FDR's Catastrophic, Horrendous, and Treasonous Handling of WW II in Europe

Discussion in 'History' started by mikegriffith1, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. mikegriffith1
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    mikegriffith1 Mike Griffith

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    In his 600-plus-page book The New Dealers' War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the War Within World War II, award-winning historian Thomas Fleming documents in sickening detail how FDR needlessly prolonged WW II in Europe by several months and cost hundreds of thousands of American and European lives. FDR did this by insisting on “unconditional surrender” and by refusing to even consider the substantive peace offers made by the German resistance leaders, even though those leaders included high-ranking German officers such as Admiral Canaris, the head of the Abwehr, Germany’s military intelligence agency.

    Fleming provided an extensive summary of the evidence of FDR’s catastrophic handling of the war in Europe in a long 2009 article titled “FDR Writes a Policy in Blood” in MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History. The article is now available on historynet.com. Below are extracts from the article:

    FDR’s blind insistence on unconditional surrender prolonged World War II and cost hundreds of thousands of lives. . . .​

    Inwardly, Churchill was dumbfounded by Roosevelt’s announcement [of the policy of unconditional surrender]—and dismayed by its probable impact on the conduct and outcome of the war.​

    The prime minister’s British colleagues were even more alarmed. The chief of British intelligence, Maj. Gen. Sir Stewart Graham Menzies, considered unconditional surrender disastrous, not only to certain secret operations he already had in progress, but also because it would make the Germans fight “with the despairing ferocity of cornered rats”. . . .​

    That consternation was shared by not a few Americans in the ranks of VIPs standing behind the two leaders. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower thought unconditional surrender was idiotic—it could do nothing but cost American lives. Later, he said: “If you were given two choices, one to mount a scaffold, the other to charge twenty bayonets, you might as well charge twenty bayonets.”​

    Lt. Gen. Albert Wedemeyer, who was the architect of the strategy for D-Day, was even more appalled. He decried the idea from the moment he heard it. Just before the war, he had spent two years in Germany attending the Berlin War College and he knew firsthand the deep divisions between Hitler and the German General Staff. An unconditional surrender policy would, he accurately predicted, “weld all the Germans together”. . . .​

    Since the war began, British intelligence chief Menzies and the Abwehr’s Admiral Canaris, two seeming opponents in the art and science of black warfare, had been in shadowy touch with each other through emissaries who shuttled from Berlin and London to the borders of the Nazi empire. In 1940 the Abwehr leaked Hitler’s planned assault on Holland, Belgium, and France. The British and French dismissed it as a ruse and discovered, too late, that its details were excruciatingly authentic. While the admiral went briskly about the business of intelligence, running spy networks throughout Europe, evidence accumulated suggesting the astonishing possibility that the head of the Abwehr was a secret enemy of the Nazi regime.​

    Around Canaris was grouped a loose confederation of Hitler opponents in the German Foreign Office, the army, and the political world. They included Ulrich von Hassel, a career diplomat whose diaries are a main source of information about the resistance; Gen. Ludwig Beck, former chief of the general staff, who resigned in protest when Hitler threatened to invade Czechoslovakia in 1939 in violation of the Munich agreement; and Count Helmuth von Moltke, great-grandnephew of the general who had defeated France in 1871 and made Germany a world power. Another important figure was Karl-Friedrich Goerdeler, the former mayor of Leipzig, whom the Nazis dismissed from his post when he refused to remove a monument to the great German-Jewish composer, Felix Mendelssohn.​

    Beck, the key figure, was still deeply admired by many generals on active duty. Through him, the conspirators hoped to persuade the army to stage a coup d’état to remove and, if necessary, kill Hitler. . . .​

    Before Casablanca [where FDR announced the policy of unconditional surrender], Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben, Germany’s supreme commander of the West, had told Canaris that he loathed Hitler and was ready to do everything in his power to overthrow him. After Casablanca, Witzleben said: “Now, no honorable man can lead the German people into such a situation.” Gen. Hans Guderian, the inventor of panzer warfare, declined to participate in the plot for the same reason, when Col. Hans Oster, second in command to Canaris, approached him. Col. Gen. Alfred Jodl, chief of the German armed forces operations staff, said at the Nuremberg War Crimes trials that unconditional surrender had been a crucial element in his refusal to join the conspiracy. Nevertheless, Canaris redoubled his efforts to reach out to the United States. . . .​

