Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath
by Spencer Howard
Nearly eighty years ago, during World War II, former President Herbert Hoover began writing the first words of what was later to be called his “magnum opus.” The “magnum opus” originated as a volume of Hoover’s memoirs, a book initially focused on his personal frustration with President Roosevelt’s foreign policies before Pearl Harbor. As time went on, however, Hoover broadened his scope to include criticism of Roosevelt’s foreign policies during the war, the expansion of the Soviet empire at the war’s end, and the beginning of the Cold War. Throughout the work, Hoover raises key questions about the conduct of U.S. foreign relations, many of which are still under scrutiny today.
Hoover worked on his “magnum opus” for more than twenty years, expanding and revising the manuscript until shortly before his death in 1964. For nearly half a century, it remained in storage, unavailable for examination until it was finally published in 2011.
Renowned Hoover scholar George H. Nash sifted through the thousands of pages of notes and documents Hoover left behind, and edited for publication the final draft of Hoover’s “magnum opus.” Accompanied by copious footnotes and appendices of key documents, Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath offers many arguments that challenge us to see the history of World War II and the Cold War in a different light. Freedom Betrayed reflects the foreign policy thinking not just of Herbert Hoover but of many American policy makers during his lifetime and beyond. As such, it is a document with which we should be acquainted today.