must place himself and his troops completely and unconditionally at Grant's mercy. Lee's pleas for promises that his men would be fed and would be al- lowed to keep their horses were unavailing. Grant continued to demand "unconditional surrender." But once Lee had surrendered unconditionally and placed his trust solely in Grant's hands, Grant treated him and his men with great consideration. Grant fed Lee's men and then ordered them to take their horses home and get on with their spring plowing. "There you have unconditional surrender," said Roosevelt. "I have given you no new term. We are human beings--normal, thinking human beings. That is what we mean by unconditional surrender." 50
To Roosevelt, therefore, the unconditional surrender policy was a flexible policy that would allow one occupied country to be treated one way, another country another way. Although the Italian surrender looked to some people as if conditions had been allowed, Roosevelt insisted that the general principle of unconditional surrender had been applied and the Italian surrender was an example of how the principle might be applied in a flexible manner. 51
Thus unconditional surrender--the unhampered, unfettered, unrestrained right to control, purge, and reform the Axis countries was essential to Roosevelt's plan of ridding the world of the evils that must be rooted out before a new world order could be created.
The unconditional surrender of the Axis countries was to be followed immediately by an attack on the militarism of those countries. That they were to be completely disarmed was taken for granted. In Germany in particular all military equipment was to be removed or destroyed and all industry usable for military production eliminated or placed under international control. 52
According to Mrs. Roosevelt the President also hoped to influence the Germans psychologically by forbidding them to have aircraft of any kind, not even a glider, by not allowing anyone to wear a uniform of any kind, and prohibiting marching. 53 The German General Staff was to be broken up also and the Prussian base of German militarism weakened beyond repair. "When Hitler and the Nazis go out," Roosevelt told Congress, "the Prussian military clique must go with them. The war-breeding gangs of militarists must be rooted out of Germany--and out of Japan--if we are to have any real assurance of future peace." 54 For a while at least, he contemplated breaking up the military clique by moving the Prussians out of East Prussia as the Greeks had been moved out of Turkey after World War I. The removed population would then be dispersed throughout Germany. 55 Although the President left no similar suggestions regarding Japan, he spoke repeatedly of blotting out the "shameless militarism of Japan" and supposedly planned to apply drastic remedies. 56
As is well known also, Roosevelt was determined to abolish all manifestations of totalitarianism in all the Axis countries. "All leaders and active members of the Nazi party should be eliminated from any participation in the administration of Germany," he wrote Queen Wilhelmina, "and forbidden any political activity whatsoever. I fully agree that we cannot risk having these Nazis resume any of their nefarious activity and I assume that one of the principal objects of the occupation will be to root out the Nazi Party in all its manifestations." 57 All Nazi laws, organizations, and institutions would also be wiped out." 58
It is also well known that in Roosevelt's program to reform the Axis he was determined to punish all Axis leaders and their associates who had been involved in crimes against peace, against humanity, against civilization. 59 Although the President never seemed quite certain in his own mind as to how much share of the guilt for the world's trouble should be placed on the populations of the Axis countries, his statements assuring retribution for the activities of their leaders usually contained promises that there would be no mass recriminations.
The kind of trial Roosevelt wanted for the Axis leaders is debatable. On occasion he seemed to favor quick "drumhead trials in the field" for the German General Staff, or of simply shooting 50,000 Nazi officials or army officers without trial. 60 But at other times he indicated he favored formal trials under international law with caution taken to prevent the creation of any martyrs. In either case, punishment was to be swift with no long period of waiting as after World War I when the whole attempt finally collapsed. 61 The impression got from reading Roosevelt's statements is that he looked upon the Axis leaders and their aides in the same way he looked upon murderers and thieves or any other type of common criminal who should be punished for their crimes. He wanted the Axis leaders punished, not only in the hope that punishment would deter them from a repetition of such heinous behavior, but in the hope also that those who followed as leaders in the Axis countries--or elsewhere--would know that the world will no longer tolerate such criminals.
While the above prescriptions for cleansing the world of evil were to be applied to all three of the Axis states, nearly all Roosevelt's thinking on the matter was done with only Germany in mind. Italy and Japan were usually mentioned only in passing and, as it turned out, Italy was treated with far more benevolence than Roosevelt's earlier statements would have led one to expect. But Germany was to Roosevelt the arch-criminal of the age and he concentrated his thinking upon her. Once purified, she must be kept pure, he reasoned, and that would require more reforms than the mere "rooting out" or even the changing of attitudes. It would also require safeguards that would make impossible a repetition of the recovery of power Germany had achieved in the inter-war years.
