The Myths of European-American History: WWII

· World War II

The Myths of European/American History: WW II

Chapter 1

Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) declared, “Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) was the greatest American friend we (British) have ever known,” and later also said, “Roosevelt was the saviour of Europe.” High praise indeed, and accepted by most people, but was that the true sentiments of Churchill or was it said with tongue in cheek? Were Roosevelt’s actions and motives altruistic or did he have selfish national motives? Was Roosevelt a well informed and wise President, or did he make decisions based on biased and insufficient information thus making some serious errors of judgement? We will attempt to look at Roosevelt’s legacy in the light of today’s problems resulting from those decisions.

The Legend

“The legend of the great democratic leaders, Roosevelt and Churchill, working together like true friends to vanquish the fascist forces is a powerfully appealing one. No one did more to promote it than Britain’s indomitable wartime prime minister both in his moving tribute at Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s death and in his influential memoirs to the American president who had aided him in the darkest hours of Hitler’s onslaught. Roosevelt was “the greatest American friend we have ever known,”  who Churchill later deemed the”saviour of Europe.” The destroyer-for-bases deal, the Atlantic charter, Lend-Lease, the amazing Anglo-American military cooperation, and the unprecedented collaboration on the Manhattan Project revealed the substance behind the legend. The leaders’ extraordinary wartime correspondence revealed the extent of their partnership. The marvellous anecdotes told of the Roosevelt-Churchill friendship gave it an almost magical quality. Rare (I think) are the episodes among international statesmen that would bring one to the bedroom of the other to share an inspiration aimed at expressing the common purpose of the allies only to find the other emerging from his bath. Yet in Harry Hopkins’s familiar story, Roosevelt came to Churchill’s room to share his phrase “United Nations” only to discover the newly bathed cherubic Englishman “stark naked and gleaming pink.” He apologised and undertook to return later only to have Churchill assure him that there was no need to go because “the prime minister of Great Britain has nothing to conceal from the President of the United States.” [1]

The above legend, ” Roosevelt was “the greatest American friend we have ever known,” who Churchill later deemed “THE SAVIOUR OF EUROPE,” was and is believed by the majority of Americans and also by most people throughout the world. However, this was what was perpetuated by some historians but it is far from the truth, although that rhetoric was and is still believed by most ordinary people to this day. The truth is still largely swept under the carpet and the legend continues. So let us dig into history and look at the facts of historical evidence and documents that is largely unknown to most Americans as well the general universal public.

In this study we attempt to fathom the cause and effect of the contributions of these great leaders, Franklin D. Roosevelt or Winston S. Churchill and to see how decisions made in then continues to affect our historical events of today. Some of these decisions, closes some chapters but opens other chapters but the effects on our lives is significant and irreversible.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Vision and Perceptions

Roosevelt, as with most American Presidents, was guided largely by the American Constitution and the War of Independence and thus his perceptions and decisions were based on his personal perception of European history and traditions. His sense of ethics and justice was based on the Constitution, American history, and the biographies of past presidents like Abraham Lincoln, and is clearly reflected in his “Four Freedoms” when he spoke to Congress on January 5th, 1941  in which he promoted the Atlantic Charter.

Roosevelt’s 4 Freedoms

“(1)  The first freedom is of Speech and expression—everywhere in the world.
(2)  The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.
(3)  The third freedom is from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.
(4)  The forth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbour—anywhere in the world.” [2]

It is obvious that Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms and the Atlantic Charter were influenced by the same principles as those found in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. It was not unique. He wanted to extend the vision of American Democracy to the world.

Roosevelt cunningly manoeuvred Churchill into sign the Atlantic Charter as a condition of supporting Britain in the war but this was intended to commit Britain to the dismantling of the British Empire. The Atlantic Charter spells it out clearly the intent of the document.

The Atlantic Charter

“The President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, representing His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, being met together, deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world.

First, their countries seek no aggrandizement, territorial or other;

Second, they desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned;

Third, they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them;

Fourth, they will endeavour, with due respect for their existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity;

Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labour standards, economic advancement and social security;

Sixth, after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want;

Seventh, such a peace should enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance;

Eighth, they believe that all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well as spiritual reasons must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Since no future peace can be maintained if land, sea or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten, aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential. They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measure which will lighten for peace-loving peoples the crushing burden of armaments.
Signed on Aug.14, 1945 by:

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Winston S. Churchill”  [4]

At a conference held in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 1, 1942, the 26 governments then at war with the Axis powers declared that they “subscribed to a common program of purposes and principles embodied in the joint declaration . . . known as the Atlantic Charter.” The statement embodying this adherence to the charter, called the UN Declaration, was later signed by most of the free nations of the world and formed the basis of the UN organization established at San Francisco in April–June 1945. [4a]

“Roosevelt had a mercurial temperament. He relied heavily on the force of his personality than on the force or consistency of his ideas, and in this sense there resides some insight in the remark attributed to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that Roosevelt possessed a first-class temperament but only a second class intellect. FDR avoided arduous study of complex issues and chose not to outline detailed plans. Instead, a keen intuition and reliance on  his brilliant political instincts powered his pragmatism and helped him dominate the American domestic landscape for over a decade.” [1]

These characteristics will later show up as the reasons why some of his policies led to subsequent complications for his ultimate vision of the new world order. Roosevelt’s perception of his world order was based entirely on his limited American historical precedence. He could not fully appreciate the relationships of different cultures, and concepts of European thought based on their longer and exposure to international geo-politics and cultural diversities.

“Other dimensions of the Rooseveltian vision remained more problematic. His hopes for China’s advance and colonialism’s demise seemed far from fruition in the early months of 1945. His cavalier elevation of China to major power status had not been matched by any notable improvement in that nation’s political or military strength. Nonetheless, with a certain patronizing air FDR treated Chiang Kai-shek as a significant leader and met with him at Cairo in 1943. He still hoped that China would emerge after the war as the significant regional power in Asia.

Roosevelt felt deeply his opposition to colonialism. Historian Warren Kimball insightfully noted that he (Roosevelt) held the “consistent position that colonialism, not communism, was the -ism that most threatened postwar peace and stability.” This put him at significant odds with Winston Churchill. The two leaders most certainly “did not march to the same drumbeat” as Averell Harriman correctly recalled, for”Roosevelt enjoyed thinking aloud on the tremendous changes he saw ahead – the end of colonial empires and the rise of newly independent nations across the sweep of Africa and Asia,” a trend which he intended to promote.” [1]

From the historical point of view dating back to the founding fathers, America has always demonised the stranglehold of both Monarchy and the Church so much so that it was incorporated in the American Constitution as well as their political psyche. This perception has percolated through the educational system till all citizens have the same dread of Federal or Church control of the people. Hence the insistence of,”Government of the people, for the people, by the people” remains as alive today as with their forefathers. This is also the reason secularism is so strongly entrenched in the principles of American government. [Fear of the stranglehold of the Church as observed in medieval Europe.] However, what may have been the prevaling criteria when America was founded may have serious flaws in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will examine this statement later.

Chapter 2
The Legend Examined

To appreciate the complexity of Franklin Roosevelt’s mind let us examine the words of Wilson D. Miscamble:

” Roosevelt’s various aides and advisers gave the new president conflicting views of his predecessor’s intentions.”

In light of the considerable disagreements among the president’s advisers, it is hardly surprising that historians have differed fiercely over the broad direction of Roosevelt’s foreign policy and its sagacity and over his preferred course of action at the time of his death. The same policy maker warmly praised by  some historians as the “ultimate realist’ who never understood either ‘the Soviet or international relations.” The intensity of the debate over Roosevelt’s foreign policy shows little sign of abating as works continue to appear defending or criticizing his record.

