One of the Big Three of the second War--the triumvirate of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, which was a parallel to the Wilson, Clemenceau and Lloyd George team in the first world conflict--President Roosevelt brought to his war leadership a tremendous prestige in Great Britain and on the Continent.
This prestige was an aid in maintaining the morale of our allies during the long period of preparation for vital military operation, and it was a powerful weapon when Mr. Roosevelt appealed to the people in the occupied and enemy countries over the heads of their leaders. At home, while on non-war matters there was no political truce, the President as war leader received the unified support of political friend and foe.
He was on vacation in Warm Springs when Japan was massing forces for an attack in the East. Where the new act of Japanese aggression would occur no one knew. Thailand, a base for further expansion south, seemed likely.
Plea to Hirohito, Dec. 7
The crisis was grave enough to bring the President rushing back from Warm Springs to issue secret orders for a constant alert by our forces in Hawaii and the Philippines. The morning of Dec. 7, 1941, American newspapers carried the story of a personal appeal by the President to Emperor Hirohito for peace.
Whether the appeal was delivered before the blow was struck was not known, but the Japanese carriers that blasted Pearl Harbor that Sunday morning had started for their destination days, maybe weeks, earlier.
That same Sunday the President, grave and tense, heard the news--"all bad," he remarked of it-- and called a special session of Congress for the next day. When Congress assembled, the President told the members that Dec. 7 was "a day that will live in infamy," and that "with confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God."
Congress declared war on Japan and followed this action the next day with war on Germany and Italy, which already had recognized that a state of war existed. America's war effort then really began.
Prime Minister Churchill came to this country on a battleship on Dec. 22 and flew home on Jan. 14, 1942. While here he discussed war plans with Mr. Roosevelt. The Japanese sped their aggression with a great southward drive in the Pacific, and the Philippines, Malaya and the Dutch East Indies fell to their superior forces. The President pledged the eventual liberation of these lands.
Troops and equipment were shipped to England and the invasion of North Africa prepared. This blow, the first taste the Axis had of the combined military might of Britain and the United States, was dealt with great secrecy and it caught the Germans off guard. Meanwhile, Mr. Roosevelt was losing prestige at home as the public became restive over what seemed to be a lack of action.
The invasion of North Africa was welcomed by the public as a turning point in the war, and Presidential popularity rose again.
For "Unconditional Surrender"
Early in 1943 the President visited Churchill at Casablanca, in North Africa, to lay down the "unconditional surrender" terms to the Axis powers. He stopped off, on the way back, to visit Liberia, Brazil and Trinidad, to lift his travel mark up to 200,000 miles while in office up to that point.
America, under the President's leadership, and also as a result of Red Army successes, was drawing closer to a better understanding with Russia. In the spring of 1943 Joseph E. Davies was sent on a "mission to Moscow" with a secret letter from the President to Marshal Joseph Stalin, Premier of the Soviet Union. Stalin replied and the President was able to report to the public that the understanding and accord between the two was "excellent." When Stalin soon thereafter dissolved the Comintern, international revolutionary organization sponsored by the Russian Government, much of the old fear of Russia and communism ceased to be publicly expressed.
Despite the domestic situation, and the increasing food shortage, the Gallup poll was able to report in June, 1943, that 56 per cent of the voters would be for President Roosevelt for a fourth term. Tunisia had surrender, the Allies controlled the Mediterranean, Pantelleria had been taken and the President was able to invite the Italians to kick out their fascist rulers and their German "visitors" and make a separate peace--a gesture of military success at the time.
Churchill in Washington
Winston Churchill had come to Washington for conferences on the war in the Pacific, and he and Mr. Roosevelt allayed the then-existing fears on the part of some that we were fighting too much of the war in Europe and not enough in the Pacific. It was argued that Japan had been the first to attack us, and that our natural theatre of war was the Pacific. Mr. Churchill pledged every British ship and British plane to help us in the Pacific, as soon as Hitler and Mussolini had been disposed of in the other principal theatre of the global war.
Up to this time, apart from the Atlantic Charter in 1941, the President had given no blueprint of any post-war plans. In March,1943, he had endorsed the broad principles of a Senate resolution (Ball-Burton-Hill-Hatch) pledging international cooperation to maintain peace after the war, but he implied that the time was not ripe for a detailed statement of the organization.
Yet, international cooperation among the United Nations was under way, with the President as a directing force. He had named his old associate, Herbert H. Lehman, as Director of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation, and when the Lehman organization began functioning in Africa, in the spring of 1943, as additional territory was reconquered; it was made clear that this help was to be on the basis of international cooperation, not just "hand-outs" from the United States.
An international food conference was held at Hot Springs, Va., with forty-four nations represented, and plans were laid down for future cooperation on the world-wide food problem, both during and after the war.
