December 11, 1941: Germany and Italy Declare War on the US

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In a marathon speech before the German Reichstag on December 11, 1941, Chancellor Adolf Hitler declared war on America.  The tone of the speech is indicated in its closing paragraphs:

Ever since my last peace proposal of July 1940 was rejected, we have realized that this struggle has to be fought out to its last implications. That the Anglo-Saxon-Jewish-Capitalist World finds itself now in one and the same Front with Bolshevism does not surprise us National Socialists: we have always found them in company. We have concluded the struggle successfully inside Germany and have destroyed our adversaries after 16 years struggle for power. When, 23 years ago, I decided to enter political life and to lift this nation out of its decline, I was a nameless, unknown soldier. Many among you know how difficult were the first few years of this struggle. From the time when the Movement consisted of seven men, until we took over power in January 1933, the path was so miraculous that only Providence itself with its blessing could have made this possible.


Today I am at the head of the strongest Army in the world, the most gigantic Air Force and of a proud Navy. Behind and around me stands the Party with which I became great and which has become great through me. The enemies I see before me are the same enemies as 20 years ago, but the path along which I look forward cannot be compared with that on which I look back. The German people recognizes the decisive hour of its existence millions of soldiers do their duty, millions of German peasants and workers, women and girls, produce bread for the home country and arms for the Front. We are allied with strong peoples, who in the same need are faced with the same enemies. The American President and his Plutocratic clique have mocked us as the Have-nots-that is true, but the Have-nots will see to it that they are not robbed of the little they have.


You, my fellow party members, know my unalterable determination to carry a fight once begun to its successful conclusion. You know my determination in such a struggle to be deterred by nothing, to break every resistance which must be broken. In September 1939 I assured you that neither force nor arms nor time would overcome Germany. I will assure my enemies that neither force of arms nor time nor any internal doubts, can make us waver in the performance of our duty. When we think of the sacrifices of our soldiers, any sacrifice made by the Home Front is completely unimportant. When we think of those who in past centuries have fallen for the Reich, then we realize the greatness of our duty. But anybody who tries to evade this duty has no claim to be regarded in our midst as a fellow German. Just as we were unmercifully hard in our struggle for power we shall be unmercifully hard in the struggle to maintain our nation. At a time when thousands of our best men are dying nobody must expect to live who tries to depreciate the sacrifices made at the Front. Immaterial under what camouflage he tries to disturb this German Front, to undermine the resistance of our people, to weaken the authority of the regime, to sabotage the achievements of the Home Front, he shall die for it! But with the difference that this sacrifice brings the highest honour to the soldier at the Front, whereas the other dies dishonoured and disgraced. Our enemies must not deceive themselves-in the 2,000 years of German history known to us, our people have never been more united than today. The Lord of the Universe has treated us so well in the past years that we bow in gratitude to a providence which has allowed us to be members of such a great nation. We thank Him that we also can be entered with honour into the ever-lasting book of German history!

FDR might have been able to convince Congress to declare War on Germany eventually, but Hitler acting first relieved him of the necessity.  Congress declared War on Germany within hours after the news reached the US of the German Declaration of war:

Joint Resolution Declaring That a State of War Exists Between The Government of Germany and the Government and the People of the United States and Making Provisions To Prosecute The Same

Whereas the Government of Germany has formally declared war against the Government and the people of the United States of America:

Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of war between the United States and the Government of Germany which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Government of Germany; and, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States.

(Signed) Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives

(Signed) H. A. Wallace, Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate

Approved December 11, 1941 3:05 PM E.S.T.

