Last week we observed the 75th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, which brought about America’s entry into the Second World War. I thought it might be fun to observe the 75th anniversary of other significant events affecting our Greatest Generation — and one of those occurred just yesterday.
What are some of the greatest blunders in world history? Napoleon not leaving Russia well enough alone in 1812? The Battle of the Somme? The Charge of the Light Brigade, Pickett’s Charge, or half a hundred other brave but misguided charges into fixed fortifications?
Yesterday, though, marked the 75th anniversary of one of the greatest blunders ever committed in human history: Adolf Hitler declaring war on the United States.
The Reichstag, December 11, 1941.
Adolf Hitler blows it big time.
The excellent website ww2days.com discusses some of the facts behind Hitler’s decision:
Hitler did this four days after the Japanese attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, without technically being forced or even obligated by treaty to do so. (A new tripartite treaty was being readied that would have obligated Axis treaty partners Germany and Italy to become involved in hostilities against the United States should war break out between Japan and the U.S., but it was unsigned.)
At the time, President Franklin Roosevelt was under enormous and understandable pressure to devote America’s energy against Japan rather than against Germany. He and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill well knew that Germany was much the greater danger, so Hitler’s declaration relieved Roosevelt of all of his political difficulties in one stroke.
“I thought of a remark Edward Grey had made to me more than thirty years before — that the United States is “like a gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can generate.” Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.” — Winston Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 540
On this day 75 years ago, Roosevelt signed Declarations of War against the other two Tripartite powers and America was fully involved in World War II.
When The Old Gray Lady was on our side.
Enjoy your week and, of course, today’s open thread!