America's struggle against Nazism is one of the few aspects of World War II that has escaped controversy. Historians agree that it was a widely popular war, different from the subsequent conflicts in Korea and Vietnam because of the absence of partisan sniping, ebbing morale, or calls for a negotiated peace. In this provocative book, Steven Casey challenges conventional wisdom about America's participation in World War II. Drawing on the numerous opinion polls and surveys conducted by the U.S. government, he traces the development of elite and mass attitudes toward Germany, from the early days of the war up to its conclusion. Casey persuasively argues that the president and the public rarely saw eye to eye on the nature of the enemy, the threat it posed, or the best methods for countering it. He describes the extensive propaganda campaign that Roosevelt designed to build support for the war effort, and shows that Roosevelt had to take public opinion into account when formulating a host of policies, from the Allied bombing campaign to the Morgenthau plan to pastoralize the Third Reich.
By examining the previously unrecognized relationship between public opinion and policy making during World War II, Casey's groundbreaking book sheds new light on a crucial era in American history.