Freedom Betrayed, by Herbert Hoover
With his analysis of the war complete with Hoover’s documentation regarding the decision by Truman to use the atomic bombs against Japan, Hoover turns to specific case studies regarding specific nations and regions in the conflict. Whereas the preceding sections of his magnum opus were written in chronological sequence, he now takes a slice by geography in order to tell the narrative one selected region at a time.
Much of the information is repeated in this section from the previous chronological analysis. However, there is also much new information, as well as new interpretations from Hoover that were not so strongly emphasized earlier.
One of these case studies regards Poland. Hoover begins by outlining the behind-the-scenes actions of Roosevelt in convincing Britain to offer the infamous guarantee to Poland, and additionally to convince Poland to not negotiate with either Germany or Russia.
President Roosevelt had on January 4, 1939 announced what had amounted to a revolution in American foreign Policy. He proposed action by the United States “stronger than words and less than war” on activities of foreign nations with which he disagreed.
The President at once took action under this new policy with respect to Hitler’s demand of March 21, 1939 on Poland.
The U.S. Ambassador to Britain, Joseph P. Kennedy, played a supporting role in implementing Roosevelt’s desires. He regularly urged firmness on the part of Britain when it came to dealing with the Germans. The German Charge d’Affaires in London confirmed Kennedy’s position, informing his government on March 20 that:
…Kennedy…is playing a leading part. He is said to be in personal contact with the Missions of all the States involved, and to be attempting to encourage them to adopt a firm attitude by promising that the United States…would support them by all means (short of war”).
Further American activities were disclosed after the Germans had invaded Poland in September 1939 and seized the Polish Foreign Office records. The Germans released a mass of documents which certainly indicated that the American Ambassador to France, William C. Bullitt, who could only act on Mr. Roosevelt’s authority, had made a profusion of oral assurances to officials of Poland and France which they could only interpret as a promise of assistance of some kind of force from the United States.
When these documents were published, their authenticity was denied by both Bullitt and by the Polish Ambassador to the U.S. The Polish Ambassador later informed Hoover that he denied their authenticity at the request of the State Department. Further, Hoover has evidence of the authenticity of these German-released documents via Polish Embassy documents later given to the Hoover Institute. Besides minor differences in translations, these documents confirmed those released by the Germans as authentic. Hoover goes on to quote from a sampling of these documents – documents received directly from the Polish Embassy in Washington. From the Polish Ambassador Potocki to the Polish Foreign Office, dated two months before the British guarantee to Poland, in which he summarizes his conversations with U.S. Ambassador Bullitt:
…2) the war preparations of the United States on land, sea, and air, which will proceed in an accelerated tempo and will cost the colossal sum of $1,250,000,000. 3) the definite opinion of the President that France and Britain should abandon all policy of compromise with the totalitarian countries and should not enter into any discussion with them which might be directed towards any territorial changes. 4) a moral assurance that the United States is abandoning the policy of isolation and is ready, in case of war, to participate actively on the side of Great Britain and France, placing all its resources, financial and in raw materials, at their disposal.
In another dispatch, also dated two months before Britain’s guarantee to Poland, from the Polish Ambassador in Paris to the Polish Foreign Office stated:
As Ambassador Bullitt puts it: “If a war breaks out, we probably would not participate in it at the beginning, but we would finish it.”…One thing, however, appears to be certain, namely that President Roosevelt’s policy in the immediate future will tend to…weaken Britain’s tendencies toward a compromise [over Poland].
Hoover confirms that documentation from the U.S. State Department on this had not yet been released. However, based on conversation Hoover later had with Ambassador Kennedy, the U.S. positions portrayed in these dispatches were confirmed. During the war, Hoover met with Kennedy approximately 20 times. Kennedy apparently profoundly disagreed with Roosevelt’s foreign policy.
Hoover would document his conversations with the various people he met with. An example is provided of Hoover’s meeting with Kennedy on May 15, 1945. Kennedy indicated he had over 900 dispatches which he could not print without consent of the U.S. Government. He hoped one day to receive such permission as it was Kennedy’s intention to write a book that would:
…put an entirely different color on the process of how America got into the war and would prove the betrayal of the American people by Franklin D, Roosevelt.
…Roosevelt and Bullitt were the major factors in the British making their guarantees to Poland and becoming involved in the war. Kennedy said that Bullitt, under instructions from Roosevelt, was constantly urging the Poles not to make terms with the Germans and that he Kennedy, under instructions from Roosevelt, was constantly urging the British to make guarantees to the Poles.
He said that after Chamberlain had given these guarantees, Chamberlain told him (Kennedy) that he hoped the Americans and the Jews would now be satisfied but that he (Chamberlain) felt that he had signed the doom of civilization.
Kennedy said that if it had not been for Roosevelt the British would not have made this most gigantic blunder in history.
Kennedy told me that he thought Roosevelt was in communication with Churchill, who was the leader of the opposition to Chamberlain, before Chamberlain was thrown out of office….
James Forrestal, Under Secretary of the Navy, documented in his diaries a substantially similar conversation with Kennedy.
