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Republic or Empire?

“Remember Pearl Harbor” was a phrase familiar to everyone I knew growing up.  In a sneak attack, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor!  This was a dastardly, despicable act.  A sneak attack!  The politically correct today like to say “surprise attack,” but that is something done in time of war.  The Japanese attacked without a declaration of war.  Dirty, craven, unforgivable.  The Japanese thought their sneak attack was clever, daring, bold.  They were going to knock us out of the war before it began.  We were a threat to their dreams of conquest on the Asian mainland and in the Pacific.  What better than a preemptive strike?  It was not without precedent.  The Japanese had launched a sneak attack against the Russian Pacific fleet at Port Arthur on the Liaotung Peninsula in Manchuria in 1904.  The similarities between Port Arthur and Pearl Harbor are eerily striking.

Although President Franklin D. Roosevelt may have had different ideas, the American people wanted nothing to do with the war in Europe or in China until Pearl Harbor.  Gallup started taking their first polls in the late 1930’s, and consistently—right up until December 7, 1941—70 percent or more of the American people wanted no American involvement in Europe or the Orient.  From 1935 through 1939, Congress passed a series of Neutrality Acts, signed by the President,...

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