After the Pearl Harbor attack, Americans were told that it had come without any warning. The official story has been that it was a surprise attack that forced us into war against our wishes.
For years the charges that Roosevelt lied and cajoled us into war were vehemently denied. In 1948 the great historian Charles A. Beard presented a preliminary case for the truth in President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941: A Study in Appearances and Realities. He was immediately reviled.
In an article in the August issue of the Atlantic, he was accused of being “the darling of the McCormick-Patterson Axis … The most indecent of Beard’s numerous innuendoes in his book are those respecting the Roberts Commission. Mr. Stimson suggested justice Roberts to head the Pearl Harbor Commission … Beard insinuates that Justice Roberts’ appointment was part of a triple play to put Kimmel and Short ‘out’ and conceal the iniquities of FDR and Stimson in a cloud of dust.”
These were the words of the court historian, Samuel Eliot Morison. In 1942, Professor Morison of Harvard was drafted by President Roosevelt and placed on the public payroll as a Navy officer with orders to write the official History of United States Naval Operations in World War II (fifteen vols.).
Beard, searching for the truth, was not permitted to see the papers he considered pertinent. Morison, writing the official line, had no such problems. In the words of the Secretary of the Navy, “All naval activities, afloat and ashore, were directed to make available to Captain Morison such records as he might desire to consult.”
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