Much of the disagreement regarding the state of American foreign policy at the time of Roosevelt’s death results from the fact that it was so integrally linked to and was indeed an expression of an elusive figure, namely Franklin Roosevelt himself. The squire of Hyde Park stands in many ways as a worthy rival to the master of Monticello for the title of “American Sphinx.” He is a “Protean figure,” as William Leuchtenburgwould have it, whose various forms make him all at once “the best loved, most hated, most influential, most enigmatic” of modern American Presidents. Yet Roosevelt’s place in American history rests secure and unshakable as a great leader in peace and war, an indisputable title, a brilliant political practitioner, and the measuring rod for all subsequent presidents. In the depths of depression, he helped restore to an almost despairing nation real hope and energy with his New Deal measures  and his memorable assurance that the only thing to be feared was fear itself. He overcame the powerful forces of American isolationism and unilateralism in the years from 1939 to 1941, and supported Great Britain and the Soviet Union in their deathly struggle against Hitler’s Germany. After Pearl Harbour, he convinced the American people that they faced a truly global challenge that required the defeat of both Germany and Japan. He led a unified nation through to the brink of ultimate victory in the greatest armed conflict in history and served in the words of his friend Felix Frankfurter as “a symbol of hope for liberty-loving people everywhere in resisting a seemingly invincible challenge to civilization.” His extraordinary confidence, optimism, and ebullience shone through like a beacon giving light to help lesser mortals find their way.

Yet, when examining Roosevelt’s portrait more closely and beyond the broad-brush strokes formed by his buoyant leadership of his nation through the Depression and the Second World War, his picture becomes more blurred, the exact nature of his accomplishments more debatable, and his enigmatic features impossible to avoid. Roosevelt might best be thought of as a remarkable exemplar of the ‘political fox” in action. He was never limited by any central conviction or purpose. Rather as a “magnificently resourceful improviser” and ” a virtuoso in the use of power,” he displayed during the New Deal a willingness to shift directions and to vary his methods without inhibition as circumstances required. FDR’s refusal to decide among various competing and in part contradictory approaches during the New Deal, such as vigorous enforcement of the anti-trust laws, or suspension of those laws and encouragement of business-government cooperation, or the creation of devices for centralized economic planning and management, illustrates well his mercurial style. He (Roosevelt relied more heavily on  the force of his personality than on the force or consistency of ideas, and in this sense there resides some insight in the remark attributed to Justice Oliver Wendell Holm that Roosevelt possessed a first-class temperament but only a second-class intellect. FDR avoided arduous study of complex issues and chose not to outline detailed plans. Instead, a keen intuition and reliance on his brilliant political instincts powered his pragmatism and helped him DOMINATE the American domestic landscape for over a decade.

Even though FDR’s policy commitments and purposes at times proved difficult to pin down, no observer ever doubted his mastery of the White House and his complete comfort with and confidence of his user of presidential power. His image of the presidential office, Richard Neustadt once astutely noted, “was himself-in-office.” No setback, not even the court-packing fiasco in 1937, appears to have dimmed his faith in his own judgement. His decision to run for third and forth terms probably owed as much to his inability to conceive of another occupant of the Oval Office as it did to the dangerous circumstances that convinced him of his indispensability to guide the American ship-of-state through stormy seas. He (FDR) dominated and sought to manipulate all those who served in his administration utilizing the practice of dividing authority and assigning overlapping responsibilities so as to pit subordinates against one another and so make himself the locus for all major decisions. (FDR was skilled at, “Divide and Rule.”) He relished moving outside establishment channels, and in diplomacy he seemed especially to enjoy overlooking State Department officials and foreign service professionals in favour of confidantes and personal emissaries like Harry Hopkins, Joseph Davies, and Averell Harriman.

Roosevelt’s keen desire to preserve his freedom of action led him often either to postpone decisions or to make them hastily without significant study regarding implications or consequences. [This was the major flaw in Roosevelt’s personality and the cause of future consequences, as I will show later. He made decisions without considering the final solution. This error is typical of American foreign policy even today. i.e. Iraq & Afghanistan are invaded but there are no prior plans for successful occupation and ultimate withdrawal. The just blunder on hoping that a solution evolves.] Both approaches would be evident in his wartime diplomacy. His self-assurance fuelled by his dual triumphs over personal affliction and political opposition allowed a style of decision making largely unburdened by notable coherence and coordination. Roosevelt admitted as much when in 1942 he described himself as “a juggler” who never let his right hand know what his left hand did. “I may have one policy for Europe,” he explained, “and one diametrically opposite for North and South America.” Conceding that ” I (FDR) may be entirely inconsistent, ” he also admitted that he would “mislead and tell untruths if it will help win the war.” His wiliness and use of deliberate deception certainly served him well in maintaining domestic support for his administration before and during the war. He proved perfectly willing to tolerate a seizable disjunction between his private plans and his public policy expressions.

Roosevelt’s personalization of his office and of American foreign policy made his juggler’s act an especially difficult one to follow, Truman possessed non of his predecessor’s nimbleness, nor did he desire to be such a solo or dominating performer. Roosevelt’s death therefore immediately and inevitably prompted a major change in the way in which foreign policy was formulated.”  [1]

Miscamble has compiled a side of Roosevelt that most of us are familiar with as quoted above, and it shows that Roosevelt had complete mastery of the White House, and over most of the people who served him. But what was the real driving force within Roosevelt? How much of Roosevelt’s drive was altruistic and how much was because of his hatred of British Imperialistic policies? Was he clear in his concepts or were they clouded from his limited and biased perceptions? Let us look at some records.

“There Will Not be Another World War”

Roosevelt formed a military alliance with Great Britain, to win the war against Hitler’s Third Reich, but he had plans to create a different world, after the war–A WORLD WITHOUT COLONIALISM. He was acutely aware of the danger, that unless colonialism were finally eradicated, another world war was virtually inevitable. Unfortunately, Roosevelt’s grand design for the creation of new, independent nations to populate the world, did not come to be, after the war, due to Truman’s capitulation to the British. [But the effect was time delayed.]
Roosevelt’s understanding of the threat posed to world peace by the continuation of imperialism, was recorded by his son Elliott in his book, “As He Saw It”. FDR told his son (Elliot),
“The colonial system means war. Exploit the resources of an India, a Burma, a Java; take all the wealth out of these countries, but never put anything back into them, things like education, decent standards of living, minimum health requirements–all you’re doing is storing up the kind of trouble that leads to war. All you’re doing is negating the value of any kind of organizational structure for peace before it begins.”

At the Casablanca conference in January of 1943, Roosevelt was even more emphatic:
“I’m talking about another war. I’m talking about what will happen to our world, if after this war we allow millions of people to slide back into the same semi-slavery! Don’t think for a moment, Elliot, that Americans would be dying in the Pacific tonight, if it hadn’t been for the short sighted greed of the French and the British and the Dutch. Shall we allow them to do it all, all over again? Your son will be about the right age, fifteen or twenty years from now.”
Roosevelt understood the danger that British imperial policies posed to the world, and he was acutely aware that he would have to deal with this threat, in a forceful manner, at the conclusion of the war. In 1942,Roosevelt quipped, prophetically, to one of his advisers:
“We will have more trouble with Great Britain after the war than we are having with Germany now” [2]

“An End to 18th Century Colonial Methods

Roosevelt knew quite well that Churchill would not like his determination to put an end to British colonialism and he told his son. Elliot:
“I think I speak as America’s President when I say that America won’t help England in this war simply so that she will be able to continue to ride roughshod over colonial peoples. I think that I can see there will be a little fur flying here and there, in the next few days.”
At Argentia in August 1941, Roosevelt confronted Churchill directly in their discussions when he (Roosevelt) told the British Prime Minister:
“These Empire trade agreements are a case in point. It’s because of them that the people of India and Africa, of all the colonialised Near East and Far East, are still as backward as they are.”
Chruchill,, with his neck reddened, responded:
“Mr. President, England does not propose for a moment to lose its favoured position among the British Dominions. The trade that made England great shall continue, and under conditions prescribed by England’s ministers.”‘

[Here Churchill openly mentions “trade that made England great” and “its (England’s) favoured position among the British Dominions” while Roosevelt has astutely avoided any mention of “England’s favoured position” but stressed on the altruistic aspects of the development of a backward peoples. But how much of Roosevelt’s intent was really to open up the sources of raw materials and markets to a fair competition for American access? Roosevelt persistently avoids the mention of free and open trade for American entry into the competition.]

