Before WW2, Roosevelt's critics frequently claimed that the administration was dragging America into a war. Lindbergh, the most prominent spokesman against the US entry into WW2, expressed that belief in a speech several months before Pearl Harbor.
The Roosevelt administration is the third powerful group which has been carrying this country toward war. Its members have used the war emergency to obtain a third presidential term for the first time in American history... And they have just used the war to justify the restriction of congressional power, and the assumption of dictatorial procedures on the part of the president and his appointees.
Lindbergh was arguing that the United States was already unofficially involved in WW2. There was certainly some truth to that.
In his Navy Day Address, around the same time, Roosevelt said:
Our Army and Navy are temporarily in Iceland in the defense of the Western Hemisphere. Hitler has attacked shipping in areas close to the Americas in the North and South Atlantic.
Many American-owned merchant ships have been sunk on the high seas. One American destroyer was attacked on September 4. Another destroyer was attacked and hit on October 17. Eleven brave and loyal men of our Navy were killed by the Nazis.
We have wished to avoid shooting. But the shooting has started. And history has recorded who fired the first shot. In the long run, however, all that will matter is who fired the last shot.
For this-and all of this-is what we mean by total national defense.
The first objective of that defense is to stop Hitler. He can be stopped and can be compelled to dig in. And that will be the beginning of the end of his downfall, because dictatorship of the Hitler type can live only through continuing victories-increasing conquests.
Obviously this was a statement made by a President who was talking as if he were already at war with Germany. FDR was responding to the attacks on US ships by German submarines, including the Greer Incident. In response Congress repealed Section 6 of the Neutrality Act which allowed for the arming of merchant vessels shipping materials to the Allies. To opponents of the war, the Greer Incident played the same role as the Gulf of Tonkin incident would in Vietnam.
In Hitler's own rambling declaration of war on the US, he cited the obligation of the Tripartite Act and the Greer Incident. This prompted Congress to pass a formal resolution declaring that a state of war exists between the US and Germany. The same process was conducted for Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, the other signatories to the Tripartite Act. By declaring war on Japan, the United States produced a chain reaction series of declarations of war by Tripartite Act signatories.
It's possible to go into far more depth on the subject, but suffice it to say that US participation in WW2 did not begin with a formal declaration of war. It began when we worked to support our European allies and to try and contain the spread of Nazism. Months before Pearl Harbor, the US was engaged in naval hostilities with Nazi Germany. We had a naval base in Iceland. And the President was talking about what we would do to stop Hitler. The formal declarations of war were the official stamp that recognized the inevitable reality.
What implications does this have for the present? Hayworth was responding to an apparent Paultard who trying to argue that the War on Terror was an undeclared war. In response he showed that even WW2 had a sketchy history when it comes to declarations of war. While he was wrong in saying that there was no formal declaration of war by the US against Germany, that declaration was a formal response to the reflexive German and Italian declarations of war against the US that is little better known than the US declaration of war on Bulgaria (yes there was one), The real war between the US and Germany did not begin with a declaration. It was a shadow contest between American vessels and law enforcement, Nazi submarines, spies and propagandists operating on American soil. With Nazi organizations working openly in the US that have obviously parallels to the Islamist groups today that work to aid the terrorists waging their own undeclared war against us.
In WW2 time, we are still stuck somewhere between 1939 and 1942, fighting our own equivalent of the Bore War. We are not prepared to declare war on the Hitlers in Saudi Arabia and Iran, and so we go on fighting the shadow war. And in that shadow area, we have not true wars, but jockeying for position, fights against ghosts and abortive invasions. That shadow area is not a new thing. We have been in it for a very long time now. We were in it for nearly 70 years with the USSR, for much of that time we tried to remain ignorant of it, and we paid for that dearly. We were in that shadow area for several years with Nazi Germany, until the formality of war unleashed a tide of blood and settled all questions. Today we linger in the shadow area with Islam.
Critics of the Second World War could argue that the Roosevelt Administration had deliberately brought the country into the war with Nazi Germany through indirect and direct conflict, and eventually an indirect declaration of war against Japan. These same people also argued that Pearl Harbor was a response to US foreign policy, a duplicate of the argument made today by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright or Ron Paul that 9/11 was "blowback" caused by US foreign policy. But the reality is that for all the things it got wrong, the Roosevelt Administration understood then, what few Democrats can seem to understand today, that you prepare for war before it happens, not afterward.
We have not named the enemy, but we are still taking casualties from him every day. McCain has been against giving the US military the full resources needed to hold and interrogate terrorists. J.D. Hayworth supports waterboarding and keeping Gitmo. These Hayworth gets it and Obama doesn't. And the liberals and paultards playing Gotcha with Hayworth are doing it deliberately to obscure his larger point. That we have an enemy that we need to get serious about fighting.
Like the Hitler of the Navy Day speech, we are fighting an enemy that can only survive by expanding. And his Lebensraum already maps out Europe and the United States. Even Ground Zero, a place that should have been sacred, will have the shadow of the crescent and star cast over it. Thus the choice is clear. We can go on investing in people like McCain who want us to fight by the same disastrous rules we've been fighting war after war, or people like Hayworth who know that we have to press the enemy to retreat, instead of sitting back and hoping that he learns some table manners. We are not at war because we chose to be. We are at war because the enemy has chosen us. And our survival is once again in the balance. Then the question was whether our nation would fly the stars and stripes or the swastika, today it is whether we will fly the stars and stripes, or the crescent and the star.