Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States, bringing America, which had been neutral, into the European conflict.
The bombing of Pearl Harbor even surprised Germany. Although Hitler made a verbal agreement with his Axis partner, Japan, that Germany would join a war against the United States, he was unsure how the war would begin. Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor answered this question. On December 8, Japanese Ambassador Oshima visited German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop to nail the Germans to an official declaration of war against America. Von Ribbentrop wasted time; he knew that Germany was under no obligation to do so under the Tripartite Pact, which promised aid if Japan was attacked, but not if Japan was the aggressor. Von Ribbentrop feared that the addition of another antagonist, the United States, would overwhelm the German war effort.
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But Hitler thought otherwise. He was convinced that the United States would soon beat him with fists and declare war on Germany. The US Navy was already attacking German submarines, and Hitler despised Roosevelt for his repeated verbal attacks on his Nazi ideology. He also believed that Japan was much stronger than it was, that once it defeated the United States, it would turn around and help Germany defeat Russia. So, at 3:30 p.m. (Berlin time) on December 11, the German charge d’affaires in Washington gave US Secretary of State Cordell Hull a copy of the declaration of war.
On the same day, Hitler addressed the Reichstag to defend the declaration. The failure of the New Deal, Hitler argued, was the real cause of the war, as President Roosevelt, backed by plutocrats and Jews, tried to cover up the collapse of his economic program. “First it incites war, then falsifies the causes, then loosely wraps itself in a cloak of Christian hypocrisy and slowly but surely leads humanity to war,” Hitler said – and the Reichstag s ‘rose to thunderous applause.