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Hitler Attacks Pearl Harbor: Why the United States Declared War on Germany

Richard F. Hill
Hitler Attacks Pearl Harbor: Why the United States Declared War on Germany
ISBN: 978-1-62637-000-5
2003/227 pages
"Hitler Attacks Pearl Harbor will necessitate a reassessment of American diplomacy prior to World War II and of the influence of Pearl Harbor on U.S. action toward Nazi Germany.... It provides an important new view of the critical period 7-11 December 1941."—Jack Thacker, History: Reviews of New Books

"This book should change the way that people think, write, and teach about the U.S. declaration of war against Germany. It offers a fresh interpretation that is well-researched, carefully argued, and convincing."—Michael Neiberg, United States Air Force Academy


In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. politicians, policymakers, and citizens focused their desire for retribution not on the obvious target, Japan, but on Hitler's Germany. Richard Hill challenges a major point of conventional wisdom on U.S.-Axis relations to explain why the U.S. held Hitler responsible for the Japanese action—and why Hitler's December 11 declaration of war was inconsequential to the U.S. involvement in the European theater.

Hill's carefully argued analysis reveals widespread acceptance in late 1941 that the route to Tokyo was through Berlin—that Germany was the overlord of Japan, as well as its co-conspirator. Despite emerging uncertainty about German guilt for Pearl Harbor, he concludes, the prevailing public opinion in the first weeks after December 7 mandated a Germany-first strategy and continued to color U.S. policy throughout the war.


Richard Hill is adjunct professor of history at Florida International University.


  • Introduction.
  • Beaten to the Punch: Hitler's Declaration of War.
  • Actual Collaboration: German Guilt for Pearl Harbor.
  • A Responsible Source: Where Were the German Military Forces?
  • War with the Axis: Europe Through the Backdoor.
  • Puppetmaster.
  • Hitler's Fifth Column in Japan.
  • Hitler Threatens Japanese Dupes.
  • Nobody Knows: Better Safe Than Sorry.
  • Conclusion: Why Did the U.S. Declare War on Germany?