(Signed) Franklin D. Roosevelt

No doubt the most pleased and relieved man was Winston Churchill, who regarded the attack on Pearl Harbor as the event that saved Great Britain.  Here are his comments on what he felt after the attack:

No American will think it wrong of me if I proclaim that to have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. I could not foretell the course of events. I do not pretend to have measured accurately the martial might of Japan, but now at this very moment I knew the United States was in the war, up to the neck and in to the death. So we had won after all! Yes, after Dunkirk; after the fall of France; after the horrible episode of Oran; after the threat of invasion, when, apart from the Air and the Navy, we were an almost unarmed people; after the deadly struggle of the U-boat war — the first Battle of the Atlantic, gained by a hand’s breadth; after seventeen months of lonely fighting and nineteen months of my responsibility in dire stress, we had won the war. England would live; Britain would live; the Commonwealth of Nations and the Empire would live. How long the war would last or in what fashion it would end, no man could tell, nor did I at this moment care. Once again in our long Island history we should emerge, however mauled or mutilated, safe and victorious. We should not be wiped out. Our history would not come to an end. We might not even have to die as individuals. Hitler’s fate was sealed. Mussolini’s fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder. All the rest was merely the proper application of overwhelming force. The British Empire, the Soviet Union, and now the United States, bound together with every scrap of their life and strength, were, according to my lights, twice or even thrice the force of their antagonists. No doubt it would take a long time. I expected terrible forfeits in the East; but all this would be merely a passing phase. United we could subdue everybody else in the world. Many disasters, immeasurable cost and tribulation lay ahead, but there was no more doubt about the end.


Silly people — and there were many, not only in enemy countries — might discount the force of the United States. Some said they were soft, others that they would never be united. They would fool around at a distance. They would never come to grips. They would never stand blood-letting. Their democracy and system of recurrent elections would paralyze their war effort. They would be just a vague blur on the horizon to friend or foe. Now we should see the weakness of this numerous but remote, wealthy, and talkative people. But I had studied the American Civil War, fought out to the last desperate inch. American blood flowed in my veins. I thought of a remark which Edward Grey had made to me more than thirty years before — that the United States is like “a gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can generate.” Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.”

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  1. Yes Churchill was probably thankful; he Embroiled GB in a war with Germany that should have never been and now he was rescued, not by Japan but by FDR who had declared an unofficial war on Germany years before. FDR used lies and propaganda to whip up the American people into fearing Germany, when fear was not justified.
    List the wars that USA presidents have unnecessarily involved the USA in and it is sickening. From Lincoln to Bush it is a constant parade of wars, all for nothing.
    The USA would have been much better off if GB had never entered the war and Germany was allowed to defeat Russia, if it was able. Germany would have been much easier to deal with than the USSR.
    We were drawn into the war because GB could not accept Germany being more powerful than GB. Of course now GB is a basket case and Germany is the most powerful country in Western Europe.

  2. “he Embroiled GB in a war with Germany that should have never been”

    Complete rubbish, unless you think that Great Britain should have stood by idle as the Nazis dominated Europe. Additionally Churchill was not in the Chamberlain government when it declared war on Germany.

    “who had declared an unofficial war on Germany years before”

    Every step that FDR took against Nazi Germany was supported by a majority of the American people who recognized the threat posed to the world by the Third Reich.

    “FDR used lies and propaganda to whip up the American people into fearing Germany,”

    Rubbish. No lies or propaganda were needed as the truth about the Third Reich was nightmarish enough.

    “From Lincoln to Bush it is a constant parade of wars, all for nothing.”
    Preserving the Union and ending slavery was nothing? Pursuing justice against the perpetrators of 9-11 was nothing? What a truly warped view of American history you possess.

    “Germany would have been much easier to deal with than the USSR.”

    Yes, I can imagine how reasonable Hilter would have been with nuclear armed ICBMs at his disposal.

  3. To: Donald R. McClarey
    A book that helped me understand Germany and the 500 years of history preceding WWII is Christopher Clark’s “Iron Kingdom”; which is about the history of Prussia (and Germany). The book helped understand what was happening in Germany in WWI and WWII.
    Another book that helped me understand what was going on in the USA before WWI and WWII and the part that FDR played in getting us into WWII is “The Jewish Threat; Anti-Semitic Politics of the U. S. Army” by Joseph W. Bendersky.
    To: Mike
    I have never heard of Thomas Woods.

  4. Randy you could have read a million books and the points you were trying to make would still be without historical validity. Nazi Germany was an extremely aggressive state with a horrific agenda for the world. It had to be stopped and thanks to men like Churchill, FDR and tens of millions of others it was.