    In June 1943, Helmuth von Moltke journeyed to Istanbul to talk to the U.S. naval attaché, George Earle, a Balkans expert who wanted to rescue Eastern Europe from Soviet domination. Earle persuaded William Donovan, head of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, to come to Istanbul. There, the Germans offered to fly a member of the German general staff to London to arrange for a peaceful surrender of the western front—if unconditional surrender were modified. Donovan rushed to the White House, only to discover FDR had no desire to negotiate with “these East German Junkers.”​

    Around the same time, Canaris developed a seemingly more fruitful contact in Berne, where Allen Dulles had become the Office of Strategic Services station chief. Here the messenger was Hans Bernd Gisevius, also an Abwehr agent, disguised as the German vice consul in Zurich. To bolster his bona fides, Canaris leaked reams of secret information about the German war effort to Dulles, who forwarded it to Washington with strong recommendations to cooperate with the resistance movement, which he code-named “Breakers.” From the White House came only silence. Nothing came of a similar initiative in Stockholm, also launched by the German Foreign Office in 1943. . . .​

    With mounting desperation, Canaris himself took to the field in Spain. With the help of the Spanish Foreign Office, in August 1943 he arranged a meeting between himself, Menzies, and Donovan at Santander. It was surely one of the strangest and most fateful encounters of the war. Menzies was disobeying the orders of his putative commanders, the Foreign Office bureaucrats, and Donovan was acutely aware by now that Roosevelt was equally hostile to his presence. But Canaris charmed and convinced both men of the logic of his proposal to work out an arrangement whereby the Anglo-Americans would support a coup d’état and peace on the basis of the German borders of 1939—surrendering all Hitler’s conquests. One of Canaris’s deputies, who was present at the meeting, said it was the most exciting experience in his secret service career.​

    When the two Allied intelligence chiefs reported to their superiors, however, the reception was, if possible, even more venomously negative. For Canaris, the disappointment was crushing— and it soon became doubly depressing when his enemies in the Nazi hierarchy, who had long suspected the Abwehr of treason, began to strike at some of his most trusted subordinates.​

    First, Oster and one of his cohorts were caught aiding escaping Jews. Next Moltke attended a garden party at which a number of indiscreet things were said about the regime. After one more futile trip to Ankara in the last weeks of 1943 to try to contact the American ambassador to Cairo, who was an old friend, Count von Moltke, too, was arrested. Investigators from several branches of the Nazi apparatus threatened Canaris and his grip on the Abwehr.​

    While the German resistance struggled to win recognition from Roosevelt, his antipathy toward them and the German people was hardening. In May 1943 Churchill came to Washington for a conference, code-named “Trident.” Probably reacting to the attempts by Canaris to reach him through Donovan, Roosevelt told the prime minister he wanted to issue a declaration that he would refuse to negotiate with the Nazi regime, the German army high command, or any other group or individual in Germany. Churchill, once more demonstrating his dislike for taking such an intransigent public stand, managed to talk him out of it. . . .​

    Shortly after Sicily fell, Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel III dismissed Benito Mussolini and appointed Field Marshal Pietro Badoglio premier. Badoglio immediately opened secret negotiations with American emissaries to get Italy out of the war. Everything seemed to be moving toward a stunning capitulation, which would have opened a huge gap in Hitler’s Festung Europa. But Roosevelt insisted that he would accept only unconditional surrender—and the removal of the king and the field marshal. Badoglio angrily withdrew from the negotiations and for over six weeks the talks were stalled while Eisenhower, Churchill, and others desperately tried to persuade the president to let them cut a deal that would have saved thousands of British and American lives.​

    By the time Roosevelt relented and permitted the king and the marshal to remain in power, the Germans had poured 24 divisions into Italy, and the Italians had no country to surrender.​

    Unbeknownst to the German conspirators, they were acquiring allies on the other side. As British and American planners contemplated the harsh realities of at- tacking the 1.5 million–man German army in France, doubts about the policy of unconditional surrender escalated. It soon became evident that virtually no one in either Allied government supported the policy except Roosevelt and those in his White House circle.​

    On March 25, 1944, Gen. George Marshall and the Joint Chiefs of Staff submitted a memorandum to the president, urging “that a reassessment of the formula of unconditional surrender should be made…at a very early date.” The chiefs proposed a proclamation that would assure the Germans the Allies had no desire to “extinguish the German people or Germany as a nation.”​