Roosevelt replied slowly to Churchill, according to his son Elliot’s eye-witness account:
“You see, it is along in here somewhere that there is likely to be some agreement between you, Winston, and me. I am firmly of the belief that if we are going to arrive at a stable peace it must involve the development of backward countries, Backward peoples. How can this be done? It can’t be done by 18th-century methods.”
Churchill interrupted, “Who’s talking 18th-century methods?”
Roosevelt answered Churchill directly:
“Whichever of your ministers recommends a policy which takes wealth in raw materials out of a colonial country, but which returns nothing to the people of that country in consideration.”
Roosevelt continued to lecture the red-faced Churchill on “American System” economics:
“20th-century methods involve bringing industry to these colonies. 20th-century methods include increasing the wealth of a people by increasing their standard of living, by educating them, by bringing them sanitation–by making sure that they get a return for the raw wealth of their community.”‘
Assistant Secretary of State, Sumner Welles, one of Roosevelt’s key men, clearly reflected Roosevelt’s views on foreign policy. Welles, in his 1942 Memorial Day address, proclaimed that World War II would bring about an end to imperialism:
“If this war is, in fact, a war for liberation of peoples, it must assure sovereign equality of peoples throughout the world, as well as in the world of the Americas. Our victory must bring in its train the liberation of all peoples. Discrimination between peoples because of their race, creed, or color must be abolished. The age of imperialism is ended.”
Secretary of state Hull, two months later, echoed Well’s remarks:
“We have always believed–and we believe today that all peoples without distinction of race, colour, or religion, who are prepared and willing to accept the responsibilities of liberty, are entitled to its enjoyment.”
Churchill’s outlook during the war was, that upon an allied victory, the British Empire would be resurrected as the dominant power in the world, and this governed his relations with the emerging American superpower. Thus, the British knew that they needed the United States to win the war, but Churchill fought Roosevelt throughout the entire war to maintain every inch of Britain’s imperial possessions.
The American President, looked at the world from an entirely different hypothesis, one that saw the end of the war as synonymous with the end of all forms of oppression, and the beginning of a new era of development, especially for those countries who had suffered under colonial rule.” [2]
The above clearly are opposing views between the American perception and the European perception of the future of the world after WW II.
Chapter 3
Roosevelt’s Anti-Imperialist Alliance

Roosevelt knew the war had to be won with the British as allies, but his diplomacy, while he was conducting the war, was premised on the future, which his grand strategy embodied. After the war, he intended to bring into existence a new anti-imperialist alliance, which, unfortunately his untimely death, and the succession of Truman as President, tragically aborted. Roosevelt’s vision was to have a new alliance compromised of the United States, Russia, and China, the three most powerful nations, which did not have colonial possessions against the British, French, and Dutch colonial powers. Harry Hopkins, Roosevelt’s closest aide, reflected this aspect of the President’s thinking when he wrote:
“We simply cannot organize the world between the British and ourselves without bringing the Russians in as equal partners. For that matter, if things go well with Chiang Kai-shek, I would surely include the Chinese too.”
Militarily, the British were already weakened, which made the potential for the defeat of their Empire after the war, all the more feasible. A memorandum from the U.S. Joint Chiefs Strategic Survey Committee at the time made the following evaluation:
“As a military power, the British Empire in the postwar era will be in distinctly lower category than the United States and Russia. The primacy of the British Empire in the century before World War I, and her second-to-none position until World War II, have built up a traditional concept of British military power which the British will strive to profit by and maintain in the postwar era…. Both in an absolute sense and relative to the United States and Russia, the British will emerge from the war having lost ground both economically and militarily.”
Sumner Welles, looking at the world in 1946, concurred with this analysis:
“It was evident that Great Britain would be utterly exhausted upon conclusion of the war. These signs were already plain to all who cared to see them that the world order which must then be created would bring freedom to the colonial peoples, and that the liquidation of the British Empire was at hand. The British Commonwealth of Nations itself must undergo a profound transformation in the postwar period as a result of which the mother country’s position would become far less dominant.”
Roosevelt was acutely aware that, the United States would be in the dominant leadership position after the war, and would determine the character of the new, postwar, alliance against the imperial practices of the old colonial powers. (There are interesting parallels to the current strategic correlation of forces, and the decisive role that President Clinton and the United States must play in forging a “New Bretton Woods System” today).
FDR expressed this to his son Elliott, in the following way:
“Even our alliance with Britain holds dangers of making it seem to China and Russia that we support wholly the British line in international politics. The United States will have to lead, and use our good offices to conciliate … between Russia and England, in Europe; between the British Empire and China and between China and Russia, in the Far East. Britain is on the decline, China–still in the 18th century. Russia–suspicious of us…. America is the only great power that can make peace in the world stick.”
Roosevelt wanted Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek to know the sharp political and philosophical differences between the United States and the British. In reporting on his meeting with Stalin, he said that,
“the biggest thing was in making clear to Stalin that United States and Great Britain were not allied in one common bloc against the Soviet Union. I think we’ve got rid of that idea, once and for all. I hope so. The one thing that could upset the apple cart, after the war, is if the world is divided again, Russia against England and us.”
The central, anti-British nature of the alliance was made clear by the Chiang’s request for Roosevelt’s help to prevent the British from moving into Hong Kong and Shanghai, while Stalin also agreed to help Chiang against the British.
“The Chinese were very anxious that we agree not to show our air-maps to the British–in fact, they made us promise not to…. It’s not hard to appreciate their point of view. They’re aware that the British want to look at them for commercial reasons … commercial, postwar reasons.”
Elliott Roosevelt says that his father pointed “out that a majority of Chinese think more highly of Japanese colonial policies than they do of British or French or Dutch.” The Chinese were so fearful of renewed British imperialism after the war that Chiang Kai-shek pleaded with Roosevelt, “that when Japan is on her knees we make sure that no British warships come into Chinese ports.”
According to author James Burns:
“Roosevelt saw China as the kingpin in an Asiatic structure of newly independent and self-governing nations and hence as the supreme example and test of his strategy of freedom…. Roosevelt at least glimpsed the explosive energy lying dormant in the billion people of Asia.”
Roosevelt fully intended to force British Empire, along with the other imperialist powers to bend to a new era of progress in the second half of the 20th century. He told this to Elliott before the Yalta Conference:
“The point is that we are going to be able to bring pressure on the British to fall in line with ourthinking in relation to the whole colonial question. It’s all tied up in one package: the Dutch East Indies, French Indochina, India, British extraterritorial rights in China…. We’re going to be able to make this the 20th century after all, you watch and see!”
The British were well aware of Roosevelt’s organizing for this new alliance and were trying to gather support from other imperialist powers to help protect the integrity of their Empire and their colonial system prior to the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Leo Pasvolsky, the head of the postwar U.S. planning staff, who was involved in the pre-Yalta discussions, has this to say in response to Britain’s Colonial Secretary Stanley:
“The British position is clearly designed to win support from other states with colonies in order to offset the support which, they, anticipate, the United States will receive from the Soviet Union and China” (emphasis added).
Lord Beloff, reports that,
“in a dispatch in 1944, the British Ambassador, in analyzing the British-American tendency to view the United States, Russia, and China as the Great Powers of the future, and the unspoken assumption that the British Empire was falling apart … that the traditional attacks on colonialism and imperialism … were now again coming to the fore.”
The decisive issue for Roosevelt, which he had made repeatedly clear throughout the 1941-1945 period, was to rid the world of imperialist-colonial practices in the postwar era, and this was to be supervised by the three emerging non-colonial powers: the United States, Russia, and China.
As Louis reports:
“He found it easier to talk to Stalin and Chiang Kai-chek than Churchill about the future of the British Empire.”
Churchill knew this is what Roosevelt was working toward, and attacked this new alliance again after the Yalta Conference. Churchill was determined not to allow any international intervention to dismantle the Empire’s colonies. In March 1945, Churchill bellowed again:
“I should myself oppose … [that] which might well be pressed upon nations like Britain, France, Holland and Belgium, who have great colonial possessions, by the United States, Russia, and China who have none.”
The dividing line was clearly established.[2]