  5. Sure, FDR manipulated the press to get what he wanted. That was just the way things were done back then. Had FDR decided that the US should sit the war out, it’s unlikely that the machinations he would have used with regard to the press would have been any more honest. So I am not sure why that point is particularly relevant.


    That being said, I am sympathetic to the question of what it was all for, ultimately. For example, if Hitler had been allowed to prevail, and had succeeded in his early designs to exile all the Reich’s Jews to Madagascar, or someplace like that, we would consider it today a horrific act of injustice, and there would be no end to the hand-wringing over how we could have allowed such an atrocity to be perpetrated. But how much better that would have been, in hindsight, than the 6 million Jewish corpses (not to mention the tens of millions of Gentiles, as if their deaths were any less of a loss) we were left with instead.


    In any case, it was the Axis that attacked the US at Pearl Harbor, the previous Sunday. Any president who would have let an attack on American soil go unanswered is a work of libertarian fiction. Griping about FDR and what he did to pull the nation into war, without once mentioning Tojo — really, what kind of an argument is that?

  6. “Donald, actually I was recommending the books for you to read.”

    I guess I could add them to my list of the dozens of history I have read of Germany and Prussia and the thirty or so studies of anti-Semitism in America I have read, but the books as described do not advance the argument you were making.

  7. “if Hitler had been allowed to prevail, and had succeeded in his early designs to exile all the Reich’s Jews to Madagascar,”

    Never would have happened HA. Hitler viewed Jews as a plague bacillus quite literally, and he wanted them all dead. During the War of course the term “resettlement” was used as a euphemism for Jews marked for transport to death camps. The Holocaust involved huge transport at a time when the Reich needed every ounce of transport for military use and to keep civilian industries supplied. The Holocaust hurt the German war effort, but it occurred because killing Jews quite simply was Hitler’s highest priority. The War gave Hitler an excuse to carry out his heart’s desire.

    In Hitler’s last testament he obliquely referred to what he had accomplished:

    “Three days before the outbreak of the German-Polish war I again proposed to the British ambassador in Berlin a solution to the German-Polish problem — similar to that in the case of the Saar district, under international control. This offer also cannot be denied. It was only rejected because the leading circles in English politics wanted the war, partly on account of the business hoped for and partly under influence of propaganda organized by international Jewry.

    I have also made it quite plain that, if the nations of Europe are again to be regarded as mere shares to be bought and sold by these international conspirators in money and finance, then that race, Jewry, which is the real criminal of this murderous struggle, will be saddled with the responsibility. I further left no one in doubt that this time not only would millions of children of Europe’s Aryan peoples die of hunger, not only would millions of grown men suffer death, and not only hundreds of thousands of women and children be burnt and bombed to death in the towns, without the real criminal having to atone for this guilt, even if by more humane means.”

  8. However vile and lethal Hitler’s plans for German Jewry, I suspect most historians would agree that they became progressively more murderous and pressing as time went on. You are free to speculate as to how little the Final Solution would have been altered, had Hitler decided to focus on other matters first, or to start with exile. I am speculating as well. But to pretend any inevitability on that matter amidst all that chaos is as unconvincing as Randy’s selective omissions. Obviously, there is no realistic scenario in which the Jews would have fared well, but even if they had endured the war with, say, a million dead, what a perversely happy atrocity that would have been in comparison with what actually transpired. Then again, there were 12 million other Jews in Europe that Hitler did not reach, but possibly might have done in some alternate scenario, and that, too, should be taken into account.

  9. I find two kinds of people on the internet very annoying. One kind are internet atheists. Internet atheists have a peculiar quality in making themselves obnoxious. They blame all of the world’s problems and faults on religion. Atheist regimes liquidated over 100 million people but they are oblivious to it.

    The other group I find very annoying are those that blame Jews for everything. In that group is a subset of libertarian isolationists who blame Churchill, FDR and Poland for WWII and blame everybody but Germany for WWI. Buchananites and devotees of Lew Rockwell frequent that subset. The world would be a better place if that bunch kept their opinions to themselves.

