This is a great and important book. It was not Beard's last book, but one that subjected him to a veritable witch hunt and his removal from his position in historical societies and organization. A progressive of the old LaFollette type, Beard simply sought to tell the truth about how Roosevelt plunged the USA into World War II before any declaration of war or attacks on the USA by Germany, Italy, or Japan.
Most of the material here comes from hearings in the US congress, some during World War II, and other shortly afterward.
It is unfortunate that Beard did not have access to the materials that have been available in the last 10 or 20 years as war time records has become declassified. His concentration is on Pearl Harbor and the naval war against Italy and Germany (most who write about submarine warfare in the Atlantic neglect the fact that there was a substantial force of Italian submarines as well as German submarines), that Roosevelt launched in 1940. Yet, this is but the tip of the iceberg in Roosevelt's illegal war against Germany and Italy and Japan in 1940 and in 1941.
Roosevelt ran the 1940 election under the slogan "I hate war" and on his many pledges not to send Americans to fight in the Second World War. As soon as Roosevelt won the 1940 election he secretly began to send American sailors, marines, and soldiers into the war.
In November 1940, Roosevelt sent the US navy into the Atlantic to attack and sink German and Italian submarines in complete cooperation with the British. This was despite the fact that the German and Italian submariners were ordered to stay out of the Western Atalantic and to avoid American ports and ships so they would not provoke US public opinion. What the Axis submariners could have done if they targeted American shipping was shown in 1941 and 1942 after Pearl Harbor. Hundreds of ships were sunk within sight of the East Coast. Britain was seriously threatened with strangulation.
The evidence that Beard prints in this book chiefly from Congressional hearings explains major incidents like the sinking of the Reuben James and the Kearny that were used to claim Germany was sinking American ships without provocation. Congressional hearings reported on in this book show both incidents were provoked by aggressive US Navy attacks on German submarines either separate from or in direct cooperation with the British and Canadian navies.
Roosevelt had the US in a world-wide naval war with Germany and Italy by 1941. American Navy pilots worked directly with the British. In fact it was an US Navy pilot, not a British pilot, who flew the plane that torpedoed the Bismark and left it unable to steer. The destroyer for bases deal not only supplied the British with destroyers, but sent US troops to the bases that protected British colonies in the Americas and Africa so British troops there could be sent to the war in the Arab East.
The US Navy began to build a major base in Northern Ireland. By 1941 US Navy ships would attack, sink, or seize any German vessel they encountered on the high seas, not just in the Atlantic, but in the Pacific and Indian Ocean as well. The US fleet and "neutral" American shipping were used to convoy Australian, New Zealand, and British colonial troops from the Pacific to the US and Canada to be shipped to the British war in North Africa.
American Marines relieved the British troops who had essentially invaded and occupied Iceland, an action not really favored by the Icelandic government which had tried to stay neutral. Those same Marines were originally to have invaded Vichy-controlled Martinique and Guadeloupe, but the Vichy governor of the islands agreed to allow US Navy officers to control passage of naval vessels to those islands, keeping French warships in port on these islands until the end of the War.
In Asia, Roosevelt launched the Flying Tigers. Rather than being a mercenary program paid for by the Chaing Kai Shek government as the public was told until the relevant documents were released in the 1980s, the Flying Tigers were totally financed by the United States Army Air Force. All of the Tigers were serving Navy or Army pilots who were ordered to leave the Navy and the Army to accept positions with the Tigers. Generally, Army and Navy officers are not usually allowed to simply quit and take other positions before the end of their service, let alone in a period of coming war. Plans for the Tigers included building a huge American-staffed and paid for air force that would possess long range bombers to attack Japan. They barely had begun functioning in China before WWII began.
In late 1940 joint commissions of the US military and naval general staffs and their British counterparts were set up in both Washington and London to plan a US-British war against both Germany and Japan. Similar arrangements were worked out with Britain, Canada, and the Dutch colonial government of whatr is now knows as Indonesia for naval and military action against Japan.
Those who do not know the information Beard provides and the rest that has come out since his times, wonder why Germany declared war on the USA. They picture the German declaration of war as an erroneous and gratuitous act of solidarity with Japan. They miss the real question. The real question is why did Germany wait so long to declare war on the USA when the USA had been carrying on what American and international law clearly defined as illegal warfare against Germany since the fall of 1940.