To aid the prosecution of the war, the President and Mr. Churchill, with their chiefs of staff and many other advisers, held an Anglo-American conference in Quebec. Mr. Roosevelt was there from Aug. 17 to 24, 1943. It was mainly a military conference, but Anthony Eden, British Foreign Secretary, was there, with Secretary Hull, Secretary of War Stimson and Secretary of Navy Knox arriving before the close. Dr. T. V. Soong, Chinese Foreign Minister, attended for two days.
One result of the Quebec conference was that both the American and British Governments announced a qualified recognition of the French Committee of National Liberation as the administrative authority over French colonies in its control.
Meanwhile, in the Mediterranean area, Sicily had been invaded and taken; on Sept. 3, Allied troops had landed on the Italian maintained across from Sicily. In the Pacific, the capture of Kiska Island and the withdrawal of the Japanese from the Aleutians, was followed on Sept. 6 with Gen. Douglas MacArthur opening an offensive on New Guinea to isolate the Lae-Salamaua area.
Italy's unconditional surrender on Sept. 8 was characterized by the President as a great victory for the Allied nations and for the Italian people. No commitments were made to the Ladoglio Government. Italy's declaration of war against Germany was announced jointly on Oct. 13 by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin.
Joint Communique on Cairo
In the diplomatic field, a conference in Moscow of Secretary Hull and Foreign Ministers Eden and Molotoff in November preceded the long-wished-for conference between Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Churchill, and Mr. Stalin. Their historic conference at Teheran, the capital of Iran, came immediately after Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Churchill and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek had conferred outside Cairo from Nov. 22 though Nov. 26.
First news of the Cairo conference was flashed to the world from Lisbon, Portugal, by Reuter, British news agency. This premature announcement brought a protest from Elmer Davis, head of the Office of War Information, but Mr. Davis was forced to make a similar protest a few days later when the Moscow radio broadcast the first definite announcements of the Teheran meeting.
While Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill were secretly at Teheran with Marshal Stalin, a joint communique on the Cairo conference was announced on Dec. 1. The three great powers, the United States, Britain and China, it said, had reached full agreement to press unrelenting war against their brutal enemies by land, sea and air; to renounce all territorial gains for themselves and to strip the Japanese of all Pacific islands seized since 1914; to restore to China the lost lands of Manchuria, Formosa and the Pescadores; to expel Japan from all other territories she had taken by violence and greed; to guarantee the future independence of enslaved Korea, and to persevere in the serious and prolonged operations necessary to procure the unconditional surrender of Japan.
The closely guarded conferences were held at the Mena House, a luxury hotel five miles outside Cairo. It was the first meeting for Generalissimo Chiang with either President Roosevelt or Prime Minister Churchill. The President made the trip by plane, as did the Generalissimo, who was accompanied by Mme. Chiang. The Prime Minister went by ship.
The Teheran conference lasted from Nov. 28 through Dec. 1 and was held at the Russian Embassy in the Iranian capital. Mr. Roosevelt was a guest of Marshal Stalin. It was said to be the first time the marshal had left the Soviet Union since the revolution in 1917. Mr. Churchill stayed at the British Embassy near the Russian Embassy. It was the first meeting between Mr. Roosevelt and Marshal Stalin.
Out of this dramatic meeting came a declaration of the three leaders expressing "our determination that our nations shall work together in the war and in the peace that will follow," and asserting that final plans had been made for the destruction of the German forces. Declaring the attacks would be relentless and increasing, they said that "no power on earth can prevent our destroying the German armies by land, their U-boats by sea and their war plants from the air."
Asserting confidence in "an enduring peace," they said: "We recognize fully the supreme responsibility resting upon us and all the nations to make a peace which will command good-will from the overwhelming masses of the peoples of the world and banish the scourge and terror of war for many generations." They said they would welcome the cooperation of all nations seeking to eliminate tyranny and oppression: "We will welcome them as they may choose to come into the world family of democratic nations."
After Teheran, Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill conferred with President Ismet Inonu of Turkey at Cairo. The three issued a declaration saying that "the closest unity existed between the United States of America, Turkey and Great Britain in their attitude to the world situation." But no change resulted in the Turkish foreign policy.
The President returned to the United States on Dec. 16, having traveled an estimated 25,000 miles since his departure on Nov. 11. He said the conferences had been a success in every way. In a Christmas Eve broadcast he said the four powers had agreed to use force to maintain peace after victory.
Turned to Post-War
Throughout 1944 and the early part of 1945, as America and Allied forces swept through to victory after victory in both Europe and the Pacific, invading France, crossing the Rhine on one side of the world, while carrying the war to Japan's doorstep on the other side, President Roosevelt turned more and more to the diplomacy of the post-war world. Seeing that the second World War was fast approaching its end, at least in its European phase, he began to work out plans to prevent a third world war through international cooperation and collective security in both the political and economic spheres.