    Hitler was a madman who wanted Jews dead and hated Poland for 1) throwing Germans out of Greater Poland in 1918-19, 2) Poland had use of Gdansk (Danzig) as an international city and 3) Poland wasn’t about to give Hitler a corridor to Prussia, which was Polish territory in centuries past.

  10. FDR used lies and propaganda to whip up the American people into fearing Germany, when fear was not justified.

    …Right, the guys killing their own people and making lady’s gloves of their skin were totally nothing to worry about. (One of the risks of letting a 13 year old run around the library at will is that she might actually read some of the books, especially if there are a lot of odd, old pictures.)


    And the Japanese were just misunderstood, I suppose?


    However vile and lethal Hitler’s plans for German Jewry, I suspect most historians would agree that they became progressively more murderous and pressing as time went on.

    I seem to remember that the killing of the disabled started as quickly as they could manage; does that account for ramping up time?

  11. I seem to remember that the killing of the disabled started as quickly as they could manage; does that account for ramping up time?


    Pretty much. We (i.e. “civilized never-again West”) has had legalized abortion for several decades, and have since moved on to killing certain sick people. That did not happen overnight. People generally have to be conditioned into murdering their countrymen, and the transformation is not instantaneous. If tomorrow, or in 50 years, we move on to killing unwanted minority groups, or with even more certainty, newborns who are officially stamped as ‘flawed’, there will no doubt be people yelling “Called it!” and claiming that was the plan along, but the world is simply not that predictable or inevitable, no matter what the conspiracy theorists and the truthers claim. Moreover, the specific trajectory towards that Armageddon will matter, and will be worth fighting over.


    The was a fairly detailed operation. Those who claim that it was always just a euphemism or way-station to the Holocaust are gifted with nothing as much as 20/20 hindsight. Was it always in the back of Hitler’s mind if plan A did not pan out? Quite possibly. But then, was Hitler somehow destined to survive Stauffenberg’s bomb? Was Operation Barbarossa’s bull’s eye trajectory into the Russian winter an inevitability? History does not work that way. The fact is, the outcome of a world war – especially one instigated by the minds of madmen – is a chaotic affair, and sorting out what happened is hard enough. Sorting out what might have happened is harder still.

  12. I have been reading all the good comments and I will add one more comment, based on the comments I have read. This is a good site, as the comments are a little different than the Breitbart comments.
    I have been reading this site every day for over a year and have enjoyed it very much.
    I believe the WWII generation and the next generation are still in the afterglow of beliefs popular during WWII. With the passage of time, Germany from 1900-1945 can be assessed in a colder light. I believe this is important for one reason; if we make Germany the “other” there is a danger that we in the USA will not recognize the similarities between Germany and the USA. If Germans and Hitler were “crazy”, then we are not obliged to look at our behavior that is similar or even worse.
    The movie “Expelled” has a saying from a Jew Professor; “it always starts the same way”. The road to the dark side always starts the same way, I think was his meaning.
    We live in a country that has murdered over fifty million of our unborn children. Hitler never did anything close to that. Which country is worse?
    Nazi Germany was evil in many ways, but not in ways that were markedly different from previous wars in the history of Mankind. Germany had been fighting for survival since the sixteenth century; it was attacked by its neighbors repeatedly for four-hundred years. It was fearful of Russia, was concurred by Napoleon, fearful of a more powerful Austria, etc. Read the book “The Iron Kingdom” for a good history review of Prussia. Prussia was the heart of Germany, with Berlin, as the most important city of the Kingdom. Much of our modern world ideas came from Prussia; Prussia was not warlike or backwards, but advanced and modern.
    Germany was defeated in WWI and laid in ruin, the people were starving. Hitler offered a way forward. Hitler made many mistakes and did evil things, but no more evil than what the allies did during the war.
    The war was not about right and wrong, but about who would end up with the power. In this the USA was complicit. Just as Lincoln did during his war, FDR excited the USA citizens and raised the fears of the USA by painting the Germans as the bad guys; just as every president has done in the USA, in time of war.
    My point is that we should look at our actions and not backwards at Nazi Germany, twisting the actions of Nazi Germany to make ourselves look better, in our own eyes.

  13. “We live in a country that has murdered over fifty million of our unborn children. Hitler never did anything close to that. Which country is worse?”

