Charles Callan Tansill, one of the foremost American diplomatic historians of the twentieth century, convincingly argues that Franklin Roosevelt wished to involve the United States in the European War that began in September 1939. When his efforts appeared to come to naught, Roosevelt determined to provoke Japan into an attack on American territory. Doing so would involve Japan’s Axis allies in war also, and so America would thus enter the war through the “back door”.
The strategy succeeded, and Tansill maintains that Roosevelt therefore welcomed Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
Tansill demonstrates quite convincingly his central theme: that FDR sought to include the United States in the Second World War on the side of the Soviet Union from the very beginning, and duped the Japanese into firing the first shot.
Tansill proves his premise by the usage of extensive primary material from US State Department files, current periodicals, and sound reasoning.