Roosevelt’s Vision Dies

On April 12, 1945 Franklin Delano Roosevelt died, and, tragically for humanity, the potential for a brighter postwar era died with him, as that “little man,” Harry Truman, took over the reigns of the U.S. Presidency. The British were confident that with Roosevelt’s death, the Empire would live on, and, to the detriment of civilization, it has (but only to a point). All Roosevelt’s plans to dismantle the British colonial empire along with the French, Dutch, and Belgium, and his vision of entering a new era of development, especially for the “colonial sector,” with the end of imperialist “18th century methods,” vanished, instantaneously, with his death.
The Russians also knew that without Roosevelt in the presidency, there was little chance of achieving the economic and political cooperation that Roosevelt had envisioned for the two superpowers after the war. The close relationship between Stalin and Roosevelt, that had developed at the Teheran and Yalta conferences was not going to be duplicated with Truman. The Cold War, the Iron Curtain, would not have happened had Roosevelt not died prematurely; the entire history of the postwar period would have been different. Commenting on the unique relationship between the United States and Russia after Roosevelt’s death, Welles put it bluntly:
“The Soviet authorities became persuaded that the United States was now far more under the influence of the British policy than she had hitherto shown herself to be.”
The fact that the United Nations now functions as the vehicle for implementing the policies of the British Commonwealth today, was not what Roosevelt had intended. Contrary to what the U.N. has become: the bastion of world government, responsible for enforcing the most brutal programs to destroy the sovereign nation-state in both the developed and undeveloped sectors, Roosevelt had other ideas. He wanted to use the U.N. for the stated purpose of his anti-imperialist alliance: to eliminate colonial practices throughout world, once and for all.

Roosevelt’s idea for the United Nations was not to set up a utopian world government of the type advocated by Bertrand Russell and his crowd, but rather, it was to create an extension of his war-time grand strategy. The U.N. had its origin in 1942, when 26 nations signed a declaration against the enemy Axis powers. In October of 1943, the United States, the USSR, the UK, and China agreed to establish an organization for peace and security at the earliest date. In the Fall of 1944, proposals were drawn up for the new organization, which were further discussed at Yalta Conference. In San Francisco, on April 25, 1945 (thirteen days after Roosevelt had died), 46 countries met, to draw up the Charter which was signed in June, and entered into force on October 24, 1945.
Unfortunately, the U.S. President at the time of the creation of the U.N., was Truman, who was easily manipulated by the British. Roosevelt’s idea was that the United Nations would be run by the “Big Four” (The United States, Russia, China, and the British), with Britain forced to bend to the principles of the Atlantic Charter and Roosevelt’s ideas of “20th century” methods of economic development for the “colonial sector.” His untimely death before the founding conference, however, robbed history of that brighter future.
Roosevelt’s intended purpose for the U.N. was clear, as he discussed it with Elliott:
“The Big Four–ourselves, Britain, China, and the Soviet Union–we’ll be responsible for the peace of the world after…. When we’ve won the war…. It is already high time for us to be thinking of the future, building for it. France, for example. France will have to take its rightful place in that organization. These great powers will have to assume the task of bringing education, raising the standards of living, improving health conditions–of all backward, depressed colonial areas of the world.”
Roosevelt had wanted to schedule a trip to England and talk directly to the British people,
“on the need for Britain to put its hopes of the future in the United Nations … and not just the British Empire and the British ability to get other countries to combine in some sort of bloc against the Soviet Union,”
reports Louis, in his book,The Transfer of Power in Africa.
With Truman as President, instead of Roosevelt, the British had little to fear. At the San Francisco meeting, previous American determination to rid the world of colonialism and its imperialist economics, “shifted gradually from one of dismantling the British Empire to one of giving it tacit support.” Under Truman, “the fire of anti-colonialism burned much less brightly within the United States government,” Louis observed.
As a result of the pro-British policies of Truman, the United States effectively turned its back on the world. The promise of Roosevelt’s grand strategy to rid the world of “18th century methods” was never kept, and civilization has suffered greatly. The abhorrent conditions of life in Africa today, the backwardness that exists in Asia, India, and elsewhere, the suffering of billions of people on this planet, are all the direct result of the change from Roosevelt’s anti-colonial policy to Truman’s acquiescence to the British Empire.
The United States under Truman turned its back on Roosevelt’s former allies. This view was confirmed by Elliott Roosevelt after the death of his father. He laments the broken promises that had been made by Roosevelt to the Chinese and Russians. After the war he said, “The first warships to enter Chinese ports were British warships…. Faced with a broken American promise, Chiang in turn broke his.”
Concerning Indochina he said:
“How often Father maintained that this colony, liberated in main part by American arms and American troops, should never be simply handed back to the French, to be milked by their imperialists as had been the case for decades. Yet when the British Colonial troops marched in, they took with them French troops and French administrators.” [2]

Henry A. Kissinger

Since the death of Roosevelt, the British have controlled large sections of U.S. policy-making institutions and have strongly influenced, if not at times, completely controlled, the office of the President. Henry Kissinger highlighted the fundamental antagonisms between the British and the American outlooks, as they existed in the differences between Churchill and Roosevelt, in his “Reflections on a Partnership: British and American Attitudes to Postwar Foreign Policy.” In this address, which Kissinger delivered in Commemoration of the Bicentenary of the Office of Foreign Secretary,” at London’s Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House on May 10, 1982, he noted the following:
“All accounts of the Anglo-American alliance during the Second World War and in the early postwar period draw attention to the significant differences in philosophy between Roosevelt and Winston Churchill reflecting our different histories …
“Many American leaders condemned Churchill as needlessly obsessed with power politics, too rigidly anti-Soviet, too colonialist in his attitude to what is called the Third World and too little interested in building a fundamentally new international order towards which American idealism has always tended …
“Franklin Roosevelt, on his return from the Crimean Conference in 1945, told the Congress of his hope that the postwar era would `spell the end of the system of unilateral action, the exclusive alliances, spheres of influence, the balance of power, and all the other expedients that have been tried for centuries–and have failed’ …
“Americans from Franklin Roosevelt onward believed that the United States with its `revolutionary’ heritage, was the natural ally of peoples struggling against colonialism; we could win the allegiance of these new nations by opposing and occasionally undermining our European allies in the areas of their colonial dominance. Churchill, of course resisted these American pressures.” (emphasis added)
This address, at the headquarters of the British Empire, is not only remarkable for Kissinger’s accurate account of the conflict between Churchill and Roosevelt, but also for the fact that he, of course, sided with Churchill against Roosevelt. Kissinger later on in his remarks, publicly admits his role as servant for the British Foreign Office, while serving as Secretary of State. [3]
As Kissinger makes the relevant point, the entire post-World War II period, which shaped every policy, fro every country, over the last fifty years, is nothing but a continuation of the 1941-1945 conflict between Churchill and Roosevelt, which, itself is a continuation of America’s successful War of Independence from Great Britain. The lives of the World War II generation, their children, the “Baby Boomer” generation, and their children known as “Generation X” have all been “determined” by this unresolved historical conflict: a conflict between the degenerate, oligarchical outlook of the British Empire, and the opposing, republican principles of the United States, as the leading sovereign nation-state in the world.
Roosevelt clearly knew there had to be end to colonial practices throughout the world, and that the leading institution promoting these inhuman policies, was the British Empire. Uniquely, Roosevelt had achieved the moral high ground, with the principles embodied in Atlantic Charter and his Four Freedoms.
As with most presidents, he had his weaknesses. Among them, was his refusal to publicly expose and denounce the colonial doctrine of the British Empire for fear of disrupting the war-time alliance between Great Britain and America. It was a mistake not to take on the British openly. Britain was no position to buck the United States on this question. Had he done so, he would have had the support of the majority of Americans, and the rest of the world as well.
Roosevelt personally ran United States foreign policy like a military commander. He (FDR) dictated the policy, and used all his skills to get the Congress and others, to go along with him.  Thus, with his premature death, the problems caused by failing to make his disputes with Churchill public, became manifest. He did not prepare the nation to carry out his visionary policy for the postwar period. Often times in history, the success of a policy depends on the courageous, resolute action of one solitary individual. Unfortunately for civilization, this was true with Roosevelt: he died before he could carry out his policy.
With Roosevelt’s death, the moral leadership of the United States rapidly declined, along with the morality of the population, under the British-manipulated Harry S Truman. Roosevelt’s death led, not only to a dramatic change in foreign policy, but it affected the way the rest of the world looked at the United States. As our nation’s citizens became narrower in their moral outlook after the war, so too, did our stature decline in the eyes of many countries throughout the world.
Reflecting on the failures of the Truman presidency, Welles summed it up this way:
“The United States has ceased to be regarded by the smaller powers as the champion of their legitimate rights in the community of nations. By her failure to support in practice, as she has supported in her official declarations, the principle of the `sovereign equality of all nations, great or small,’ she has forfeited much of the added influence which the backing of the lesser powers would have afforded her in pursuit of her objectives.”
Although far from perfect, Roosevelt as President, represented the highest expression of the United States as the foremost anti-oligarchical nation-state in the world. No other President in this century has shown that special quality, to take bold and decisive action in the midst of a profound crisis, with the country gripped by fear. He did so, informed by an understanding of the unique heritage of the United States, so beautifully articulated in the Preamble of our United States Constitution.