Roosevelt's answer to this problem was the dismemberment of Germany and the weakening and subsequent control of her industrial power. By dismemberment he meant essentially the restoration of the federal system that had prevailed in Germany during the empire. In those days, he argued, the concept of the highly centralized Reich was hardly known. Each local community dealt almost solely with her provincial government and it had only been in recent years that virtually everything had been centralized in Berlin. 62
When talking to British Foreign Secretary Eden early in 1943 the President stated that he preferred merely to encourage separatist movements in Germany which he believed public opinion would demand after the war, but if such movements failed to materialize, Germany would be divided anyway, with matters so arranged that Prussia would no longer be dominant. 63 By the time of the Moscow Conference in October 1943, Hull has reported, the President categorically favored the division of Germany into three or more completely sovereign states joined, however, by postal, railroad, electric power, communications, and other such agreements. East Prussia would be completely detached and her population forcibly dispersed. When Hull and his advisors raised objections to partition, the President admitted the scheme might not work, but he showed no sign of changing his goal. 64 At Teheran, therefore, he proposed the whole matter in more detail, suggesting this time dismemberment into five states with the areas of the Kiel Canal, Hamburg, the Ruhr, and the Saar made into international trusteeships. 65 At Yalta he insisted he was still in favor of dismemberment to prevent a repetition of the concentration of power in Berlin, 66 and there is no evidence that he ever changed his mind.
Roosevelt's hope of making Germany so economically weak that she could never again build a war machine was symbolized when at Quebec in 1944 he initialed the famous Morgenthau Plan. This plan called not only for a more drastic dismemberment of Germany than Roosevelt had ever proposed, but for the almost complete destruction of German industrial plants and the ruining of Germany's mines as well. What territory was not given to neighboring states or placed under international control would be so de-industrialized that the German people in the remaining independent areas would be left to live in virtually a pastoral economy and obviously would never again be able to build a war machine. 67 It is true that under pressure from Hull, Stimson, and others the President later repudiated his acceptance of the Morgenthau Plan on the grounds he was not really aware at the time he approved it that the plan was so drastic. His general objective he declared was to help Great Britain recover economically after the war and he did not believe she could do so in competition with an economically strong Germany. He thought Britain should inherit, for example, the manufacturing and export business of the Ruhr. Britain was already near bankruptcy and certainly would have a depression after the war, he feared, if Germany remained competitive. He had not intended, he said, when he approved the Morgenthau Plan to go so far as to make Germany an agricultural country. 68
It would be wrong to assume, however, that Roosevelt was not in general sympathy with the major objectives of the Morgenthau Plan. As the war went on his bitterness toward Germany increased steadily as it had in World War I. In a moment of anger in August 1944 he told James F. Byrnes of his irritation with "misguided" officials in the State Department who favored a "soft" peace for Germany. His own idea was, he said, that the German people must be taught their responsibility for the war and for a long time should have only soup for breakfast, soup for lunch, and soup for dinner. To Byrnes this "did not sound like President Roosevelt. He was angry." 69 But Roosevelt seemed to be angry in this fashion a great deal toward the end of the war. At Yalta he repeated that while he did not want to make Germany wholly agricultural, he did not want her to be able to compete economically with Britain nor did he want her to be in an industrial position whereby she could again re-arm for another war in twenty years. Mere inspection of plants would not be enough of a safeguard to prevent re-arming. Complete de-industrialization of the Ruhr and the Saar were not desirable, but some was desirable. Before the war Germany had been so productive that she had been able to prepare for war and export at the same time, and he wanted no such capacity to exist again. "I envision a Germany that is self-sustaining but not starving," he said; and he saw no reason for a standard of living there higher than the standard of living in the Soviet Union. 70 Mrs. Roosevelt has denied categorically reports that the President was ever sorry he approved the Morgenthau Plan; and Morgenthau told her that in his last interview with the President, Roosevelt was as much as ever in favor of a hard peace for Germany, presumably somewhat along the general lines of the Morgenthau Plan. 71
Obviously Roosevelt's thinking on the problem of purging the world of evil was cut short by his death and he never got down to the working out of many details. As already noted, his ideas regarding the reformation of Italy and Japan were limited to a few passing generalizations. When being badgered by Hull and Stimson for having approved the Morgenthau Plan the President finally put them off with a note to Hull stating he had concluded it was not wise to make detailed plans about a country not yet occupied. 72 The treatment of Italy after her surrender in 1943 was so subordinated to military considerations that even that is not a very good illustration of what Roosevelt wanted to do.
As we shall see later, Roosevelt longed for the abolition of totalitarianism everywhere; and it is quite likely that he believed that the fall of Nazism and Fascism in Germany and Italy would presage its doom everywhere. In September 1944 he noted the "paradox" of the rise of those philosophies in Argentina at the very moment they were facing defeat elsewhere; and while he made it quite clear that he was not pleased with the Argentine development, he gave no clue as to what he proposed to do about it. 73 Only a month before his death, moreover, he wrote to his Ambassador in Spain that the Fascist government of the Spanish Falange under General Franco was not at all appreciated by the United States and after the war it would have to go. Its totalitarian character and its aid to the Axis would not be forgotten, he promised. And while it was not the practice of the United States to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations unless they threatened peace, he added, "I should be lacking in candor, however, if I did not tell you that I can see no place in the community of nations for governments founded on Fascist principles." 74
The President was bent on a campaign of massive international reform, more mild than the medieval Inquisition, to be sure, but so broad in its implications that in due time even he, like his successors, might have drawn back.
[Continue to Ch.VII]
[ Next ]