Freedom Betrayed

Freedom Betrayed

Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath

Editor: George H. Nash
ISBN: 978-0-8179-1234-5
Publication Date: 11/7/2011
Pages: 1080


The culmination of an extraordinary literary project that Herbert Hoover launched during World War II, his "magnum opus"—at last published nearly fifty years after its completion—offers a revisionist reexamination of the war and its cold war aftermath and a sweeping indictment of the "lost statesmanship" of Franklin Roosevelt. Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath originated as a volume of Hoover's memoirs, a book initially focused on his battle against President Roosevelt's foreign policies before Pearl Harbor. As time went on, however, Hoover widened his scope to include Roosevelt's foreign policies during the war, as well as the war's consequences: the expansion of the Soviet empire at war's end and the eruption of the cold war against the Communists.

On issue after issue, Hoover raises crucial questions that continue to be debated to this day. Did Franklin Roosevelt deceitfully maneuver the United States into an undeclared and unconstitutional naval war with Germany in 1941? Did he unnecessarily appease Joseph Stalin at the pivotal Tehran conference in 1943? Did communist agents and sympathizers in the White House, Department of State, and Department of the Treasury play a malign role in some of America's wartime decisions? Hoover raises numerous arguments that challenge us to think again about our past. Whether or not one ultimately accepts his arguments, the exercise of confronting them will be worthwhile to all.

Herbert Hoover (1874–1964) was president of the United States from 1929 to 1933. An internationally acclaimed humanitarian, he was the author of more than thirty books and founder of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.

George H. Nash is a historian, lecturer, and authority on the life of Herbert Hoover. His publications include three volumes of a definitive, scholarly biography of Hoover and the monograph Herbert Hoover and Stanford University, as well as numerous articles in scholarly and popular journals. A specialist in twentieth-century political and intellectual history, Nash is also the author of The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945 and Reappraising the Right: The Past and Future of American Conservatism. A graduate of Amherst College and holder of a PhD in history from Harvard University, he received the Richard M. Weaver Prize for Scholarly Letters in 2008. He lives in South Hadley, Massachusetts.


“The work, edited by historian George Nash, is an extended excoriation of the man who defeated Hoover’s reelection bid, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and his foreign policy... the words will be jarring to many who today regard World War II in uniformly heroic terms.”
    —TIM FERGUSON, Forbes. Read the full review here.

“A remarkably well-researched, heavily footnoted revisionist history… seems destined to become one of the key historical documents of the mid-20th century, challenging many long-accepted interpretations of events.”
    —JAMES E. PERSON JR., The Washington Times. Read the full review here.

Freedom Betrayed is a searing indictment of FDR and the men around him as politicians who lied prodigiously about their desire to keep America out of war, even as they took one deliberate step after another to take us into war.”
    —PAT BUCHANAN, "Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor?", Read the full review here.

“In its sharp dissent from the conventional understanding of the mid-twentieth century, Herbert Hoover's book succeeds in bringing that history back to life and in forcing us to think about it in ways that will surely be unfamiliar to many.”
    —TOM BETHELL, "Revisionist History That Matters", The American Spectator. Read the full review here.

Freedom Betrayed is the work of a serious student of history, and is heavily researched and footnoted. Its publication is a monumental moment in the history of presidential writings, and Nash deserves credit for his persistence and dedication in shaping it.”
    —GERALD J. RUSSELLO, "Herbert Hoover, Revisionist", The University Bookman. Read the full review here.

“What an amazing historical find! Historian George H. Nash, the dean of Herbert Hoover studies, has brought forth a very rare manuscript in Freedom Betrayed. Here is Hoover unplugged, delineating on everything from the ‘lost statesmanship’ of FDR to the Korean War. A truly invaluable work of presidential history. Highly recommended.”
    —DOUGLAS BRINKLEY is professor of history at Rice University and editor of The Reagan Diaries.