It is now time for all adult citizens to act in the self-interest of the United States, and the rest of the world, by defeating the British Empire. We dare not, for the second time in this century, fail to defeat our deadly adversary. Note: All emphasis (boldface type) in quotes, as in original, unless otherwise noted. [2]
Roosevelt had intended to use his relationship with Joseph Stalin, the leader of Russia, and Chiang Kai-shek of China, to forge a new postwar alliance: a “Grand Strategy” to free the world of the colonial methods of the British, French, and Dutch empires. After Roosevelt’s death on April 2, 1945, there followed a dramatic turn, away from this prospective, when Harry S. Truman became President, and subordinated U.S. strategy policy to the then-weakened, and defeatable, British Empire. [2]
Although this ended the determination of the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ambitions of ridding the world of European colonialism and giving all colonized nations independence and opening up the markets to open world competition (free trade-without favour), unknowingly Roosevelt had already set in motion a train of events that could not be stopped.
Chapter 4
Dispelling the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Myth
The above accounts gives an insight into the mind and soul of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and should dispel and myths that, “Roosevelt was “the greatest American friend we (British) have ever known,”  who Churchill later deemed the “saviour of Europe.”
Roosevelt was still fighting Churchill and Britain in “his own private war of Independence” throughout his life based on his perception of the British Colonial Empire’s dominance of the world within his own limited perception. His views were, no doubt, strongly influenced by his belief in the American Constitution and his animosity towards Britain based on the history of the American War of Independence rather than his own experiences or observation, first hand, of the oppression of the colonial subjects. It was more than likely influenced by his perception of how the African slaves in America were treated and the way the American Indians were roped into reservations and given no proper facilities to develop. Because Roosevelt said privately to his son Elliott,
“The colonial system means war. Exploit the resources of an India, a Burma, a Java; take all the wealth out of these countries, but never put anything back into them, things like education, decent standards of living, minimum health requirements–all you’re doing is storing up the kind of trouble that leads to war. All you’re doing is negating the value of any kind of organizational structure for peace before it begins.”
Could FDR’s perception have been clouded with a limited vision of European colonialism and biased because of America’s War of Independence and stories of the Spanish rape of the Americas?
Many colonies can thank Roosevelt for laying the foundations for the destruction of colonialism even if it may not always have achieved Roosevelt’s vision of the benefits of independence he had in mind. The concept might have been altruistic but there were no plans or visions for the peaceful transition or handing over, and America was not there to ensure it was peaceful. In the majority of cases, chaos and anarchy and thousands of deaths resulted when colonial rule was removed. This chaos is still reverberating today. Roosevelt’s paranoia of the evils of colonialism can best be illustrated better than any descriptions I could possibly write, by quotes:

“The colonial system means war. Exploit the resources of an India, a Burma, a Java; take all the wealth out of these countries, but never put anything back into them, things like education, decent standards of living, minimum health requirements–all you’re doing is storing up the kind of trouble that leads to war. All you’re doing is negating the value of any kind of organizational structure for peace before it begins.” ~FDR (Elliot Roosevelt, As He Saw It)

Roosevelt’s new moral, foreign policy was embodied in his first inaugural and subsequent speeches as the “Good Neighbor” policy, first directed toward Ibero-America, but with a more general application to rest of the world. It was further elaborated in his initiation of steps to secure independence for the Philippines, a nation that the United States had ostensibly “liberated” from the Spanish, only to hold in thrall and poverty as a colony. In drafting the act that was to guarantee the Philippines’ independence by 1946, Roosevelt stated: “Our nation covets no territory; it desires to hold no people against their will over whom it has gained sovereignty through war or by any other means.” (L. Wolfe, The American Almanac, 1995)

In October 1938, as the British led the world down the path towards war at Munich, Roosevelt proposed privately to the British that a conference be held to repudiate the Versailles Treaty and its onerous conditions, and declare the world committed to equal access for all nations to raw materials. The Chamberlain government, sensing that such a conference might turn into an attack on the imperial arrangements that gave the British the exclusive looting rights in their colonies, told Roosevelt to back off. Under pressure from his own State Department to support the British, Roosevelt withdrew the idea. (L. Wolfe, The American Almanac, 1995)

“I’ve tried to make it clear … that while we’re [Britain’s] allies and in it to victory by their side, they must never get the idea that we’re in it just to help them hang on to their archaic, medieval empire ideas … I hope they realize they’re not senior partner; that we are not going to sit by and watch their system stultify the growth of every country in Asia and half the countries in Europe to boot.” ~FDR (Elliot Roosevelt, As He Saw It)

“The British Empire trade agreements,” he [Churchill] began heavily, “are–”

Father broke in. “Yes. Those Empire trade agreements are a case in point. It is because of them that the people of India and Africa, of all the colonial Near East and Far East, are still as backward as they are.”

Churchill’s neck reddened and he crouched forward. “Mr. President, England does not propose for a moment to lose its favored position among the British Dominions. The trade that has made England great shall continue, and under these conditions prescribed by England’s ministers.”

“You see,” said Father slowly, “it is along in here somewhere that there is likely to be disagreement between you, Winston, and me. I am firmly of the belief that if we are to arrive at a stable peace, it must involve the development of backward countries. Backward peoples. How can this be done? It can’t be done obviously by eighteenth-century methods. Now–”

“Who’s talking about eighteenth-century methods?”

“Whichever of your ministers recommends a policy which takes raw materials out of a colonial country, but which returns nothing to the people of the that country in consideration. Twentieth-century methods involve bringing industry to these colonies. Twentieth-century methods include increasing the standard of living, by educating them, by bringing them sanitation–by making sure that they get a return for the raw wealth of their community…”

“You mentioned India,” he [Churchill] growled.

“Yes, I [Roosevelt] can’t believe that we can fight a war against fascist slavery, and at the same time not work to free people all over the world from a backward colonial policy.”

“What about the Philippines?”

“I am glad you mentioned them. They get their independence, you know, in 1946. And they’ve gotten modern sanitation, modern education, their rate of illiteracy has gone steadily down…”

“There can be no tampering with the Empire’s economic agreements.”

“They’re artificial….”

“They are the foundation of our greatness.”

“The peace,” said Father firmly, “cannot include any continued despotism. The structure of the peace demands and will get equality of peoples…”

~The conversation between FDR and Churchill during the summit held off the coast of Argentia, Newfoundland on Aug. 13-14, 1941, as related by FDR’s son, Elliot.” [2a]