    Actually Hitler was in favor of abortion for non-Aryans.

    Here is what he said about abortion in the conquered Eastern territories:

    “They may use contraceptives or practice abortion–the more the better. In view of the large families of the native population, it could only suit us if girls and women there had as many abortions as possible. Active trade in contraceptives ought to be actually encouraged in the Eastern territories, as we could not possibly have the slightest interest in increasing the non-Germanic population.”

    In the concentration camps pregnant women were often forcibly aborted. Women arriving with infants were always sent to the gas chambers. Of course Hitler was in favor of euthanasia for the “unfit”, Aryan and non-Aryan. Bishop Von Galen, the Lion of Munster, spoke out about this:

  14. “Nazi Germany was evil in many ways, but not in ways that were markedly different from previous wars in the history of Mankind”

    Wrong, the industrial genocide in cold blood of Nazi Germany was something new to human history, especially perpetrated by a nation that held itself to be the most civilized and cultured in Europe. The Nazis were not barbarians off the steppe, but the products of an advanced society that decided to adopt mass murder against helpless individuals as a strategic policy. Hitler viewed race as the fulcrum of civilization and he was determined to eradicate those he deemed to be inferior or threatening.

  15. “Hitler made many mistakes and did evil things, but no more evil than what the allies did during the war.”
    The Western Allies ran no death camps and after the War put West Germany on the road to democracy and prosperity. We know from his musings what Hitler intended if he had won the war: a nightmare without end for the vanquished except in mass death.

  16. “by painting the Germans as the bad guys;”

    The Nazis were the “bad guys”, and if you do not understand that, you need to take a very long look in the mirror. Any more comments attempting to argue that Hitler and the Nazis were not so bad will be deleted by me, and you will be banned from this site. First and last warning.

  17. Good on you, Don. Sure the US is imperfect and the scourge of abortion is scandalous, but I’ve heard and read about all I can stand of the old and sophomoric moral equivalency excuse.

  18. Hitler made many mistakes and did evil things, but no more evil than what the allies did during the war.


    Yeah, I was set to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you lost me there. Mistakes were made and evil things were done? Is that really the best you can do?


    For what it’s worth, I do understand the need to second-guess the past. I think it takes a psychotic amount of smugness and self-satisfaction to reflect on the tens of millions who died in WII and not wonder, “was there no other way to come through this?” But as noted previously, the path-not-taken approach to WWII has been corrupted by that treacherous and deceitful race of people who have for centuries stirred up dissension and enmity among any who were unfortunate enough to be in their presence. I am speaking, of course, about anti-Semites. You have apparently lost sight of that. In any case, I know a fair bit about the rapes and massacres of Germans and their collaborators by the victors, and the fact that a number of survivors of the Nazi camps committed suicide only when they learned they would be sent to the Soviet Union’s gulags, which makes you wonder which camps were worse. If you want to argue that Stalin (or the revenge-berserking Allied vets or partisans raping pillaging their way through Alsace and Germany) were just as bad as Hitler, I think you could make a compelling case. But you should also remember it was Hitler that turned the Soviets into Allies, just as it was Tojo that brought the US into the war. More importantly, that moral equivalence net only stretches so far.

  19. The fact is that by 1900 or so, governments were experimenting and progressive measures were being implemented in all those countries. But Hitler stands out for his murderous rage and sectarian monstrosities. In terms of numbers, I think we can safely say a couple of other leaders exceeded him in their number of killings. But history is not taught in a vacuum. Westerners teach a value-laden history that leans in the direction they see as ‘the wave of the future’. Hitler’s version seemed the most barbaric and reactionary, and I think that’s why he remains the most hated. He wasn’t the only heartless ‘engineer’ of the twentieth century, however.

  20. I survived the horrible change of teaching History in school to Social Studies. I was decieved on a ton of information. Including the understanding of NAZI Germany being a Socialist Party. I left school believing they were a pro-capitalist movement. How is that? I received more education as time wnet on and had the ability to read on my own… Consequently I came back to the Church and needed a new lesson in my religion as well. – still learning thanks for the information above.

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