The administration and policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt during those seminal periods of the Depression and the War has impacted significantly on the lives of not only Americans, but also the international community that until now, his influence still is widely felt. His presidency is in fact one of the most difficult in history, as he has to face two of the greatest challenges of that confronted America.
He is of course not immune to the countless criticisms about how the Second World War was handled, with critics, even as was noted and recalled in the book of David Kennedy, going as far as saying that the Pearl Harbor was the fault of President Roosevelt. This is due to the fact that he may have know of the plan of attack beforehand, yet did not prevent is, for it would provide him the best reason to join the war and justify the participation of the United States.
Although he was the chief Executive at the time of the occurrence, and given that he may have known about the impending attack and did not prevent it, I would disagree that the United States’ role in the Second World War is his fault. Since the country has created an enemy of Japan and Germany, it was only a matter of time before the country would be attacked, Pearl Harbor or not. Although he is to be faulted with the misleading of the military officials in negotiating with the Japanese, then misinforming the Hawaiian authorities about the Japanese fleet, which was definitely not handled well.
Also, Rooselvelt was also claimed to be responsible for hitting the Japanese businesses in the United States and cutting –off their supply of oil, which then forced the Japanese to go into war. But looking at history, the security of the country, with or without the Roosevelt intervention, was already very tensed as the state was surrounded by enemies on all sides, with Japan in the West and Germany and Italy in the East. It was only a matter of time that America would be dragged into the war, and it just so happens that Pearl Harbor became the fatal mistake that signaled the turning point.
The period of war was a time of painful choices for Roosevelt, was he was in the center of the greatest war the world has known. The impact was greater on the people who have no choice but to face their fear and go through the war the best way they could. It was the strategies and choices that were made by Roosevelt that led to the eventual victory of the United States, yet the victory seems bittersweet. The final conclusion to the war necessitated the go-signal of the President in the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, which was incomparable in magnitude, yet deemed necessary.
This, and even previous campaigns, elicited wide domestic opposition to the war and the handling of the government. The domestic front was difficult, as political and economic considerations has to be taken into account, especially the financial and emotional impact the war has tolled on the Americans. Roosevelt may have caused the entry into war because of how the situation was handled beforehand. But, prior to Pearl Harbor, the situation was extremely difficult, as not implementing the tactics that was made, like the target of Japanese business, may have indirectly financed the war of the Japanese.
These are difficult considerations, but history looks kindly at Roosevelt, as eventual victory was achieved, no matter how painful it was. I disagree with the responsibility placed on Roosevelt, as his decisions, even if there are noticeable flaws, were never easy, but the right choices were made no matter how difficult. Reference Kennedy, David M. Freedom From Fear: The American People In Depression and War, 1929-1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.