The history of the Conquistadors in South America and Mexico is of course well known in American history.Gold Glory God was the driving force of the Conquistadors. These explorers, in “the age of discovery,” were given grants and rights by the Spanish rulers to explore, and establish settlements in the Americas and in return would give to the Spanish crown one-fifth of any gold or treasures discovered. With this incentive, the conquistadors managed to destroy the most powerful native empires in the Americas and to build a new powerful and wealthy Spanish Empires of their time. It brought great wealth to the Spanish crown. The Conquistadors believed that “They came to serve God and King and to get rich.” [5]
Hernan Cortes
In 1519, Hernan Cortes landed in the east coast of Mexico looking for Gold and Glory and soon heard of the Aztec empire. Cortes was welcomed by the  Aztec Emperor Montezuma and was given food and enjoyed the hospitality of the palace. But Cortes treacherously made Montesuma prisoner when the Aztecs learned of this they revolted. Cortes decided to kill off the Aztec leadership and slaughtered Montesuma and many other nobles, but the Aztecs drove the Spaniards out of the city. But Cortes was determined to lay his hands on the Aztec’s riches and gold, and when he had received Spanish reinforcements, he attacked and razed the Aztec capital in 1521. With their leadership massacred, the Aztec empire crumbled and disintegrated. Cortes loaded his ships with gold and other loot by the shiploads. The destruction of the Aztecs fuelled the colonial success of the Spanish colonial empire.
Francisco Pizarro
The Conquistador Francisco Pizarro with 180 Spanish soldiers heard of the incredible wealth of the Inca Empire (Peru), and in 1530 sailed south along the American coast. In 1532 Pizarro captured the Inca ruller and trapped his army in a square surrounded by walls. this is what happened:
“All the Indians (Inca soldiers) were inside like llamas. There were a great many of them and they could not get out, nor did they have any weapons….The Spaniards killed them all – with horses, with swords, with guns…From more than 10,000 men there did not escape 200.” The Inca leaders were executed.
By 1535 Pizarro controlled most of the Inca Empire and the wealth of that empire was shipped to Spain.
It appears that FDR’s perception of European colonisation was akin to the actions of the Conquistadors of the early 16th century. Or perhaps he visualised the way the colonial rulers ravaged the colonies was somehow similar to the way the African slaves or the native Americans were treated in America. Roosevelt would not have had any direct experience in countries rules as colonies and know intimately the plight of the colonials there.
Colonialism was the outgrowth of “the age of discovery” and the rivalry between the different European nations like France, Spain, Dutch, Britain, German, Portuguese, fighting for maritime supremacy including the piracy of looting one another’s treasure laden sailing ships. With these new found riches, and the growth of the ship building industries as well as the armaments industries, other industries were evolving such is the manufacture of woollen goods, and ironware. The home and near neighbour markets were quickly being saturated and new markets needed to be found with the aid of powerful fighting and trading ships available from the age of discovery.
With the early adventurer’s experiences of trading in the Americas and the West Indies and South America, a group of merchants of London presented a petition to Queen Elizabeth I for permission to sail into the Indian Ocean to seek for spices and trade and to establish trading posts for the re-supply of ship’s needs and provide rest for the sailors. Eventually, the “East India Company” (EICo)  charter was granted by Queen Elizabeth I  and the first voyage of the company was launched in 1601.
These merchant adventurers set out to trade, and not to colonise or subdue native peoples for the sake of stealing their wealth and raw materials as with the Conquistadors. Their mission was quite different from that during the “age of discovery.” These merchant adventurers set out to discover sources of spices and to trade British goods for such products as spices, and tea, silks and other equatorial and exotic products.
At the same time the Dutch and Portuguese merchant traders were also in the same areas and rivalry and hostility soon erupted. The East India Company, (EICo), eventually defeated the Portuguese in the Battle of Swally in 1612 and realised the cost of waging trade wars in remote seas far from supply bases in Europe. It was essential for EICo to obtain more permanent bases on the mainland of India with official sanction of both countries. In 1615, King James I agreed to assist and sent Sir Thomas Roe to call on the Mughal Emperor Nuruddin Salim Jahangir (r. 1605 to 1627) to arrange a treaty to allow EICo exclusive rights to reside and build factories in Surat and other areas. The EICo would in exchange, provide the emperor with goods and rarities from the European market. This mission proved highly successful and thus began the EiCo’s slow stealthy grip on the economy of parts of India.
The East India Company (EICo), having imperial patronage, as well as the blessings of the Mughal Emperor soon eclipsed the “Portuguese Estado Da India,” which had already established bases in Goa, Chittagong and Bombay, but these were later ceded to Britain as part of the dowry of Catherine de Braganza. The EICo built trading posts in Surat (where a factory was built inb 1612), Madras (1639), Bombay (1668) and Calcutta (1690). By 1647, the EICo had 23 factories with the major factories like Fort William in Bengal, Fort St George in Madras and the Bombay Castle were walled forts. This shows how well entrenched the EICo was in India and in control of her affairs independent of the Indian government by the 17th century. The Mughal Emperor extended his hospitality to the English traders to the region of Bengal in waived customs duties for trade in 1717.
The EICo was, by now, heavily involved in the trading of cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpetre and tea and the beginnings of the opium trade, and giving the Dutch monopoly of the spice trade in the Malacca straits competition after eliminating the Portuguese competitor. In 1711, the EICo established a trading post in Canton (Guanzhou) in order to trade tea in exchange for silver a demand of the Chinese who valued precious metals. Significantly, King Charles II passed acts in 1670 providing the East India Company autonomous rights for territorial acquisition, to mint money, to command fortresses and troops and to form alliances , to take war and peace, and to exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the acquired areas. [6] This transfer of power and authority to the company (EICo) was unprecedented and was the basis of the British Colonial Empire freeing the company from restrictions and allowing it to rule the colonial territories almost as it wished.
Christian Missionaries and Colonialism
Hardly discussed is the part played by Christian missionaries and their contribution during the European Colonial expansion. But the evidence of Christian missionaries following on the heels of the pioneering merchant adventurers is indisputable. It is evident that war cries of the Conquistadors in the early 16th century, “Gold, Glory,& God” signified that the role of the Church in the lives of the early pioneers was predominant. But  although the Conquistadors brought with them their religion and language, they made little effort to promote their culture, on a wider scale,  to the natives.
When Spain, Portugal and France, all Catholic nations, claimed empires in the Americas, Africa, and Asia they claimed it under the banner of God (Christianity) and King (nation). Those were the days when the church and the state were closely tied ecclesiastically and legally. However, the new philosophies of the Christian Protestants found the Roman Catholic international reach oppressive and exclusive, and thus sought out independent Kings and Princes to champion their protestant cause as an alternative. Thus there was no cross-cultural Christian mission but each jealously fought for their own influence. It was not until the 1600’s that the Dutch and the English began to challenge the Catholic Portuguese colonial possessions and influence.
The Dutch East India Company, founded in 1602, was pressurised by the Dutch Churches to include chaplains to accompany their trading missions in order to meet the spiritual needs of the colonists, the military, and to spread their faith among the indigenous people of the colonies. Thus, the seeds of Christian missionary work was established early in Dutch colonies. The British East India Company, founded in 1600, also sent chaplains to serve their colonists and military, but in their earlier years, discouraged cross-cultural missionary activities for fear of causing unrest among the native population, and interfering with their trading activities. [7] [8] (This is probably because some early missionaries have had adverse experiences with missionary work among the Islamic populations in Africa. Conversions of Muslims to other faiths is a strict taboo in Islam and to be avoided.But with further experience Protestant missionaries successfully introduced Christianity to more tolerant colonials.)
These early merchant adventurers appreciated the accompanying of these religious chaplains to meet their own religious spiritual needs in prayer and in other rituals as births and deaths and marriages and other Christian ceremonial rituals. The chaplains  also assisted in softening the local populace to bridge the gap in culture and ideologies. Although the Christian mission was to teach the Bible and Christian ideologies it also helped to bridge the gap between the native indigenous ideologies and that of the European Merchant adventurers,and it certainly created a better understanding and tolerance of the new comers. For this, the missionaries were successful in their mission and served the merchant adventurers well. For the natives to be able to understand the ideologies of the merchants by understanding their codes of Christian ethics, allowed the toleration and acceptance of the laws and political dictum’s of these Europeans. [9]
Christian Education
Although the main purpose of the Christian missionaries was to Evangelize and preach Christianity, but they soon realized that the gulf of understanding was impossible to bridge with the natives largely illiterate and their perception was locked into instilled religious beliefs and could not comprehend the Christian jargon. Even the British officials found it extremely difficult to control their subjects due to illiteracy and uncivilized populations who could not comprehend western codes of ethics. So, Government officials generally supported the missionaries in their educational work and provided them what assistance was necessary to get them start the faith schools. This benefited both the missionaries and the colonial administration to have natives who were sufficient educated to be able to communicate intelligently. The educated natives were also an asset to both the Christians and the government, and benefited themselves by having a function in the colonial administration. Thus, through education it led to job creation, growth in personal incomes, and a gradual modernization of the area. It was a slow process, but a fruitful process. It was this process that has brought many primitive communities into the more modern world. [10] [11]
Medical Missionaries
The introduction of modern western medical procedures to primitive and backward countries through Christian missionary work cannot be overlooked. Although it was used as an aid to promote Christianity, it was also a humanitarian aid practised by people of the Christian faith. This can be best expressed with the following quottions:
“The establishment of modern medical and surgical practice among suffering, ignorant and degraded peoples is one of the splendid services to humanity rendered by modem missions. The religious motive of this work may not appeal to this or that individual, but all join in generous praise to it as a humanitarian agency.
Not only have tens of thousands of lives been saved and hundreds of thousands of persons burdened with dis- ease completely or in part relieved, but foundations are being laid by medical missionaries in heathen countries upon which medical institutions are being built up, and organizations established for the widespread ‘ and systematic relief and prevention of disease. And all of this has been accomplished in countries where until the coming of the medical missionary the commonest surgical and medical measures were entirely unknown.” — Dr. W. J. Wanless. [12]
The Colonial Legacy
Ever since the American War of Independence (1775-1783) European colonialism has been demonised. And Roosevelt was determined to be the Knight to slay that dragon. From the “Age of Discovery” of Conquistadors and their motto of “Gold, Glory,&God,” and the “Wars of the Sailing Galleons” to the age of “colonialism” that theme of “Gold, God, & God.” still rings true. The merchant adventurers were scouring the earth for ways of enriching themselves, not to serve Christian altruism. That is human nature. And so we must look at national aspirations in this light, including Roosevelt’s aspirations.
History has shown that the early Merchant Adventurers did not invade Africa or India, or the East Indies or China with sword in hand but with a degree of humility, seeking trading arrangements and the agreements of the Mughal or Sultan to establish a trading post in their lands. The fact that they eventually by skill, cunning and stealth controlled vast empires is another matter altogether. But they established their trading posts amicably with the local rulers and also by displacing their other European merchants who had already established themselves there. These Merchant Adventurers did establish a regime of peace and order in order that they could trade without hindrance or harassment. Thus western laws and the judiciary and the police had to be introduced. Cities and provinces had to have a form of governance in order for trade and commerce and agriculture and manufacturing to be able to exist harmoniously. The visions of helmeted, sword waving Conquistadors and beating the natives is stuff of Hollywood dramas. In fact, most territories ruled by these new merchant adventurers were peaceful, regulated societies with an acceptable social and community harmony. The testimony of merchants, dining or playing polo with the Maharajahs of India are testimony of the social interaction of the two communities.
