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Roosevelt, Lindbergh and America's Fight Over World War II

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Lynne Olson discusses the debate over American intervention in World War II—a bitter, sometimes violent clash of personalities and ideas that divided the nation. Her book Those Angry Days focuses on the years 1939 to 1941 and on he two most famous men in America: President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Charles Lindbergh.

Guests:

Lynne Olson

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Comments [7]

NABNYC from SoCal

Tony from Canarsie: I am entirely familiar with the constitution, having spent a year studying it and 30 years practicing it. Of course Congress has the authority to declare war when this country has been attacked. They have to declare war in order to call up men from the various states to come and serve the military. They have to declare war to raise the money needed to defend the nation.

But there is nothing in the constitution which suggests they were authorized to elect to go to war, to elect to join in other countries' wars. If we are attacked (our own land is attacked) then Congress can declare that we are at war against the nation that attacked us. If we are not attacked, Congress does not have the authority to simply decide to start wars or join in other nations' wars. That is precisely why after World War II the government came up with these absurd treaties which say that if Slovakia is attacked, the U.S. can treat that "as if" it was an attack on our land. They simply have invented foreign entities that they use to get around constitutional limitations on their power.

Apr. 03 2013 01:31 PM
Oscar from ny

Hitler lost the war because he underestimated the new art, Like van gogh or Picasso, The Zionist already had heads up on it so they betted on everything that had to do with it, war for these treasures and milliins were murdered...so the moral of the story is keep your art close..but your artist closer..

Apr. 03 2013 12:53 PM
anonyme

Ask about Lindbergh's three secret families in Europe (eugenics)!!!

Apr. 03 2013 12:52 PM
Michelle from Long Island City

Wasn't Charles Lindberg known a Nazi sympathizer? Was that a factor in this?

Apr. 03 2013 12:49 PM
Tony from Canarsie

NABNYC -- "The constitution does not authorize the government to elect to send our country into war."

Pshaw. See Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution, which among other things states "Congress shall have power to ... declare War."

Apr. 03 2013 12:48 PM
Jenny from Brooklyn

Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan has repeatedly said that England should not have declared war on Germany (and let Germany have Poland as this was all they wanted), and this declaration was the cause of Germany's later aggression. This seems completely crazy if not supportive of HItler's regime. But any truth at all to this claim?

Apr. 03 2013 12:45 PM

The constitution does not authorize the government to elect to send our country into war. Instead, it authorizes the government to defend our country, and implicit in that is to defend it against attack or at least imminent attack. Every president, every legal scholar has always understood these limitations. We look back historically, and we see that presidents have often wanted to start wars, but knew they did not have the legal power or authority to do so, nor did Congress.

So how did they deal with this? They invented phony incidents that they could claim represented an "attack" on the U.S., and used that as the justification to start a war.

Go back to Polk and the U.S. War Against Mexico (as it is properly called in Mexico). How did that come about? Polk sent a military crew across the border to provoke an incident and, when they were successful, lied to Congress and to the nation and claimed that Mexico had attacked the U.S. Think about it: Mexico knew the U.S. wanted to steal Texas, and possibly knew that gold had already been discovered in California so the U.S. would want to steal that too. Is it really likely Mexico would have attacked the U.S. given all that was at risk?

During World War II, FDR desperately wanted to take the U.S. into the war in europe. But he knew that there was no authority to do that, so he came up with creative ways to provide material support to the allies, such as the lend-lease program.

Obviously, in the U.S. War Against Vietnam, LBJ sent U.S. ships to patrol North Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin. One of the ships mistakenly believed the North Vietnamese had fired on them, reported it, and LBJ declared war. Even when the U.S. ship captain realized they had not been fired on, the war was continued. But LBJ needed the "enemy" to attack the U.S., or at least U.S. personnel, in order to declare war.

The main reason for the post World War II treaties entered into between the U.S. and most nations of the world was to try to come up with a sneaky way around the limitations in the constitution. The U.S. did not engage in war against Libya -- Nato did. But these treaties are all illegal and should be rescinded.

Even liberals argue that our government has the absolute authority to elect to send our people into war in any country, any time, for any reason, to "help" the people of that country. But this is contrary to our constitution.

If authority was not given to the government, then it remains with the people. During World War II, before the U.S. was attacked, the question of whether our citizens wanted to volunteer to go die in Europe in somebody else's war is one that should have been put to our citizens, through a vote. Let them decide. It's so easy for historians and politicians to elect to participate in wars because they are not the ones who do the dying.

Apr. 03 2013 12:41 PM

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