I know that FOX News and Sean Hannity are usually “fair and balanced” but it seems to me that this report about corrupt liberal elite academics and their biased textbooks is missing some important elements of investigative journalism – specifically, the investigative part. I’ve never heard of Prof. Larry Schweikart or his new book about how liberals are destroying all that is good about American history. I’m sure it’s filled with all kinds of examples, but what I find curious is that there is no attempt to confirm anything in this FOX report. It should come as no surprise that I came across this video over at Richard Williams’s site. It should also come as no surprise that Mr. Williams fails to include any commentary concerning the claims made in this video. One must assume he believes the report to be an accurate reflection of the most popular history textbooks that are currently being used across America. It certainly conforms to his own assumptions about higher education.
At one point Schweikart claims that most college textbooks claim that President Roosevelt and the federal government knew that the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor, but failed to act on that information. Since the report fails to include one textbook reference it is impossible to connect the individual claims to a specific textbook. I will start with my own left leaning textbook authored by Eric Foner. We all know that Eric Foner is one of the most popular of the liberal academics out there so his book should be helpful.
To this day, conspiracy theories abound suggesting that FDR knew of the attack and did nothing to prevent it so as to bring the United States into the war. No credible evidence supports this charge. Indeed, with the country drawing ever closer to intervention in Europe, Roosevelt hoped to keep the peace in the Pacific. (p. 850 in Give Me Liberty!)
Confrontation with Japan now looked likely. U.S. intelligence had broken the Japanese diplomatic code, and the president knew that Japan was preparing for war against the western powers. Roosevelt’s advisers expected an attack in the southern Pacific or British Malaya sometime after November: General Douglas MacArthur alerted his command in the Philippines. (p. 755)
Roosevelt had an advantage in the negotiations with Japan, for the United States had broken the Japanese secret diplomatic code. But Japanese intentions were hard to decipher from the intercepted messages. The American leaders knew that Japan planned to attack, but they didn’t know where. In September 1941, the Japanese decided to strike sometime after November unless the United States offered real concessions. The strike came not in the Philippines but at Pearl Harbor, the main American Pacific naval base, in Hawaii. (p. 810)
And finally, let’s consider what is arguably the most popular college-prep textbook of the past few decades:
Officials in Washington, having “cracked” the top-secret code of the Japanese, knew that Tokyo’s decision was for war. But the United States, as a democracy committed to public debate and action by Congress, could not shoot first. Roosevelt, misled by Japanese ship movements in the Far East, evidently expected the blow to fall on British Malaya or on the Philippines. No one in high authority in Washington seems to have believed that the Japanese were either strong enough or foolhardy enough to strike Hawaii. (p. 871)
I have five additional textbooks on my shelf that fall into line with what I’ve already referenced. Perhaps tomorrow I will check out one or two additional claims made by this individual. Click here for a review of Schweikart’s own texbook.