So with the premature and hasty withdrawal of colonial control over many of these countries, some native populations were prepared to take over the reigns while others began fighting over the spoils and floundered badly partly there was not sufficient time to hand over to an experienced population to govern.
For example, some relative successful transitions has been like India, or Singapore [13], or Hong Kong. These countries took over control and managed the transition well, while others, mainly African colonies, fell into chaos but for good reasons. Suddenly, with the authority and control of law and order removed, it was each war lord unto himself. The void has caused chaos in many regions of the world. There was no plan to fill the void of authority that was created. And for this chaos, the short-sighted vision of Roosevelt must accept the blame. In his eagerness to see his anti-colonial vision succeed in his lifetime, the chain of action was begun that was irreversible. This was no doubt accelerated by the results of WWII when many of the European colonial nations were on the verge of bankruptcy from the burdens of the war, and America did not step forward to breach the gap. And this was because of inexperience or ignorance of international affairs and cultures.
The Legacy of Opium in Colonialism (1640-1773)
The Portuguese sea captains, competing against Indian and Arab merchants who controlled the trade, soon realised the economic potential of trading in Malwa opium in the early 16th century. It was the Portuguese who introduced the idea of mixing opium with tobacco and smoking it through a pipe that became appealing to the Chinese users. The Portuguese used opium to barter for Chinese silks, fine porcelain and other Oriental goods like tea, and spices, although the Emperor Yung Cheng prohibited the import of opium in 1729. The Dutch, latecomers to the Portuguese began importing opium form Bengal in 1640 into Jakarta where there were established in 1619 to supply Java’s limited demands. When the Dutch won the monopoly of trading in Java, their imports of Opium increased from 617 kilograms in 1660 to 72, 280 Kilograms in 1685 only 25 years later. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) was making 400% profit on their 1670 transactions. It was highly profitable and attracted Asian traders to Jakarta. In 1681 34% of the cargo out of Jakarta was attributed to Opium. Opium was by then a commodity and not a light weight luxury item. [14] [19]
East India Company’s Mercantilism of Opium (1773-1858)
The British were the last to enter the opium trade. China was demanding silver in exchange for their silks, teas, and other commodities and this was fast draining British reserves of precious metals, what better substitute in using opium as the barter commodity? The British Governor-General of Bengal established a monopoly for the sale and the transport of opium in 1773 for the next 130 years, and defied Chinese anti-drug laws and fighting two wars to force China to accept the East India Company’s agents to trade in this commodity. For the next 130 years,  the EICo forced the illegal continuous supply of opium to China and thus assured prosperity for British India and represented as much as 15% of the total tax revenues from India in the 19th century. It was this surplus, from the opium trade that made Britain rich and powerful during the reign of Queen Victoria. Opium was Queen Victoria’s Jewel in the Crown. It provided the icing on the cake for Britain. It was during this period that all the extravagant monuments were built and Britain ruled the waves. Many of the merchants returned to Britain extremely wealthy and were appointed to the Houses of Parliament where they influenced Britain’s foreign policies in the Far East, especially in relation to the Opium Wars. But imports of opium imports to China were decreed illegal, but as the business was so essential to the EICo and to Britain’s economy, Canton’s mandarins were bribed and opium smuggled into southern China where it even fetch twice the price because of its superior quality. These corrupted practices were financed and foisted by the EICo on the Chinese people without a conscience. [14]
This success did not go unnoticed by others. Trade figures for 1820 showed the prosperous trade balance. EICo exported  £22 million of cotton and opium to China, and there purchased £20 million of Chinese tea and other goods were shipped to Britain, then £24 million of finished textiles and machinery was shipped to India with enormous profits for the traders and substantial tax revenues for the treasury. The EICo were churning out money on every leg of the journey. EICo also controlled the output from the Indian factories to approximate 4000 Chests or 280 tons per annum with the result that prices in China rose from 415 Rs (Rupees) a chest in 1700 to 2,428 Rs in 15 years, a 585 % increase in profits.
Unbeknown by most people today, America, having been locked out by the monopolies, became the most daring rivals of this  opium trade. Determined to benefit from this lucrative trade, Yankee traders loaded their first cargoes of Turkish opium at Smyrna in 1805. Then they sailed the arduous and dangerous journey around the Cape of Good Hope to China. Thus making it possible for Turkish opium as an alternative to Bengal brands until 1834 when Yankee captains were finally allowed to bid at the Calcutta auctions saving them the long journey around Africa.
The princely states of west India, not under the control of the EICo was not to be deprived of these rich pickings and produced on their own the Malwa opium. Malwa opium gained 40% of the China trade and challenged the supremacy of the EICo. The Governor-General of India, Lord William Bentinck, ordered  the doubling of the opium crops to 176,000 acres. [Clearly verifying the complicity of the British government in the Opium trade.] However, the East India Company lost her charter by 1834 that gave her the total monopoly of the opium trade in Bengal, and this monopoly collapsed. This allowed the opportunistic American and British captains to trade freely without controls from the EICo. China’s opium imports increased 10 fold from 270 tons per annum in 1820 to 2,558 tons per annum twenty years later. By 1830, there were no less than 3 million Chinese opium addicts.
In order to protect the EICo’s illegal opium trade in China The British government waged two wars against China. The First Opium War (1839-1842) where China lost was concluded with the unequal Treaty of Nanking, 1842. China had to pay punitive damages of $21 million and also suffered many humiliating terms and conditions. [15]  A Second Opium War (1856-1860) that involved France, Russia, America, and Britainand again the Chinese were defeated resulting in the Treaty of Tianjin (1858 & 1860.) France, Britain and the British merchants each received 2 million Taels of silver for compensation. (A Tael is equivalent to 1.2 Troy Ozs) Also further humiliating concessions were demanded of China. [16] It was clear that the British government was determined to force opium down the throats of China whether they liked it or not. Never in the history of mankind has the full might of a nation been behind such a disgraceful enterprise.
It was the corruption of the Chinese officials that allowed the open importation of an illegal drug into China by the tons that finally led to the collapse of Imperial China. China was brought to her knees and with a nod and a wink from her western allies and in particular Britain, Japan began her invasion and rape of China resulting in the Rape of Nanking. [18] Not a single western nation raise an objection. No one had ever heard of “Human Rights” or genocide then. Every world leader turned a deaf ear to the screams of agony  and cries for help and this attitude was again repeated in the Armenian genocide, the German genocide of the Jews, Pol pot, and elsewhere.
By 1858, the Opium trade was at a frenzy, and profits reached new highs making efficient sailing ships with quick turn arounds essential and thus the evolution of “The China Clippers.” There were 95 clippers plying the opium trade of which the Çalcutta’s Cowasjee family owned 6, the American company Russell & Co. owned 8, and the British giants, Dent and Jardine operated 27. This was where the famous Jardines made their initial capital and became the taipans of China, opium.
China was forced to legalize the trading of opium China after her humiliating defeat after the Second Opium War (1856-1860) by the British emissary Lord Elgin in that treaty. But China decided to grow her own opium to prevent funds leaving China. The trade peaked in 1880 and then gradually declined as the price of opium dropped because of local production. It took years to rid China of this drug addiction and drained and exhausted the whole nation.
Have we learned from history? CIA and Narcotics in the 21st century.
The China opium story is now well documented and openly discussed. But even today there is a sinister aspect to the illegal drugs trade and the involvement of major governments. A review of the following book,”The politics of Heroin: CIA complicity in the Global Drug Trade” by Alfred W. McCoy is a fascinating adjunct  to the above dialogue on international narcotics trade and used as a national weapon. Here is a brief review:
“No book on the drug trade is complete without a discussion of the role the CIA has played in boosting the industry’s world-wide network. Here McCoy’s cautious approach is particularly damning in its findings. In a brief but telling conclusion, CIA policy is indicted for protecting drug lords in the name of national security, and for directly contradicting Drug Enforcement Agency’s efforts to interdict major traffickers. Worse, he sees a growing tolerance for narcotics as an informal weapon of covert warfare whose trajectory now extends beyond Cold War confines. Considering the evidence amassed of at least indirect CIA complicity in a variety of hot spots, such conclusions are hardly overblown. However, his hope for both a reformed CIA and domestic War on Drugs are, it would seem, tenuous at best, given the global size of wealth and power that is at stake. As his book has shown, Cold War or no, the political economy of illegal narcotics, with its often useful underworld connections and expanded instruments of repression, is simply too powerful a tool for empire builders of any stripe to surrender.” [20]
The Myth of, “India was the Jewel in the Crown of Queen Victoria.”
The lengthy descriptions of the opium trade is intended to illustrate the realities of Mercantilism (Free Trade) and put to rest some of the myths perpetuated by our earlier historians of the glorious achievements of the British Raj in India. Although, India (Bengal) provided the staging post for the Opium Trade with China, it was the Opium Trade that created the surpluses that brought the ill-gotten wealth to Britain. For 130 years, the East India Company in conjunction with the British government bled China of every tael of silver and gold and enslaved millions of Chinese (a conservative of 3 million addicts was probably grossly underestimated considering the quantities of opium imported) into slaves of opium and ensuring their premature deaths. Surely, it must be evident that Britain “Ruled the Waves” at the expense of China’s coffers. All the sums, points to this fact that China was destroyed by the British taipans using opium as the weapon. So it was a myth that, “India was the Jewel in the Crown of Victoria.” Little wonder that Parliament supported this illicit trade support it with her Navy and political powers.
It also illustrates the myth of the altruistic intentions of the Christian missionaries when they could see what was being done to destroy the spirit and health of the populace and kept their mouths shut, happily preaching the love of Jesus for all. The missionaries wore blinkers and never raised their voices of protests, and neither did any other nation on earth raise any objections in the destruction of the Chinese empire by forced exploitation and subjugation. A lesson, that will be imprinted on the Chinese mind forever. Surprisingly, the Chinese have never really moaned about it like the holocaust sympathisers.
It also illustrates that it was not only a British trait of exploitation without a conscience, but it also involved the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Germans, the Americans, the Indians, and many more. Greed dulled their consciences. It almost seems as though Europeans viewed the Chinese not as humans but another species in much the same way as the early Americans saw the Native American Indians or the African slaves as uncivilised barbarians and treated them no better than livestock.
Chapter XXX
The Demise of the British Empire
Roosevelt’s death ended the obsession for the American administration under the stern leadership of Roosevelt to dismantle British Empire. Harry S. Truman did not share this obsession and the tensions between America and England subsided. But the force and momentum of Roosevelt’s Atlantic Charter had already stirred and gave encouragement to the independence movements in India, South East Asia, North and South Africa. The cry and demand for independence from Roosevelt was not the only cry during that era.
Japan’s announcement of the Co-Prosperity Sphere in 1940.
the 1921-22 Washington Conference naval treaties forced on Japan an unfavorable battleship ratio of 5:5:3 for the US, Britain, and Japan respectively. In 1919 at the Paris Peace Conference, Western countries rejected the simple Japanese request to have a racial equality clause included in the League of Nations Covenant. In 1924, America passed the Japanese Exclusion Act to shut off Japanese immigration into the US. This series of international affronts to Japanese pride and status provided fuel to Japanese militaristic sentiments and eventually led to Japan attacking the Western powers to establish the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
Japanese leaders used the Co-Prosperity Sphere in its propaganda for the people both in Japan and in other Asian countries. The leaders spoke of “Asia for Asians,” the need to liberate Asian countries from Western imperialist powers, and economic co-prosperity for member nations of the autarkic bloc. As Japan occupied various Asian countries, they set up governments with local leaders who proclaimed independence from the Western powers.


