Incompetence, Stupidity, and Cowardice: The Royal House of Savoy and the Governance of Italy, 1861-1946

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Fast forward to 7 December 1941, “a date which will live in infamy,” when the Japanese made their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. On 8 December 1941, at the request of President Roosevelt, the Congress declared war on Japan. And only Japan. Here’s the really interesting part of which many are not aware: on 11 December 1941, in a coordinated announcement, Italy and then Germany, declared war on the United States. From the BBC:

Today Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, made his declaration first – from the balcony over the Piazza Venezia in Rome – pledging the “powers of the pact of steel” were determined to win.

Then Adolf Hitler made his announcement at the Reichstag in Berlin saying he had tried to avoid direct conflict with the US but, under the Tripartite Agreement signed on 27 September 1940, Germany was obliged to join with Italy to defend its ally Japan.

FDR, issued a statement, read by a newscaster in this clip from the BBC, which asked the Congress to recognize that a state of war now existed between Germany and the US and Italy and the US.

Franklin Roosevelt, wearing a black mourning armband, holds in his hands the joint Congressional declarations of war against Germany and Italy in December, 1941.

So now the fat was in the fire. Since Italians in general are intelligent, insightful, and certainly well educated among the elites of the era and creators of some of the greatest art, music, poetry, architecture, furniture, clothing, and style in all of the West, who was it that thought it was a good idea to declare war on the United States? Most Italians liked the United States then although it is somewhat different now. The Italians like to beat up on the evil United States, forgetting all the suffering they caused innocent people in World War Two.

[Image courtesy of Profiles of US Presidents.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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