“Finally, after waiting for close to half a century, we now have Hoover’s massive and impassioned account of American foreign policy from 1933 to the early 1950s. Thanks to the efforts of George H. Nash, there exists an unparalleled picture of Hoover’s world view, one long shared by many conservatives. Nash’s thorough and perceptive introduction shows why he remains America’s leading Hoover scholar.”
    —JUSTUS D. DOENECKE, author of Storm on the Horizon: The Challenge to American Intervention, 1939–1941

“A forcefully argued and well documented alternative to, and critique of, the conventional liberal historical narrative of America’s road to war and its war aims.  Even readers comfortable with the established account will find themselves thinking that on some points the accepted history should be reconsidered and perhaps revised.”
    —JOHN EARL HAYNES, author of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America

Freedom Betrayed offers vivid proof of William Faulkner’s famous dictum that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” For those who might think that history has settled the mantle of consensus around the events of the World War II era, Hoover’s iconoclastic narrative will come as an unsettling reminder that much controversy remains. By turns quirky and astute, in prose that is often acerbic and unfailingly provocative, Hoover opens some old wounds and inflicts a few new ones of his own, while assembling a passionate case for the tragic errors of Franklin Roosevelt’s diplomacy. Not all readers will be convinced, but Freedom Betrayed is must-read for anyone interested in the most consequential upheaval of the twentieth century.”
    —DAVID M. KENNEDY is professor of history emeritus at Stanford University and the author of Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945.

“Herbert Hoover’s Freedom Betrayed is a bracing work of historical revisionism that takes aim at U.S. foreign policy under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Part memoir and part diplomatic history, Hoover's magnum opus seeks to expose the “lost statesmanship” that, in Hoover’s eyes, needlessly drew the United States into the Second World War and, in the aftermath, facilitated the rise to global power of its ideological rival, the Soviet Union.  Freedom Betrayed, as George Nash asserts in his astute and authoritative introduction, resembles a prosecutor’s brief against Roosevelt—and against Winston Churchill as well— at the bar of history.  Thanks to Nash’s impressive feat of reconstruction, Hoover’s “thunderbolt” now strikes—nearly a half-century after it was readied.  The former president’s interpretation of the conduct and consequences of the Second World War will not entirely persuade most readers.  Yet, as Nash testifies, like the best kind of revisionist history, Freedom Betrayed “challenges us to think afresh about our past.”
    —BERTRAND M. PATENAUDE, author of A Wealth of Ideas: Revelations from the Hoover Institution Archives

 “Nearly fifty years after his death, Herbert Hoover returns as the ultimate revisionist historian, prosecuting his heavily documented indictment of US foreign policy before, during, and after the Second World War. Brilliantly edited by George Nash, Freedom Betrayed is as passionate as it is provocative. Many no doubt will dispute Hoover’s strategic vision. But few can dispute the historical significance of this unique volume, published even as Americans of the twenty-first century debate their moral and military obligations.”
    —RICHARD NORTON SMITH is a presidential historian and author, former director of several presidential libraries, and current scholar-in-residence at George Mason University.

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George H. Nash

George H. Nash is an historian, lecturer, and author of several books on the life of Herbert Hoover. Nash is also the editor of two posthumously published memoirs by Herbert Hoover: Freedom Betrayed and The Crusade Years. Nash received the Richard M. Weaver Prize for Scholarly Letters in 2008.


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Editor's Acknowledgements
Editor's Introduction
Editor's Note on Sources and Editting Methods


Some Notes on Family Life

CHAPTER 1      Family Life
CHAPTER 2      Recreation
CHAPTER 3      The Bohemian club Encampment
CHAPTER 4      The Passing of Mrs. Hoover


Crusades for Benevolent Institutions
CHAPTER 5      Crusading for Benevolent Institutions

The Crusade against Collectivism in American Life


CHAPTER 6      The Crusade against Collectivism to the Presidential Campaign of 1936
CHAPTER 7      The Crusade against Collectivism--Continued: the Party Conventions and Campaign of 1936
CHAPTER 8      The Crusade against Collectivism from the Landon Defeat until the Congressional Election 1938
CHAPTER 9      The Crusade against Collectivism from the Landon Defeat until the Congressional Election (Continued)
CHAPTER 10      The Crusade against Collectivism from the 1938 Congressional Election to the Presidential Election of 1940
CHAPTER 11      The Crusade against Collectivism from the Election of 1940 to the Presidential Campaign of 1944
CHAPTER 12      The Presidential Conventions and Campaigns of 1944
CHAPTER 13      The Crusade against Collectivism from the Presidential Election of 1944 to the Congressional Election of 1946
CHAPTER 14      The Crusade against Collectivism from the Presidential Election of 1946 to the Congressional Election of 1948
CHAPTER 15      The Crusade against Collectivism from the Presidential Election of 1950 to the Congressional Election of 1952
CHAPTER 16      The Continental Crusade after 1952

Editors Postcript to Part III

Appendix I
Other Crusades

Appendix II
Selected Documents Pertaining to Hoover's Crusade Book Project

About the Author and the Editor


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