[1] Roosevelt to Truman by Wilson D. Miscamble,C.S.C.  Cambridge Press. (see page 43)  [1]

[2]  Roosevelt’s ‘Grand Strategy’ to rid the World of British Colonialism:1941-1945 by Lawrence K. Freeman.

[2a] India’s debt to Franklin Roosevelt, quotes:

[3] The Other War: FDR’s Battle Against Churchill and the British Empire by L Wolfe

[4] A copy of Churchill’s copy of the Atlantic Charter

[4a] Adoption of the 26 Allies, and incorporation into the UN declaration:

[5] The Conquistadors: Gold Glory God: Aztecs: Incas:

[6] The East India Company and its growth:

[7] Role of Missionaries in Colonialism: [pages 6&7]

[8] Christian Missionaries in the Pacific:

[9] Function of Christian Chaplains in the Colonial era:

[10] Missionary and education:

[11] Missionaries and education in India:

[12] Missionaries and the medical work:

[13] Example of positive legacy of colonialism-Singapore:

[14] Colonialism: Merchant Adventurers and Opium:

[15] The Treaty of Nanking 1842:

[16] Second Opium war and Treaty of Tianjin:

[17] Treaty of Tianjin 1858&1860

[18] The Rape of Nanking. Dec 9, 1937

[19] The Colonial Legacy: Opium for the Natives:

[20] Modern CIA complicity in the drugs trade:

References unquoted:


R2 Brzenzinski; modern views:

R3 Brzenzinski under Carter:

R4 Roosevelt and Indian independence:

R5 Britain’s Lend-Lease Debt:

R6 Britain Pays of her WWII debts:$462096.htm

R7 Casualties and cost WWII:

R8 WW II by numbers:

R9 WWII Warship for bases:

R10 Destroyers for Bases:

R11 Gold Glory God – Conquistador:

R12 Legacy of British Colonialism:

R13 Legacy of Colonialism-Opium:

R14 Colonialism and Missionaries:

R15 Missionaries and Colonialism:

R16 EICo and Opium trade:

R17 Opium trade statistics and growth from 1660 and 1720:
R18 Greater East Asia Co-prosperity sphere:
R19 EAD:
R20 Arab Oil embargo 1973-74:
R21 Subhas Chandra Bose:
R22 Ghandi:
R23 India’s debt to Roosevelt:

R24* America Began with a Very Religious beginnings, Not Secular. Video:

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