Following up the United Nations conferences on world food supplies and on the relief and rehabilitation of liberated areas, which were held in 1943 at Hot Springs, Va., and Atlantic City, N. J., President Roosevelt assumed the leadership in calling the nations of the world together for the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference at Bretton Woods, N. H., in the summer of 1944, and the International Civil Aviation Conference at Chicago in November and December of the same year.
Whereas the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, organized in Atlantic City, undertook the short-range task of feeding and clothing those war-ravaged peoples who were unable to take care of themselves, and helping them restore their devastated industrial and agricultural plant so that they could support themselves as quickly as possible, the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, blueprinted at Breton Woods, were designed to stabilize world currencies and provide guaranteed loans for long-range reconstruction of world production and the international exchange of goods in the interests of world-wide prosperity.
The aviation conference aimed at world agreement to promote the coming of the future Air Age in a manner to promote the welfare of all countries and minimize the danger of economic rivalries that might threaten the peace of the world in the future. Similar international conferences have been proposed to deal with the problems of world shipping, telecommunications, and foreign trade in general, for the same purposes.
Dumbarton Oaks Parley
The most ambitious of President Roosevelt's post-war projects--to create a world organization to maintain peace and security in place of the League of Nations, and without the mistakes which kept this country out of the League and weakened its influence in the rest of the world--began to take shape when the Dumbarton Oaks conference was held in Washington, D. C., in October, 1944. At this conference the United States, Great Britain, Russia and China drafted proposals for the establishment of a general international organization to maintain peace and security, including a general Assembly, a Security Council, a Court of International Justice and an Economic and Social Council.
Mr. Roosevelt then held the last and most famous of his series of conferences with Prime Minister Churchill and Marshal Stalin--the meeting at Yalta from which emerged the fateful Crimea Declaration of Feb. 11, 1945.
The Crimea Declaration reaffirmed the pledge of the Atlantic Charter for a free world, the Casablanca demand for unconditional surrender by the Axis, and the Teheran strategy of coordinated war against Germany on all fronts.
"It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and nazism and to insure that German will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world, " the declaration read.
It was decided that the United States, Great Britain, France and Russia would occupy four separate parts of Germany and that each would be responsible for German disarmament and the control of German military and industrial potential in its own area, through an interallied control commission to be located in Berlin.
The big three agreed at Yalta on new boundaries for Poland, giving Russia all Polish territory east of the Curzon Line, compensating Poland with part of East Prussia, other German territory and an outlet to the sea, and providing for a transfer of population. They also agreed on the reconstitution of the Russian-backed Lublin Government with new "democratic" representatives of Poles in exile and at home, and on later free elections to permit the Poles to have a Government of their own choice.
Finally, it was decided to call a United Nations security organization at San Francisco on April 25, 1945, at which the charter of the new world organization would be drawn up along the lines agreed upon at Dumbarton Oaks. France was invited to join the United States, Great Britain, China and Russia in sponsoring the San Francisco Conference, but General de Gaulle, head of the provisional French Government, declined this invitation, and also rejected a bid to meet President Roosevelt at Algiers on the latter's homeward trip. Paris reports indicated the French were irked at having been left out of the Yalta Conference.
Yalta Decision Revealed
Some time after President Roosevelt's return to this country it was revealed that the Yalta Conference had agreed to a proposal by the President on voting procedure in the Security Council, which had been left open Dumbarton Oaks. It had been provided at Dumbarton Oaks that the Security Council should include eleven seats, of which five should be permanent places for the largest powers--the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France and China.
The Yalta decision was that in all pacific settlements no nation could vote in a dispute to which it was a party, but that in all cases that involved the use of military or economic sanctions against an aggressor no action could be taken without unanimous agreement of all permanent members of the council.
This limited veto for the big powers caused considerable criticism among the smaller and middle-sized nations, but President Roosevelt and his colleagues indicated that it was necessary at this time in order to attain united action by the big powers, without which no plan for world organizations was held to be practical.
Another storm of controversy arose over an agreement that the United States would support a Russian demand for three seats in the assembly, and would also ask for three seats for this country, in view of the six seats to be held by the British Commonwealth. This agreement was kept secret. After it leaked out, President Roosevelt announced that the United States would not press its demand for three seats, but would stick to its agreement to support the Russian demand. The Russians based their case on the contention that White Russia and the Ukraine are autonomous republics and deserve independent diplomatic representation, just like the dominions in the British Commonwealth.
The Polish settlement at Yalta also brought severe criticism in this country, especially when the Lublin regime delayed in reconstituting itself in accordance with the terms of the Crimea Declaration, and insisted with Russia's support on representation at San Francisco--a demand which Mr. Roosevelt rejected in one of his final diplomatic acts.
If he had lived, President Roosevelt would have journeyed to San Francisco to preside at the formal opening of the world security conference.