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Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin
Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin
Photograph courtesy U.S. Naval Historical Center



10. WHAT EFFECT DID THE ATTACK HAVE ON THE WAR IN EUROPE?
 

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the U.S. Congress on December 8 and called for a declaration of war against Japan, he did not mention Germany and Italy--the two other members, with Japan, of the Axis alliance.

The German envoy in Washington assured the German Foreign Office that the United States would fight only Japan. But on December 11 Adolf Hitler, in a virulently personal attack on Roosevelt, declared war on the United States, citing Germany’s treaty obligations with Japan. Italy quickly followed.

The United States was immediately in a two-front war and had to divide its strength and resources between the Pacific and Europe. U.S. and British political and military leaders had previously decided that, in the event of a two-front war, the defeat of Nazi Germany would come first. The United States poured men and weapons into embattled Britain and began planning for a liberation of German-occupied Europe.

 

 
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