    On April 1, 1944, Roosevelt replied with an outburst that revealed as never before the extent of his disdain for Germany.​

    Eisenhower was drawing on his experience in Italy, reasoning that if the Allies had proposed installing an Italian field marshal as premier, what was wrong with the same approach for Germany? In his cable to Hull, Stettinius, obviously quoting Eisenhower, said they should try to encourage the emergence of a German Badoglio. The cable also added the suggestion that after the beachhead was established in France, Eisenhower should call on the German commander in the West to surrender.​

    From the White House, in response to this extraordinary message, came another bout of silence. . . .​

    While this charade played out in Washington, some 500 leaders of the German resistance were being tortured by the Gestapo and tried before a so-called People’s Court, packed with Nazi party members who jeered and hooted at them. Field marshals and generals, colonels and former officials of the Foreign Office and the Abwehr were forced to wear clothes that were either ridiculously large or small, to make them look as much like buffoons as possible. Yet they managed to defend themselves with calm dignity, boldly testifying that they had tried to overthrow Hitler because Nazism filled them with moral and spiritual revulsion.​

    Neither Churchill nor Roosevelt, nor any of their spokesmen, uttered a public word of sympathy or regret for these men. Instead, the Anglo-Americans showered Germany with mocking leaflets, sneering that the conspiracy was a sure sign of imminent collapse.​
     
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  2. Picaro
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    Picaro Gold Member

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    lol
     
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  3. Oddball
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    Oddball Unobtanium Member Supporting Member

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    FDR needed war to distract from the fact that his seven years of economic idiocy was total failure.
     
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  4. K9Buck
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    K9Buck Gold Member

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    I gave you a "thank you" because I appreciate hearing alternative views.

    What conditions would the German generals have demanded in exchange for peace?
     
  5. Oddball
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    Oddball Unobtanium Member Supporting Member

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    They would have surrendered to the west to try to prevent being overrun by the Soviets, for starters.
     
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  6. Kilroy2
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    Kilroy2 Gold Member

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    Well what seems a obvious is that as a civilian president he was more concern with how the history books would right the story of the victor and his role in securing that victory. Having no first hand knowledge other than the military briefings. A political outcome ???

    whereas generals and people who had to fight that war with first hand knowledge of the casualties on both sides of any war would accept surrender as a sign of victory and stop the fighting. A victory is a victory?
     
  7. luchitociencia
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    luchitociencia Senior Member

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    The end of the war was planned in a way of destroying every leader, authority and system which might renew itself and make German to stand up by its own.

    This "unconditional surrender" gave green light to the allies to divide German, and put puppet leaders to have that nation in control.

    Today, you walk in the streets of Berlin and in the street poles are signs, and the legend written says the laws made in Hitler's time against some foreign people and etc.

    This is like saying that here US was under control of another nation. Then, here in the US cities, to be obligated of installing signs in street poles with legends of those former laws about bathrooms for whites and bathrooms for colored people, etc.

    The intention is to humiliate today's Germans, and that humiliation is part of such "unconditional surrender". Of course, the cover up is to say that the new generations in Germany must learn from the mistakes of their past.
     
  8. mikegriffith1
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    mikegriffith1 Mike Griffith

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    Fleming's book and article discuss this. The leadership of the German resistance offered to kill Hitler and to return all the territory that Hitler had conquered.

    Fleming is not the only scholar who has shed light on FDR's terrible handling of the war in Europe. Agostino Von Hassell and Sigrid Macrae take a searching look at FDR's catastrophic bungling of the end of the war in their book Alliance of Enemies. You can find a brief summary of their research online in their article "Unconditional Surrender: Questioning FDR’s Prerequisite for Peace" published at thehistoryreader.com:


    The History Reader - A History Blog from St. Martins Press
     
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    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  9. gipper
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    gipper Libertarian/Anarchist

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    It’s clear, FDR was a murderous psychopath. Then, Truman takes over and he is worse.

    However, Americans like to cling to their fairy tale version of WWII, as the good war won by the greatest generation. Statist propaganda works.
     
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  10. Persistence Of Memory
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    Persistence Of Memory VIP Member

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    He was so ill his last 4 yrs. He should never had run for a 3rd term.
     
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