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A Great and Terrible Day


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National Review:

“Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

— Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Four days after Pearl Harbor, Hitler committed one of the most monumental blunders in history. Rushing back to Berlin from his Prussian headquarters on December 11, he went before the Reichstag and, in a short 334-word speech, declared war on the United States. In this single act of suicidal hubris he sealed the fate of the Third Reich.

Despite still being locked in a brutal war against Great Britain and the Soviet Union, when presented with the opportunity to declare war against a nation capable of producing as many munitions in one year as Germany could in five, Hitler did not hesitate or flinch. Hitler was certainly aware of America’s production potential, for he had written about it in Mein Kampf. Despite this knowledge, he remained unimpressed with American military potential. In 1940, he had told Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov that the United States would not be a threat to Germany for decades — “1970 or 1980 at the earliest.” This was a colossal misjudgment, but not Hitler’s only one. Not unlike other dictators, Hitler believed it was impossible to transform pampered American youths into formidable soldiers.snip
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