Don’t declare war on the United States of America
While FDR was waging an undeclared war against Germany in the Battle of the Atlantic during most of 1941, Hitler acted scrupulously to avoid war with the United States, even ordering his U-boats not to return fire against U.S. Navy destroyers’ depth charging them. But following the expected Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, Hitler did an abrupt about-face and declared war on December 10, 1941 in his most foolish and avoidable mistake of the entire war. Hitler apparently did so in order to show solidarity with his Japanese allies, even though, in the end, Nazi Germany received absolutely no military benefit from their alliance with Japan. After all, Japan refused to open up a second front against the Soviet Union as Hitler had requested they do after Germany invaded the USSR. Japan even signed a Nonaggression Treaty with the Soviet Union on April 13, 1941, thereby allowing Stalin to transfer twenty-eight Red Army divisions from Siberia that proved invaluable in stopping the Germans from capturing Moscow. These divisions then participated in the subsequent Soviet counteroffensive against German forces from December 1941 to May 1942. Had Hitler not declared war on the United States, it is doubtful that Congress would have ever declared war on Nazi Germany even after Pearl Harbor. In declaring war against the mightiest industrial power on Earth at the time while already fighting a life or death struggle against the Soviet Union, which was the second strongest industrial power in the world before he made peace with Great Britain, Hitler effectively ended up signing Germany’s death warrant.
David T. Pyne, Esq. is a former U.S. Army combat arms and H.Q. staff officer with an M.A. in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He currently serves as a Vice President of the Association of the United States Army’s Utah Chapter and as Utah Director of the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security. He can be reached at [email protected]. This article first appeared in 2019 and is reprinted here due to reader interest.
Image: Bundesarchiv / Wikimedia Commons