There was no need for World War II. Adolf Hitler was doing everything he could to come to peace terms with Britain, but Winston Churchill would not have it. Churchill knew of the many peace offers coming from the German government. He knew that neither Hitler nor any other Nazi leaders wanted to fight Britain.
Winston Churchill wrote to Josef Stalin on January 24, 1944, to tell him that Britain was going to continue the fight to the complete destruction of Germany no matter what. He should have been more exact and said that Britain was going to stay in the war as long as the United States was willing to do most of the fighting and all of the financing. Churchill's letter read, in part:
We never thought of peace, not even in that year when we were completely isolated and could have made peace without serious detriment to the British empire, and extensively at your cost. Why should we think of it now when victory approaches for the three of us?1
What Churchill meant by "when we were completely isolated" was the time before Russia and the United States became involved. Churchill kept the war going for a purpose. Britain at this time was so weak that Germany could have smashed her within a few weeks. Had Hitler been the kind of man history says he was and had he captured the British army at Dunkirk, which he could easily have done and should have done, he could have written the peace ticket without invading Britain. Churchill's worried son Randolph asked Churchill a few days after he became the prime minister how could he expect to win this war. Churchill replied, "I shall drag the United States in."2
And so he did, and he knew he could. And how did he do it? He could not have dragged the United States in had Franklin Roosevelt not wanted to be dragged in, in the first place. He did it by not giving up-that is, by not accepting the peace terms Germany was offering. Roosevelt's great fear was that the war would be over before America could get in. FDR wanted to go down in history as a wartime president. Roosevelt and Churchill were in secret communication before Churchill became prime minister. This is the reason why Tyler Kent, who worked in the code room in the American Embassy in London beginning in 1939, was thrown in prison as soon as Churchill took office. Kent was sentenced not for anything criminal, but because of what he knew. Roosevelt would not rescue this American citizen from Churchill's clutches because Kent had proof that FDR was promising the British leader that he would eventually come into the war. Churchill records a conversation he and Harry Hopkins had on January 10, 1941:
The president is determined that we shall win the war together. Make no mistake about it. He has sent me here to tell you that at all costs and by all means he will carry you through, no matter what happens to him. There is nothing that he will not do, so far as he has human power.3
Churchill became prime minister on May 10, 1941. When the Germans captured Poland, they found in the Polish archives the evidence about the part FDR played in getting the fuse of World War II lit. These Polish records were transported to Berlin for safekeeping, and when Germany fell to the Allies, they were shipped to Washington, where they were kept under lock and key for about 20 years so that no one could see them.