Much of the rest of Hoover’s case study through the beginning of the war regarding Poland was documented well earlier in this volume. After Britain made the guarantee, it attempted to reach a deal with Stalin. Why a deal was not struck prior to the guarantee is a mystery to Hoover. Stalin, now in the cat-bird’s seat – with Britain having backed itself into a corner – was free to sell his services to the highest bidder: Germany or Britain.
Stalin’s price was to annex much of Eastern Europe. Chamberlain’s “moral scruples” prevented him from signing this death warrant on a large swath of Europeans, despite the constant “violent attacks” on Chamberlain by Churchill, Lloyd George, and Eden to do so.
On August 21, Moscow announced that a non-aggression pact was to be signed between Russia and Germany. On September 1, Hitler invaded Poland.
Hoover then takes up the situation of Poland during and after the war. He documents the change in Roosevelt’s attitude toward the Atlantic Charter, and its (in)applicability to the Russians and to lands overtaken by Russia. Needless to say, Roosevelt’s interpretation of the Charter and its application to Russia were twisted in such a manner to ensure Russia was able to keep all war-related gains.
The Polish by this time are starting to feel a bit betrayed by Roosevelt.
The Polish Ambassador on Washington records his last conversation with Sikorski (on January 10, 1943) at which time they reviewed Sikorski’s visit:
…Sikorski regretfully admitted that…for the first time he was beset by the fear that American policy was beginning to drift in direction of appeasement of Soviet Russia….
Of course, at this point there was little choice for the U.S., unless it was willing to continue the fight against the Russians directly. This appeasement was cemented between Roosevelt and Stalin at Tehran. For Poland, their fate was likely sealed once the West made alliance with the Russians – or even prior, once Poland decided not to find a middle-ground in negotiating between the two tyrants on either side at the encouragement of the U.S. Perhaps once Hitler came to power Poland’s fate was sealed one way or another. This certainly had to be understood by Roosevelt before any guarantee was made, calling into question the true purpose behind the making of the guarantee in the first place.
The rest of this story demonstrates the cynicism and immorality of the political leaders of this war, and would be laughable if it wasn’t for the death and destruction brought to countless millions by the actions taken by the leaders of the so-called free democracies. For example:
On February 20, Mr. Roosevelt replied to [Polish American Congressman from Buffalo, Joseph] Mruk, stating that the issue was one between the Russians and the Poles.
In other words, Roosevelt said tough luck for Poland.
On February 22, 1944, Mr. Churchill made a speech in the House of Commons stating that the British Government had never guaranteed “any particular frontier line to Poland….”
Perhaps Churchill thought Poland could be satisfied by moving to Wales?
Mr. Roosevelt urged the Polish Prime Minister Mikolajczyk to go to Moscow and discuss these questions with Marshall Stalin. According to the Prime Minister’s account, Mr. Roosevelt also said:
“… you Poles must find an understanding with Russia. On your own, you’d have no chance to beat Russia, and let me tell you now, the British and Americans have no intention of fighting Russia.
“But don’t worry…Stalin doesn’t intend to take freedom from Poland.”
Roosevelt perhaps was not aware of Stalin’s previous actions wherever the Communists had influence?
In July 1944, the Russian armies arrived just across the river from Warsaw. Stalin urged the Poles to fight the Germans. The Poles did so, soon seizing a large part of the city. Stalin, instead of coming to the aid of the Poles in this uprising, left them alone to fight the Germans, saying “nothing can be done for Poland if you do not recognize the Curzon line…” Stalin left the Poles to fight the Germans, until October 3, when, exhausted and out of supplies, the Polish resistance failed. After the uprising, the Germans destroyed virtually the entire city of Warsaw.
In this action of betrayal to the Polish fighters, Stalin both reduced the German army as well as the best fighters the Poles had to offer in any possible later resistance to the Russians.
In early March 1945 Moscow offered safe conduct to a group of sixteen leaders of the democratic Polish underground to journey to Russia to negotiate the setting up of a new government…. The sixteen Polish leaders vanished completely on March 27.
At the end of the war, the eastern borders of both Poland and Germany were moved to the west. This entailed the relocation of approximately six million Poles from the Soviet annexed area into that region annexed from Germany, and an additional six million Germans from the former German lands into what remained of Germany.
Neither group was allowed to take more of their belongings than they could carry on their own backs or the backs of their children…. Hundreds of thousands streamed the roads, the veritable picture of exhaustion and despair – a sodden heart-broken, dispirited horde. Thousands died by the roadsides. Thousands of fleeing Polish and German women were raped and the men were plundered by Russian soldiers of occupation.
Hoover counts over one million orphans or half-orphans in Poland. An organization of Polish women was picking up one thousand abandoned children per day. According to Mikolajczyk, non-Communist Polish leaders were being executed or deported daily.
According to a lieutenant colonel to Eisenhower, “The liberation of Poland by Russian Armies brought with it pillage, loot, rape, mass arrests, executions and deportations.”
Thus ends Hoover’s account of the betrayal of Poland. It seems Poland was used only as a pawn – a cynical guarantee provided by Britain at the urging of Roosevelt not for the sake of securing a free Poland, but for the purpose of providing an excuse for the west to enter the coming war between Germany and Russia.