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Origins of War: Civil War and World War I

  • History of Liberty Seminar 2001

Tags Guerra y Política ExteriorHistorial MundialTeoría Política

03/01/2004John V. Denson

Mises was well-versed in history, but many economists are not. History must be understood and revised. Wilson distorted the truth about how America entered WWI. The propaganda was not to be questioned. Wrong lessons are taught. The 1929 depression was displayed as proof that the free market had failed. The Treaty of Versailles continued WWI. That treaty should have been peacefully revised. Understanding history will create your political views. Wartime propaganda becomes history.

The Civil War was not fought to abolish slavery, it was over tariff taxes. Lincoln sent two delegates to South Carolina to show a change in policy about collecting taxes. The North was going to stand by Fort Sumter rather than abandon it. The South had adopted its constitution. Foreign goods would be going to Charleston and New Orleans. The North would lose out. The Wall Street gang demanded that Lincoln go to war. Lincoln and FDR were our two worst presidents. The South discovered that Lincoln was sending twelve warships, negating his promise to just send food to the fort. Lincoln wanted to provoke the South into firing the first shot. He succeeded.  

Pearl Harbor is a patriotic political myth. Earlier investigations made two officers scapegoats. A new investigation of Pearl Harbor in 1999 gave full pardons to the two officers. The disastrous attack was because critical information was withheld from those commanders. FDR was squarely to blame. He knew when and where the Japanese would attack. Day of Deceit (1999) by Robert Stinnett presented conclusive evidence about Roosevelt’s duplicity. Eight steps were executed to force the Japanese to attack. Both diplomatic and military codes were already broken before Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt wanted to provoke the Japanese into firing the first shot. He succeeded.

Roosevelt’s private agenda was to best Wilson’s dream of forming a world organization with a police force– the League of Nations (failed) and then the United Nations (instituted). FDR helped to build Soviet Russia into a big superpower.

From the 2001 History of Liberty seminar.


John V. Denson

John V. Denson is Distinguished Scholar in History and Law at the Mises Institute. He is a practicing attorney in Alabama and the editor of two books, The Costs of War and Reassessing the Presidency, and the author of A Century of War: Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt.

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